May this poor backwoods hardshell request your thoughts on one word. I hope it will not prove to be embarrassing to acknowledge I cannot fully comprehend the fullness of the word “brethren” use by our Lord (I hope) in John 20:17.
Might this be the REGENERATION-manifestation of vital union or how sublime is this in your sights. I tremor at the magnitude of this declaration, the absence of Judas, an then to the benefactors of His will. I pray you may be blessed to share your thoughts should God will on this request.
Dear brethren of Hope,
Grace to you and peace from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I must hesitate in my response to your inquiry for it is addressed to an esteemed scholar of whom I am not familiar. I do not make light of your request nor wish to impugn the sincerity of your quest but I am not sufficient to these things save if taught by the Spirit of all Wisdom and Knowledge. Thus being said, I implore you to try my thoughts and words by the scriptures to see if they be in keeping with the peace and edification of the household of grace.
I believe your assessment of the use of the word at this time in the account of the things of our Lord is precisely accurate. In all previous uses of the term ‘brethren’ as recorded in the gospels, it came as a family reference or an editorial comment of corporate or third party inclusion; ‘our brethren’ or ‘your brethren’ or in the account when Mary and her children came to where Jesus was teaching, He asked “who are my brethren” in an all inclusive sense. But at the conclusion of His work, He who came forth having His seed with Him and His work before Him calls them MY brethren in a person manner. He had brought them forth whom the Father had given Him, through the temptations, trials and tribulations, into the garden, to the cross, into the grave and when He raised them up (which we have in the like figure of baptism), as He said He would, He declared His generation saying, “Behold I and the children whom Thou hast given Me”. Isaiah asked the question, “Who shall declare His generation” and when He had finished His work, He did. God spoke to His people in the last days (Heb.1:1), Christ offered up the sacrifice for sin in the end of the world (9:26), He raised up His people in the first resurrection (Rev. 20:5), and in the those (last) days and at that time, He poured out His Spirit upon all men (Joel 2:28-32 & Acts 2:16). He then brought forth the sheave offering on the seventeenth day of the first month (Lev.23:10) and waved the ‘first fruits’ before the Lord (Notice that this was to be done when Israel came into the “land which I shall give unto you”. So when the heaven and earth passed away and Christ came forth from the tomb as Noah from the ark, wherein the righteous souls were preserved from the judgment of God, He had come into the land of promise, unto that city which has foundations whose builder and maker is God). 50 days later (23:15) He thrust in His sickle and brought for the the ‘ingathering’, two wave loaves (both Jew and gentile) of two tenths (the remnant or tithe) of beaten flour WITH leaven (for the old leaven had been purged out), also called first fruits (for we are come unto the general assembly of the church of the First Born) into His barns (“Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of thine increase: so shall thy barns be filled with plenty and thy presses shall burst out with NEW WINE”. (Prov 3:9f)) and He declared His generation before the Father. This is the re-generation.
“For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through suffering. 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, saying, I will declare the name unto my brethren in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee” (Heb. 2:10).
It is also interesting to note that many of the usages of the word in the Hebrew have reference to those of the pasture, “We are the sheep of His pasture”.
Please forgive my rambling and may the Spirit give you wisdom and spiritual understanding, with a discerning ear to discard the wisdom of the flesh herein contained.
Your servant in Christ,