The Warnings and the Dream
Mr. Colin F. Anderson of Sudbury, Ontario, serves the Lord in a Bible teaching and pastoral ministry.
The true benefit of allegorical writings is enjoyed when the reader takes time to discover just who is intended by the various characters that appear in the narrative. Bunyan does for the us in ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress” by using names like “Mr. Facing-Both-Ways” or “Giant Despair.” Mr. Anderson uses a similar method. It will pay the reader to make sure he knows who or what is intended by the various roses, the greenhouse and the garden, etc. as he reads through this article. The frequent Scripture references are of great assistance. The Lord has compiled the Scriptures in such a way that we find ourselves reading other people’s mail. Our address is not on all the exhortations, encouragements. warnings and promises found in Scripture. Failure to understand this will land us in trouble.
This is another way of saying that “all that is written for us is not written to us.” A recent group Bible study in Hebrews underlined this fact. Some present had difficulty with the awesome warnings found in chapters 6 and 10. Later, during the hours of night—whether awake or asleep, I hardly can tell—I found myself in a beautiful park with rolling lawns stretching out in every direction. In the centre of this lovely scene there was a vast bed devoted to the cultivation of roses of all kinds.
Drawing nearer, I could see that great wisdom had gone into the planting. It was obvious that the Gardener was interested in including every species of rose. There was a large number of wild bushes of all sorts. I cannot, of course, remember the names of each strain, but there were Teepee Reds, Yellow Sunrises, Black Glories, and Euro-Whites everywhere, as well as many others—all included under the title of wild Gentilliums. (Rev. 5:9,10).
Scattered among these plants and occasionally in large clusters was another kind of rose—the almond coloured Hebraisium. This variety had been carefully nurtured in the Gardener’s greenhouse and was a favorite of his (Rom.9:4,5).
In due time, the Gardener, who was not at all averse to talking to his plants, came down to inspect the results of his skill and to commune with the work of his hands. It was then that the Hebraisiums saw their opportunity and a good number of them spoke of their desire to return to the greenhouse. They found it too damp in the open, and frequently cold blasts of air threatened their very existence—or at least so they thought (Heb. 10:32,33). The Gardener patiently explained that they were really calling in question his wisdom. He well knew the winds that would blow against them. He himself superintended everything. “After all,” he said, “you have not yet, any of you, lost your lives” (Heb. 12:4). But the Hebraisiums remembered the regular routine of the greenhouse, the constant care of the Gardener’s servants, the scheduled watering and the warmth of the nursery.
Now the wild Gentilliums heard all this, and not yet being used to the Gardener’s voice, nor fully understanding the wisdom of his ways, some of the more sensitive plants began to feel self-conscious and even guilty. Not being sufficiently rooted yet in that beautifully fertile soil, they assumed that their lives were somehow in danger; the Gardener’s rebuke must be intended for them. This caused a great deal of confusion and argument among them as to whether it was possible to be first planted in the rose bed and then plucked out of it again.
This was especially so as the Gardener went on to remind the Hebraisiums that the nursery from which they had come was just that—a nursery. They must “go on to perfection,” he said, and maturity could not be reached in the greenhouse (Heb. 6:1). As for his servants’ activities in the past, they had all been acting under his direction. It was now time for them to trust themselves entirely to him even when his absence from the garden might be interpreted as meaning he no longer cared for them. He would be in his mansion, thinking of his plants all the time and planning for the day of their showing to the public. He would make no mistakes. They must trust him wholly or prove to be worthless slips that would never blossom for his pleasure and glory. Should that prove to be true they could never be renewed (Heb. 6:6).
All this struck terror into the hearts of the Gentilliums. They did not understand that the problem was peculiar to the Hebraisiums. The wild plants had never had a history in the greenhouse, and the growing sternness of the Gardener troubled them greatly—so much so, in fact, that they no longer were hearing or understanding what the cultured plants were saying. They only focussed on the replies of the Gardener. Perhaps he was angry with them; they were sure there was more than a possibility that this was the case. After all, each of their bushes had some undesirable growth that must be pruned. But now they heard the Gardener talking again—this time about falling away after having been brought from the greenhouse into such a place of privilege. Had he not done everything to convince the Hebraisiums of his gracious purpose? Had he not given them evidences that had never been granted to the wild roses? (Heb. 6:4, 5 & Acts 2:5-8). (Unfortunately the majority of the Gentilliums were unable to catch this distinction—they were so sure that everything the Gardener said must be applied to themselves.)
More words of warning followed. He spoke about the dange of the Hebraisiums “sinning wilfully” after having been cared for for so long. They had “the knowledge of the truth” but living faith in himself is what was essential to their development. There was no other bed for them to grow in, and he was about to pull the greenhouse down since it had served its purpose, was obsolete and growing old (Heb. 10:26; 8:13 NASB).
Now if the Gentilliums had really listened, what lessons they would have learned! Much that could have been of value to them was missed because they had not allowed the Gardener the right to speak to others in a special way. They were so preoccupied with their own safety (which really meant that they had not rightly understood the grace which had brought them from the wild in the first place), that they were in no position to appreciate the peculiar difficulty experienced by the plants coming from the nursery, or the need for a message to be given to them. So I awoke from my dream. It seemed to me to have some substance to it, and I record it here as best I can remember it in the hope that it may help fellow believers to understand the book of Hebrews and its message.