For it became him - It was suitable to the Divine wisdom, the requisitions of justice, and the economy of grace, to offer Jesus as a sacrifice, in order to bring many sons and daughters to glory.
For whom - and by whom - God is the cause of all things, and he is the object or end of them.
Perfect through sufferings - Without suffering he could not have died, and without dying he could not have made an atonement for sin. The sacrifice must be consummated, in order that he might be qualified to be the Captain or Author of the salvation of men, and lead all those who become children of God, through faith in him, into eternal glory. I believe this to be the sense of the passage; and it appears to be an answer to the grand objection of the Jews: "The Messiah is never to be conquered, or die; but will be victorious, and endure for ever." Now the apostle shows that this is not the counsel of God; on the contrary, that it was entirely congruous to the will and nature of God, by whom, and for whom are all things, to bring men to eternal glory through the suffering and death of the Messiah. This is the decision of the Spirit of God against their prejudices; and on the Divine authority this must be our conclusion. Without the passion and death of Christ, the salvation of man would have been impossible.
As there are many different views of this and some of the following verses, I shall introduce a paraphrase of the whole from Dr. Dodd, who gives the substance of what Doddridge, Pearce, and Owen, have said on this subject.
Hebrews 2:10. For it became him, etc. - Such has been the conduct of God in the great affair of our redemption; and the beauty and harmony of it will be apparent in proportion to the degree in which it is examined; for, though the Jews dream of a temporal Messiah as a scheme conducive to the Divine glory, it well became him - it was expedient, that, in order to act worthy of himself, he should take this method; Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things - that glorious Being who is the first cause and last end of all, in pursuit of the great and important design he had formed, of conducting many, whom he is pleased to adopt as his sons, to the possession of that inheritance of glory intended for them, to make and constitute Jesus, his first-begotten and well beloved Son, the Leader and Prince of their salvation, and to make him perfect, or completely fit for the full execution of his office, by a long train of various and extreme sufferings, whereby he was, as it were, solemnly consecrated to it.
Hebrews 2:11. Now, in consequence of this appointment, Jesus, the great Sanctifier, who engages and consecrates men to the service of God, and they who are sanctified, (i.e. consecrated and introduced to God with such acceptance), are all of one family - all the descendants of Adam, and in a sense the seed of Abraham; for which cause he is not ashamed to call them, whom he thus redeems, and presents to the Divine favor, his brethren.
Hebrews 2:12. Saying, in the person of David, who represented the Messiah in his sufferings and exaltation, I will declare thy name to my brethren; in the midst of the Church will I praise thee.
Hebrews 2:13. And again, speaking as a mortal man, exposed to such exercises of faith in trials and difficulties as others were, he says, in a psalm which sets forth his triumph over his enemies: I will trust in him, as other good men have done in all ages; and again, elsewhere in the person of Isaiah: Behold I, and the children which my God hath given me, are for signs and for wonders.
Hebrews 2:14. Seeing then those whom he represents in one place and another, as the children of the same family with himself, were partakers of flesh and blood, he himself in like manner participated in them, that thereby becoming capable of those sufferings to which, without such a union with flesh, this Divine Sanctifier could not have been obnoxious, he might, by his own voluntary and meritorious death, abolish and depose him who, by Divine permission, had the empire of death, and led it in his train when he made the first invasion on mankind; that is, the devil, the great artificer of mischief and destruction; at the beginning the murderer of the human race; who still seems to triumph in the spread of mortality, which is his work, and who may often, by God's permission, be the executioner of it.
Hebrews 2:15. But Christ, the great Prince of mercy and life, graciously interposed, that he might deliver those miserable captives of Satan - mankind in general, and the dark and idolatrous Gentiles in particular, who, through fear of death, were, or justly might have been, all their lifetime, obnoxious to bondage; having nothing to expect in consequence of it, if they rightly understood their state, but future misery; whereas now, changing their lord, they have happily changed their condition, and are, as many as have believed in him, the heirs of eternal life."
For it became him - There was a fitness or propriety in it; it was such an arrangement as became God to make, in redeeming many, that the great agent by whom it was accomplished, should be made complete in all respects by sufferings. The apostle evidently means by this to meet an objection that might be offered by a Jew to the doctrine which he had been stating - an objection drawn from the fact that Jesus was a man of sorrows, and that his life was a life of affliction. This he meets by stating that there was a “fitness” and “propriety” in that fact. There was a reason for it - a reason drawn from the plan and character of God. It was fit, in the nature of the case, that he should be qualified to be “a complete” or “perfect Saviour” - a Saviour just adapted to the purpose undertaken, by sufferings. The “reasons” of this fitness, the apostle does not state. The amount of it probably was, that it became him as a Being of infinite benevolence; as one who wished to provide a perfect system of redemption, to subject his Son to such sufferings as should completely qualify him to be a Saviour for all people. This subjection to his humble condition, and to his many woes, made him such a Saviour as man needed, and qualified him fully for his work. There was a propriety that he who should redeem the suffering and the lost should partake of their nature; identify himself with them; and share their woes, and the consequences of their sins.
For whom are all things - With respect to whose glory the whole universe was made; and with respect to whom the whole arrangement for salvation has been formed. The phrase is synonymous with “the Supreme Ruler;” and the idea is, that it became the Sovereign of the universe to provide a perfect scheme of salvation - even though it involved the humiliation and death of his own Son.
And by whom are all things - By whose agency everything is made. As it was by his agency, therefore, that the plan of salvation was entered into, there was a “fitness” that it should be perfect. It was not the work of fate or chance, and there was a propriety that the whole plan should bear the mark of the infinite wisdom of its Author.
In bringing many sons unto glory - To heaven. This was the plan - it was to bring many to heaven who should be regarded and treated as his sons. It was not a plan to save a few - but to save many. Hence, learn:
(1) that the plan was full of benevolence.
(2) no representation of the gospel should ever be made which will leave the impression that only a few, or a small part of the whole race, will be saved. There is no such representation in the Bible, and it should not be made. God intends, taking the whole race together, to save a large part of the human family. Few in ages that are past, it is true, may have been saved; few now are his friends and are traveling to heaven; but there are to be brighter days on earth. The period is to arrive when the gospel shall spread over all lands, and during that long period of the millennium, innumerable millions will be brought under its saving power, and be admitted to heaven. All exhibitions of the gospel are wrong which represent it as narrow in its design; narrow in its offer; and narrow in its result.
To make the captain of their salvation - The Lord Jesus, who is represented as the leader or commander of the army of the redeemed - “the sacramental host of God‘s elect.” The word “captain” we apply now to an inferior officer - the commander of a “company” of soldiers. The Greek word - ἀρχηγὸς archēgos- is a more general term, and denotes, properly, the author or source of anything; then a leader, chief prince. In Acts 3:15, it is rendered “prince” - “and killed the prince of life.” So in Acts 5:31. “Him hath God exalted to be a prince and a Saviour.” In Hebrews 12:2, it is rendered “author.” “Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith;” compare the notes at that place.
Perfect through sufferings - Complete by means of sufferings; that is, to render him wholly qualified for his work, so that he should be a Saviour just adapted to redeem man. This does not mean that he was sinful before and was made holy by his sufferings; nor that he was not in all respects a perfect man before; but it means, that by his sufferings he was made “wholly suited” to be a Saviour of people; and that, therefore, the fact of his being a suffering man was no evidence, as a Jew might have urged, that he was not the Son of God. There was a “completeness,” a “filling up,” of all which was necessary to his character as a Saviour, by the sufferings which he endured. We are made morally “better” by afflictions, if we receive them in a right manner - for we are sinful, and need to be purified in the furnace of affliction; Christ was not made “better,” for he was before perfectly holy, but he was completely endowed for the work which he came to do, by his sorrows. Nor does this mean here precisely that he was exalted to heaven as a “reward” for his sufferings, or that he was raised up to glory as a consequence of them - which was true in itself - but that he was rendered “complete” or “fully qualified” to be a Saviour by his sorrows. Thus, he was rendered complete:
(1)Because his suffering in all the forms that flesh is liable to, made him an example to all his people who shall pass through trials. They have before them a perfect model to show them how to bear afflictions. Had this not occurred, he could not have been regarded as a “complete” or “perfect” Saviour - that is, such a Saviour as we need.
(2)he is able to sympathize with them, and to succour them in their temptations, Hebrews 2:18.
(3)by his sufferings an atonement was made for sin. He would have been an “imperfect” Saviour - if the name “Saviour” could have been given to him at all - if he had not died to make an atonement for transgression. To render him “complete” as a Saviour, it was necessary that he should suffer and die; and when he hung on the cross in the agonies of death, he could appropriately say, “it is “finished.” The work is complete. All has been done that could be required to be done; and man may now have the assurance that he has a perfect Saviour, perfect not only in moral character - but perfect in his work, and in his adaptedness to the condition of people;” compare Hebrews 5:8-9. See the note at Luke 13:32.
We are now to unify and by true medical missionary work prepare the way for our coming King. But let us remember that Christian unity does not mean that the identity of one person is to be submerged in that of another; nor does it mean that the mind of one is to be led and controlled by the mind of another. God has not given to any man the power that some, by word and act, seek to claim. God requires every man to stand free and to follow the directions of the word. 8T 212.1
Let us increase in a knowledge of the truth, giving all praise and glory to Him who is One with the Father. Let us seek most earnestly for the heavenly anointing, the Holy Spirit. Let us have a pure, growing Christianity, that in the heavenly courts we may at last be pronounced complete in Christ. 8T 212.2
“Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him.” Matthew 25:6. Lose no time now in rising and trimming your lamps. Lose no time in seeking perfect unity with one another. We must expect difficulties. Trials will come. Christ, the Captain of our salvation, was made perfect through suffering. His followers will encounter the enemy many times and will be severely tried, but they need not despair. Christ says to them: “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. 8T 212.3Read in context »
Christ made a full and complete sacrifice, a sacrifice sufficient to save every son and daughter of Adam who should show repentance toward God for having transgressed His law, and manifest faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet notwithstanding the sacrifice was ample, but few consent to a life of obedience that they may have this great salvation. Few are willing to imitate His amazing privations, to endure His sufferings and persecutions, and to share His exhausting labor to bring others to the light. But few will follow His example in earnest, frequent prayer to God for strength to endure the trials of this life and perform its daily duties. Christ is the Captain of our salvation, and by His own sufferings and sacrifice He has given an example to all His followers that watchfulness and prayer, and persevering effort, were necessary on their part if they would rightly represent the love which dwelt in His bosom for the fallen race. 2T 664.1
Men of property are dying spiritually because of their neglect to use the means God has placed in their hands to aid in saving their fellow men. Some become aroused at times and resolve that they will make to themselves friends with the unrighteous mammon, that they may finally be received into everlasting habitations. But their efforts in this direction are not thorough. They commence, but, not being heartily and thoroughly in earnest in the work, they make a failure. They are not rich in good works. While lingeringly retaining their love and grasp of their earthly treasures, Satan outgenerals them. 2T 664.2
A flattering prospect may be presented to invest in patent rights or some other supposed brilliant enterprise around which Satan throws a bewitching enchantment. The prospect of getting more money, fast and easily, allures them. They reason that, although they had resolved to put this money into the treasury of God, they will use it in this instance, and will greatly increase it, and will then give a larger sum to the cause. They can see no possibility of a failure. Away goes the means out of their hands, and they soon learn, to their regret, that they have made a mistake. The brilliant prospects have faded. Their expectations are not realized. They were deceived. Satan outgeneraled them. He was more shrewd than they, and he managed to get their means into his ranks and thus deprive the cause of God of that which should have been used to sustain it in extending the truth and saving souls for whom Christ died. They lost all they had invested, and robbed God of that which they should have rendered to Him. 2T 665.1Read in context »
“When the Lord last presented your case before me, and made known to me that you had not regarded the light which had been given you, I was bidden to speak to you plainly in His name, for His anger was kindled against you. These words were spoken to me: ‘Your work is appointed you of God. Many will not hear you, for they refused to hear the Great Teacher; many will not be corrected, for their ways are right in their own eyes. Yet bear to them the reproofs and warnings I shall give you, whether they will hear or forbear.’”... 1SM 29.1
In connection with these quotations, study again the article “The Nature and Influence of the Testimonies,” in Testimonies, volume 5, pages 654-691. 1SM 29.2
The statement which you quote from Testimony No. 31 [volume 5, 67] is correct: “In these letters which I write, in the testimonies I bear, I am presenting to you that which the Lord has presented to me. I do not write one article in the paper expressing merely my own ideas. They are what God has opened before me in vision—the precious rays of light shining from the throne.” It is true concerning the articles in our papers and in the many volumes of my books. I have been instructed in accordance with the Word in the precepts of the law of God. I have been instructed in selecting from the lessons of Christ. Are not the positions taken in my writings in harmony with the teachings of Jesus Christ? 1SM 29.3Read in context »
Before the universe has been clearly presented the great sacrifice made by the Father and the Son in man's behalf. The hour has come when Christ occupies His rightful position and is glorified above principalities and powers and every name that is named. It was for the joy that was set before Him—that He might bring many sons unto glory—that He endured the cross and despised the shame. And inconceivably great as was the sorrow and the shame, yet greater is the joy and the glory. He looks upon the redeemed, renewed in His own image, every heart bearing the perfect impress of the divine, every face reflecting the likeness of their King. He beholds in them the result of the travail of His soul, and He is satisfied. Then, in a voice that reaches the assembled multitudes of the righteous and the wicked, He declares: “Behold the purchase of My blood! For these I suffered, for these I died, that they might dwell in My presence throughout eternal ages.” And the song of praise ascends from the white-robed ones about the throne: “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.” Revelation 5:12. GC 671.1
Notwithstanding that Satan has been constrained to acknowledge God's justice and to bow to the supremacy of Christ, his character remains unchanged. The spirit of rebellion, like a mighty torrent, again bursts forth. Filled with frenzy, he determines not to yield the great controversy. The time has come for a last desperate struggle against the King of heaven. He rushes into the midst of his subjects and endeavors to inspire them with his own fury and arouse them to instant battle. But of all the countless millions whom he has allured into rebellion, there are none now to acknowledge his supremacy. His power is at an end. The wicked are filled with the same hatred of God that inspires Satan; but they see that their case is hopeless, that they cannot prevail against Jehovah. Their rage is kindled against Satan and those who have been his agents in deception, and with the fury of demons they turn upon them. GC 671.2
Saith the Lord: “Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God; behold, therefore I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations: and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness. They shall bring thee down to the pit.” “I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.... I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.... I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.... Thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.” Ezekiel 28:6-8, 16-19. GC 672.1Read in context »