J. G. Bellett.
from Miscellaneous Papers
(R. L. Allan)
There is a great secret in Heb. 1, 2. "The Son" being appointed "Heir of all things," takes His appointed inheritance as a Redeemer.
The inheritance had become lost to man by sin. Adam forfeited it; and it was itself corrupted, and under the burden of sin. If it be again inherited, it must be taken with this burden upon it, as others have long since expressed it. The Son, appointed Heir, is therefore to take it as a Redeemer, or as One that relieves it of its burden
This secret or mystery is suggested in Ps. 8, cited in Heb. 2. There, the Lord Jesus, the Son of man (who is "the Son," the "appointed Heir," of chapter 1), is seen with all things put in subjection under Him; but He is seen also to have reached such lordship as One, who, by the grace of God had tasted death for the inheritance.* He is therefore a Redeemer-Inheritor, and not a simple Inheritor.
*The παντος of ver. 9, the παντα of ver. 8.
Therefore, we may say to His praise, He will enter the kingdom as a Redeemer-Inheritor, while the inheritance itself will appear there as a redeemed thing. And in this manner, He alone will be glorified there, while all around Him or under Him will be in blessing and security. And let me add, this mystery of the redemption of the inheritance is set forth in Col. 1:20, where Christ is declared to be the Reconciler of all things in heaven and on earth, through the blood of His cross. And the cross itself bore witness to the same mystery, or His lordship of the world by reason of His death; for His royalty, with which His dominion and inheritance are linked, was there inscribed (and inscribed not to be erased), in all the languages of the nations. There it was made known, therefore, that the crucified One was the King, that the cross was His way and title to the crown. (See John 19:19-22)
All this makes "the world to come," or this inheritance of Christ, a new creation, that is, creation under new conditions. In the old creation, all things were "of God," it is true; but they were of God who created them. But in the new, all things are "of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ." (2 Cor. 5) All these will witness redemption; the blood of the Lamb of God, and not simply the power of the hand of God, will be traced there.
And this distinguishes the dominions of the Second Man from those of the first, or Christ from Adam. Adam received lordship of the creatures from the hand of God at once: Christ, the Son, the Man of Ps. 8 takes it, after having been made lower than the angels, that, as man, or in manhood, He might taste death for it.
But there is more in this mystery. The redemption of the inheritance by blood, as we have been speaking, is to be made good by power. Power will have to reduce or rescue the inheritance; or, in other words, to clothe the title of Christ with possession. This action is given to us in the Apocalypse; and it is an action, consequently, conducted by strength on the ground of purchase; that is, conducted by Him who is "the Lion of the tribe of Judah," and who had already been "the Lamb that was slain." (Rev. 5) This is to be noticed. And thus it is, by the action of that Book, that "all things" are actually "put in subjection" to Christ. As to "the Son," therefore, the "appointed Heir of all things," the Man of Ps. 8, the Lord of "the world to come," we see these things.
The decree which puts all things under Him is recorded in Ps. 8. That decree, commented on in Heb. 2, is declared to be not as yet made good to Him. The action by which this is accomplished (the manner in which all things are made subject to Christ), is given to us in the Book of the Apocalypse; and then, the results of that action are displayed to us in the pages of prophets and apostles; for there we see "the world to come," or "the kingdom," or "the inheritance of all things," is in the hand of "the Son."
Thus, "the Son" is the "Heir of all things;" and after this manner and in this due time, the inheritance will be His, brought into actual possession.
But, in the riches of His grace, He will have heirs of this inheritance together with Himself — as we read of the saints, "heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ." Or, as we read in our Epistle (Heb. 2:10), as the Captain of salvation He leads the sons to the glory; and as these Heirs had redemption by blood, as the inheritance itself has, this Captain of salvation is also a "Sanctifier," as our chapter goes on to teach us (ver. 11). For if He takes us up, He must take us up with all our burdens likewise. He must charge Himself with us, from the place of our ruins to the place of His glories. And this is just what He has done, as we still further read in ver. 16. "For verily he took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham." He laid not hold of angels, as the meaning is, but He laid hold of the seed of Abraham. That is, the Son, who is the Christ, made the interests of elect sinners (here called "the seed of Abraham") His care, charging Himself with their blessing, and having respect to them in all His ways and doings, till He takes them into the glory, or into the inheritance of all things with Himself. In all the successive parts of His history, from the first to the last, He never lets them go. They are always seen with Him.
This, I judge, is the force of those words, "He took on him the seed of Abraham." And this is necessary to that great mystery, the Sanctifier making the sanctified joint-heirs with Himself of the appointed inheritance — and this we find to be so, as we read Heb. 1, 2 throughout. For we there find, that we never lose sight of ourselves while we are tracing Him from the beginning to the end of His blessed, mysterious journey. And surely this is a great and precious truth. I would notice this, as these two chapters give it to us.
1st. His incarnation.
This, of course, was the beginning of His path. But this we here learn took place, because of us. Because we, the children, were partakers of flesh and blood, He likewise Himself took part of the same (Heb. 2:14).
2nd. His life of suffering temptation.
This, as I may say, followed immediately upon His incarnation. But all His life He went through, because of us. It was, that He might succour us in our temptations (Heb. 2:18).
3rd. His victorious death.
This closed, as we know, His life of suffering temptation. But this death was likewise for us. It was, that He might deliver us who, through fear of death, were all our life-time subject to bondage (Heb. 2:14-15).
4th. His ascension.
This gloriously succeeded His death and resurrection. But in this He appears also for us. For He took His seat on high as the Purger of our sins (Heb. 1:3; Heb. 2:9).
5th. His present priesthood in heaven.
His ascension led Him to this service and dignity. But it is all exercised for us. He makes intercession in the tabernacle for us according to our need (Heb. 2:17).
6th. His future coming and kingdom.
This will be in due season, after the present service on high is over. But on this great occasion, and in this age of the glory, He will still appear for us. As the Captain of salvation, He will lead us to this glory, that we may sit with Himself in the sovereignty of all things in the world to come (Heb. 2:10).
And thus we see ourselves with Him, throughout all this wondrous journey, from the womb of the virgin to the throne of the kingdom. We see ourselves interested in every character which He bears, and in every action or suffering that He fulfils. He is the Incarnate One, the Tempted One, the Dead One, the Risen and Ascended One, the Priest in the heavens, and the Captain of salvation entering the world to come, where the glory is, but in each and all He is either with us or for us. We are never allowed to lose sight of ourselves or of our interests for a single moment, while tracking His path from the beginning to the end of it. He is "Heir of all things," but we are joint-heirs with Him, having been made meet to be so by Himself in the earlier parts of His ways.
We have a fuller, brighter view of all this mystery now, in the light of the day of Heb. 2, than they could have had who walked in the light of the 8th Psalm only. But this of grace and of God also. The light shines brighter and brighter, as we pass on, through the oracles of God. And the day is still to come, when, with an emphasis beyond even this, it shall be said, "O LORD, our Lord, how exalted is thy name in all the earth."