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"God having provided (foreseen) some better thing for us, that they without us should
not be made perfect (perfected)."
"But ye are come . . . . . to the spirits of just men made perfect (perfected)."
Just as the blood of Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant, speaks better things
than that of Abel, so the resurrection that awaited those who pressed toward the mark,
and who laid aside every weight and ran with patience, surpassed the translation of
Enoch. The parallel with Philippians is found even in the word "better". Hebrews speaks
of a resurrection that was "better", while Paul in Phil. 1: 23 says, "To depart, and to be
with Christ; which is far better".
Metathesis occurs three times in Hebrews, so also does metatithemi. It will be wise to
allow these references a place before concluding. Heb. 7: 12 speaks of a "change" of
both priesthood and law. Heb. 11: 5 speaks of the translation of Enoch, and Heb. 12: 27
"Yet once more, signifieth the removing ( translation) of those things that are shaken,
as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain."
Apart from inspiration altogether we should expect that so important a word would be
used with judgment, and that the reference to Enoch's translation was not made in
forgetfulness of the presence of the word in chapter 7:, nor of its appearance in
chapter 12: It is evident that "translation" does not express the meaning in 12: 27 or
7: 12, but "transfer" does. The important point in the interpretation of this epistle is
that a change had come, bringing with it the possibility of a transfer. Heb. 11: opens
with the fact that the ages were framed or adjusted by God, and seeing that some things
had become shaken, and were set aside upon the failure of Israel, a transfer was held out
to faith, whereby the "word of the beginning" could be left for "better things". Abel will
stand for the "better sacrifice", and Enoch for the "better resurrection", and while these
Hebrews may indeed die in faith, not having received the promise, they may nevertheless
be able to entertain a better hope, founded upon better promises, embracing a better
country, that is a heavenly.
The closing down, for the time being, of the earthly section of the purpose of the ages,
opened for the believing Hebrew the prospect of a transfer to a heavenly country or city
more fully detailed in Heb. 12: 22-29, and being in some degree a secret. This, while
being by no means the same either in sphere, calling, or character as the dispensation of
the Mystery, did hold out to those who believed the added revelation, a prize connected
with this heavenly calling, which could be attained only by "going on unto perfection".
The subject will not be dropped until we reach the end of chapter 12: It may be helpful
as a sidelight upon this theme to note what the wisest King of Israel is alleged to have
"For honourable age is not that which standeth in length of time, nor is it measured by
number of years. But wisdom is the gray hair unto men, and an unspotted life is old age.
He pleased God, and was beloved of Him: so that living among sinners he was
translated. Yea speedily was he caught away, lest the wickedness should alter his
understanding, or deceit beguile his soul . . . . . He, being made perfect in a short time,
fulfilled a long time" (Wisdom of Solomon 4:8-13).