Hebrews 1:2.

Q. 4.

[04 1862 128]

Q. Sir, — Seeing a translation of the Epistle to the Hebrews, published by the same printer as your journal, I think it not improbable you may allow me to communicate with the author through your medium. My only claim is for the truth's sake. So thoroughly do I approve and value the translation, that I venture to ask the translator why he has not found the difficulty of the word aionas in Heb. 1:2 and Heb. 11:3. There is a note which attaches the sense of "universe" to the word "worlds." But how can that word aionas be construed into universe? It may be you can cite a learned authority somewhere to justify such a translation as "worlds;" but is there not eccentricity and elasticity enough in learning to admit of this and yet prove nothing? — for what is one among so many? With all deference to the judgment of the author of the translation, I believe the Spirit of God there, as well as in Heb. 11:3, uses that word to show that age is the sense, and the marked sense, in which God would have us understand His mind in the passage. God spoke during the dispensations preceding the coming of Christ in various ways — by the fathers and in the prophets, but now at last by the Son; and that was the Word of God which constituted those periods, the ages. It is not the word spoken by angels or fathers or prophets that made the ages; but the word spoken by the Son. This follows from the Son being made or placed Heir of all things, and that the heir constitutes the ages such, which were to roll on, until the dispensation of the fullness of times, the times of restitution of all things; the full manifested display of the glory of Christ, in the heading up of all things which are in heaven and on earth in Him, as Heir of all things, with co-heirs associated with Him in the glory. I believe we are to distinguish the Word that created, which was with God and was God, and the Word of the Son and Heir, that made the ages. Christ as Creator is one revelation (see 1 John 3), and again verse 10; the Son, who was heir of all things, made the ages, as Heb. 1:2, is another. Surely it is the same Jesus who, as Son of God, is passed through the heavens, as the Living Word, the First and the Last — He that liveth and was dead, and is alive for evermore, even to the ages of the ages, and who has the keys of death and Hades. But the word aionas in Heb. 1:2 has the special signification I have tried to explain.

In Heb. 11:3 it is more emphatic still. There we are taught that the ages were thoroughly furnished, or framed completely, by the word or utterance of God, intelligible only to the man of faith; and this in connection with faith as the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. These ages and their significance do not spring out of the six days' work in creation, which the natural man could in a measure understand. His natural power of mind could enter into them and reason upon them; but the man of faith alone understood how the ages were made by the Son as the word of God, so as to begin, continue, and end in that Son as Heir of all things.

We have a remarkable illustration of this truth in the case of the writers of "Essays and Reviews." They think by searching to find out God. Well, they talk and write backwards and forwards about this, that, and the other; but they never understand God beyond the Creator. As to what God really is, they are as dark as some of the heathen poets; and though they have more to say and more to write about, they never get beyond Socrates in the understanding of God. And why? Is it not plain to the man of faith? They do not believe God's word — His autos ephee. How, then, can they find out the Almighty to perfection? And, alas for them! there is no substance of things hoped for, no evidence of things not seen. "Why do ye not understand my speech? Because ye cannot hear my word?" Only believe that word and all is plain and intelligible enough.

I add that the break in those ages is filled up by the mystery concerning which silence was kept during their running on, up to the coming of the Son, as well as to a marked epoch in their career, viz., the casting off of Israel for a time, until they begin again to wend their way to their final destination.

That mystery is the Church of God which is now being formed while the Son is quiescent at the right hand of the Majesty on high. This break answers to Adam's sleep and Eve's formation.

Apologizing for the length my pen has run, may I ask you, Sir, whether you think the insertion of this letter in your Bible Treasury might help to further the spread of the truth? The translator of the epistle might think it worth his serious, calm consideration, and perhaps give us his matured spiritual judgment in reply.

I remain, Yours sincerely in Christ, A Sinner Saved.

A. I am not disposed to reject Alford's view; that is, so far as it accepts a course or plan of God in the idea-world. But no person can have entered into the spirit of the Epistle to the Hebrews and seen its connection (i.e., the way it meets the Rabbinical and Philonic views, giving God's thoughts on the subjects they were speculating on), and not see that aionas is not merely "ages" or "epochs." It is rab 'olamim, or more specifically, boreh 'olam, the Creator of the worlds. You may see Bleek, Delitzch, DeWette, Lünemann, Schleusner, Schirlitz, Wahl — not that I accept all they say, but for the use of the word. Schoetgen (Hor. Heb.) says it is so common, that it is useless to quote examples. Further, Heb. 11:3 seems to me to leave no possible doubt, because it continues, "so that the things which are seen were not made of the things which do appear" — distinctly intimating that he speaks of visible creation. I do not see how it is possible to overlook this, or after it to call the interpretation in question. Pro ton aionon shows, I think, the connection of the two. The critics refer to Ecc. 3:11, as proving the same use of 'olam. Heb. 11:3, and the evident and constant use of the words in Jewish literature of the time, and the character of the epistle, leave no doubt of the meaning on my mind.

The notion of the Son, in connection with His being placed heir, I should demur to. That it was the Son who spoke when it is said, "He spake, and it was made," I have no objection to whatever; but the Heir constituting the ages I cannot accept here, because the statement is, "God spoke" — en gio. For ho Theos lalesas . . . . elalesen . . . etheke . . . . di ou k. t. aionas epoiesen is one phrase with one subject; and He who spoke is He who established the Heir of all things. So that I do not see how there is any possibility for the interpretation sought to be given; otherwise there is much I agree with.