The Berean Expositor
Volume 8 - Page 74 of 141
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The Better Things.
pp. 151 - 155
Before proceeding to the detailed study of the epistle to the Hebrews, there is one
other word which will repay our careful attention; it is closely allied to the key word
perfect which we studied together in our last paper.
The first reference (1: 4) has to do with Christ Himself. After having spoken of the
glorious titles which make verse 3 so full, verse 4 continues, "having become by so
much better than angels, inasmuch as He hath inherited a more excellent name than
they". Concerning angels He says:--
"Who maketh His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire; but as to the Son,
Thy throne, O God, is for the age of the age, a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of
Thy kingdom; Thou hast loved righteousness and hast hated lawlessness, therefore God,
Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows."
The being better than the angels is connected with inheriting a more excellent name;
the anointing above His fellows is because of His love for righteousness and hatred of
lawlessness. Whatever His glory may have been with the Father before the foundation of
the world, this "better" thing appear to be related to His life of overcoming righteousness
during the days of His flesh. For a little He was made lower than the angels, but He
ascended "far above" them all.
The next reference (6: 9) speaks not of the Lord, but of His people, "but beloved, we
are persuaded the better things of you, even things that accompany (literally `that have')
salvation, though we thus speak". The apostle had evidently been speaking of things that
were not "the better things", and if we notice what they are, the contrast will serve to
illuminate the meaning of the better things which he was persuaded they had. He had
spoken of the case of those who were once enlightened, who had tasted of the heavenly
gift, who were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, who had tasted the good word of God,
and the powers of the age to come, that if such should fall away, it was impossible to
renew again unto repentance. Unless some previously formed conception demanded it,
these words would be taken to represent the privileges of the saved; we have read some
interpretations that favoured the meaning, for instance, of the word enlightened, as
representing merely an external illumination which did not indicate life. A reference to
the parallel argument of 10: 32 disposes of such an idea. We hope to deal with this clause
later, and so proceed. The apostle passes to a figure:--
"The earth which drinketh in the rain, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by
whom it is dressed, receiveth the blessing of God, but that which beareth thorns and
briars is disapproved, and nigh unto a curse, the end of which is for burning"
Notice that the earth that brings forth the thorns is not cursed, but near to it; it is
rejected, disapproved, "castaway", as Paul says of himself in view of the crown
(I Cor. 9: 24-27). The better things are not salvation, but those things which accompany
(have or hold) salvation, and are further explained in verses 10-12.