Reading: Hebrews 1:5; 3:1-6; 10:19-22.
World dominion in union with the Son of Man is brought before us in a concrete way in Hebrews 2. The point from which we proceed is that the term 'Son of Man' is a representative term. The Lord Jesus as "Son of Man" is a representation of all God's thought for man and gathered up into Him represents all the intention of God concerning man.
The work of God by which the thoughts of God are made possible of realisation are all accomplished in the Lord Jesus; this is stated in Hebrews 4 where it speaks of God's rest and takes us back to Genesis 2: "And on the seventh day God finished His work... and God rested on the seventh day from all His works". Those works of creation or recreation which He did, were the outcome of a state of darkness, emptiness, barrenness into which this world had sunk; a state probably brought about by previous judgment, and Genesis 1 shows us God entering into a state of activity in relation to that condition of things.
All that is taken up spiritually in the Lord Jesus in relation to the new creation which is prefigured in type in the old. God has entered into works which are a bringing of a new creation out of a similar state. All God's work has been carried out in Christ, and God has reached the end of His new activities in His Son, He has finished His work: "It is finished". God has entered into His rest in His Son. He is God's Sabbath. The Sabbath ceases to be a day; it becomes a Person, and in that Person God reaches His end, His ultimate thought and intention concerning man. The fulness of God's work is in Christ; and we find our rest in God's rest, we find our satisfaction in God's satisfaction: Christ Jesus the Son of Man satisfies God. We come to our rest and satisfaction by faith's appropriation of the fulness in Christ of the new creation activities. That brings in a new dominion in a new creation, of which Christ is seen to be the completion in His enthronement at God's right hand as Son of Man.
Christ in the presence of God is the embodiment of all God's thought for this new man, and Christ becomes the "first-born" of many brethren. And with Christ as the First-born - the Son of Man - in glory at the throne of God, there immediately comes into view "the House of God". Notice the various terms used, "brethren", "children", "sons"; it is a family situation which is brought in, it is the House of God.
"Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling..." (Heb. 3:1). There ought not to be a chapter division between Hebrews 2 and 3, for it is a continuation of what has gone before. What is that heavenly calling? We are called as brethren, as members of a family, of the House of God, called to be where Christ is in throne union with the Father; that is the place of dominion. Paul had an increasing revelation of the meaning of the manner of coming to this heavenly calling. It was not just a calling out from the heavens. No! It was a position to be occupied, a vocational position, and in Philippians 3 we have Paul's final word about this thing: he speaks of "the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus". He brings into view the goal, and the goal is undoubtedly world dominion from the exalted place with Christ. This is the calling to the brethren, to the family, to the sons. When you see that in a general way, you are able to analyse it and see something more of what it means in particular.
Hebrews is linked with Luke and Ezekiel. This presentation of the House of God is a very comprehensive and all-embracing one. Hebrews 1:5b the quotation is almost startling, and it is very significant: "And again, I will be to him a father and he shall be to me a son." That was said to David about Solomon. Now, literally you leave it with Solomon, but the Holy Spirit does not leave it there, He has always something greater in mind than a type. And when the Holy Spirit said that to David, He had David's greater Son in view, and He links this to David concerning his son Solomon right on to the Lord Jesus. And more, He links it with the House of God and the throne of God as related to His eternal Son: Son of God, Son of Man. The God-Man. "Thy throne, O God is for ever and ever". So that the House comes into view on the ground of the enthronement of Christ; the Son of Man exalted at the right hand of God. The first link here is with the temple built by Solomon, and as you go on with the letter you find it takes you back to Moses, "Moses indeed was faithful in all God's House". This "House" is seen to be inclusive with the tabernacle and all Israel is linked with the tabernacle, which is the very centre of their life and by it all their life is governed. Moses was not just faithful in the tabernacle, but in all God's House. This included the whole range of Israel.
Now Israel, tabernacle and temple are all carried over into Christ the Son of Man: "Christ as a Son over His house, whose house we are, if we hold fast" (Heb. 3:6). He is the embodiment of it all and we, the members, are in Him as the Head and all the type in Him becomes a spiritual reality of all that is in the Old Testament and in Israel as a people, a House. In the tabernacle as the dwelling place of God and in the temple itself, all that in its manifold typology is gathered up into Christ and He is seen to be the embodiment of that whole mass of Old Testament typology.
We have got to see in Christ in exaltation all those spiritual principles and laws in order to know what the House of God is. How do we come to know what the House of God is? Not by study, that may be a channel, but the immediate way of knowing what the House of God is, is by a personal knowing of the Lord Jesus through the Holy Spirit's dealing with us. It is by the way the Holy Spirit deals with me in relation to the Lord Jesus. The Lord by the Spirit takes hold of us and deals with us in a certain way when He gets a purchase in our lives. When the Holy Spirit gets us really into His hands then He begins to deal with us. And beloved, He never does get us into His hands until we have recognised and accepted in a very full way our identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection, in a living way. That is unto an absolute putting away of man by nature, of that natural life; only then has the Holy Spirit got us into His hands. To refuse our death union with the Lord Jesus, which is the sum total of identification, is to abide in self-will and frustrates the Holy Spirit's work in us to lead us into all truth.
Do you want to know experimentally all God's thought for man, and all its practical outworking? All the good of our inheritance in Christ can only be by the setting aside of that natural man. He has to be broken, taken out of the way, the very sinew of his strength withered. This is a most costly thing; but it is the only way to revelation and all revelation is a costly business; it is a tremendous cost. See the price of the men in the Bible upon whom the Lord's hand came unto revelation. Look at Daniel, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Moses and John. The price is the price of the Cross by which the natural strength is shattered, man by nature is broken, finished. This natural strength of ours has to be broken, the domination of our natural will broken; it must be if we are to come into all God's thought for us as secured in His Son at His right hand. And when by faith we have come into that identification with the Lord Jesus in His death, and know God has dealt with that natural will of ours, we know when there is any uprising of that thing. We know when we have any contact with it, for it brings a battle which is an agony, and we know we have touched a forbidden thing, touched that which is not permitted by the Holy Spirit. He has dealt with that in us by the Cross of the Lord Jesus, and we may not have any dealings with it but at cost and at peril. It is not eradication of the 'old man', not the uprooting of my self-will, but that the 'old man' and his natural will has been touched by God; therefore we are not now permitted to touch him. Do get this, it is so important; this is why the Cross by the Holy Spirit has ever to be applied, to keep that natural life out of the way - not operating, but cut off, "reckoned dead". This leads to an open heaven, and we can never know an open heaven if we have any dealings or permittings of the old man active in us.
Christ as our representative went that way at Jordan. The natural man was set aside, and upon that setting aside the Holy Spirit came to take control and establish the design of God for man. We must come into a translation from the doctrine to the living truth. Do we know this setting aside of the man by nature as a living daily experience? The natural man can never come into God's thought for man in Christ Jesus. Unless our natural man is set aside, God's purpose for us in His Son will be missed and lost. As in Jacob's case, the person has to be suitable for the House of God. And when the House is first introduced, Jacob cries out: "How awful is this place, it is none other than the House of God." And twenty years later when God told Jacob to go up to Bethel he immediately sought to adjust himself and his house to a suitability to the House, and called for a putting away of all the idols. The person has to be suitable to that House and all that is not suitable has to be put aside.
Here in this Hebrew letter you have Christ as the sum total of God's thought concerning His House. HE is the House and gathers up into Himself all its principles and laws, and then that House becomes a corporate thing in the "children", "Behold I and the children whom God hath given Me"; the "brethren", "I will declare Thy Name unto My brethren"; and the "sons", "In bringing many sons to glory". Christ as Son over His own house, whose house are we. We are that House!
This thing is brought in on the ground of Christ's exaltation: "We see Him crowned with glory and honour". "He left nothing that is not subject to Him." That is potentially and virtually. I say that because later on in this same letter we read: "Waiting until His enemies be made the footstool of His feet". But potentially and virtually by His Cross all is under His feet and that position which He occupies in the throne is because of the accomplishment He achieved by His Cross. It is on the ground of His utter triumph over all the power of the enemy, of His destroying him who had the hold of death. The House always takes its character from the one who builds it, or the head of the house; it is the head of the house who gives it the character. And this spiritual house comes in the first place on the ground of Christ's exaltation, His enthronement in glory. This itself is a testimony to the absolute sovereignty, ascendency and pre-eminence of the Lord Jesus. The very building of the House is a testimony to the fact of His enthronement on the ground of a complete and perfect triumph in every realm. And it is not that the House is going to be ultimately in the victory; it is that its very existence is upon that victory. It is true that it is to be the instrument of that victory, but its power to accomplish its vocation is based on the victory of its Head which is already won. It is founded upon His triumph; faith should encamp on this fact. We must come more definitely to the place where by faith we recognise and take the position that our very existence in the House of God rests upon the fact that in Christ all the victory is an accomplished fact, and the House is for the display of that eternal fact.
Exodus 15 is a glorious song of triumph, "The Lord HATH triumphed gloriously... Pharaoh's chariots, his hosts... chosen captains are sunk in the Red sea, the deeps cover them, they sank as lead in the mighty waters" (v.1-5). This is faith's retrospective glance.
And then faith leaps right on into the Land, and sees in the strength and virtue of it the victory of the Lord, the enemies of that land trembling and in fear and dread of the Lord's triumph. Faith sees them, "by the greatness of thine arm they are as still as a stone". Then the House comes in on the ground of that triumph and in that land dispossessed of the enemy and occupied by the Lord's triumphant people, rejoicing in HIS victory; this is faith's prospective glance. Faith sees all the past enemy and all the future enemies swallowed up in His victory. This is a secret to come into, that the House of God is established in the fact of Christ exalted at the throne of God. We have not got to fight toward a victory, but to fight on the ground of a victory already won; we have got to take that position positively, and to maintain it. Whatever the position is, or howsoever fierce the conflict may be, faith takes the issue which Calvary secured, and faith entering into the full meaning of the exaltation of the Son of man is the means of encompassing the enemy, and it is that which brings us into world dominion. We shall never have dominion literally until faith takes it in advance.
This explains the strange experiences we have - we ask the Lord for a new coming in to His fulness, or a new fulness of victory or power, and we enter into a period of what seems to be the very opposite. And it seems as if our prayer is unanswered, or the very opposite of what we asked. Our experience is more intense than before we prayed so earnestly about that thing. This is the Lord's way of extending our faith unto the realisation and experience of the very thing we have asked of Him. He exercises our faith unto that; this exercise of faith is a very real thing. It is the challenge to your faith to bring you beyond where you are, for we receive in faith, we enter through faith. And the present course of things is to bring us spiritually in through faith. This is suitability to God's thought in Christ concerning His House, "The household of faith". Faith sees the Lord Jesus crowned with glory and honour at the throne of God, and the House is based on the exaltation of the Son of man.
We have not entered into the depths of Stephen's experience, in the midst of the awful hate, malice, cruelty and the enemy seeming to have things all his own way, to be in power. Stephen, in spite of all the suffering, testifies, "I see the Son of man standing at the right hand of God"! Hell is not at the right hand of God; the devil is not there. No, but the Son of Man is there! And though I die under this malice and onslaught, the issue is not here, but there! Faith encamps on the ground which Christ occupies as the Son of Man at the right hand of God. It is a House of victory, the House of His triumph.
It is a very practical thing for us if we are in the hands of the Holy Spirit. He, by the Cross, puts aside the strength of nature. The exercise of faith is a most real thing for us. In the things and experiences that come our way we can take in them and toward them the ascendency of faith and so learn to reign in Life by Christ Jesus, or let doubt get in and we go under in that very situation which God has allowed to bring us experimentally into a position of faith ascendency. It all depends on the attitude we take.
And it is not merely a matter of coming into the House, but God's eternal design for the House. Therefore God's provisional "if": "Whose House are we IF we hold fast our boldness and the glorying of our hope firm unto the end" (Heb. 3:6). We are that House and in all God's thought concerning the end of that House. This is a great thing and we must remember Israel failed because of unbelief: "They failed to enter in because of unbelief". Faith alone appropriating and standing on the ground that Christ occupies for us will bring us through to world dominion. We can fail in the "if" if we fail in faith. May God give us grace to go through in faith. We must see the foundation of the House - it begins with Christ at the right hand of God and faith's union with Him in the throne as the issue of His fully accomplished victory.