BECAUSE GOD HAD PROVIDED SOMETHING BETTER FOR US:
tou theou peri hemon kreitton ti problepsamenou: (He 7:19,22;
8:6; 9:23; 12:24)
- Always pause to prayerfully ponder this strategic
term of explanation.
has provided (NIV =
"planned"; RSV = "foreseen") (4265)(problepo
from pró = before + blépo = see) means literally to
see before, to look out beforehand, to foresee, to plan and then to
furnish in advance ("preaarangement") or to provide (implying the
need is seen in advance). In the NT problepo is found only
in the middle voice (problépomai) and only in this passage
(Heb11:40).The Amplified rendering picks up the sense of problepo -
"Because God had us in mind." (NLT = "Had something better in
mind.") This verb speaks of God's omniscience, omnipotence,
providence and sovereignty.
The only other use of problepo is in Ps 37:13, David
writing that "The Lord laughs at him; For He sees (Lxx =
problepo ~ "foresees") his day is coming (NET Note - from context -
Ps 37:15, 17, 19-20 "his day" refers to the time when God will
destroy evildoers)." In other words, the Lord laughs at the wicked,
for He "plans or forsees" what their future holds - while the future
holds great blessings for the godly, there will be great wrath and
punishment for all who oppose God (cp Jn 5:28-29, Rev 20:11-15)
This refers to
God's providential foreknowledge. In context, the point is that God
was able to make such provisions as described here because He saw
all history from beginning to end even before creation.
in Webster's 1828 English dictionary is from Latin provideo
(pro = before + video = to thus = to see before) means to To procure
beforehand; to get, collect or make ready for future use; to
prepare. (2) To furnish; to supply (with).
Better (2909)(kreitton/kreisson) is
a comparative of kratus (strong) and the comparative degree of
agathos which means “good”. Better refers to having good
qualities in a greater degree than another. Something more
advantageous, more acceptable, more effective, more commendable,
more attractive, more safe.
for us - This denotes the reality we as NT believers have found in Christ, which the
men and women of faith in the OT would attain only after their earthly
life ended. We are already recipients of the blessings of the new
covenant in His blood (See
Covenant: Why the New is Better). They would not fully know these
blessings until the resurrection of
Christ, the firstfruits Who at apparently at the time between His
death on the Cross and His resurrection set free a host of captives of
OT saints from Abraham's bosom so that they are now present with Him
in heaven, awaiting the establishment of His kingdom for His 1000 year
reign at the beginning of which they will receive their resurrected
bodies (as best I can tell...not much Scripture on this so be careful
not to be too dogmatic).
How great is our advantage!
Right now, we live in the so much better New Covenant. We now have a
high priest who has offered a perfect sacrifice for our sins once and
for all. Our Savior/Priest sits at the right hand of the Father and
prays for us. We have a better hope!
The hope of being made perfect
includes the hope of physical resurrection, as many Scriptures
declare. In the future “first resurrection” (see the concept of
The Two Resurrections
- "First" and "Second" - on a timeline)
believers of both old and new covenants will participate and in this
way together with us they will be made perfect.
Calvin caught the thrust of this chapter: “If those on whom the great light of grace had not yet shone showed
such surpassing constancy in bearing their ills, what effect ought the
full glory of the gospel to have on us? A tiny spark of light led them
to heaven, but now that the Sun of righteousness shines on us what
excuse shall we offer if we still cling to the earth?”
Our motivation and inspiration
is fuller than theirs, for we have Jesus himself to sustain us. It is
to that powerful support that the author now turns his reader’s
explains this passage as follows = firstly, the Hebrew believers whom
the writer was addressing, whilst they had to walk by faith as Old
Testament believers had, yet had greater privileges than they. God had
reserved some better thing for the times of the rejected Messiah.
Heavenly things have become the possession of believers now through
their union with Christ and access into the Holiest by His blood. Our
citizenship is in heaven. That was not the case with saints of old.
But, secondly, whilst none are yet “made perfect,” they and we are to
be glorified together in resurrection power and conformity to Christ’s
body of glory, and thus we shall all be perfected, as the Lord prayed
in John 17:23. Christ has Himself been made perfect in this day (Heb.
5:9-note and He 7:28-note. r.v., “perfected for evermore”).
- They (OT saints described in Heb 11) looked for more than
their own personal satisfaction, but still longed to see God’s
purposes fulfilled on earth. The something better for us denotes the
reality we have found already in Christ, which the men and women of
faith in the Old Testament would attain only after their earthly
life ended. We are already recipients of the blessings of the new
covenant. They would not fully know them till the resurrection. The
New Jerusalem, come down from heaven to earth, in which God will
dwell among us and by which all the supernal vision of the prophets
will be fulfilled, blends the two peoples of God together. The hope
of being made perfect includes the hope of physical resurrection, as
many Scriptures declare. In that “first resurrection” (Rev 20:6–7)
believers of both old and new covenants will join. This is the way
that together with us would they be made perfect. This is the
mystery of God’s will which Paul describes in Ephesians 1:9–10 “to
be put into effect when the times will have reached their
fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together
under one head, even Christ.”....Calvin caught the thrust of
this chapter and said, “If those on whom the great light of grace
had not yet shone showed such surpassing constancy in bearing their
ills, what effect ought the full glory of the gospel to have on us?
A tiny spark of light led them to heaven, but now that the Sun of
righteousness shines on us what excuse shall we offer if we still
cling to the earth?” Our motivation and inspiration is fuller than
theirs, for we have Jesus himself to sustain us. It is to that
powerful support that the author now turns his reader’s attention. (Hebrews
Commentary Part II)
APART FROM US THEY SHOULD NOT BE MADE PERFECT: hina me choris hemon
teleiothosin (Teleioo: 3PAPS):
(He 9:8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15; 10:11, 12, 13, 14; Ro
3:25, 26) (He 5:9; 12:23; Revelation 6:11)
So that - Be alert to
term of purpose or
Apart from us
- And so in some way, the writer says that his believing readers and
himself (and by implication we who live some 2000 years later) are
part of the completion of this chapter on the "Hall of Faith".
Who are "they"?
All of the great heroes of Hebrews 11. This is amazing statement
regarding amazing grace that we should be accounted in their number as
we exercise faith!
are waiting up yonder for us; the choirs of heaven cannot be completed
without you -and me. Heaven’s full complement, the perfect number of
the divine family of love, can never be made up till we who have
believed go up yonder to join all those who have had like precious
faith. By God’s grace, we shall all be there that they with us may be
There is a something for us, whose
lot is cast in these latter days, to bring, which shall complete the
circle and choir of the Church of Christ, for they without us could
not be made perfect. The Lord grant us grace to be ready for our share
in that glorious consummation, for Christ’s sake. Amen.
The new dispensation is necessary
to complete the old, the New Testament is the complement of the Old
Testament, and New Testament saints join hands with Old Testament
elders. Let us all be worthy of our high pedigree; and may God grant
that, if the saints of these latter days are to perfect the history of
the Church of Christ, the end may not be less heroic than the
beginning was! A true poem should gather force as it grows, and its
waves of thought should roll in with greater power as it nears its
climax; so should the mighty poem of faith’s glorious history increase
in depth and power as it gets nearer to its grand consummation, that
God may be glorified yet more and more, through all his believing
children. So may it be! Amen.
Is it not wonderful that we, who
bring up the rear of the army of faith, are necessary to its
completeness? It cannot be perfect without us. Ay, heaven itself will
not be complete without us who are on the road to it. There would be
empty seats in the holy orchestra, gaps in the sacred circle; so we
who believe must all come there to make them perfect. God help us to
hasten on our road, for our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake! Amen.
(teleioo related to
teleios from telos = an end, a
purpose, an aim, a goal, consummate soundness, idea of being whole) means to
accomplish or bring to an end or to the intended goal (telos). It means to
be complete, mature, fully developed, full grown, brought to its end,
finished, wanting nothing necessary to completeness or in good working
order. It does not mean simply to terminate something but to carry it out to
the full finish which is picked up in the translation "perfected". Teleioo signifies the attainment of consummate soundness
and includes the idea of being made whole. Interestingly the Gnostics used
teleios of one fully initiated into their mysteries and that may
have been why Paul used teleios in this epistle.
Hebrews 12:2 (note)
Jesus is designated as "the author and perfecter of faith" where perfecter
is teleiotes, the Completer, the One Who reached the goal so as to win the
prize so to speak.
this note on the NT word group (telos, teleioo, teleios, teleiosis,
teleiotes) - Teleios the adjective, and
teleioo the verb. The adjective is used in the papyri, of heirs being
of age, of women who have attained maturity, of full-grown cocks, of
acacia trees in good condition, of a complete lampstand, of something in
good working order or condition. To summarize; the meaning of the
adjective includes the ideas of full-growth, maturity, workability,
soundness, and completeness. The verb refers to the act of bringing the
person or thing to any one of the aforementioned conditions. When applied
to a Christian, the word refers to one that is spiritually mature,
complete, well-rounded in his Christian character.
Richards commenting on the
word group (telos, teleioo, teleios, teleiosis, teleiotes) writes that "These words emphasize wholeness and
completeness. In the biological sense they mean "mature," or "full grown":
the person, animal, or plant achieved the potential inherent in its
nature. The perfect is the thing or person that is complete, in which
nothing that belongs to its essence has been left out. It is perfect
because every potential it possesses has been realized. (Richards,
L O: Expository Dictionary of Bible Words: Regency)
Telioo is used 19 times
of 24 total NT uses in Hebrews, often in the sense of to make perfect or
fully cleanse from sin in contrast to ceremonial (Levitical) cleansing. The writer
is emphasizing the importance of perfection...
(which should cause any Jew who is contemplating the worth of Christ and the
New Covenant to realize his utter hopelessness to every attain perfection
under the Old Covenant).
(note) 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 (What sufferings? Certainly one would consider His temptation by Satan in the
barren wilderness [see Mt 4:1-11, Lu 4:1ff, Mk 1:12, 13] and Gethsemane
[Mt 26:36,44, Lu 22:39,44][in agony He was praying very fervently]).
(Comment: This does not imply any moral imperfection in the Lord
Jesus, but speaks of the consummation of the human experience of suffering
the death of the Cross, through which He must pass if He is to become the
Author or Captain of our salvation.)
Hebrews 5:9 (note) And having
been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the
source of eternal salvation,
(note) (for the Law
nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a
better hope, through which we draw near to God. (Comment:
This means to carry through completely, to make complete, to finish, bring
to an end. The old covenant could bring nothing to conclusion. The Mosaic
economy could reveal sin but it could never remove sin, and so it
had to be removed. It gave no security.
It gave no peace. A man never had a clean conscience.)
For the Law appoints men as
high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the
Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.
(note) which is a symbol for
the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which
cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience,
(note) For the Law, since it
has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of
things, can never by the same sacrifices year by year, which they offer
continually, make perfect those who draw near. (Contrast with
Jesus in Hebrews 5:9 above. The idea in Hebrews 10:1 is that the
ceremonial law could not actually save the believer. Its work was always
short of completeness.)
(note) For by one
offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.
(Comment: Wuest writes "Here, the completeness of the state of
salvation of the believer is in view. Everything essential to the salvation
of the individual is included in the gift of salvation which the sinner
receives by faith in Messiah’s sacrifice. The words “for ever” here are to
be construed with “perfected.” It is a permanent state of completeness in
salvation to which reference is made. The words “them that are sanctified”
are descriptive of the believer. He is one set apart for God) (ibid)
(note) because God had
provided something better for us, so that apart from us they should not be
Hebrews 12:23 (note) (But you have
come...) 23 to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are
enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of
righteous men made perfect,
In sum the fundamental idea of telioo is the bringing of a person or
thing to the goal fixed by God.
It is interesting and doubtless no
mere coincidence that in the
teleioo is translated numerous times as consecrated or
consecration, especially speaking of consecration of the priests (cf Jesus
our "great High Priest") (Ex 29:9, 29, 33, 35 Lv 4:5;
8:33; 16:32; 21:10; Nu 3:3). The LXX translators gave the verb teleioo a special sense of consecration to
priestly service and this official concept stands behind the writer's use in
this passage in
Hebrews 5:9 (note).
It signifies that Jesus has been fully equipped to come before God in
God has provided this something
better for us, that is for those under the New Covenant, which is why
apart from us they should not be made perfect. That is, not until our
time, the time of Christianity, could their salvation be completed,
made perfect. Until Jesus’ atoning work on the cross was accomplished,
no salvation was complete, no matter how great the faith a believer
may have had. Their salvation was based on what Christ would do; ours
is based on what Christ has done. Their faith looked forward to
promise; ours looks back to historical fact.
Yet, though their salvation was
not completed in their lifetimes, these were not second-rate
believers. They were believers of the highest order. They courageously
struggled, suffered, and counted on salvation. They believed all of
God’s Word that they had, which is what counts with Him. How much less
faith do we often have, in spite of our much greater light. “Blessed
are they who did not see, and yet believed” (John 20:29).
This is survival truth! We must
not succumb to the delusion that gentle rain and sunshine will
continue to fall on the church in America as the culture sinks further
Constable notes that " Their perfection refers to
their entering into their final rest (inheritance) and rests, as ours
does, on the sacrificial death of Christ (cf. He 9:15).
F B Meyer...
THIS chapter proves that the saints
of all ages are essentially one. There is a link which unites them; a
thrill which passes from hand to hand around the circle. One theme for
many voices; one attitude for many faces; one inspiration for many
hearts. The saints that lived before the Advent and those that have
lived since are one in their faith in the living God, making the
unseen visible, the distant near, and seeing the eternal through the
transient and ephemeral.
And now heaven waits. Its joys are
not complete; its rapture not full. The blessed are blessed; but there
is yet a margin between what they are and what they will be--between
what they enjoy, and what they may enjoy. The choir is not full, and
the anthem cannot be fully rendered till our voices blend in it. There
is a pause, a halt, an expectancy, an incompleteness, till we come.
Your dear ones want you to be there. They have not gone far into the
heart of God's bliss, but are lingering near the gate till you have
From Switzerland your friends write
you to say it is perfectly beautiful, but "it will be better when you
join us; we are reserving the best excursions till you arrive; we are
incomplete without you; make haste." It is thus that the blessed await
us. The spirit of Heaven is well represented by the courtesy of the
old prophet, who would not sit down to meat with Jesse and his sons,
till David, the youngest, had come thither also. And when the whole
family is gathered, there will be a perfecting indeed, from which no
element shall be wanting.
Oh rapture of eternal joy! We
stretch out our hands in yearning desire, and doing so touch other
hands reached toward ours! (F. B. Meyer. Our Daily Homily)