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THE “SONS” CALLED “BRETHREN” BY JESUS

Hebrews 2:11-13 

The Son is indeed perfected through suffering. He brings a great many brethren to glory, since it behooved God to perfect him through suffering for that very end. However, the writer has more to say about this Jesus and the brethren who are saved through him. It must also be made abundantly clear that the eternal Son of God comes into the most intimate relationship with all the sons to save them. He must come into such a relationship with all the sons so that the eternal Son in the flesh, through his suffering and resurrection, causes the brethren to be one new manhood, one great family of the sanctified and the redeemed. 

In verse 11 this is stated in the “following words “For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.” There is some difference of opinion concerning who is meant with the “one” in the phrase “all out of one“. There are some who hold that this refers to God. Christ and all those who are sanctified by him are out of one, that is, they both have their sonship from God. This is evidently true in itself. But the question is whether this is in accord with the context and the general teaching here in this entire section. The writer here is emphasizing the very humanity of the Christ who is exalted at God’s right hand: rather than his Deity. It is strong and intimate relationship to the brethren by means of participation in blood that is emphasized and enunciated. (verse 14) It is for this reason that we hold that the sense of the Spirit here in the “all out of one” is that both Christ and all the brethren are out of one flesh. They are all from one common human stock, they are all out of Adam. This is clearly stated in Luke 3:38, where we read “. . .and Adam the son of God.” All are out of the one Adam, the first Adam, and thus out of God. For Christ did not assume the nature of angels, but he assumed the nature of the sons of Abraham. Furthermore, in this relationship each has its own role, Christ the eternal Son in the flesh, and the sons of adoption. The former is the sanctifier and the latter are those who are sanctified. Not only does God bring the sons to an external glory, but that glory to which God brings all the sons is one which befits saints, inwardly sanctified, free from all sin and guilt, in the true liberty of sons, whom the Son hath made free indeed. And therefore we read here of both those who are sanctified and of him who sanctifies. 

To indicate the close relationship between the sanctifier and those sanctified the writer tells us that Christ is “not ashamed to call them brethren.” The fact is that there is every reason why one would think that Christ would be ashamed to call us brethren. He is the Most High God as to His divine nature, He is holy, harmless and undefiled, while we are very filthy land guilty sinners. Yet, he is not ashamed to call us brethren. Such is not only his love for us, but such is his station toward us. He is like unto us in all things, sin excepted. He is born, grows and developes, and suffers and dies. 

Where did Jesus call all those, who are sanctified by him, brethren? 

This Jesus did before his coming into the flesh through the Spirit in the prophets, and this he also did while upon earth in his suffering and resurrection, and this he does now from out of heaven. However, the writer has specifically in mind that thus Christ spoke of the church already in the Scriptures of the Old Testament. Here already the church could read of one who is to come and who will be a brother amongst the brethren. 

The writer quotes from various passages of the Old Testament Scriptures. 

The first passage which is quoted is taken from Psalm 22:23. This passage is quoted in verse 13, and it reads as follows “I will make thy Name known among my brethren.” Here the writer is speaking to God. And he is speaking of what he will do with God’s name in reference to his brethren, who are called “my brethren.” These brethren are not mere “blood brothers,” but are the brethren which belong to the “church” elected unto everlasting life. Wherefore we read further in this Psalm (and it is quoted here) “in the midst of the church will I praise thee.” The Christ will cause God to dwell upon the hymns and the praises of Israel. It will therefore be a faithful church in the unity of faith and hope upon God. From the east and from the west, from every tongue, tribe, people and nation they will be gathered. It will be a holy catholic church, in which each member is a brother, a living member. And this will be brought to pass after the author has cried out “my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me.” Did not Jesus say in the high priestly prayer in John 17:6 “I have manifest thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world”? And this “Name” is God’s saving power and grace and truth. The blind received their sight, the lame walked and the lepers were cleansed, and the poor had the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended at such a brother! 

The writer could have stopped here with the quotation from the Old Testament Scriptures to prove his point. That he proceeds is not redundancy, but rather it will cast more light on this important gospel-truth of Christ’s relationship to the “brethren.” 

Yes, there is still another Scripture passage which teaches clearly that Christ is not ashamed of the brethren, who are his, being given to him by the Father in sovereign election of grace. The writer quotes fromIsaiah 8:17 as follows “I shall put my trust in him” Here the Christ in the flesh is presented as being very really man. He is introduced as having his personal confidence upon the Lord, and sanctifying the Lord in his heart. He would live by the promises of God, and would believe the promises of God’s aid and protection as spoken of in the Scriptures. A little study of Isaiah 8 will show that this has great significance. For the situation was that in Isaiah 8 the prophet and the great multitude of the people did not see eye to eye. The vast majority in Israel in the time of Isaiah and King Ahaz were such that they looked to the king of Assyria for help and not to the Lord. The promise of God to David by the prophet Nathan did not mean anything to them. They did not look for that Stone laid by God in Zion. They sought their safety and salvation in a confederacy, and did not place their hope upon the living God to sanctify Him in their hearts. But the prophet here speaks in such a way that he introduces the Christ as saying; that in the midst of this all and notwithstanding what Israel does in placing her trust upon a confederacy, he will place his trust in the Lord. This is also what happened historically. For, when Christ is hanging on the Cross, the enemies accuse him jeeringly “He trusted in God.” (Matthew 27:43) He trusted in God in the midst of the brethren. He was not ashamed to call the children “brethren” and to walk trustingly as a brother amongst them. 

The writer has one more passage to show that the eternal Son was not ashamed to call those who are sanctified by him “brethren.” I refer to verse 13b, where we read “Behold, I and the children which God hath given me” The quotation here too is from Isaiah 8:18. There we read, “Behold I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.” How must we understand this passage? Who are these children? No doubt these “children” are literally the two sons which God gave to Isaiah in those most troublesome -and faithless times in Israel. The one son was given the name Shear-jashub, which .meant: a remnant shall return. The other son was given the name Maher-shalal-hash-baz, which meant: making speed to the spoil he hasteth to the prey. In these two names the entire history of Israel is shown to be in the hands of God, and is connected with the name of the birth of the Son of the virgin, whose Son will be called Immanuel, God-with-us! These two sons which God gave to Isaiah would all their life long be for signs and the wonders of God in Israel. For the Lord would surely make a speedy end to both Ephraim and Syria as they rose up against the Lord and His anointed king on David’s throne. The Lord will bring up Assyria against both of them and destroy them. That was the meaning of the name Maher-shalal-hash-baz. On the other hand the true Israel would go down into Babylon with Judah. However, they would not remain there forever. Although all shall not return again to the land of Immanuel where the “Child” shall be born, whose name is called Immanuel, yet a remnant shall return to the land of promise from the Captivity. And that was the meaning of the prophetic and significant name of the son called Shear-jashub. 

These sons of Isaiah therefore are prophetic of the return and salvation of the “remnant,” (Shear). And these “Shear” are the remnant according to election of grace. And Christ stands in the midst of this remnant of election and is not ashamed of them, but says “Behold, I and the children which God has given me.” He says this trusting in the Lord even in the deepest depths of his suffering at Calvary; he says this now in glory while he ever lives to pray for them, “for the men which thou hast given me out of the world.” (John 17:6

Christ is ashamed of some men in the world.. There are those to whom he shall say: Depart from me ye workers of iniquity, I never knew you. But he is not ashamed of the many brethren, but brings them forth from the captivity of Babylon, taking captivity captive and gives gifts unto men.” (Ephesians 4:8Psalm 68:19

However, this must not be misunderstood. It is not all Israel that is out of Israel. We must keep this in mind also when we come to the next verse here in this chapter. Only then will we be able to see the glory of this section in which the true humanity of Christ is taught. 

CHRIST LIKEWISE TOOK PART OF THE FLESH AND BLOOD OF THE CHILDREN 

– Hebrews 2:14 

The writer to the Hebrews here continues to say something about organic unity of Christ to the “children” of election of grace as this relates to “blood and flesh.” Yes, they are all out of one, both he who sanctifies and they who are sanctified. But this relationship must not be misunderstood. Writes the author “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” (Hebrews 2:14

Perhaps we may state at the outset that we must properly distinguish in the text between “blood and flesh,” the “sons” who are partakers of the same, and finally the place which the eternal Son has in “partaking of the flesh and blood” in the midst of the children. The larger outer circle of flesh and blood (mankind), the more limited circle of the sons, according to election, within the larger circle (a smaller circle) and finally in the center of this smaller circle the Christ of God, as he took part by the Incarnation of the flesh and blood as the children took part of the same.