Hebrews 2:11 (KJV)
For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,

It is very confusing to read "he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one". What is the meaning of this verse?


It means Jesus and Christians are on the same team. It might make a little more sense in the NIV:

Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.

The rest of that section of Hebrews is talking about how Jesus is like us, in His humanity, which allows us to be part of the same "family."

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Personal preference is always the RSV:

9 But we see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for every one. 10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified have all one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 saying, "I will proclaim thy name to my brethren, in the midst of the congregation I will praise thee."

Verse 9 (and, indeed, the verses which precede it) speaks of the incarnation. Contextually, that necessarily implies that the origin needs be that self-same act. To me, this passage speaks of how Christ came down and became man, dwelt among us, and through that life entered death that he might raise us from glory into glory. And it is meet and just that Christ is this truth.

It is the humanity of Christ which makes it so that the savior might elevate us. It is his life and death as a man which makes it so that we might be considered "brothers", and "sons". It is the flesh and blood of Christ which makes it possible for God to consider human beings as "brethren".

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Since writing this answer I have realized my initial response of Abraham as the one being referred to in verse 11 was incorrect. He is surely included in the fatherhood of the ecclesia a few verses later, but here the "one" must be Father God. The determining factor that changed my mind was the OT Scriptures that follow.

In the first one, quoting Psalm 22:22, Jesus is prophesied as saying, "'I will proclaim Your name to my brethren, in the midst of the congregation (ecclesia) I will sing your praise. And again, 'I will put my trust in him.' And again, 'Behold, I and the children God has given me [are for signs and wonders in Israel]'.(Isa 8:17,18)"

We know Jesus did not proclaim Adam's name (the other possibility) who got us all into this mess we are in. And although he honored Abraham as the one to whom the promises were made, he did not "proclaim" his name or "sing his praise" in a worshipful sense. Nor did he put "his trust in him." All this is speaking of the Father which the last quote verbalizes when it says the children (brethren) are God's. So we are all children of God first and foremost.

However, I believe the text goes on to reveal that Abraham is also our father from a human standpoint. That is, he is the father of all those who are called "brethren," which would be the whole ecclesia. In verses 14-17 we learn that Jesus had to be made "like his brethren in all things." Including lineage from the fatherhood of Abraham. And that his descendants alone are the benefit of his ministry. "For assuredly he (Jesus) does not give help to angels, but he gives help to the descendants of Abraham.

Now the reason Abraham is routinely rejected by most believers as being the human father of the ecclesia is because we know that not ALL who make up the body of believers are Jewish. Some are non-Jews. The so-called "gentiles." How can we be physical descendants of Abraham? Because we don't know our history and forget 5/6 of the nation was scattered among the nations in 722BC as recorded in 2 Kings 17,18. That's why many teachers who study the Book of Hebrews come to the erroneous conclusion that it was written ONLY to Jewish believers, and not to "gentile" believers as well. But we non-Jews are declared Abraham's seed also. "For if you belong to Messiah, you ARE Abraham's seed, heirs according to promise" (Gal 5:1)

The inescapable conclusion I have reached is that the whole letter to the Hebrews is addressed to ALL believers, Jew and non-Jew. And therefore ALL believers must be Hebrews, true physical descendants of Abraham. Not just spiritual "seed," but the actual chosen seed as we read in Galatians 4:28: "But you brethren (addressed to Jewish and non-Jewish believers in Galatia), like Isaac, are children of promise." Being the physical seed of Abraham doesn't actually gain us anything, as Ishmael and Esau discovered, unless you are a child of promise. We must be chosen "in him [Jesus} before the foundation of the world" (Eph.1:4) to be the "brethren" of the Lord. And children of God.

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  • 1
    Whose doctrine is this? Please be mindful that we're not here for the development of new doctrine, but ask that users represent established doctrinal positions, this isn't one I'm aware of. Some external sources would be helpful in vetting the accuracy of your interpretation – wax eagle Mar 24 '14 at 18:19
  • It's sometimes called Two-House Theology and the unfulfilled prophesied reunion of the two houses of Israel, Judah and Israel. (See Jer. 30:; Ezek. 37:15-28; Isaiah 11:11-16). It is based on the belief the so-called "gentiles" in the church must be Abraham's seed when Assyria exiled the northern kingdom. If our beliefs are based only on what has previously been considered established doctrine I don't think we'd have had The Reformation. I thought a free forum like this would depend only on what the Scriptures teach and the witness of the Spirit, even if not previously known or understood? – Brian Hennessy Mar 24 '14 at 18:50
  • We're looking for representations of established positions with external references desired but not required (unless they are asked for). It's also worth mentioning that this kind of straight up interpretation question is no longer considered on topic here which is part of the trap you're running into here. – wax eagle Mar 24 '14 at 18:52
  • Not sure what you mean by "this kind of straight up interpretation question is no longer considered on topic here." Is my exegesis of the verse unacceptable because it is not generally taught, or because it is incorrect? – Brian Hennessy Mar 24 '14 at 18:59
  • neither. Your answer is fine, wouldn't hurt to mention your doctrinal position in the actual answer, but whatever. I'm saying that the question is no longer something we consider to be on topic (topicality has evolved a bit here over the past couple of years) – wax eagle Mar 24 '14 at 19:10

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