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Hebrews 2:10-13 meaning

Christ, the Son of God, created the universe and has inherited the earth as a possession as well as being its King. Jesus wants to mature Christians through sanctification and the suffering of rejection by the world so that they can become sons as well, and serve as co-rulers with Him in the future. He has already saved us to be children of God, and He considers us brothers. He wants many brothers to also share His glory. The reward of this glory requires walking in faithful obedience.

Here, the Pauline Author details one of the most significant, prevalent themes of this book. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the central focus. He is what gives life purpose. God created the earth through Him and has given Him the earth as a reward for His obedience to God by being willing to die on the cross:

For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings (v 10). 

Verse 10 refers back to the previous verses which refer to the salvation of humans being restored to their original design, which is to reign over the earth in harmony with God, nature, and one another. We are not saved from eternal separation from God through sufferings. Rather, we are justified in God's sight simply by receiving the free gift of that salvation through faith (John 3:14-15). The salvation believers gain that comes through sufferings is to be delivered from the negative effect of the Fall, namely that we were separated from our design to rule the earth as "sons." It is through sufferings that we can be restored to our proper design, through the obedience of faith. 

The word translated perfect in the phrase to perfect the author is the Greek word "teleioo" which has the idea of reaching the end. It is the completion of something. 

The Greek word translated author is "archegos" which means "captain," "leader," "ruler," or "prince." Jesus finished the work God gave Him to do (John 19:30). As a reward, Jesus was given all authority over heaven and earth because of His obedience to His Father (Matthew 28:18, Philippians 2:8). The point of verse 10 is that it was through sufferings that God brought Jesus to full completion, to restore humanity's "glory and honor" of being "crowned" with the authority of reigning over the earth (Matthew 28:18). 

Jesus is therefore the author or leader of our restoration (salvation) to our original design, of reigning over the earth in harmony with God. He guides us to the completion of our design as well, leading us to follow Him in overcoming temptation and rejection (sufferings) just as He overcame (Revelation 3:21). 

Jesus became a human in order to deliver us from sin by dying on a cross. To be justified in God's sight is a free gift received by faith (John 3:14-15). This frees us from the penalty of sin—to be separated from God. 

Jesus also lived a life of obedience in order to restore our ability to reign in the earth. Any believer can gain this great reward, which delivers us from the loss of fulfilling our design. To be restored to the fullest extent of our original design is received as a reward for faithful service. There will be many sons that will join Jesus in the glory of reigning over the earth. Jesus was rewarded as a "Son" because of His faithful service, and given the earth as His reward (Hebrews 1:5, 8, 13). 

God desires that many of His children become sons and also receive this reward. Jesus tells us that He will give the reward of sharing His reign to all who overcome as He overcame (Revelation 3:21). There will be many sons that share His glory of reigning. This tells us that not all children will become sons, but only those who walk in faithful obedience, following the example of Jesus, the author or captain of our salvation.   

In restoring humanity's authority to reign over the earth, as we were designed to do, Jesus saves us completely from the Fall. We are saved from being separated from God through the free gift of being justified in His sight by faith. We are saved from being separated from our design to reign in harmony with Him in the earth through faithfully walking in obedience. 

All things were made through Jesus, and all things now belong to Him; Jesus's goal in obeying God was to bring an end to sin and death, and to bring many sons to glory. He completed His work by suffering death on the cross, which was rejection by the world. The glory that is contemplated, the glory Jesus wants to lead His brethren to, is the glory of ruling the earth in perfect harmony, as originally intended. 

Verses 7 and 9 speak of the glory of humans ruling the earth, as they were intended. Verse 8 makes  clear that this glory is not currently a physical reality on the earth, but that Jesus has been crowned with this glory as a reward for His obedience (Matthew 28:18, Philippians 2:8). It is only a matter of time until this spiritual reality of Jesus's authority becomes a physical reality (Revelation 11:15). 

Now Jesus wants to share that glory with many sons, and the path to obtain it is to follow His example of faithful obedience. To neglect this opportunity is to lose out on sharing this incredible inheritance (Hebrews 2:3). It takes faith to see what cannot be seen, as the Pauline Author will emphasize throughout this letter (Hebrews 11:1). The Pauline Author's admonitions are that we work for a reward that transcends the rewards we can gain in this life. Suffering rejection by the world for serving Christ leads to a glory and honor that will not pass away (Romans 2:7). 

The sacrifice Jesus made of Himself on the cross provides the means for every believer to be sanctified (set apart) to God through living in the resurrection power of Jesus. And both Jesus who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father (v 11). Jesus became human and is from His Father (John 17:1). And all those who are spiritually born again are born into God's family, and have God as their forever Father (John 3:3: Romans 8:17). We all have one Father. 

Therefore, the Pauline Author argues for which reason Jesus is not ashamed to call those who have believed brethren (brothers) (v 11). All who are born again through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus are members of the same family; we are siblings. 

So now what does Jesus want for His siblings? Jesus wants to lead each one to gain the same reward He gained, and share His reign over the earth. Jesus fulfilled what God called Him to do by continuing in obedience. And that led to Jesus gaining the reward of being given the title of "Son" as a human (Hebrews 1:5, 8, 13). The title of "Son" is a bestowal of authority to reign. Jesus wants His brothers and sisters who have believed to follow His example, and also suffer His sufferings by following in obedience to the will of the Father.

The Pauline Author next references the Old Testament to display Christ's attitude toward faithful Christians. 

Christ is not ashamed to call us His brothers, saying,
"I will proclaim Your name to My brethren,
In the midst of the congregation I will sing Your praise" (v. 12).

This is a quote of Psalm 22:22.

The idea is that He counts us as His brethren. Jesus will proclaim the name of God and sing His praise in front of a congregation of His own brothers, His own family of others who do the will of God (Mark 3:35).

Next, the Pauline Author quotes from Isaiah 8:17-18,

And again,
"I will put My trust in Him."
And again,
"Behold, I and the children whom God has given Me" (v. 13).

Christ calls us brothers. We are children of one Father: God. God has given us to Jesus, He has put us in His care, we are children of God. Jesus, the Son of God, wants us to share in His reward by leading us to also be given the title of "son." 

Those who have believed in Jesus (Christians) are already children of God, but sonship is different. The way "son" is used here means someone who is given governance over something as a reward for faithful service. This type of "son" is a co-ruler, someone who is appointed to help rule, by being adopted into the position as a reward for faithfulness to a king. This follows the ancient form of the Suzerain-Vassal treaty, where a superior king would bestow a realm to someone for faithful service, adopting them as a "son." 

For more on this subject, read our article, "Suzerain-Vassal Treaties."

The salvation discussed in this chapter concerns being "delivered" from loss of our proper place; being restored back to our proper position, reigning over the earth in harmony with God, nature, and one another.

Verse 10 says Jesus is the author of our salvation, and He was made perfect through sufferings. The word perfect here does not mean to make flawless. Jesus had already lived a perfect life, so there were no flaws to remove from Him. The word perfect in this verse is a translation of the Greek word "teleiosi," which means to reach the desired end. It is found often in Scripture and is also translated as "finish," as in Acts 20:24, as well as "fulfill," as in John 19:28

Jesus Himself uses this word in John 4:34:

"Jesus said to them, 'My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish ["teleiosi"] His work." 

"Teleiosi" is also used when Christ gives His famous, final utterance, "It is finished" (John 19:28). Jesus declares His purpose has finally been accomplished. He has finished His job. It is done.

It is helpful to understand that "teleiosi" means to complete, or finish, or fulfill something—now we can make sense of the Pauline Author's message. He is not writing that believers are supposed to be perfect; rather, we have a purpose to fulfill or complete. The perfecting of our faith is our sanctification, when we mature into becoming Sons by living a life that is sanctified (set apart) from the world. 

Christ did not only come to save our souls from Hell and leave it at that, He came to bring many sons to glory. He restored our relationship to God so that we could become sanctified, mature, and share His reward of rulership over the coming kingdom (Revelation 3:21). This is the perfecting of our salvation; it is the fulfillment of what we were saved to. We were saved from separation from God to a restored relationship with Him, that we might also serve Him obediently (through suffering too, just as Christ did), and find the completion of our faith. 

This is what the life of a Christian is meant to be. This is what Paul means in 2 Timothy 4:7, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith." He lived his life in continued obedience to God and suffered much for the sake of Christ. He did so because he trusted that Jesus would crown him with glory and honor for his faithfulness (2 Timothy 4:8). 

Essentially, the whole book of Hebrews is about salvation through sonship. The sonship the Pauline Author writes about is something that comes through faithful service. Every Christian is born again as a child and will spend eternity with God. But not every child of His goes on to maturity and becomes a son. 

Even Jesus, the author of our salvation, was made perfect through sufferings. He finished His work and was rewarded for it. He did not inherit the earth before He died for our sins, but afterward, when God raised Him up to sit at His right hand (Revelation 3:21).

The believer who does not neglect this salvation (to be fully restored to our original design) will be given the title of "son" by God. The Pauline Author is writing about being a faithful Christian who matures, who grows into someone God calls a son. He doesn't want his readers to drift away from it (v 1).

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