The Berean Expositor
Volume 21 - Page 14 of 202
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The inheritance in light (1: 12).
pp. 51 - 55
We now come to the concluding thanksgiving of the prayer of Col. 1: 9-12:
"With joyfulness, giving thanks unto the Father." This thanksgiving is repeated from
verse three, with which the epistle opens. It will be seen that we have a parallel with the
opening of Ephesians:--
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all
spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ" (Eph. 1: 3).
"Giving thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . . . giving thanks
unto the Father, Which hath made us meet for the inheritance of the saints in light"
(Col. 1: 3 and 12).
It becomes apparent that the inheritance of the saints in light is another way of
referring to the spiritual blessings in heavenly places. First of all we must notice the
words translated, "of the saints". While they refer to the believers who have been
sanctified in Christ, they also refer to the fact that these believers are being built into an
holy temple in the Lord.
Ton hagion, the words translated "of the saints", may be in the masculine, feminine or
neuter gender as the context demands, and so it does not follow that every occurrence of
these words must be translated "of the saints", for sometimes the intended meaning may
be "of the holy places", which by a figure explainable by Heb. 9: 23, 24 means
"the most holy place".
Let us settle this figurative feature first. There is a figure of speech, named heterosis,
meaning "different", which is given to that form of enallage or "exchange" that has to do
with the exchange of the person, gender, etc., of words. In the case of heterosis of
number it can be:--
(1) The singular put for the plural, "The horse and his rider" (Exod. 15: 1).
(2) The plural for the singular, "better sacrifices" (Heb. ix.23).
(3) The plural for the indefinite, or of one of many, as "such power unto men" (Matt. 9: 8).
The second example is the one that bears upon our theme. "The better sacrifices" of
Heb. 9: 23 really means, the one great sacrifice, as also in Psa. 51: 17. The holy places
(ta hagia) of Heb. 9: 24 is translated, in Heb. 9: 12, "the holy place", and in 9: 8,
"the holiest of all". This figure is named by some "the plural of majesty". Heb. 9: 24
shows that "the holiest of all" in the tabernacle was a type of "heaven itself".
We can now examine the words ton hagion in their contexts:--
"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the
saints, and of the household of God" (Eph. 2: 19).