[ 589 ] Les Feldick [ Book 50 - Lesson 1 - Part 1 ] Our High Priest |a
[ 590 ] Les Feldick [ Book 50 - Lesson 1 - Part 2 ] Our High Priest |b
[ 591 ] Les Feldick [ Book 50 - Lesson 1 - Part 3 ] Hebrews 6:11-7:19 |a
[ 592 ] Les Feldick [ Book 50 - Lesson 1 - Part 4 ] Hebrews 6:11-7:19 |b
[ 593 ] Les Feldick [ Book 50 - Lesson 2 - Part 1 ] Saved To The Uttermost |a
[ 594 ] Les Feldick [ Book 50 - Lesson 2 - Part 2 ] Saved To The Uttermost |b
[ 595 ] Les Feldick [ Book 50 - Lesson 2 - Part 3 ] Hebrews 7:20-8:10 a
[ 596 ] Les Feldick [ Book 50 - Lesson 2 - Part 4 ] Hebrews 7:20-8:10 |b
[ 597 ] Les Feldick [ Book 50 - Lesson 3 - Part 1 ] Once, By His Own Blood |a
[ 598 ] Les Feldick [ Book 50 - Lesson 3 - Part 2 ] Once, By His Own Blood |b
[ 599 ] Les Feldick [ Book 50 - Lesson 3 - Part 3 ] Hebrews 8:11-9:14 |a
[ 600 ] Les Feldick [ Book 50 - Lesson 3 - Part 4 ] Hebrews 8:11-9:14 |b
Our High Priest
Hebrews 6:11 – 7:19
We’re going to jump right in at Hebrews chapter 6 verse 11. Just for a little bit of review so that we can pick up the flow, we have been coming through those verses that dealt with a portion of Scripture that has confused a lot of people. It is not a matter of being saved and lost, and saved and lost. But for those who have deliberately scorned and turned their back, they have no more opportunity for forgiveness, as we have seen in verses 4-6, which of course, was applied primarily to Jewish people who were not willing to let go of all the ramifications of the Law here in this Book of Hebrews. They had come far enough to recognize that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ, but to step on into the doctrines of Grace as we understand them, they were having a problem. Then for some, of course, they just deliberately turned their back on everything and went back into Judaism. And that’s why the term was used ‘there is no further repentance,’ and sacrifices and so forth.
Then we saw in verse 10 where we left off, that God is not unrighteous. He’s never unfair. And God will never forget the work of the believer in love. Now, before I go any further, I guess I might as well point it out right now. You can do this in your own Bible. Remember when we were back in I Corinthians 13, the very last words of that chapter are:
I Corinthians 13:13
“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, (love) these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” (love)
Now I made the point when we were teaching, that if you’ll watch all through Paul’s epistles, you constantly see those three words popping up. Sometimes one at a time, maybe here and there, and sometimes all three together. But here’s another good example. Up here in verse 10, we have “He will never forget your work and labor of (what?) love.” Then you come down to verse 11 and “…to show diligence to the full assurance of (what?) hope.” Then to verse 12, “…that you be not slothful but followers of them who through faith….”
If you’re looking for them, they’ll just jump off the page at you. “Faith, hope and love.” See, these are little tidbits of Scripture that just show us how intricately this whole Book is put together. It’s not just a bunch of stuff thrown in by various authors. This Book is Divinely inspired. It has been Divinely programmed so that everything fits. Alright, let’s jump in in verse 11 where Paul writes to these Jewish people:
“And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:”
Now who is he talking about? Well, he’s talking about the “beloved” up in verse 9. He’s not talking about those who had turned their backs and went back into Judaism and became apostate, but rather about the believing element. Let me read it. “But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you,” Alright it’s to those believers that he says, “they have the full assurance of hope.” For how long? “Unto the end.” Now we know eternity has no end, so in this case he must be talking about what? Their sojourn on earth until death, and that God will never forsake them. Now a verse always comes to mind with a thought like that. Just back up a few pages to Philippians. Because even though Hebrews is written to Hebrews, never lose sight of the fact that the whole concept is the same as what Paul has written to us as Gentiles. And in Philippians chapter 1 verse 6, we have that same concept, as he writes to us as Gentiles.
“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you (in other words, he has brought us to the place of embracing our salvation, and we know that we’re saved. Now here’s a promise) will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”
He will never let us go, nor will He will ever forget about us, and it’s the same concept here in Hebrews 6. Even with these Jewish believers who had stepped right on into this same concept of Paul’s Gospel now, that they were full of the assurance of hope.
Now verse 12 – here is an admonition to these believers, as well as believers today, as we pointed out in our last taping in those previous four programs, that they were to move on. They were to keep growing in grace and knowledge and unto a maturity, and leave the elementary things behind. Now verse 12:
“That you be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the (what?) the promises.”
Oh, the promises of God! Most of us are aware of the Old Testament promises given to Israel which, of course, were all earthly promises, and they’re still waiting for a good portion of it. But even for us in this Church Age or this Age of Grace we, too, have a multitude of promises. Paul’s letters are full of them. He will never leave us nor forsake us, and we have the assurance that we are His. And he tells us in Romans chapter 8 that we’re what? “We’re joint-heirs with Christ.” Well, those are promises that we can hang on to and know that they are ours. Now when it comes to promises, I’ve already said, the first place we normally go is the Old Testament. And so does Paul in verse 13:
“For when God made promise to Abraham,…”
That’s why we call that period of time, in between Abraham and the giving of the Law, a time of promises. Because over and over, God promised the patriarchs. Number one to Abraham, that out of him would come a nation of people. In the next chapter God promised that He would give them a geographical area of land. And then later on as He comes to King David, He gives David the promise that out of him would come the royal family which would bring forth the Messiah. All promises of God!
And then all the promises concerning the coming Kingdom, that age of peace and prosperity of which the Nation of Israel has always longed for. Promises. And so, it’s just to show us that when God makes promises, even though His wheels grind slowly, they grind surely. Okay, so reading on in verse 13:
“For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,”
Now you see, only God could do that! And so God can swear on the veracity of His own Person, that these things will come to pass. I always tell people, don’t ever give up on God, just because things don’t move as fast as we think they should. My, how long did Abraham have to wait before he even got the first fulfillment of the promise of a son, Isaac? Almost fifty years as far as we can determine. You can’t put that in concrete because we don’t know exactly how old he was when God spoke to him down in Ur.
But we know he was seventy-five when he went from Haran down into Canaan. And we also know that he was a hundred before Isaac was born. So it was somewhere between and 25 and 50 years that Abraham patiently waited for the promise of a son. Of course, we know that in the meantime, Abraham took things into his own hands for a short spat of weakened faith, but nevertheless he came back and he waited until finally his wife Sarah brought forth Isaac. So with that as a backdrop, that God will never go back on His promises, this is what God told him in verse 14.
“Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.”
Always stop and think. What are we talking about? We’re talking about one man who is already 75 years old. His legitimate wife is already 65, well past the normal age of expecting children. And then God makes them wait another 25 years. By that time you would think they would have totally given up. But you know, isn’t that the way it works.
I always tell people when they ask, “Why do we have to go through pressures and so forth before God answers.” I always use this comparison – I don’t know how many of you like to eat the blue concord grapes like I do. But the first thing I do when I put a blue concord grape in my mouth is, I squeeze out the pulp, you know what I’m talking about. And how that pulp in your mouth just pops out of the skin. Alright, That’s how I feel when God deals with me a lot of times? I feel like the pulp in that grape skin. He just squeezes me into the corner, tighter and tighter and I finally get to the place, “God aren’t you ever going to hear me?” Then ‘fsssst’- there’s the answer! And so this is what He did even with Abraham. He just squeezed him and squeezed him and I suppose Abraham was almost thinking he could never have a son by this 90 year-old wife.
And what happened? The miracle of God, she had the promised son Isaac! And so this is what we have to constantly remember, that God will never go back on His promises. And that’s what makes our Christian experience so exciting. Now verse 15.
“And so, after he had (what?) patiently endured, and he obtained (what?) the promise.” Here it came! A hundred years old – his wife 90, and here came the promise. Up until that time, he must have agonized, how will a nation of people possibly come from me when there’s no chance that my wife can have a child. But you see, Abraham, just like we, underestimated the power of God, but it came. And he got the promise. Verse 16.
“For men verily swear by the greater:…” In other words, the more authority you can get backing you up the better we like it. I imagine if you deal with corporations, I’ve found that you don’t like to make the underlings angry or anything like that but I’ve found one thing, if you want to get something done, you go as far up the ladder as you possibly can. Even if you have to bypass a few people that won’t like it. You go to the top if you want to get something done, and so, this is the same way here. Why go to anything less than the God of Creation, because He is the greatest that can give a word of promise.
Now then the two things that are mentioned here are the two immutable witnesses which would be His Word and His Oath. He not only spoke it but He promised it! He put an oath on it.
“…and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife.”
Now, the casual reader probably reads right over that. What does that really mean? Well, until you get somebody to sign on the dotted line, what is there still room for? Negotiation. But once you get them to sign on the dotted line, there’s no more argument. That’s what you signed, and that’s what you agreed to.
Well, that’s what God has done. God has sworn it with an oath, that these things are going to come to pass and there’s no room for argument. Oh, they can scoff all they want. The unbelieving world can ridicule it but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the Sovereign Creator God is in total control. It’s going to happen according to His timetable and you can rest on it. Verse 17.
“Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, (and He) confirmed it by an oath: 18. That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie (God cannot lie) we might have a strong consolation,…:” In other words, we can rest on these promises. I think for us today, the world is in a turmoil like I don’t think it has ever been before. When I pick up my weekly news magazines and it’s the Philippines, it’s Indonesia, it’s China, it’s Taiwan, it’s India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Israel – you just go all around the globe and it’s conflagration. Never have I seen it, at least in my lifetime, so completely global.
Now we know everything else is “global,” and so, are the problems. Now, the secular world out there doesn’t have an answer for it. All they do is worry and lose sleep and wonder whether there’s going to be another Enron debacle tomorrow. Well, we could care less, because you see, we haven’t got all our money tied up in earthly stocks – we as believers have got ours put up in Heaven. And it’s from there that we look for all of our final returns.
But, here we have it that since God cannot lie, He has given us all these promises that, yes, all the turmoil of the world has to happen. That doesn’t surprise me, and I hope it doesn’t surprise you. Because out of all this you see, the world is just getting set. The stage is getting prepared for the coming of the Anti-christ. And oh, he’s going to bring in a pseudo peace, he’s going to bring in what they normally think the Messiah would bring and so we know all these things are coming. And now, finish the verse, and so we are like those: “…who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:”
When I saw that word refuge, as I was preparing this, I thought of the Cities of Refuge in Israel’s history. Let’s go back to Joshua chapter 20. Here Joshua has now taken up the reins of leadership and Israel is moving into the Promised Land. And all the laws of civility are being laid upon the nation. How to get along with our neighbors as well as all the spiritual ramifications of the Law. But, in the midst of all their civil law was a unique one. And that was that Israel was to establish three cities of refuge on both sides of the Jordan Valley. Three between the Jordan the Mediterranean and three others between Jordan and the land to the east and around the east side of Galilee. Now these three cities of refuge then were just exactly that. They were a place where a person could flee and be totally protected in a unique circumstance.
“The Lord also spake unto Joshua, saying, 2. Speak to the children of Israel, saying, Appoint out for you cities of refuge, whereof I spake unto you by the hand of Moses: 3. That the slayer that killeth any person unaware and unwittingly…” In other words, he has no idea. I always use the example, there used to be a lot of hedgerows, I’m sure in Europe and the Middle East. And I can just picture this farmer cleaning the rocks off of his field. Because after all, Israel has their share of rocks. And I can just see him cleaning the rocks off of his field and he probably just threw them over a hedgerow to get them off his field. And one of them happened to hit a passer-by on the head and killed him.
Well, he had no intentions of killing anybody. Never even entered his mind. But, the fact remained that he had killed someone. So now what could he do? He could run to one of these cities of refuge, lest some avenger come and take advantage of him. Now that’s the picture. Not anybody with any malice. No premeditation but he has without any knowledge of his own killed someone unawares. Alright so that this person in verse 3 could do what?
“…may flee thither: and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood.”
So it goes on to say that he can be there in total safety. No one can come into that city of refuge and try to arrest him, or deal with him or anything else. The only thing is, of course, he’s not going to get off all that easy – he has to stay in that city of refuge until the high priest of that present day dies. Then, as soon as the high priest dies, he is free to go back to his own farm or whatever. Now, let’s drop down to verse 6 so you see where I’m coming from:
“And he shall dwell in that city, (the city of refuge) until he stand before the congregation for judgment, and until the death of the high priest that shall be in those days: then shall the slayer return, and come into his own city, unto his own house, and unto the city from whence he fled.” Now, that was refuge in a time of distinct need. That’s the first thing I think of when see that word. Now you can come back with me to Hebrews again. So here we have that blessed hope that we, too, have been able to “flee to the refuge” that the Lord Jesus Christ has made available, and we have entered into that refuge with our faith. Alright, and then again, reading verse 18, so as we flee to that place of refuge:
“…to lay hold upon the hope (there’s that word again, faith, hope and love. And now) set before us:” Oh, what is it? The promises of God! I just told a young man earlier this morning, “He has promised never to leave us nor forsake us.” Regardless of what may happen, He is always there and He will never leave us. Alright, and this hope then becomes:
“Which hope we have as an anchor or the soul….” An anchor that is steadfast. Immovable. And that anchor then is that which will permit us to enter into that which is behind or “within the veil.” Now, always stop and think as you read Hebrews – since Paul is dealing with primarily Jewish people, he uses all of his examples coming out of the Old Testament economy, because they knew what he was talking about then. Now, when he spoke of going in “within the veil” he was talking about that huge curtain across the Temple or, earlier, the Tabernacle that separated the front sanctuary from the Holy of Holies. So Paul is telling us that we are now able to enter in within, behind that veil, into the very Holy of Holies, the presence of God. In other words, there, behind the veil that every Jew understood hung there in the Temple:
“Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”
I want you to underline that word “Forerunner,” because in the next chapter, in the next verse we’re going to come back and pick up Melchisedec the high priest of all, who Jesus personified when He went in behind the veil. Now the word forerunner is a unique Greek word again, and it doesn’t just mean that he went in and accomplished the work of the high priest, but when he went in as a forerunner, he opened the way for everyone that follows him. What do I mean by that? You remember, in an earlier chapter in Hebrews, Paul called Christ the ‘captain of our salvation.’? And I pointed out that again, in the Greek, that word captain was really better translated “a file leader.”
In other words, I think I’ve used the analogy, if you can think back when the cavalry were still working in the west and I think we’ve all seen movies where the officer was up at the head of that line of horseback-riding cavalry, what was that? That was a “file” of soldiers going to battle, and the leader was out in front. Well now, that’s the way we can picture Christ. He is the Captain of all of us who are following as believers. As that Captain of our salvation, He then has become the forerunner, or again the word implies, someone who is at the head of the line. And He has led the way in behind the veil. Let’s look at Hebrews chapter 4 and verse 16, and these aren’t empty words. This is because the Captain of our salvation has been the forerunner Who has taken us through the veil right into the Holy of Holies whereby He tells:
“Let us there for come boldly into the throne of grace, (See that?) that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in our time of need.”
Why, because the forerunner has opened the way. He is the file leader Whom we are following and that takes us right into the throne room. Now, when the high priest of Israel went in behind the veil it was nothing like that. He had to come back out and no one else would dare go into the Holy of Holies except the high priest, once a year. It was a closed room, but for us, the file Leader has opened it up. The forerunner has gone ahead and now we have complete access to God. We don’t have to go through anyone else. Wherever we are, however we are, we can pray and know that He hears us.
Lesson One • Part II
Our High Priest
Hebrews 6:11 – 7:19
Alright, now let’s go right into where we left off in Hebrews in the last lesson. I ran out of time and didn’t get to finish chapter 6 the way I wanted to, and so for just a moment or two before we go into chapter 7, let’s go back to chapter 6. Let me put a few more comments on verse 20. Getting back to that word “forerunner.”
“Whether the forerunner (the captain or the Author of our salvation, Jesus the Christ ) for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”
Remember, for those of us in this Age of Grace, we are in a totally different scenario than Israel was in Christ’s earthly ministry. And so I’m going to bring you back to I Corinthians chapter 4 where Paul makes a statement that a lot of people don’t like. But when people say, “Well I follow Jesus,” then that’s making a pretty strong statement. And I don’t say it to be superfluous or anything like that, but I always put it this way. If you’re going to follow Jesus, what are you going to do when He comes to the shore of the Sea of Galilee and keeps going?” You can’t follow Him. You can’t walk on water. And the same way with a lot of things that He did in His earthly ministry.
But, here we have the Apostle of the Gentiles, the Apostle Paul, who never, never attempts to take the place of Christ in anything. In fact, that’s all Paul suffered for for twenty-five years, was to lift up the name of Jesus Christ. But here he says in I Corinthians chapter 4 verse 16, and take this to heart because, after all, all of our doctrines for this Age of Grace come from the pen of this Apostle. That doesn’t mean, as I’ve said over and over on this program; we don’t throw the Old Testament away. You don’t throw out the Four Gospels, and you don’t throw away the book of Revelation or any of that. But when it comes to basic doctrines for us in this Age of Grace, Paul is the Apostle for the Gentiles. So he says, in verse 16:
I Corinthians 4:16
“Wherefore I beseech you, (I beg you) be ye followers (he doesn’t say of Jesus, but of who?) of me.” Alright, now what does he mean by that? To pick that up you’ve got to turn and look at another verse. This should make it easier to swallow – I Corinthians 11 verse 1 where again the admonition is:
I Corinthians 11:1
“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”
So it stands to reason that the Apostle is not taking anything away from Christ’s leadership or from the fact that He is the Captain of our salvation. But you want to remember that as Paul came in, he too was the “head of the line” of lost sinners saved by grace as he made so plain:
I Timothy 1:16
“That in me (Paul) first, Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”
Since Paul was the first (and a pattern for the Church), we’d better pay attention to the instructions that he gives for salvation. Our Lord used Paul to write these great doctrines of Grace based on the finished work of the Cross. And so, since he is the one to whom all these things were revealed, you see, this is why the Holy Spirit inspired him to write, “be ye followers of me.” Paul is the one who has truth for this day and age. Now then, let’s just finish verse 20 and get ready for chapter 7.
“Wherefore the forerunner…”
The Lord Jesus Himself is the One Who opened it up and as most of you know when the darkness fled and Christ gave up the ghost there back in the crucifixion, what happened to the veil at the Temple? Well, it was rent in twain. Not from the bottom up where men could have done it, but from the top down, showing that it was an act of God. Well this is all tied together, that as He opened up the veil and we are now given access into the very throne room of God, but we do it through the teachings of the Apostle Paul who was our particular leader as a member of the human race.
Alright chapter 7 verse 1, as we come back to Melchisedec. I say back to Melchisedec because we mentioned Him back in chapter 5. Let’s look at those verses beginning with verse 9.
“And being made perfect, (or totally complete. He brought everything to fruition) he became the author (there’s that word again instead of Captain) of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; 10. Called of God, an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.”
But, then we drop Melchisedec, as not another word is spoken throughout all of chapter 6 or the rest of chapter 5 until we get to chapter 7. Now why? Well, next verse in Hebrews 5 verse 11 tells us. These people were not ready for any teaching concerning Melchisedec. They were too unspiritual. They were still babes in Christ. They couldn’t comprehend this priesthood of Melchisedec, and I imagine that’s most of church people today. Most people haven’t got a clue as to this priesthood of Melchisedec. And who he was and what he accomplished. And here’s the reason:
“Of whom (he says) we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing you are dull of hearing.” They weren’t ready for anything concerning Melchisedec. And then he goes on and he brings them to task, that even though they should have by now had enough handle on all of these things to go out and teach others, could they? No. No, they couldn’t teach anybody, they didn’t know it themselves.
So, everything down through here and then all the problems that we covered with those who were apostate up in chapter 6 and all these other things, he had to bring them down to the place where we just finished now in chapter 6 that they now understood. They now understood that the way into the Holiest of all had been opened up because of what Christ had accomplished on the Cross. And so now then, if we understand that much, hopefully, we’re ready to study Melchisedec. Now that’s the way I have to look at it. All of a sudden, because they were carnal believers and still on milk, Paul had to drop the subject of Melchisedec in chapter 5, until he got to the end of chapter 6, and hopefully they are becoming more mature, and getting there, and ready to understand about Melchisedec. Now let’s look at chapter 7 verse 1.
“For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God,…” Now if you don’t mind marking your Bible, underline those three words. The “most high God.”
“…who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; 2. To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;”
Which means in the Hebrew ‘Shalom,’ he was the King of peace. Let’s go back and pick all that up in Genesis chapter 14. Here we will be introduced for the first time to this high priest of the most high God. In the Hebrew I think it was El Elyon. Now, we’re going to take this rather slowly because, like Paul indicates, you can’t understand these things concerning Melchisedec if you don’t have a pretty good handle on mature spiritual things.
“And the king of Sodom went out to meet him (that is Abraham) after his return from the slaughter of the Chedorlaomer, (who had invaded Sodom and Gomorrah and had taken Lot and all of his family with them) and the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh which is the king’s dale. Remember Abraham is coming back having been victorious, and had rescued Lot and his family.
And Melchizedek king of Salem (The King of Peace, which of course are the last letters of the city of Jerusalem, and would be the city of Jerusalem in a later day) brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.”
Now the most high God is a term that is never used concerning the children of Israel. The children of Israel were more acquainted with the term Jehovah, or El Shaddai but “the most high God” you see, as I’ve stressed in other lessons is the term of God that was not unique just to Israel, but to the whole of creation. He’s “the most high God” of everything. Jehovah is primarily the God concerning Israel. But this is the “most high God” and you’ll see this throughout Scripture.
I’m going to make a couple of points before we leave and chase down this title. We have this first introduction to Melchizedek with Abraham here at about 2000 BC. I say about, because we don’t know within a hundred years or so. But here we’re introduced to this high priest of the most high God at about 2000 BC. Now we might as well follow the Scripture so that you’ll follow me there and then we’ll come back. Jump all the way up to Psalms 110, and I think it’s verse 4. There is no mention of him in between from Genesis to Psalms. And now the Psalmist writes:
“The LORD has sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”
Let me give you a thought provoking question. How many years have passed by since Abraham was introduced to the priest of the most high and until David puts it here in the Psalms? About a thousand! A thousand years have gone by from Melchizedek’s introduction to Abraham until David. Now then, how many years went by from David until Paul brings him up again in Hebrews? Another thousand. Thousand year intervals, that we are introduced to this high priest Melchizedek. Amazing isn’t it?
Alright let’s come back to Genesis and let’s just pick this apart a little further. This Melchizedek, the priest of the “most high God,” meets Abraham and he brought forth bread and wine. Now, number one, was it a practical gift? You don’t know what I’m driving at do you? How many people are in this particular little unit with Abraham at this time? How many soldiers did he take out of his hired help? Three hundred. So he’s had three hundred men who have just come back from battle and they’re famished and they’re thirsty and so in the physical realm, what does this Melchizedek provide? Food and water for Abraham’s troops!
But then it goes so much further than that. Where does bread and wine become a high point in the life of the believer? Well at the Lord’s table. The Lord’s table and what did it speak of? His shed Blood and His broken body. And so, all these things have ramifications. Now, we don’t see anything concerning Melchizedek in the operation of God in Israel because Melchizedek is not in the line of Levi and the priests of Israel. He’s the priest of “the most high God.” Who was not just the priest of Israel, he was the priest of all. And that’s what I want people to see. This Melchizedek was a high priest of “the most high God.”
Now we’ve done this before but let’s do it again. So turn with me now to Daniel because I want you to see that we have no references to Melchisedec’s priesthood throughout Israel’s history because Israel wasn’t connected per se with “the most high God.” Don’t take me too literal on that. Of course, “the most high God” was the same God as Jehovah and El Shaddai and all that. But, in terms of language for our own understanding, we have these different names of God. The same God. They’re not different, they’re the same One, but in the role, in the operation, God has given us these different nomenclatures to show that He is dealing with the non-Jew as He is with the Nation of Israel. Alright here in Daniel chapter 4, start with verse 1.
“Nebuchadnezzar (Jew or Gentile? Gentile!) the king, unto all people, nations, and languages,…”
Is that just Israel? Now I think most of you, especially if you’ve been watching the programs lately in the morning in the book of Acts, what do I stress? Is there any Gentile language in here? No, there isn’t any Gentile language in Acts chapters 2 ,3 or 4. It’s all Jewish. Now I can ask the same question in reverse. Are there any Jews in here? No. This is Gentile. And so he says:
“…that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. (He’s not talking directly to the Jew. He’s talking to the nations. So Nebuchadnezzar says) 2. I thought it good to show the signs and wonders that the high God hath shown toward me.” Who’s he talking about? “The most high God” of Whom, Melchizedek was the high priest.
You can come on over in that same chapter to verse 17. Now this isn’t by accident. This is by design, the intricacy again of the Scriptures. That everything is so intricately put together.
“This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand of the word by the holy ones; to the intent that the living may know that the most high ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will,…” Drop down to verse 34:
“And at the end of the days, I, Nebuchadnezzar (the Gentile king) lifted up my eyes unto heaven, and my understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most high, and I praised and honored him that liveth forever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, (He’s the most high God) and his kingdom is from generation to generation:”
Alright I’ve got one more while we’re in Daniel chapter 5 – verse 18, because I want to drum into you that this is a term or a name of God as He is associated with the non-Jewish world. Now I probably should qualify that. The Jews are part of the whole big picture, but they are more concerned with Jehovah God and El Shaddai and some of these others, but “the most high” is always connected with the non-Jewish world.
“O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty and glory, and honour:”
You can go all the way through Scripture then, and whenever you have a reference to the “most high God,” you’re dealing with the non-Jewish world. And that’s why Paul speaks of it now with regard to the Melchisedec priesthood back there in Hebrews that he was the priest of “the most high God.” Alright let’s come back to Genesis, because when the Scripture repeats and repeats and repeats, it’s for a reason. It’s not here just to fill the page.
“And he blessed him, and he said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God,…”
You want to remember, has the Nation of Israel appeared yet? No, Israel isn’t on the scene yet. God is just now beginning to deal with Abraham, and there’s no Law. There’s not even circumcision yet, and so the relationship between this man who is not yet part and parcel of the Nation of Israel is “the most high God.”
“And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth;” You have almost the same kind of language in Matthew concerning Christ, how that He too was Lord of all. Alright, verse 20:
“And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.” Then once more in verse 22.
“And Abram again said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth,”
Okay, now I’ve already touched on the one in Psalms. A thousand years later, but nothing associated with it. It’s just that God designates the Messiah, the Son of God as the One Who will be Melchizedek the priest of “The most high God.” Alright, in the moments we have left let’s flip back to Hebrews if you will. Chapter 7 verse 2.
“To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all;”
Which of course we know, and I’ve made reference to that in previous programs. That the giving of the ten-percent or the tithe, began with Abraham in Genesis. It funneled into the Law as part of the Levitical provision and then of course the Apostle Paul tells us that we are not under Law, we’re under Grace. Which takes away the responsibility of the ten-percent in our giving. Now Paul says, that we give as the Lord lays on our heart. Big difference. And there is no demand to give a flat ten-percent. But that’s beside the point on this program.
We want to go on now – that He is the King of Righteousness, He’s Holy, He’s Omnipotent, but here’s the part I want to spend the next few moments on. He is the “King of Salem,” which, like I said a few moments ago, are the last letters of Jerusalem, or the city of peace, which is to say the King of peace.
“…first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;”
I want you to stop and think for a moment – in all the thousands of years that we know Jerusalem has been on the scene beginning with Abraham at 2000 BC, how many days of peace has Jerusalem enjoyed? Not one. It has been a city of turmoil from day one. And especially in the last 2000 years. Just stop and think of all the various empires that have overrun Jerusalem. It has been anything but the city of peace.
Then especially when Israel came back into the land after World War II and fought their war of independence in 1948. Jerusalem was besieged again and she has been over and over up through the centuries with bloodshed and mayhem. It’s unbelievable that the city of peace has never enjoyed peace. Well, look at her tonight. Look at Jerusalem tonight. Is it a city of peace? Anything but. It’s in constant turmoil. Well, you have ask, “Why?” When God has designated it as the city of peace, why has it been a constant city of turmoil. Well again, what do we have to do? Patiently wait. God has promised that it’s going to be a city of peace. Do you believe it? Yes!
I know one time on one of our tours, we had a rather orthodox Jewish guide and at breakfast one morning I asked him, “When will you settle all these Middle Eastern problems?” And I’ll never forget, with his chubby finger said, “When He comes.” And he’s so right. There’ll be no peace in Jerusalem, I don’t care who tries to broker it. There will be no peace in the city of peace until Christ returns. And so a logical prayer for us is, “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”
Lesson One • Part III
Our High Priest
Hebrews 6:11 – 7:19
Well, Iris just reminded me that we’re in Book 50 if anyone wants to order any material from today’s lesson. I tell all my Oklahoma classes, I wouldn’t last a day without her, and I truly mean that. I just wouldn’t last without her, because she keeps everything pretty much straightened out.
Okay, back to Hebrews chapter 7 and we’re going to continue on in our study of this Melchisedec, a high priest of “the most high God.” Now I always have to emphasize; God is God. We don’t have two or three different God’s in Scripture. We have One God! But Scripture does associate Him with different names. Especially back in Genesis. You’ve got El Shaddai, El Elyon, and you’ve got Elohim and you’ve got Jehovah and those are all various names of the same God. Of course, Jesus Christ, born in Nazareth, was the appearance in the flesh of that same God. So, when we come to Melchisedec I have to feel we’re speaking of the same God. Jesus Christ in a theophany, as a priest of The Most High God.
I know I ruffle a few feathers once in a while, that but I guess that’s the beauty of being independent. I’ll never forget one time I had filled the pulpit for a church in our area and on the way out, one of the ladies asked why I wasn’t a pastor in their denomination. And without even thinking, I said, “I couldn’t stand the peer pressure.”
Well, I mean that. I have to hold myself responsible only to the Lord of glory and that I do not take lightly. Whenever I open the Scripture I realize that this is an awesome responsibility. But I do feel that Melchisedec was Jesus Christ in a theophany. In other words, back in Genesis 18, my goodness, who in the world sat down and ate the fatted calf under the oak tree with Abraham? Well, it was the Lord. We know it was because Scripture said it was. And other times the Lord appeared in human form and then went up. And so I see no reason to take anything away from the fact that Melchisedec was simply Christ again, in an earthly manifestation. Because after all, Jerusalem in 2000 BC wasn’t some metropolis that needed a king. His title of king was a future thing more than a present. And so I have to feel, especially in view of verse 3 of this chapter 7, it could be no one but the Lord.
After all the Lord of glory is everything. He’s God the Father, He’s God the Son, He’s God the Spirit and you can’t take anything away from Him. And then, Colossians tells us that Jesus Christ was the Godhead in bodily form. Well, I don’t know how you can take anything away from that. So now as you come into verse 3, this Melchisedec, the king of peace was:
“Without father, without mother, without descent, (or without a genealogy) having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; (now if that isn’t a description of God I don’t know what is! And nothing else would fit, at least in my book.) but made like unto the Son of God;”
Well, in human form for a little while. And we know like I pointed out in the last program, you don’t even hear the name Melchisedec for another thousand years. So He must have left that opportunity of presenting Abraham with the bread and wine and then just simply went back into the invisible Godhead as He did in Genesis 18, and at the burning bush and various other places. Alright, the last part of verse 3.
“…abideth a priest (not a year at a time. Not for 50 or 60 years. But how long?) continually.”
It never ends. He’s eternal in the heavens. And so His priesthood is that which never ends. Now in verse 4. Paul, and remember who he’s talking to, is talking to Jews who had embraced Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah but they were still practicing the Law. The were not ready to break from the legalism and step into grace. At least that’s the way I have to look at this whole scenario. So now he’s using all these Old Testament things to convince these Jews that he wasn’t some renegade coming from out of left field. He was simply bringing them from one period of time and an area of instruction into another. We’ve covered that when we went into chapter 6 verse 1. What did he say? “Now leave the principles of the first words of Christ?” Paul didn’t say, to abandon them, but to move on.
I gave you plenty of illustrations of what I thought that meant. You just simply don’t abandon what’s behind but you build on it and it’s a progressive revelation. Alright, so now verse 4 where Paul says:
“Now consider (just stop and think for a little bit) how great this man was,…” You know what word throws a curve at everybody? “Man” M-A-N. Well, let me show you something. Come back to I Timothy chapter 2 and verse 5.
I Timothy 2:5
“For there is one God, (I’ve already stressed that) and one mediator between God and men, the (what?) man (the man!) Christ Jesus;”
Now that doesn’t take away His Deity. Because all the way through from His birth on through His ministry and on through His revelations to the Apostle Paul, we’re always stressing that He was totally God but on the other hand He was human.
And so, as His mediatorship comes in, it’s the “man Christ Jesus.” And after all, we have to realize – now let me back up – I always have a hard time the night before these tapings trying to determine how much I can cover per half-hour for four half-hours. Now that’s not easy. Well, I’ve just about given up. I’m just going to let the Spirit lead. Come on back to Acts.
Alright, so here is something that I hadn’t even thought of last night. But, when it speaks of the “man Christ Jesus” as being our mediator. Come back with me to Acts chapter 1 because this is fundamental, this is elementary. And I’m not going to take your mind away from the priesthood of Melchisedec but I want you to see how that Christ is the logical explanation for this particular revelation of a priesthood.
“To whom also he (Jesus, coming out of His resurrection) showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them (that is the disciples, the eleven not counting Judas, of course.) forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:”
Alright now come on over to verse 9 still in Acts chapter 1. Remember the eleven saw Him, and Paul rehearses it in I Corinthians 15, the resurrection chapter. “That first He was seen of the eleven. And then of over five hundred at one time and then he says last of all He was seen of me also.” Now we’re not talking about an invisible spirit. We’re talking about a human appearance. Now Acts 1:9. And remember Christ is in His resurrected body with the nail-pierced hands.
“And when he had spoken these things, while they (the eleven) beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.”
Now how do you picture the ascension? Just a puff of cloud going up? Some invisible spirit going up? Why, no. He went up bodily. I just mentioned a verse in Colossians that will help. So let’s find it in chapter 2, and let’s drop down to verse 8.
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Now that’s why I had to use this verse. So that you see Who we’re talking about. That we are supposed to stay true to Christ! Now the next verse.
“For in him (Christ) dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead (how?) bodily.”
Bodily. In human form. That same body that came out of the tomb, where he showed Thomas the nail-prints and where on the Sea of Galilee ,what did He do? Fixed breakfast. Remember I told you in the last taping, that must have been the best tasting fish that any human ever tasted. Because He fixed it and no wonder He asked Peter, “do you love me more than these?” That probably was a tough question because that must have been delicious food if the Lord fixed it. But, was He in some invisible spirit form when He did that? No. They saw him standing there on the shore.
And so this is what we have to establish. That Christ in His resurrected body was just as visible as He was in His earthly ministry. Alright, so as He is now our intercessor, and He’s the mediator. But He’s also the high priest of “the most high God.”
Never forget that. I’m going to drum that, like I said last time, I’m going to let you hear it in your sleep. “The most high God.” That’s who He is the high priest of. Then verse 5 of Hebrews chapter 7.
“So verily they that are of the sons of Levi, (out of whom the priesthood came, remember, who ministered at the Temple) who received the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the (what?) Law,…”
Another verse comes to mind that I never thought of last night. But, I’m going to take you back to it. Flip back to Romans chapter 6, and here it’s as plain as day that tithing, the ten percent, was part of the Law. Remember I want you to see what Romans chapter 6 says about the Law, and let’s drop in at verse 14. I mean this is plain English.
“For sin (or the old Adam) shall not have dominion over you: (in other words, we’ve been set free from his control by virtue of our salvation. Now here it is) for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”
Plain enough? We’re not under any law. Now that doesn’t give us license. You’ve heard me say that a few hundred times. But we’re not under any stipulated law that says, “thou shalt and thou shalt not” command. We are not under the Law but we’re under grace. I better follow that up with what that means – come back with me now to II Corinthians chapter 9. I better do this or I’ll be on the hot seat for a few weeks. Now this is what takes the place of the Law of tithing. The Law of tithing was set aside, along with all the Law, when Christ finished the work of the Cross and put us under Grace. Oh most people don’t know this, because they have not been taught it. But in this next Scripture is where we are at in the Body of Christ, the true Church today!
II Corinthians 9:6-7
“But this I say, he which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.””
What controls the heart of the believer? The Holy Spirit! So as the Spirit gives us directions, we give. Whether it’s 2% or 100%. The Spirit is going to direct us. Alright, and so he says, “As every man purposeth in his heart, so let him give.” Now if the Spirit is going to move us to give, are you going to give grudgingly? Well, of course not. You’re going to give cheerfully.
Now let’s come back again to Hebrews chapter 7. So Abraham of course, gave the tenth of all that he had gotten through the battle with the kings of Chedorlaomer, but he gave a tenth to the high priest, Melchisedec. Now reading verse 5 again.
“And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, (in other words, out of the Nation of Israel. Not from any Gentiles) though they were come out of the loins of Abraham:” Naturally, because Abraham was the father of all these tribes of Israel.
“But he whose decent (or genealogy) is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him who had the promises.”
Well, what promises? Out of you is going to come a nation of people. To you and your people I’m going to give this area of land. Those were the promises to Abraham. Do you see that?
“And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.” What does that tell you? Isn’t that what the whole theme of Hebrews has been? That was good, but this is better. Over and over. Even in the first six chapters, yes, the angels are something else. But who’s better than the angels? Christ. The Law was good but what’s better? Grace. And all the way through, we’ve seen the comparison from that which was good to that which is now so much better.
So again, he says, there’s no contradiction here. That, that which is less, that which was now put behind is blessed because of this which is so much better. Now verse 8.
“And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.” He’s alive ever more. Never to have to lay down His priesthood because of death as we’ll see later in this same chapter. Now verse 9.
“And as I may so say, Levi (the priestly tribe, remember) also, who receiveth tithes, (now this is tough) paid tithes in Abraham.” What does he mean by that? How could Levi pay tithes in, what would that be? His grandfather? Well, you see, it was just by virtue of the promises that out of Abraham would come these twelve tribes of Israel. And everything that followed went back to the promises made to Abraham.
That’s why Paul alludes to Abraham so often when it comes to faith. That we can have faith like the man of faith, Abraham. And Abraham was not saved under Law. He was saved before the Law was given. And he became a believer by faith and faith alone. Even circumcision hadn’t entered in yet. Abraham believed God, Romans says, and it – his believing – was accounted unto him for righteousness.
Then after he became a man of faith, yes, then circumcision followed. Then the Nation of Israel appeared, and then came the Law. But Abraham was never under any of the ramifications of the Law. Alright verse 10 tells us what I just told you. Why did Levi pay tithes?
“He was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him. 11. If therefore perfection (or moving on to a maturity. If that) were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law.) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?”
Now let’s see if we can break this down. What’s he saying? If the legal system of the Mosaic Law, the Levitical priesthood, the Temple worship, the sacrifices, the tithing, all the things that were part and parcel of the Law; had that been perfect would there have been a need for anything else? Well, of course not. If you’ve got something perfect you leave it alone. Isn’t that what we say today. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Sure.
But, the Levitical system wasn’t perfect. Oh, it was anything but. It was perfect from God’s side, naturally. God can’t make anything that isn’t perfect. But see, the Law in its operation depended on the flesh. Now let me show you. Come back to Galatians chapter 4, verses 8 and 9. Remember why we chased some of these verses down. We’re showing now that the Mosaic system or Judaism (as probably we know it better), was not perfect. It was anything but. And, consequently, it had to be left behind and go to that which is better. Here Paul writes to the Gentiles up there in Galatia who were being subjected to legalism.
“Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, (in other words, when they were still in their paganism) ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. (they were worshipping idols.) 9. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God,…” In other words, they had become believers. They had become joint heirs with Christ. They’d become members of the Body. Now then he says:
“…how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements whereunto you desire again to be in bondage.” What’s he talking about? What’s the weak and beggarly? The Law. Now if you think through all this, why was the Law beggarly? Well, it demanded things that the human race couldn’t keep and it had no power to give them victory over their temptations.
You know, when I taught Romans, I just stressed over and over, all the Law could do was condemn, condemn, condemn. You’re sinners. You’re lawbreakers, and the Law couldn’t give them any power to overcome it, so, consequently, it was beggarly. Another good one is still in Galatians. Turn the page to chapter 5 verse 1.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty (the freedom) wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
What’s the yoke of bondage? The Law. Now who likes to live under a yoke of bondage? I don’t. But you see, this is exactly what the Law did to Israel and this is why they have such a hard time keeping it. I could take you back to Acts where Peter admits the same thing. He said, “even our fathers couldn’t keep it, because it was a yoke.” Peter used the same word. And so the Law you see, was nothing but demands that the human race could not comprehend. They couldn’t keep it and so we have to tell ourselves; we’re not under Law, we’re under grace.
Well, I guess our time is gone but we’ll come back and pick the next program up again in Hebrews chapter 7 – but always remember that the Law, the Temple worship for its time, it was good. It had all the ramifications that brought us up to the coming of the Messiah. But now as a belief system with this over here on this side of the Cross that is so much better, why not leave it in the dust where it belongs? But you see most of Christendom is still doing the same thing. Most of Christendom is still bringing certain ramifications of the Law into our present day Age of Grace!
Lesson One • Part IV
Our High Priest
Hebrews 6:11 – 7:19
Alright, I guess we can just go right back to where we left off in the last lesson, and that’s in Hebrews chapter 7 verse 11.
“If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, [in other words, if the Law and Judaism were all that there was to be gained] (for under it the people received the law,) [well if that’s the case] what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?” In other words, the Aaronic priesthood began in Exodus. Remember Aaron was the brother of Moses and was the first priest of Israel. And that priesthood carried all the way through to the time of Christ and even though the veil was rent in twain when Christ died on the Cross, the Jewish people sewed it back up, at least according to legend. And they continued on with their Temple worship until Titus destroyed it in 70 AD.
But, we as believers understand that when Christ finished the work of the Cross, He also finished the demands of the Law, because He was the fulfillment of the Law. And when we enter into this salvation by grace, we are no longer under the demands of the Mosaic system. But now, our high priest is not of the line of Aaron, but the one of Melchisedec who, as I’ve said in an earlier program, I feel was Christ Himself. Now verse 12.
“For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.” You couldn’t just change part of it; it had to all go. And the whole idea of Hebrews is that the Jewish people had to realize that the Mosaic system had now become moot. It was no longer necessary to practice Temple worship and sacrifices and tithing and all those things that were demanded by the Law because we now are under a priesthood that was not out of Aaron or Levi, but from the priesthood of Melchisedec (Christ).
“For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.” Now that should shake people up! This priest didn’t even come from the Levitical priestly tribe. This priest came from the kingly tribe of Judah. And Judah, of course, was the tribe that was always leading the tribes when they moved, and it was out of Judah that the second king, David, came. Saul the first king, was from the line of Benjamin, but Judah was the designated tribe to produce the kings of Israel. So, it’s out of this kingly tribe that this priest Melchisedec comes, which is Jesus Christ. Verse 13 again.
“For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.”
A few weeks ago, I took you back to the Old Testament where the Israelite Korah, who thought that Moses and Aaron were just a little bit too big for their own britches said, “After all, why can’t I present a sacrifice at the altar?” Of course, Moses got highly exercised, and he said, “Alright, we’ll put you to the test. If you think you have a right to exercise the role of a priest, we’ll do such and such.” Remember we read all the verses. And God was so angry that the earth opened up and the families of Korah went down into the pit. Well, what did it show us? Just that no one dared enter into the priesthood except the line of Levi.
Now we saw another one with King Saul in our last taping. Oh, what was Saul’s big downfall? He too, exercised the right of a priest and offered a sacrifice. And Samuel told him, “Saul how can you be so foolish? You don’t do that.” And we know what happened to Saul. Well, here it is again. No man, unless they were from the lineage of Levi, could possibly exercise the role of a priest. It was forbidden. Verse 14.
“For it is evident that our Lord (Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, the Son as we see Him epitomized here in Hebrews) sprang out of Judah: of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. 15. And it is even far more evident: for that after the similitude (or the likeness) of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest.” A totally different priest, not of the Aaronic, not of the tribe Levi but out of the tribe of Judah. Now verse 16.
“Who is made,…” Here again I feel Melchisedec was a theophany of Christ in the Old Testament. He’s only mentioned in Psalms but now here we have him exemplified as “our high priest” because of what He accomplished at the Cross.
“Who is made, not after the law of a carnal (or a fleshly) commandment,…” That goes back to what we said in the last hour, that the Law was beggarly and fleshly. That’s hard for people to comprehend, because they thought the Law was spiritual, it was perfect. It was from God’s point of view.
But, from man’s point of view there was no power given to keep it. So what did it become? Fleshly, carnal and it was something that man could not deal with. In fact, Corinthians tells us the same thing, that the Law was a minister of death. The Law was a minister of death? Yes. Because it had no power to help people keep the Law. Let me show you a reference in Romans chapter 3.
While coming to Romans, that gave me time enough to find the verse in Corinthians also. Now these are verses that most people do not understand. They don’t even know they’re in their Bible. And I’ve given an example before, I’ll never forget one time I was teaching it and had young pastor in the midst. When I read this verse, I could just about see his mouth drop open. He’d never seen it before, I know he hadn’t, but here it is.
“Now we know that what things soever the law (the Ten Commandments) saith, it saith to them who are under the law: (that is Israel) that every mouth (the whole world now not just Israel) may be stopped and all the world (not just Israel. The law condemned the whole world. What does the rest of the verse say? They) become guilty before God.”
People are not saved under the Law. They don’t become righteous, but rather they’re guilty. Now see, most people don’t believe that. I’m amazed when people will tell me, when they’ve had an enlightenment and they’ve seen these things and they go back and show it to their church people and their church people will read it and then you know what they say? “But I don’t believe it.” Now isn’t that sad? They better believe it, because it’s the Word of God and they better believe it or they’re in trouble. Alright, so this they don’t like. “That the Law just simply makes man guilty.” Now look at the next verse.
“Therefore by the deeds (or the keeping of the Law) there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: (why?) for by the law is the knowledge of (not life but what?) sin.” That’s all the Law can do is show man their sin. Not a word in Scripture ever gives the Law credit for bringing people to salvation. Never! All the Law can do is convince us that we’re sinners, which of course, we have to do before we can be saved. But see, that’s the Law. And that’s why it was imperfect. It filled the gap between Moses and Christ, yes. It kept the Nation of Israel in a relationship with Jehovah, yes. But so far as really being the answer to mankind’s dilemma, no. It was weak, and it was beggarly. Now I told you I found the one in Corinthians over in chapter 3.
II Corinthians 3:3
“Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, (in other words, their daily life was to be like the Word of God in print) written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the Living God; (as the Spirit energizes you and I in our daily life) not in tables of stone, (such as Moses brought down from the mountain, you know) but in fleshly tables of the heart.” In other words, the Word of God should just simply be seen in our daily lives. Now verses 4 and 5.
II Corinthians 3:4-6
“And such trust we have through Christ to God-ward: 5. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; (here’s the verse that shook them up.) 6. Who also (God) hath made us able ministers of the new testament; (this on this side of the Cross) not of the letter, (which is a reference in Scripture of the Law) but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” Let me qualify. Israel understood right from wrong by virtue of what the Law said. They understood it was wrong to murder because the Law said “Thou shalt not murder.” And all through the Ten Commandments you have really the whole sphere of human behavior. Everything you can imagine is covered in those Ten Commandments.
So there was no doubt as to what God called right and what He called wrong. When we say that we’re not under the Law it isn’t that we are now free to steal or murder. Remember we’ve got something better than the written Law. And what is it? The indwelling Holy Spirit. The Spirit will never tell a believer to go and steal. The Holy Spirit will never tell a believer to gossip. It’s against His personality.
And so, what we lay down when we say we’re not under the Law, we pick up through the energizing power of the indwelling Spirit. That’s why I say that when we’re under grace, it’s not license. Under grace, the Spirit comes in and becomes then the driving force and the keeping power for the believer. Now looking at verse 6 again:
II Corinthians 3:6-7a
“Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter (The Commandments) but of the spirit (now here it comes) for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. 7. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones,…” Well goodness, what’s that talking about? The Ten Commandments. They were a ministration of death. People can’t understand that, but I hope you do. It was because all the Law could do was condemn. It couldn’t give anybody life. It was a ministration of death, because you see, Paul says so clearly then in Romans 6:23:
“For the wages of sin is (what?) death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Now coming back to II Corinthians 3:7, let’s finish verse 7.
II Corinthians 3:7
“But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones was glorious, (it was from God’s point. It was perfect) so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory has to be done away:” What does that mean? The Law has to go. There comes a point in human history where the Law is going to have to be set aside. And when was that? When Christ finished the work of the Cross. Now let me show you another verse that says the same thing. Turn to Colossians chapter 2. This is a verse that we’ve used often over the years.
“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was (what? For us or against us?) against us,” Because it was impossible in the flesh to keep them all. Now I’m not going to say this dogmatically but I think I’ve mentioned often enough on the program, that by the time of our New Testament, and the time of Christ, the Law had been degenerated, watered down – from Ten commandments to how many? Six hundred and thirteen. Six hundred thirteen rules and regulations made up the Mosaic Law at the time of Christ. Well, could any man keep them? No.
And this is my own view. I’m not saying that this is what the Scripture says. But I think that this handwriting of ordinances that was against the Jewish people were those 613 rules and regulations.
“…which were contrary to us, and (look what Christ did) he took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.” What does the Cross do? Puts it to death. And so when you look at the Law, whether you want to look at the Ten Commandments or whether you want to look at all 613 that the Rabbis had put together, I don’t care. It was all nailed to His Cross. Why? Because when He finished the death, burial and resurrection, He satisfied all the demands of those commandments on the human race. And now we’ve been set free and we’re under grace.
Now let’s come back to Hebrews. So under this whole new economy, where we’re not under the Law, we’re under grace. We also have a new high priest. Not of the priesthood of Aaron and Levi, but one who was of the priests of “the most high God.” You’re going to hear that in your sleep tonight? “The most high God” who was the God of everybody, not just Israel. And so this high priest is going to represent every tongue and tribe and nation. Now let’s move on into verse 15, or just reread it.
“And it is far more evident; for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest. 16. Who is made, not after the law of a carnal (or a fleshly) commandment, but after the power of (what kind of a life?) an endless life.” He’s eternal. He comes out of eternity past and He’ll go on into eternity future. Without end, and without beginning.
“For he testifieth, (coming out of Psalms now 110) Thou art a priest for ever…” That’s never going to end. Now goodness sakes, I don’t have to tell you. How long did the priesthood last of the priests of Israel? Until they died! That ended it. Death ends everything, and it’s the same way with the priesthood. When the priest died, his priesthood went with him. It ended. But you see, with this priest it will never end. He ever liveth and intercedes for us. Alright, verse 18.
“For there is verily a disannulling (or a canceling out) of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.”
Are you getting the point? Oh, the Law had its purpose. It was perfect from God’s vantage point, but it was weak and fleshly so far as men were concerned and so it fades off. It failed miserably. My, if you doubt that, have you read your Old Testament lately? Just go back and read Judges. Go back and read the prophets. How much effect did the Law have on the behavior of the Israelites? Well it didn’t have much. Because most of them were the pits. Now that may fly in the face of some of my Jewish listeners and I know I’ve got quite a few. But all you have to do is read the account and the most visible one or the most understandable one is when Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal up there on Mt. Carmel. And after he had run from the threats of Jezebel, you remember, he goes all the way down to the Negev and sits down under a juniper tree and poor Elijah said, “Lord take my life. because I’m the only one left, they’ve all followed Baal.”
Now listen, who was the promoter of Baal worship at that time in Israel? What woman? Jezebel. So what does that tell you? They were living in rank immorality, and Elijah thought he was the only one that wasn’t. That tells you enough, but God, was merciful enough to say, “Now Elijah, you’re not quite the only one left that is true to me. I’ve still got seven thousand.”
Now seven thousand out of an average population of seven million over Israel’s history, I’ve said this over and over. What percentage is that? One tenth of one percent, that had remained true to Jehovah. The rest had all followed in the worship of Baal. I know Jewish people will probably try to tell me, well, they’re still all going to be saved because they were under the covenant promises, but I don’t think so.
But that just goes to show you that the Law, the Mosaic system, didn’t work. But now come up to Christ’s earthly ministry. How many of the Jews at Christ’s time were true exemplary believers? Very few. Oh they were religious. They kept Temple worship. They kept the feast days. But very few were true believers. So the Law of Moses just didn’t affect the nation that much. Well, then of course, we come into our own day and it hasn’t changed has it? Even the Gospel of Grace has not made that much difference in the world’s behavior. Verse 19.
“(just like we read in Romans a moment ago) For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better (there’s that word again) hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.” What in the world is he talking about? This whole system now of the grace of God which goes out to the whole human race. The Gospel by which the Age of Grace believers are saved, “that Christ died for our sins, and that He was buried and that He rose again from the dead the third day,” as we see in I Corinthians 15:1-4. That isn’t limited to any one group of people. And that is the better system that has now been introduced, not just to Israel, but to the whole world under that high priesthood of Melchisedec the priest of “the most high God.”
You and I have got the greatest message the world has ever known. That no one is left out. Anyone who can simply recognize their need in salvation and believes it, can enter in to life eternal and enjoy all the blessings of this priest, Melchisedec, because He is now the priest of “the most high God” interceding for us.
Lesson Two • Part I
Saved To The Uttermost
Hebrews 7:20 – 8:10
It’s so good to see everyone in again for this taping session on a beautiful Spring afternoon. We thank you for prayers, your interest, your financial help and how we thank the Lord for lives that have been touched through our simple teaching of the Word.
Alright, this is a Bible study and we’re going to go right back where we left off in our last program which is Hebrews chapter 7 and we were in verse 19. Jerry’s got 20 on the board but I’m going to jump in at verse 19 a little bit, because I didn’t feel like I had finished it completely. Remember, we’re talking about the priesthood of Melchisedec. And always remember, too, that the Book of Hebrews is written primarily to Hebrews, to Jewish people. Not that we can’t learn from it. There’s a lot in here that is so apropos, even for us in the Age of Grace.
These Hebrew people (like the Jerusalem church – and I don’t think this was written to the Jerusalem church but another one like it) and these other Jewish congregations that were scattered throughout the Roman Empire had embraced Jesus as their Messiah. They had grasped that much, but they were still keeping the Law. They were still hanging on to so many of the tenets of Judaism and that’s so obvious as you saw in the study of Acts that’s been on the daily program. How that Peter had said:
“But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.” Why not? Because he was a good law-keeping Jew. And when he got to the house of Cornelius he hedged and he said:
“And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation;…”
Well, why? That was all part of Judaism. And then when you get on over to Acts chapter 22 and Paul is rehearsing his conversion on the road to Damascus, Paul makes the statement:
“And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there.” Well you see, none of those believers in Jesus as the Messiah, had yet severed themselves from that part of Judaism, which was Law-keeping.
And so, what the whole book of Hebrews is really all about is to convince these Jewish believers now, to move away. Cut the apron strings to Judaism, not to just throw it away as trash, no way. It’s the very foundation of everything that has come on up through even into Paul’s apostleship, but nevertheless, they were to cut the strings to the legalism of Judaism and step into the Gospel of Grace.
Consequently then, we’ve been looking at the priesthood of Melchisedec, who was not a priest of Israel. He was not after the order of Aaron and the tribe of Levi but rather he was a high priest of the Most High God, you remember, which we stressed was the term for God of the whole human race and not just Israel. And so now we come to this whole idea that the Law has to be put behind them – and then step out into Grace. Alright, let’s start in verse 19 then for this afternoon.
“For the law (the law of Judaism – the Mosaic law) made nothing perfect,…” In other words, the Law of Moses, as holy and as pure as it was from God’s vantage-point, so far as men were concerned it was weak and it was beggarly, because no man could keep it. And so it was not perfect. It was not the final answer to man’s dilemma.
“But, (flipside) the bringing in of a better hope did;…”
Did what? Make something perfect! Isn’t it amazing what language can do? The Law as pure and holy as it was didn’t finish it for the human race. Nobody was saved by keeping the Law, and we’re going to see that in a moment. But, the flipside was now God has introduced something that is perfect and it can’t be improved upon. Now you remember what I said several weeks ago, and I’ve been sharing it over and over wherever I open the Word. Twice in Scripture, God did something so perfect that He couldn’t add to it, He couldn’t embellish it, He couldn’t correct it and so what did He do? He rested.
What’s the whole idea? Well, if something is perfect, what more can you do? And so you just leave it there. The first one remember, was at the end of Creation, the last verse of Genesis 1 says:
“And God saw every thing that he had made, and behold, it was very good….”
There wasn’t a thing that He could improve on those days of creation. You jump into chapter 2 and what did he do? He rested! Nothing more He could do.
“And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested…”
And then we have the second one when Hebrews tells us that after Christ had purged us from our sin by virtue of his death, burial and resurrection, and when He had purged us from our sin, He did again what? He sat down, denoting a finished work. He could rest.
Alright so this is what we’re coming back to, see? The Law wasn’t perfect. But, the flipside is that now the bringing in of a better hope, that is our Gospel of salvation based on His death, burial and resurrection. It did what? Made it perfect! So that there was nothing more that could be added. And isn’t it sad, oh, mankind has walked it underfoot ever since Paul the Apostle began to introduce it to the Gentile world.
And he writes so pitifully, I think, in II Timothy, “O, Timothy you know that all those in Asia have turned against me.” Why? They didn’t like Paul’s message. They preferred something that demanded works. And I was just reminded again as I was reading last night, a quote from the president of Princeton University. And I used it, I think, when I started the book of Romans, if I’m not mistaken. And I think I can quote it almost verbatim. I called Princeton some time ago and found out when he reigned as president. It was back in 1888. And that of course, gives rise to the truth of his statement. He hasn’t been polluted by the modernism of the last hundred years. But in 1888-1890, this president of Princeton made this statement, “Either Christendom has to rehabilitate the doctrines of Paul or it is on and on and on to apostasy and despair.”
And the gentleman who quoted it in the book I was reading last night went on to say, (and he was writing in about 1910 or 1915) “…isn’t it sad that Christendom chose the former.” They chose to turn against the Apostle Paul and his doctrines and went instead contrary to it. But in this ministry, we’re not going to do that. We’re going to hang with Paul’s apostleship, with his teachings and with his Gospel of the Grace of God. So again, verse 19:
“For the law (the Mosaic System) made nothing perfect, (it had so much lacking) but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.”
Now just to prove the point, let’s go back. I know many of you have been watching Romans being taught now during the weekday programs on television, but come back with me to Romans chapter 3 because we can never repeat some of these things often enough. I have to be constantly reminded by our letters that for most of our audience, they are hearing these things for the first time. And, you just can’t grasp it in just one hearing. It has to be repeated and repeated, so just remember, that we have all kinds of people out there who are hearing it for the first time. Romans chapter 3 verse 19 and this is exactly what Hebrews 7:19 is referring to, that the Law was not perfect. Alright, here’s why.
“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law:…”
Well now, what percentage of the human race even at that time was that applicable for? Well, the tiny Nation of Israel, which was probably just a fraction of a percent of the total. They were the only ones that were under the Law. But on the other hand to settle the Sovereignty of God, the whole world came under the curse of the Law, not just Israel, but the whole world. And that’s what it says next, see?
“We know that what soever the law saith, it saith to them that are under the law: (that is to the Nation of Israel) that every mouth (going beyond the Nation of Israel to the whole human race) may be stopped,…” What does that mean? Hey, when they come before God they can’t argue. Oh, they’re going to try, I think, but it’s not going to work. The Lord Himself gave us a good example. He said, “in that day” (and He was speaking of the Great White Throne, he said) “in that day they will say, but Lord” (what does that mean? They’re arguing) “but Lord didn’t we do this and didn’t we do that? Didn’t we cast out demons in your name and all that?” (And what’s His answer going to be?) “Depart from me ye workers of iniquity, I never knew you.” Sad, isn’t it? So sad.
But nevertheless, the Law could do nothing more than what we see in the rest of the verse now that:
“…all the world may become guilty before God.” Notice it doesn’t say, that they may become saved as a lot of people today think yet. That if they just keep the commandments and do the best they can, then God will say “Well, come on in.” No! All the Law could do was condemn.
Now that shocks people that have never heard it before, but the Law has never saved anybody! All the Law can do is show man their sin and the fact that we’ve all broken it. Keeping the Law is not a vehicle of salvation. It is a ministration of death because, as James says, “if you’re guilty of one, you’re guilty of breaking all of them.” Boy, where does that leave all of us? We’re all Law-breakers supreme. Now verse 20.
“Therefore by the deeds (or the keeping of the Law) there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: (not Jews, nor Gentiles) for by the law is (only one thing, and what is it?) the knowledge of sin.”
The Law condemns. Remember I said already, it was a ministration of death and we’re going to be looking at it in probably chapter 8. But let’s jump ahead and turn to II Corinthians chapter 3 and look at it. I used it in the last taping, I’m sure I did. But, it bears repeating and I’m going to use it like I said, in the next chapter when we speak to the “tables of stone” that were in the Ark of the Covenant. I’ll make some statements on that that will shock people. But here, since I’ve already alluded to it, let’s read it.
II Corinthians 3:6
“Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; (or the new covenant) not of the letter, (now whenever Paul uses the letter, he’s referring to the Mosaic Law) but of the spirit: for the letter (the Law, the written law, the Ten, if you want to call it that, they can do nothing but) killeth, but the spirit gives life.”
Now maybe I should stop. I’ve probably made statements over the years that have shocked people and only because they probably don’t understand where I’m coming from. But when I say we’re not under Law, we’re under Grace, the first impression people get is, “Well he’s telling me I can do what ever I want to do.” No, no! The Law, you see, “demanded,” whereas Grace is total freedom, total liberty, but instead of the Law telling us what we can’t do and what we can do, we now have the indwelling Holy Spirit who changes our whole modus operandi so that we don’t want to break the Law. And what a difference!
That’s where Israel failed so miserably all up through her Old Testament history. They were under those demands of the Law but with no power of the Spirit to help them keep it. And so, consequently, what were they doing most of the time? Breaking them. And it almost became despairing because they just couldn’t help it. They didn’t have that indwelling Spirit. So always remember that when I say we’re not under Law, we’re under Grace. I’m not saying we’ve got license – I’m saying now we’ve got something that empowers us to keep God’s Law. Now verse 7 and here it comes.
II Corinthians 3:7a
“But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones,…” Now listen, what was engraven in stone? The Ten. And what are they? They are a ministration of death. They don’t give life because all they can do is condemn.
II Corinthians 3:7
“But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones was glorious, (and it was, it was perfect from God’s vantage point. Now if that was glorious) so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:” It would be done away when this whole new concept of Grace would be brought in. Well, we could just keep going, but I think we’d better make a little headway today. Let’s go back to Hebrews chapter 7 and now we can go into verse 20.
“And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest: 21. (For those priests [that is the priests of Israel, out of the order of Aaron; from the tribe of Levi] were made without an oath; but this [this priesthood of Melchisedec] with an oath by him who said unto him, [which of course, is from God Himself] The Lord sware and will not repent, [or change His mind]. Thou [speaking of this priesthood of Melchisedec of which Christ is the epitome] art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec;)”
And remember that was sworn in an oath from God Himself and nothing could settle it more, that Christ is a priest after the order of Melchisedec by virtue of the oath of God place upon His person. Now verse 22.
“By so much (that is by God swearing in an oath that Christ would be a priest after the order of Melchisedec) was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.”
And the other word for testament is covenant. Now I’m not going to comment on that word covenant in this verse, because we’re going to be picking it up again a little later in chapter 8 and I will enlarge on it then. But we still have to realize now that we’re coming out of one system and God is bringing in another.
Of course, that is one reason there is so much confusion across Christendom. They will not separate these two entities so that it’s simple and easy to understand. But the Law has to be set aside. It’s done. It was crucified at the Cross. And God has ushered in now this whole new system, or economy, of Grace.
Alright, now we’re going to come back to verse 23 and see the difference between the priests of Israel and this priest, Jesus the Christ, after the order of Melchisedec.
“And they (the priests of Israel) truly were many …” Well, that stands to reason. They had regular schedules of all these numbers of priests as to when they would serve in the Temple Worship. And then of course, as the next verse says, or down a little further, they’re going to die. And in their place will come up new young men, always filling the ranks of the priesthood to keep fulfilling all the rituals there at the temple.
“And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:”
They were human and when the old grim-reaper knocked, they went just the same as anybody else. And so their priesthood would end and a new one would come in. Then verse 24, what’s the first word again? “But…” Now the flipside! We’re not under that system of Israel’s priests that would live and die and be replaced and die. No. We are under a whole new system.
“But this man,…”
Remember I pointed out in our last taping that Paul refers to him – in fact we’d better go back and look at it. Let’s read this verse and then we’ll go back.
“But this man (this Jesus, the Son, a priest after the order of Melchisedec) because he continueth ever,…” Remember what we said about Melchisedec’s priesthood last program? He was without beginning and without end.
“Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.”
He’s from eternity to eternity. And we always make the point, when we’re saved forever, how long is that? For as long as God lasts! Now that’s how long we’re saved. We’ll go on and on as long as God does. Quite a thought isn’t it? That’s what it means to be saved forever. Now finishing verse 24.
“But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.” His priesthood will never end, as He will never die! Now let’s come back to Timothy again – this is all review, I know. I haven’t gotten senile yet, I know what I’m doing! But, I want people to see it over and over so that it will not be forgotten, so let’s go to I Timothy chapter 2. We looked at this a program or two back when I made mention of the fact that Melchizedek appeared to Abraham, as a man. Christ is in the Glory interceding for us at the Father’s right hand, as a man, and here we have the Scripture to back it up.
I Timothy 2:3-4a
“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4. Who (that is God) will have all men to be saved,…” Now that’s not saying they will be. Only precious few will be but that isn’t God’s fault. He’s made it possible for every human being to spend eternity with Him, but they won’t because they refuse to take it by faith. But God’s whole concept is that He has finished the work of salvation for all.
I Timothy 2:4-5
“Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (now here’s the verse I want you to lock in) 5. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, (who?) the man Christ Jesus.” See how plain that is? Now I’m afraid there are a lot of even professing believers who do not comprehend that Christ is in glory ever since His ascension in human form. The disciples saw Him go. He didn’t suddenly change into the invisible. The Scripture is so plain that He maintained His human appearance and He left in such a way that the disciples could see Him go.
And Zechariah foretells the day that He’ll return and again it’s in human form because what does Zechariah say?
“And his feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east,…”
Now listen, a spirit, an invisible thing, doesn’t have feet! But He will because He is bodily at the Father’s right hand. And again, now let’s just go back a little further to the Book of Colossians chapter 2.
“Beware lest any man spoil you…” See there’s that constant warning from the pen of the Apostle, that we’d better keep our eyes on truth and not be led astray with all of this pseudo truth that’s being thrown at us, especially today. But it was already evident in Paul’s day.
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ, 9. For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”
Not in spirit-form. Not invisible. My, when He took off from the Mount of Olives, He left bodily. How bodily was He when He has fish cooking on the fire up there in Galilee and the disciples had caught nothing all night? He asked the question “Do you have any food?” And they said, “No.” But what did He have cooking? Fish and bread. And then Luke tells us plain as day, not just the disciples ate, but Who? Jesus ate. How? Don’t expect me to tell you how He digested it! But I know He ate.
And yet, in that same body He went into Glory. In that same body He’s coming again. He’s going to stand on the Mount of Olives as we see in Zechariah. He’s going to rule and reign bodily, not some invisible enigma. But the man Christ Jesus Who is the Mediator between man and God, the Man Christ Jesus Who sat down at the Father’s right hand having finished the work of redemption. It was perfect! There wasn’t one more thing that He could do!
Lesson Two • Part II
Saved To The Uttermost
Hebrews 7:20 – 8:10
Alright, let’s get right back to where we left off in our last lesson, and that was in Hebrews chapter 7 and we’ll go on now to verse 25. And I just told the girls sitting in the front row, we probably won’t even get past verse 25 in this half-hour because this is a loaded verse, as you will see.
Now remember whenever Paul uses that word wherefore, what does it do? Sends you back to what he’s just got through saying and he’s just been telling us that this man, the Man Christ Jesus, God the Son Who had finished the work of salvation in His death, burial and resurrection. This Man, in verse 24, has an unchangeable priesthood. He’s immutable. He never changes. Just because He took on flesh, suffered and died doesn’t mean that He never stopped being the Eternal Sovereign Creator God of the universe.
“Wherefore he (this Son) is able also to save them to the uttermost (in other words completely, not just partially) that come unto God by him,…”
Not some other way. John’s Gospel tells us that if they try to come in some other way, they are what? They are a thief and a robber, and so there is only this one way.
Now we’re living in a time where that doesn’t go down easy. I’ll probably get kicked off television someday for standing on this premise, that it’s an exclusive Gospel that saves us. It is not just one of many. The scripture is adamant that there is no other name given among men, whereby we must be saved. And the scripture is also adamant that this is the only way that God will accept mankind and so here we have it. Because of Who this Man Christ Jesus was with a priesthood after the order of Melchisedec. Because of Who He is, “He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God by Him or through Him, and the reason being:
“…seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
He ever liveth for all eternity, from past to future. Consequently He can make intercession or be the constant comfort for them who have placed their faith in His death, burial, and resurrection for salvation.
Now I’m going to take the time, because I get so many phone calls, over and over, asking “Well, how do I experience this salvation that you’re talking about?” I always feel as though I make it plain, but evidently I’m not making it plain enough for a lot of people. And so again we’re going to stop for a few moments and just show how to enter in to this great salvation that is completed at the moment that we’re saved by believing. We’re not just partially saved, but we have to do it God’s way. Not some denomination’s idea. Not my idea, but God’s way. And the best way is to just go back and search the scriptures.
Alright let’s go back again to where we were in the last program, in Romans chapter 3. And this is a point that someone reminded me of just the other day. They said, “Les, do you realize that most people do not understand that they’re lost from the day of their birth?” Well, I always thought that was a given. “No,” he said, “Most people don’t realize that. They think that they’re pretty good and that until they really start living an awful life that then they can recognize they’re sinners.” But, that’s not the way the Book puts it.
The Book tells us that because of Adam every human being born into the human race is a sinner. And we know that God’s grace covers those ‘little ones’ and they’ll be in glory, I’m confident of that. But as soon as a human being gets to an age of understanding right from wrong, he becomes responsible and he is guilty until God declares him innocent. Alright, let’s chase these Scriptures down. And again we have that flipside word, “But.” Even though the Law, up there in verses 19 and 20 was only good for making mankind guilty.
You see Paul uses those two words over and over. Ephesians chapter 2 is another one. “But God.” And in chapter 2 verse 13, “But now.” Why? Because all of a sudden on this side of the Cross, on this side of His resurrection power, my it’s a different ballgame! See, that’s why I maintain that Christ couldn’t preach this kind of a Gospel in His earthly ministry, He hadn’t died yet. And the disciples had no idea that He was going to die, even though He knew; they didn’t. But on this side of the Cross, now it’s a proclaimed truth that He has died for the sins of the world.
“But now the righteousness of God (not man’s righteousness, but God’s righteousness) without the law is manifested, (is put up in the spotlight. And of course, we’re not going to throw our Old Testament away because all of this that I’m teaching has it’s roots back there in the Old Testament.) being witnessed by the law and the prophets;” That’s the writers of the Old Testament. Verse 22.
“Even the righteousness of God which is by faith (or the faith in) Jesus Christ. (He is the epitome of our faith system and it goes,) unto all and upon all them that believe (plus what? Nothing! There’s nothing more added!) for there is no difference.”
Well, of course Paul is writing to Jews as well as Gentiles and the fact that Jews had a hard time swallowing was that now in this Age of Grace, there’s no difference. A Jew has to be saved just exactly like we Gentiles. He has to come the same way because of this no difference. Now then verse 23, which I always call the first step of saving faith. This is where every one of us who have been saved now, for however long, this is where we all began. And that is that we had to recognize that according to God’s Word and according to God’s look at who we are, we were sinners.
“For all (not just some. Even the best of the human race, even those who are so benevolent and they are so good but their nature is sin oriented and so) have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” I think maybe some other translations put that all have “missed the mark.” We haven’t hit the bull’s eye, we’re missing the mark.
“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Stop right there a minute and keep your hand in Romans. Flip all the way over to chapter 5, still in Romans. Now this is what the Book says. This isn’t my idea. This isn’t some denomination’s idea. This is what God’s Word says:
“Wherefore, as by one man, (not one woman) sin entered into the world, and death (came along with it) by sin. (and so because of Adam’s disobedience) and so death passed upon (how many?) all men, (not just the worst. ALL men, the whole human race) for all have sinned:” All have sinned, every human being. Black and white, rich or poor, Oriental or Western makes no difference – the whole human race is included in this word “all.” Death has passed upon all. Sin has been declared as a part of all and there’s nothing more that we can add or take away that Adam precipitated all of this curse that we call ‘sin and death.’ Don’t ever forget that. By one man, Adam, sin entered and with it death came as well.
I guess we could look at some more. Let me go ahead and go to I Corinthians chapter 15, and dropping all the way over to verse 45. Remember, I Corinthians 15 is the tremendous resurrection chapter. But here again, we have to show this difference between Adam, who has set the whole human race under the curse and under sin and death; as compared to the second Adam – Christ, Who made provision to bring every human being out of it, as we saw back in Hebrews.
I Corinthians 15:45
“And so it written, The first man, Adam was made (or created) a living soul; the last Adam (which is a reference to Jesus Christ) was a quickening (or a life giving) spirit.” Do you see that? Then drop down to verse 47.
I Corinthians 15:47-49
“The first man Adam is of the earth, (he’s) earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: (Those of us who are of the race of Adam.) and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” That is once we enter in to God’s tremendous saving grace. And without it we are doomed for total separation from God.
Alright now, if you’ll flip back to Romans chapter 3 because we’re going to spend most of this half-hour on that verse that says, “wherefore He is able also to save to the uttermost those who come unto God by Him.”
Well, the only way we can come to God is as a sinner. We can’t come to God and say, “Now look. I’m just here to bargain; I want to get as good a deal as I can. I’m not all that bad so I might as well get as much as I can.” No. Every human being has to come before God recognizing that he has missed the mark; he’s a sinner, he’s lost. And we’re walking dead people. Dead spiritually.
Alright now then, verse 24, and look what it says immediately. “Being justified freely.” It’s just like back in Genesis 3. Just as soon as man fell as a result of Adam’s sin, God comes right back and sets in motion a plan of redemption, promising the seed of the woman. Well it’s the same way here. Just as soon as Paul declares every human being a sinner, the very next verse he gives us that escape route. Isn’t it glorious? And the fact that most people won’t take it is even worse. But nevertheless, here we have it.
“Being justified (declared just as if we’d never sinned) freely (see all these words and how loaded they are? We’re not justified because we’ve earned it. We’re not justified because we really deserve it. No. We’re justified freely) by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:”
And what’s grace? Unmerited favor. God doesn’t justify us because we have one ounce of deserving. He justifies only because of His grace. And that grace was epitomized; it was brought to the crescendo through the redemption or the process of buying us back that is in Christ Jesus. Now just mull that over for a minute. Through the grace of God, when we recognize that we were sinners, God could come right back immediately and say, “That’s fine, I know you’re lost, but I’ve already bought you back.”
You remember years ago I gave the story of the little boy, who had made a boat. Some of you remember. I bet Sharon does. I should pause right here and tell our whole television audience, Sharon is now doing ‘closed captioning.’ for us which is laborious. So she knows what I’m talking about because she’s probably seen this story in the last several weeks.
But anyway, this little fellow had made a boat. Spent months making this tremendous little boat. And so one day his parents took him out to the seaside. And he started sailing his boat and he was just having a ball with it but, as kids are prone to do, his mind was suddenly changed to something else. And he ran off and left his boat unattended, and when he came back, his little boat was gone. He was just heartbroken.
But, months later, he and his Mom were walking down the street and they went by a pawn shop and in the window of that pawn shop was his little boat. It was still beautiful, and hadn’t been hurt a bit. And he said, “Mama I’ve got to go in here.” So he takes off into the pawn shop and he runs up to the fellow at the counter and he says, “I want my boat.” “Well, what are you talking about, the pawn broker asked?” The boy pointed to the boat in the window. “It’s mine, I made it.” The fellow says, “Sorry buddy, but I’ve got money in that boat. You can have it when you pay the price.”
Well, whatever the price was the little fellow went out and told his Mom, “I’ve got to work.” And so he did. He mowed lawns, he raked leaves, he scooped snow. He did everything he could until he finally had enough money to go back to that pawn shop and he bought his boat. Now are you getting the picture? He made it. He worked for it. He lost it. And now he had to work so he could buy it back. And as he was carrying it out the door, he said to his Mama, with tears running down his cheeks. “Mama, this boat that I made, I’ve bought it back! And now it’s mine!”
You see that’s exactly what God has done. He made us. He created us, but He lost us. Where? When Adam fell. Now when I’m teaching Genesis, you know, I make it very clear that every human being was in Adam and because of Adam’s rebellion we all inherited that sin nature. And that’s why we’re born sinners. And so God lost us, when He lost Adam.
And now He has paid the price of redemption, through that work of the Cross. Like the little boy who had to go and do all the various menial jobs, Christ in turn did it when He went to the Cross. And so He paid the price of redemption. But remember, whenever we present salvation to the human race, it’s always on the basis; yes, it’s all done. The price has been paid. Forgiveness has been declared. Reconciliation has been declared but you cannot appropriate it without coming by faith. It’s not an automatic.
Now you know, there are people that try to teach that everybody will make it sooner or later because of all this. No, no. Because God has demanded that we accept all this by faith – plus nothing. With no works attached. With nothing, except recognizing that yes, I’m a fallen creature. I’m a sinner because I’m a son of Adam. But, I believe in my heart that Christ has done everything in dying for me, and being raised from the dead! So when we do that, then God in grace reaches down and does everything that needs to be done.
I guess I’ve been putting it on the program in the morning lately. All the things that God did the moment we believe. Oh, He Redeemed us, He justified us, He sanctified us, He glorified, and forgave us. He placed us into the Body, and He gave us the indwelling Holy Spirit. He secured us forever, He made us alive, and He translated us. I think I had probably 15 or 20 things that God did the moment we were saved when we believed. It’s done! That’s what Hebrews means, “He saved us to the uttermost.” He didn’t do just part of it and say, “Well, if you measure up, I’ll finish it.” No, He did it all. And that’s the whole idea of salvation.
Alright now then, let’s move on just a little bit further in chapter 3, down to verse 26, I’m going to skip verse 25 because that big word ‘propitiation’ might scare somebody.
“To declare, I say, at this time his (not ours) righteousness; that he (God) might be just, (which means exactly what it says. He’s not cutting corners. He’s not making a deal. He is totally just) and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (I Corinthians 15:1-4, Romans 10:9-10)
It’s so simple. Yet I don’t want to oversimplify. When I say, we believe it, I mean we TOTALLY TRUST IN IT. You remember a few weeks ago, we were in Hebrews chapter 6 and I made it so clear that a lot of people make a fly-by at it. They’re enlightened; they have a taste. But it never takes and they go right back into their old lifestyle. But for the believer who totally, totally relies on this finished work of the Cross to save them, then God has guaranteed that we are His forever. As long as He lives!
Alright, now back up a page to Romans chapter 1, and here we have another tremendous salvation verse that I think that we’ve used over and over through the years. Romans 1 verse 16.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it (the Gospel) is the power of God unto salvation (and again) to every one that (what?) believeth;…” Plus? No. To everyone that believeth. Oh my goodness, there are so many of these, especially in Romans, but let’s go on a little further. I’m going to go ahead to I Corinthians chapter 1, and my what a statement! Now this is God’s Word, this isn’t me. Like I said a moment ago this isn’t from some denominational book, this is from the Book. And Paul, writing to a Gentile congregation down in wicked Corinth says:
I Corinthians 1:17a
“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel:…” The same Gospel of salvation that Romans 1:16 referred to, “how that Christ died, shed His blood, was buried and rose from the dead.” Now finishing the verse.
I Corinthians 1:17
“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.” In other words, not with smooth silver-tongued oratory. Now here’s the verse I wanted you to see. Verse 18.
I Corinthians 1:18a
“For the preaching of the cross (let that sink in) is to them that perish (the lost world, yes to them it’s) foolishness;…” Today they would probably say, “You mean to tell me that somebody that was on a Roman Cross two-thousand years ago has anything to do with me? I can’t believe that!” Well, then they are perishing. So for those who hear the preaching of the Cross and they perish, it’s foolishness. Now for the flipside.
I Corinthians 1:18b
“…but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”
For those of us who have latched on to this great salvation it is the power of God. Years back I made the statement on the program and I haven’t said it lately and so I’m going to repeat it. When God saves a sinner, whether it’s me or you or a Mafia or a well-heeled real nice socialite, makes no difference. It takes more power to save that person out of the clutches of sin and death than to create the universe. Now that may be a play on words, but nevertheless, hopefully it will sink in. That’s why Paul is always emphasizing the power of Christ’s resurrection, when He defeated all the forces of Satan and death and hell and set us free from it. And it took tremendous power, because Satan is powerful.
Now he’s not as powerful as God, but he’s powerful. And he’s not going to let go of anybody without a fight. And I think most of us have experienced it. We’re plagued with doubts and that’s the satanic power see? And so always remember that “the preaching of the Cross is to us who are saved the power of God.” Let’s go down to verse 21, here in chapter 1 of I Corinthians.
I Corinthians 1:21
“For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom (the philosophers, the intellectuals) knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness (as the world calls it, he was) of preaching to save them that (again, what?) believed.” Plus? Plus? Plus? No! “To them that BELIEVED.” Now verse 22.
I Corinthians 1:22
“For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom;” Now that’s evident. All the way through their history the Jew had to have a sign in order to understand that God was in it. And so they “required a sign and the Greeks were seeking after wisdom (the philosophy and all that) but, unto those of us who are called it’s Christ the power of God.”
There’s that power again. The same power that caused Him to perform the miracles, but now that’s been imparted unto us by virtue of our faith, and the wisdom of God which beats any intellectual power on earth.
Lesson Two • Part III
Saved To The Uttermost
Hebrews 7:20 – 8:10
We just trust that you can sit down and study your Scriptures with us. And as the Bereans of old in the Book of Acts searched the Scriptures daily, they did this to show that the Word of God was true. And that’s all we ask. We don’t try to force people to agree with us. I always have a cliche that I’ve used for many, many years. ‘Convince a man against his will and he’s unconvinced still.’ So, we just trust that the Holy Spirit will do the work.
Alright, I think we’re ready to get back into Hebrews chapter 7 and we’re still on this priesthood of Christ after the order of Melchisedec. Remembering, I’ve got to keep repeating it, that we’re dealing primarily with Jewish people who were still having a hard time separating themselves from any part of Judaism. And that’s understandable. You know, it’s no different for people today, especially if they’ve been in a cult and they’ve been brainwashed for a lifetime. And then to see these truths and all of that that they’ve been taught was contrary to Scripture. So it’s not easy to just turn their backs on what they’ve been taught for years.
And so, this is exactly the mentality of these Jews. They’d been steeped in Judaism, the Old Testament, and then to have to accept the fact that all that has been fulfilled, it’s got to be laid aside; it wasn’t easy. So always keep that in mind, but at the same time remember, as Paul writes in Romans, that all these things were written for our learning. So I trust we are, even as we study Hebrews, learning a lot of the things that pertain even to us today. Alright, so let’s just jump in at verse 25 where we finished the last half-hour, but use it as a flow.
“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him. (in other words, by believing that finished work of the Cross) seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
Now I didn’t really get time to comment on that last part of the verse. But it’s just simply to tell us that God will never stop being all that we need. Even when we get to that eternal state when there’s no longer the necessity for interceding for us as we struggle through this life. Yet, the confidence that we have is that this relationship with our great high priest will never end. It is forever and ever and ever.
Now then, we can go into verse 26.
“For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;”
Now if you’ll just analyze that for a moment, could any of that apply to a priest of Levi? No. No human can measure up to this. This was something that only Christ Himself could fulfill. And that’s the kind of a high priest we have. He is harmless, undefiled, totally separated from sinners. He didn’t have that old sin nature that we’re born with. He was always God. And of course, “…made higher than the heavens.” Now then, verse 27.
“Who needeth not daily, as those high priests,…”
See how this is constantly showing us that he’s talking to Jews. And they knew the role of the priesthood in Judaism. The ordinary priest who went in the daily ministrations of the sanctuary from the altar out there at the gate and then stopped at the laver of cleansing. And then into the little front room of the sanctuary wherein there was the table of showbread that had to be changed every day. And the candleholder that had to be trimmed and filled with oil every day. The altar of incense, that had to be kept burning with incense. And that was their routine day in and day out from the human element. And, of course, when they died someone else would have to take their place. Alright, but every day they would have to go through the ritual of this maintaining the temple worship.
“…to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, (because they too were sinners, even though they were priests.) and then for the people’s.(the Nation of Israel. But Christ didn’t have to do this) for this he did once, when he offered up himself.”
Now I’ve always stressed when I teach Hebrews, look for the number of times where it tells us that Christ did these things “once.” Once for all, as the old hymn put it. So “for this he did once, when he offered up himself.” And we’re going to see in another chapter where the blood of animals, bulls and goats couldn’t do it but His singular sacrifice finished everything. Verse 28.
“For the law (the Mosaic Law) maketh men high priests who have infirmity; (they’re human. They’re going to sin, they’re going to fail and one day they’re going to die and they’re out of the priesthood.) but the word of the oath, which was since the law,…” In other words, His priesthood kicked in after the work of the Cross, not before. And I mentioned in the last program, that it’s on this side of the Cross that our salvation is consummated because He had to die. He had to be buried. And He had to arise in resurrection power in order for our salvation to be possible.
Now, a lot of folks have a hard time understanding that I maintain that the Four Gospels cannot have our Gospel of Grace in them because Christ hadn’t died yet. I think some try to come back with “Well, they must have known that He was going to.” Oh did they? Turn back with me to Luke 18 and let the Scripture speak for itself, and this isn’t the only place, this is just one of the easier ones to remember.
So if you’re ever appealing to some lost person on some of these things and they come back and say “Oh well, they must have known that He was going to die. They knew that He was going to rise from the dead.” No they didn’t. They had no idea. Now granted the Old Testament did; now after the fact, see we can go back into the Old Testament and we can see that it was evident that Christ would die and be resurrected, but His followers didn’t know that. Alright you got it? Luke 18 verse 31. This is toward the end of His earthly ministry. They’ve been with Him now three years and they are on their way back up to Jerusalem for the final days.
“Then he took unto him the twelve, and he said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man shall be accomplished.”
Jesus said all these prophecies will be fulfilled and we know they were. And now to see that He knew exactly what was coming, He tells them:
“For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, (the Romans) and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on. 33. And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.”
Now look at verse 34. Those of you who have been in my classes, you know these verses but a lot of people out there don’t know this. Look what the Scripture says,
“And they (the Twelve who’d been with Him now for three years) understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.”
Well, you know, I always ask the question. Who hid it? God did. It wasn’t for them to know. Because can you imagine what these twelve men would have done even in these intervening days between this and the crucifixion if they would have known? It would have just upset the whole apple cart. But they didn’t know. Remember the events of the crucifixion and how that they ran for their lives. They scattered as I’ve said before, like a flock of quail. But it wasn’t until AFTER the resurrection that Peter got bold as bold can be, because now with the power of resurrection, confirming, regardless of what those Romans could do to him, he had resurrection power. He had resurrection life. He had nothing to fear.
But they did not know. And all you have to do is just search your memory. My when they put those Roman guards around the tomb, did the eleven and did Mary and Martha, some of those, just camp out a little further away and wait? No, they weren’t around. They had no idea He was going to be raised from the dead.
And remember, in John chapter 20, when Mary Magdalene comes to anoint the body as was the custom, did she have any idea He would be raised from the dead? Well, of course not. It just took them all by surprise even though the Old Testament was adamant that He would be raised from the dead. So always remember these things and that it wasn’t until after the death, burial and resurrection that this amazing Gospel of Grace was able to be promoted.
And even then, for the first several years after and Peter and the others are proclaiming to Israel, they don’t attach salvation to this death, burial and resurrection. All they can understand is that the King can still be what He promised to be because He’s not dead, He’s alive. But, it isn’t until the Apostle Paul comes that he now has the revelation that this has become The Gospel for the salvation for the whole human race.(I Corinthians 15:1-4 and Romans 10:9-10) Not just for Israel, not just for the Gentiles but for everyone and through all of that then, we come up with this high priest after the order of Melchisedec. Alright, now verse 28 again of Hebrews chapter 7.
“For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; (they’re going to die) but the word of the oath, which was since the law, (on this side of the Cross) maketh the Son, (Who we’ve been emanating all the way through Hebrews.) who is consecrated (or has finished everything) forevermore.”
Nothing more now needs to be done. Everything that God required to satisfy the sins of mankind is accomplished. Now, I’m sure very few of us (and I certainly don’t even claim to) understand the workings of the mind of God with regard to the shed Blood and the forgiveness. We understand the workings of it but the very mind of God behind it, why, why did He have to have a blood sacrifice? Oh, I’ve got an idea, but to be able to just sit down and to lay it out so that almost anybody can understand. No, I can’t do that.
But there are a lot of things. In fact, we were just talking about the Triune God – what we call the Trinity. There again the word Trinity isn’t in your Bible, but the whole concept of a Triune God is and listen, there’s no way you can understand that except by faith. We just can’t fathom it. How can three personalities be in three different places and yet operate as one? I can’t understand it but I can believe it. I know it because the Book says it.
In fact, I was just telling somebody at break time, that the more I look at this, the more I understand that, had God not been a Triune God, none of this would have worked. Have you ever thought of that? It wouldn’t have worked. Because you see, while Christ was dead on the Cross, if He was the only person of the Godhead, then God would have been what? Dead. Who would have called Him from the tomb if He was the only One? Nobody.
But you see, we have a Triune God. And while Christ was dead and in the tomb, we still had God the Father and God the Spirit with all the power necessary to raise Him from the dead. Well, the same way when Christ went back to glory. Who came down? The Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit as a third Person of the Trinity, my, we’d be destitute of a lot of these things. And so, we have to have everything just exactly the way God laid it out but it’s hard to understand unless we can take it by faith. The Bible says it. The Bible teaches it. And we rest on it, even though we can’t understand it.
Alright now the same way, the Son now had been set at the right hand of the Majesty on High and we pick that up now in chapter 8 verse 1.
“Now (on this side of the Cross) of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: (don’t you like that? I’m going to recap, Paul says. Now this is the sum of the matter. We still use the statement today. This is the sum of the matter) We have (not hope to have, we have) such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;”
Now I always emphasize to people that Christ is not on a throne tonight. That’s why we don’t address him as King. He’s not a King on the throne. That’s still future, when He returns. But He’s at the Father’s right hand. Again, I always like to emphasize, don’t picture Him sitting on a little chair and God the Father’s up here on some big throne. That’s not what we’re to do, but positionally in the heavenlies, we have God the Son, a Priest after the order of Melchisedec placed at the right hand of the Majesty on High.
Now maybe Daniel chapter 7 will help a little bit in that. Again, this just points out that all Scripture dovetails together. None of it stands off by itself. But in Daniel chapter 7 we have a little different view and yet it’s all the same thing. You see, that’s the beauty of Scripture, we get all these different viewpoints, pointing up the same thing. Let’s drop in at verse 9. I’m just doing this to show that Scripture fits with Scripture. And Hebrews has just told us again, that He’s at the right hand of the Majesty.
“I beheld till the thrones were cast down, (that is all earthly thrones) and the Ancient of Days did sit, (now that’s a little different title, isn’t it? Which of course, is a reference to God the Father) whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne (that is His place of authority) was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire ”
There again, that’s just beyond our human understanding. Now verse 10, just to give us a little glimpse of this throne room of heaven.
“A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: (now look at this next statement) thousand thousands (that’s millions. Millions) ministered unto him, (millions of what? Angels. The Angelic hosts.) and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.”
And then of course, we leap to the end of the ages, when the White Throne Judgement is set and the books are opened, but that’s beside the point for us today. Now jump over to verse 13.
“I saw in the night visions, and, behold. one like the Son of man (see here it is, way back here in the Old Testament. Here we have the Son) came with the clouds of heaven, (now whether those clouds are angelic hosts as I think, that’s probably debatable but) came to the Ancient of Days, (the same one he spoke of in verse 9) and they brought him near before him. 14. And there was given him (the Son) dominion and glory, and a kingdom, (this of course, is leading up to His millennial reign) that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and a kingdom which shall not be destroyed.”
Well, that’s not the point we’re making. What I want you to see, is this relationship between God the Father on the throne at this time and God the Son as He comes before Him.
Alright now back to Hebrews chapter 8, you’ve got this same picture of how this high Priest after the order of Melchisedec is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens. Where’s Heaven? Well when you find out, you tell me. We don’t know, but it’s out there someplace, and it’s real. It’s visible, it’s physical, and one day, we’re going to be there and I think we’re getting closer all the time. Now verse 2 of Hebrews chapter 8.
“A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.”
Now I’m going to take a two-fold approach to that. As a “minister of the sanctuary” it could possibly take the point that God the Son is at the very core of the Body of Christ. He is the Core of the true dwelling place of God, which is you and I as believers. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Now maybe somebody out there in television has never heard any of this before, maybe we’d better go back, and look at it in I Corinthians chapter 3. You know, I always have to keep remembering, I’ve told Iris more than once as I teach these programs that I have a big hang up. I feel if I’ve taught it once everybody knows it, but on the other hand I have to realize that we have new listeners coming in every time. And a lot of our listeners have only heard it once, and that’s not enough. So bear with me and we’ll repeat some of these basic fundamentals of the faith over and over.
I Corinthians 3:16
“Know you not that ye (now remember, Paul always writes to believers) are the temple (see, the dwelling place) of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you.”
See that’s what makes us what we are. Come over to chapter 6 in the same book, and it’s repeated in verse 19.
I Corinthians 6:19-20
“What? (Paul writes) know ye not that your body (this physical body of flesh and bone) is the temple (or the dwelling place) of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own. (why?) 20. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Well, now I have never gotten on the soapbox and jumped at people for their bad habits. But, when a believer continues to practice a bad habit, what is going to be the end result physically? Well he’s going to lose his health. He’s going to lose his health probably faster than the unbeliever because we are defiling something that is no longer ours. It now belongs to God. So you believers out there that think you can smoke and enjoy it, you go ahead. But I had one lady call one time and she said, “Les I just can’t quit these stupid cigarettes. Does that mean that I’ll go to Hell?” And I said, “No. It just means you’re going to get to Heaven quicker than you would have otherwise.”
But see, this is exactly what we have to realize – that we are to treat this body special. We’re to take care of it, and nurture it. And Paul says in Ephesians, “we’re to love it because this is what God has given us. It’s His dwelling place.”
Alright, now you can come back to Hebrews chapter 8. So He’s a minister of the sanctuary first and foremost, this temple, in which He is dwelling in the Person of the Holy Spirit. But so far as the Jew was concerned he’s still got the Temple on his mind, hasn’t he? And the Temple of course, was divided with the front part, the sanctuary, which if I remember correctly was 30 feet by about 15. And in the back behind the veil was 15 feet by 15 and that’s what the Jew understood. But this man, this high priest (Melchisedec) is a minister of the “true tabernacle,” not the Temple there in Jerusalem.
Now again, as I was looking at all this the last few evenings. You’ve got to remember the Temple is still operating in Jerusalem when this is being written. See, too many of us have got the idea that the Temple is long gone and it doesn’t play a role. Yeah, it still was operating when Paul was writing his letters. And of course, it was destroyed within a matter of two or three years after his death. But as Paul writes, the Temple is still going, as I say, full speed ahead. They were sacrificing animals by the thousands.
And so the Jew had the Temple on his mind when anything was brought up “religiously” as they would call it. And so here again Paul is addressing that. That this high Priest is not of that Temple operating up there on the Mount but of the “true tabernacle which the Lord pitched and not man.”
What’s he talking about? Well, come all the way back to Exodus chapter 25 and again I think this is a concept that very few professing believers, unless they become students, understand. This is the chapter where the Lord is going to give Moses instructions for building that first little tabernacle out in the wilderness, that little tent which, of course, became later the Temple. Alright in Exodus chapter 25 and he gives all the materials that they’re going to need in the first eight verses. Now look at verse 9.
“According to all that I show thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.”
What’s a pattern? It’s the original! Manufacturers have what they call ‘prototypes.’ What is it? Well, it’s just a similar version of what they’re going to have at the end. But here’s what God is telling Moses? “You’re going to make a tabernacle patterned after an original not pitched with hands.” The Book of Hebrews tells us it’s in heaven. And so there is a likeness of the Temple format ‘in the heavens’ not made by men but created by God Himself. And it was into that Temple that Christ went in as our high priest.
Lesson Two • Part IV
Saved To The Uttermost
Hebrews 7:20 – 8:10
Let’s begin where we left off in the last lesson, and that would be Hebrews chapter 8, and verse 3. But again, I don’t like to just jump in like that, so let’s go back a verse or two. We might as well go back to verse 1.
“Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; 2. A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.”
I told you in the last program you could take a two-way approach on verse 2. He could be speaking of the body of us as believers, who is the temple of the Holy Spirit. And Christ is the very Core and the makeup of that. But it could also be talking to, a reference to, the Old Testament tabernacle or temple, which was set in those two rooms the sanctuary and the Holy of Holies. And which was pitched according to the pattern in Heaven. And we’ll look at that again further in this chapter. Now verse 3.
“For every high priest (whether it was of the Aaronic or whether it’s this high priest, Melchisedec) is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.” He has to have a reason for fulfilling His priesthood. Now verse 4.
“For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:” He couldn’t do that. See that? He couldn’t operate in His priesthood if He had to do as Israel’s priests did because it just wouldn’t fit. He could not offer animal sacrifices. He could not fulfill the priesthood in the temple because His work was so totally, totally above and beyond the animal sacrifices of Judaism. Now verse 5.
“(these priests of Israel, Judaism) Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle:…” The tabernacle at Mt. Sinai, in the wilderness. In other words, God is making sure that Moses builds that tabernacle according to the floor plan of the original, which is in Heaven. We looked at it in the last moments of our last program and we’re going to look at it again in a moment. Now finishing verse 5.
“for, See, (take note) saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.” As Moses is about to build that tabernacle at Mt. Sinai, in the wilderness, the Lord spoke and said, “See, (take note) that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount.”
Now let’s go back again for just a quick review of where we were in the last program, but a different verse. Let’s go to Exodus chapter 25 and verse 40. In the last program we looked at verses 8 and 9, but now we’re going to look at the last verse. And this just shows the importance of it. Moses could not take this lightly. He couldn’t just throw up a tent and build and altar and start killing animals. It all had to be according to God’s divine purposes. And those of you who have studied the tabernacle with me remember that everything, with nothing excepted, was all a picture of this work of the Cross.
Every instrument in the sanctuary. Every bolt of cloth, every piece of gold and silver, it all spoke of the coming of the work of the Cross. So this is why God was so adamant that Moses did everything in a particular way. Now verse 40, and God is giving Moses instructions:
“Look, (make sure) that thou make them (that is all the things that are going into this tabernacle) after their pattern, (in other words, he couldn’t just make-shift it. It had to) be exactly as God had given him the pattern) which was shewed thee in the mount.” (when he was up there in Mt. Sinai.)
Alright now then, come to the last chapter of Exodus, chapter 40, and we’ll look at verse 33. And again the language is such that it just sends you flying to the finished work of the Cross. Now in all these intervening chapters, they’ve been crafting the materials that went into this tabernacle. The gold, the linen, the animal’s hair, the altar of incense and the brazen altar made of brass, all these things were crafted by craftsmen that God had raised up out of the Israelites. Now Exodus 40:33:
“He (Moses) reared up the court round about the tabernacle (in other words, the outer fence that went clear around the perimeter) and the altar, and set up the hanging of the court gate. (in other words that was the last thing that was finished) So Moses finished the work. 34. Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.” In other words, God put His stamp of approval upon everything that the Israelites had now made with their craftsmanship and they erected it and set it up. And in verse 35 we find the presence of God was so awesome.
“And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.” Well, anyway all of that was set in motion to give us a preview of what Christ would accomplish in His work of the Cross. Alright, let’s come back to Hebrews once again finishing verse 5.
“…for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.” Everything exactly as God had instructed. Now verse 6, here we come again, what’s the word?) But, (the flipside. Yes, Moses and all the craftsmen of Israel worked almost a year formulating all the things that went into that earthly tabernacle there out in the foot of Mt. Sinai.)
“But now (on this side) he hath obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a (what?) better…” You see the constant comparison of that which was good, the Mosaic system, the Mosaic Law. It was good up to a point but it could not be perfect. But now, now on this side we have that which is perfect because Christ Himself established it and finished it.
But now he hath obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.”
My, aren’t we fortunate? I try to impress on people that you and I, as believers in this Age of Grace, as members of the Body of Christ, have it so far above the promises made to Israel. Now we know God’s going to do wondrous things yet with Israel someday, but the promises that He has given to us as believers, as members of the Body of Christ are beyond comprehension. You and I can’t begin to get a glimpse of the glory that’s going to be revealed to us because all this is so much better than what God promised Israel. Now verse 7. Right off the bat I just see something that just thrills me:
“For if that first covenant had been faultless,…” You know what I’m going to ring the bell on? Was it faultless? No, it was full of fault. My, it was weak; it was beggarly. That first covenant of Law wasn’t faultless, but if it had been; had it been faultless:
“then should no place have been sought for the second.” That stands to reason doesn’t it? What’s our expression? “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” If you’ve got something that’s perfect, leave it alone. You know, I wrote to a carmaker one time. I had an automobile that I thought was as close to perfect as humans could make it. And they dropped that one from their line of cars. In fact it’s the one I’ve been driving, with over 230 thousand miles on it. That was as perfect a car as automobiles could be made and then that’s the one they dropped from their line. And I wrote to the company, I don’t suppose it got any further than the ‘round file’ but I told them, “For the first time in the history of your company you made an automobile that is almost perfect, and then you drop it.” I said, “Typical American business.”
But nevertheless, see, when something is perfect you don’t have to ask for anything more. But the Law and temple worship wasn’t perfect. It was full of faults and so consequently there had to be room for a second covenant. Now let’s go into verse 8, then I’m going to stop and digress.
“For finding fault with them, (Who did? God did. God found fault with His own system of Law) he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel and with the House of Judah: 9. Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; (which was the covenant of Law) because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.”
Now just stop and rehearse for a minute. As soon as Israel came through the Red Sea and they congregate down there at the base of Mt. Sinai, God calls Moses up in to the mountain and gives him the Ten Commandments (and I’m going to even skip over the horrors of what took place when he came down and he broke the first set). But later on he gets the second set, set in stone and Israel comes under the Law.
They’ve got that beautiful little tent out in the wilderness, they now have a priesthood, hey, they’re ready to go. They’ve got everything going for them. The Shekinah Glory is right up there above the Tabernacle. Can you imagine it, can you picture it? The presence of God is right there above them, a cloud by day to give them shade in that desert heat. It was a pillar of fire by night to protect them from any predators. Boy, they had it made.
And so God leads them up to Kadesh-barnea. And what happens. Oh, they floundered and they failed in what? Unbelief! Remember when we were back there in chapter 3 of Hebrews, I made mention of the fact that there’s probably no other concept of Scripture that is repeated so often as how disgusted God was with Israel when they would not go in and take the Promised Land. All because of their unbelief.
Well, what was part of the problem? The system of Law. It was not perfect. Had they had the indwelling Holy Spirit, had they had that relationship with their God that we have, I don’t think they would have fallen in unbelief. But they didn’t. All they had was the weak system of Law. Alright, let’s go back and look at a few of them. Now we had one here a few programs back and we’ll look at it again, too. But as you go back there, stop at Galatians. Now these are the Scriptural concepts of the system of Law, and what Israel was so proud of, but oh, it was weak. Galatians 4:8-9.
Now again, what was the problem with the Galatian believers? Well, they were Gentiles, but they were being coaxed to go back under certain aspects of the Jewish Law. The Judaizers from Jerusalem were not content that these Gentiles could be saved by faith alone, but they had to keep the Law. They had to keep temple worship, they had to practice circumcision and all the rest. And so Paul writes this little letter of Galatians, just almost beside himself how these Galatians come out of such a glorious position in grace and even be tempted to go back under the Law; and here’s why:
“Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, (they were pagans remember) ye did service unto them who by nature are no gods.” What’s he saying? You were worshipping dead idols: wood and stone and silver and gold. They were dead, they couldn’t do anything for you. And these Galatians had come out of that. Now verse 9.
“But now, (again, after they had come out of paganism, out of idol worship, they’d stepped into the Grace of God and Paul’s Gospel) after that ye have known God, (the true God) or rather (he says) are known of God,…”
I just pointed out to someone again last night. One of the ramifications of our faith today is that God knows us as if we’re the only person on earth. Do you feel that way? That’s how God feels about you, the believer. It’s just as if you were the only one! And we have this confidence that when we pray, we’re not just coming up with multitudes of millions of prayers. My, I wouldn’t even bother to pray if I thought that’s what it was. But we don’t, we come up as an individual. When Christ died, He would have died that death if YOU would have been the only person living. Now that’s what we call a personal salvation. So now this is what Paul is saying:
“…how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?”
How could you, when you came out of paganism and not only did you know God but God knew you. What a difference. What were the weak and beggarly elements? The Law. That’s all it was good for. It was weak and beggarly. It couldn’t give men power to live a good life. All it could do was condemn them, as we saw in the first program this afternoon. Alright, let’s just turn the page while we’re in Galatians and go to chapter 5 verse 1. And Paul is still on the same premise. Don’t go back under the Law. Don’t embrace any kind of legalism.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ (through His finished work, remember) hath made us free, be not entangled again with the (what?) yoke of bondage.” Now we covered that a few weeks ago here on the program. What does a yoke always make you think of? To me, a yoke of oxen. Why? Because around their neck they had that piece of wood that was their burden, with which they pulled. And that’s the whole concept. The Law was just like a yoke around an oxen’s neck. It burdened them.
Alright now, even Peter uses the same language, and I think we can go all the way up to Acts 15, when Peter finally, after I think, a long day of confrontation, disputation, comes to Paul’s defense. Now this is at the Jerusalem counsel when Paul has finally confronted the leaders of Jerusalem not to try and put his Gentile believers under the Law. And so Peter finally gets his own eyes opened and what does he tell us?
“He put no difference between us (Jews) and them (Gentiles) purifying their (Gentiles) hearts by faith. (now here it comes, from the lips of Peter) 10. Now therefore, why tempt (or test) God, to put a (what?) yoke upon the neck of the disciples,…” (these Gentile believers)
Well, what kind of a yoke is Peter referring to? The oxen. Same thing. Why put your believers under a yoke like oxen pulling a plow, that’s what the Law did. Now the word disciples in that verse, I don’t like to use, because too many people will immediately think of the Twelve. No, we’re talking about Gentile believers. And so he says:
“…which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” What’s Peter admitting? The Law never helped them. The Law was not a successful thing for the Nation of Israel. They were constantly under the yoke of it and it had no power to help them. And so he says, “don’t put a yoke upon the neck of those Gentile believers, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear.”
Now let’s go back to Galatians chapter 4, because there’s another verse back there that I think we should look at. All in this concept that the Law can do nothing except put us in bondage. Let’s just start with verse 1 because I want you to see how that all through, especially since Paul’s revelations have come on the scene, how that we see this constant reference to the Law as something that was less than perfect.
“Now I say, That the heir, (the child) as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; 2. But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. 3. Even so (he’s just using this as an example) we, when we were children, we were in (what?) bondage under the elements of the world:” That was the Law. And so you see, this constant reference through Scripture that to live under a legalistic system is not freedom, it’s not liberty; but rather it’s bondage. And that’s why Paul comes out then and says, “you’re not under the Law; you’re under grace.” And oh, what a difference!
Let’s come back to Hebrews once again, to verse 8. Since the Law was full of faults. Since it was a system of bondage. Since there was no liberty in it.
“For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold the days come….” Now that was prophecy, that was foretold in the Old Testament that this thing of the Law was a stopgap only leading up to the coming of Israel’s Messiah and the Savior of the world. And so his promise was:
“…Behold the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:” Now whenever you see God saying “I will” whether it’s back in Abrahamic Covenant or any other time, what is it? It’s a promise of something future that’s coming. And so here He’s promising the Nation of Israel that the day is coming when they will come out from under this covenant of Law. And they will go into a new covenant that God is going to make with the House of Israel and the House of Judah.
“Not according to the covenant that He made with the fathers…” Speaking again of Moses and Aaron and the Tabernacle and so forth in the wilderness. And then verse 10.
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord.; I will put my laws in their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:”
Now let’s go all the way back to where we had the promise of that new covenant. And that’s in Jeremiah chapter 31 and, by the way, we in this Age of Grace are getting the overflow of the promise of this covenant, but we are not actually under the covenant. That’s waiting for the Kingdom Age when God will set up His Kingdom here on the earth, and believing Israel will become the top-dog of the nations and they will enjoy this covenant.
“Behold, the days come, (here’s the prophecy) I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah.” Now this is the covenant in verse 34.
“And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” When will that happen? When Christ sets up His 1000 year earthy kingdom, that I feel is coming soon.
Lesson Three • Part I
Once, By His Own Blood
Hebrews 8:11 – 9:14
We left off in Hebrews chapter 8 verse 9. But to get a good understanding of where we left off let’s start with verse 7.
I think Hebrews was written by the Apostle Paul. We know it is first and foremost directed to Jewish believers. And that’s why it’s called the epistle to the Hebrews. Consequently, there is not one word in this whole letter to the Hebrews that is what we would call the body of Christ or the Church language.
You will find almost nothing that pertains directly to the body of Christ. In other words, you don’t see the term “The body of Christ.” There is not that emphasis on salvation through faith alone in the death, burial and resurrection. And there is certainly no reference to pastors, bishops, deacons and elders in Hebrews because again, it’s not directed to the Gentile Church. This letter does not address the body of Christ as such, but all the things I trust we’ve been learning now over these last seven or eight chapters are fundamental truths on which the body of Christ rests. Even Romans chapter 3 when Paul says:
“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets:” So everything is a progressive revelation and Hebrews is one of those sections of Scripture that, even though it’s not directly addressed to the Gentile body of Christ, it shows us the fundamental truths that were so necessary for our Gospel to come about. We also find that in all of Hebrews there is this constant comparison of that which was good (was in the past), to that which is better (is now). In fact, back up to verse 6 – what’s the first two words?
“But now…” In other words, that which was past is past but now, see?
“…hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, (see, that constant comparison and ) by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, (Better than that which was before, the old covenant) which was established upon better promises.” I really love this! Yes, the Law was good. Judaism was good as far as it went, but now, that has faded off and folded up like an old garment and now we’ve got things that are far better. Now verse 7.
“For if (conditional) that first covenant (the Covenant of Law) had been faultless, (if it had been perfect) then (there) should be no place have been sought for a second.” That stands to reason doesn’t it? Again, “If it ain’t broke – don’t fix it.” It’s only when something is amiss that we dive into it and make corrections. So Paul says: “if the first had been perfect, there’d be no need to correct it.” But it wasn’t. It was fleshly and weak.
“For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold the days come, saith the Lord, when I will (future) make a new (better) covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:” Now that’s not addressed to the Church. The new covenant, even in Jeremiah (we’re going to look at it after a bit), was never addressed to the Gentile Church; it was addressed to Israel and we’ll look at that. Oh if only people could separate Israel and the Church, how the Scriptures would just open up to them.
“Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.” Well, we went through that explicitly back in chapter 3 especially, when we rehearsed their unbelief at Kadesh-barnea. And what did the Lord say? “They entered not because of unbelief.” And the warning is even for us then, don’t harden your hearts as they did – keep trusting. Now verse 10 for something totally fresh.
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, (after all the years – 1500 at the time Paul writes this, So that after all those years) saith the Lord; I will (future tense) put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will (future) be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:” Now they haven’t been that since way back in Old Testament history when the Shekinah Glory left the Temple. Remember when God was speaking to Daniel and said, “Thy people.” Why? Because they were no longer God’s people, they had turned away in unbelief. But the day is coming when once again they will be the people of God, and we’re getting closer and closer to that day. Now let’s go back to Jeremiah 31, and see this New Covenant in its original setting. And then you’ll readily see that this has no direct – indirect, yes – but no direct bearing on the Gentile Church. This is a covenant that God has made with Israel not to be fulfilled of course, until Christ returns.
“Behold the days come, (a promise for the future) saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:” See how perfectly the Apostle Paul quoted this?
“Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant, they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD.”
When God gave the Law to Israel, and as we’re going to see when we get into chapter 9, He gave them the Tabernacle and the whole sacrificial system of worship. He gave them the priesthood; my they had everything going for them. God was present, remember, in that pillar of fire by night and the cloud by day.
For forty years after they had rejected Canaan, He fed them in the wilderness. He provided the water, provided everything they needed. And yet, what did the Nation of Israel do with it? Rejected it. They spurned Him for the most part, see? And so, because of their unbelief, this covenant of Law became nothing but a broken covenant waiting for the day when this new one will take center stage. Alright, now verse 33.
“But (See there’s that flip-side again. Oh they just scorned the first covenant. But) this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD,…” In other words, after those days of unbelief and of breaking the original covenant, the Mosaic Law, After those days, saith the LORD:)
“…I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; (not on tables of stone but He’s going to literally implant it in the heart of every Israelite, and then what will happen?) and (I) will be their God and they shall be my people.” Now I’m going to just read on because there’s some good stuff in here.
“And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour,…” Do you remember back when Moses gave the Law, what was the instruction to every Jew? Teach it, and teach it. Memorize it, memorize it. When you get up in the morning, think on the Law. When you go to bed at night, you think on the Law. And it was just constantly programmed into their thinking. But you see, when this becomes a reality, which will be, of course, when Christ returns and sets up that glorious Kingdom, then Israel won’t have to constantly be reminded because it will just be implanted in their very being. Looking at the verse again.
“And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” What a promise! Now verse 35.
“Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, which divides the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name:” In other words, the God of Creation. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, He’s speaking. And now look at the promise in light especially of the Middle East scenario today (2002). Many people think that Israel should be driven into the sea. But what does the Scripture say?
“If those ordinances (the sun, moon, and stars) depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.” Alright now then, if the sun and moon would suddenly quit shining. If the stars would suddenly fall out of their position, then it’s possible Israel would cease to be a nation, but not until.
“Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can me measured,…” And what’d we just hear again in the news this last week? They found another galaxy of some billion-trillion years out into space. Well that’s just a guess, but what does that tell you? How vast the universe is. Human science can’t measure it. But God says:
“…and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD.”
So if all that could happen then Israel might cease to be a nation, so it’ll never happen. Now I know most of us who are Biblically oriented are real concerned about the situation in the Middle East. It almost looks as though the life of the Nation of Israel is slowly but surely being snuffed out and I was just reading in the Jerusalem Post again last night where a lot of the Jewish people actually think that. They think they’re about to lose their country. No, they are not. Now they’re going to be squeezed. They’re going to go through some terrible times and the Old Testament prophecies that it’s going to come to the place where they will stand totally isolated. All alone with no one to help them, but they’re not going disappear. And so we can take comfort in that, that the Word of God is steadfast and sure. And they are there.
I trust they are there as a part of the end-time scenario now and it just tells us that the Lord’s coming is getting nearer. I made a big mistake back in 1993 – I thought that, by the end of the millennium, the Lord would return. Well, I didn’t set it in concrete, but I shouldn’t have even said that much because we can’t even speculate. Remember when I told you about the cartoon I’d seen about the end-time. The old boy sitting outside his cave door and above he had written ‘The End Is Near.” But then he had second thoughts and he added “er.” “The End is Nearer.” And so that’s the way I leave it today – the end is nearer than it was yesterday and it’s certainly a lot nearer than it was when Israel first declared themselves an independent state in 1948. But we can see that – all the ramifications of the world, the turmoil, the perplexity, the wars.
Somebody called me on the phone the other day, and again I have to respect what people tell me and I didn’t ask for a documentary of it, but he had heard someone give a lecture that right now today, there are 50 wars raging around the planet. Fifty. Well, I knew it was well over 40 the last I read in one of the news magazines. But just think about it, fifty wars are raging. Forty-eight of them involve the Muslim people. And so we find ourselves in a world that’s in turmoil. And it’s not just politics, it’s not just economics, it’s religious. If you’ll go back into history, you’ll find that most of the turmoil all the way back was usually, not always, but usually based on religious differences. But the Nation of Israel in spite of all the pressure; in spite of all the gloom will never again cease to be a nation. So lets look at verse 37 again.
“Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also search out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD.” But it’s not going to happen because this New Covenant is a covenant set from the eternal Sovereign God and He will never go back on His Word. Alright, back to Hebrews chapter 8 verse 11.
“And they (coming back to Jeremiah 31:31) shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. 12. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.”
Here again, you and I in the human realm cannot comprehend the Grace of God, even concerning Israel. My, God should have cast them out of His thinking centuries and centuries ago. They have no reason to still be in God’s favor. They’ve been a rebellious people, an ungodly people. In fact let me take you back to another verse, go all the way back to II Samuel chapter 7 and it just shows the mind of a merciful God.
God has never changed. He has never even had a thought of casting away His People, Israel. Even as Paul says in Romans 11, “hath God cast away His People?” God forbid. Don’t even think such a thing. That even though they had rejected Him and crucified Him, yet God has not cast away His people, Israel. Alright and the promise begins way back here in II Samuel chapter 7 verse 14 where God is addressing King David and He tells David concerning the Nation of Israel:
II Samuel 7:14
“I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men;” In other words, in another place, Isaiah speaks of people coming in with a language that the Jews couldn’t understand. They’d be overrun by their Gentile enemies. But that’s not going to stop God. He said, “I will chasten them with the rod of men and with the stripes of the children of men.” Verse 15:
II Samuel 7:15a
“But (even though they are iniquitous and steeped in unbelief, yet God says) my mercy shall not depart away from him,…”
Now go back to Exodus chapter 33 verse 19. And don’t forget these things. These are the very words of the Eternal God. And it’s nothing that men or nations or governments can ever change, it’s set in concrete, as I like to so often express it.
“And he (God) said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, (that is before Moses) and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; (Now here comes the promise.) and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.”
If you’ll remember when we were teaching in Romans several years ago, I used the analogy, it’s just like someone who has stepped out in the bright sunlight and these things just come down upon him, but God retreated and He retreated into His Sovereignty. Even though men may have just exclaimed “No way!” But God retreats into His Sovereignty, He is Absolute, and in His Sovereignty what does He say? “I will show mercy to whom I will show mercy. And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious.” Nobody can change that. He’s Sovereign.
And though we as mortals can’t understand some of these things, we have to remember that in His Sovereignty God can do whatever He wants to do even though we as humans may sometimes think it’s ridiculous. But from His Sovereignty, never. Now, Hebrews 8 again, verse 12 – with what we’ve just been seeing from the Old Testament, for God says:
“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness,…” Even though they’ve been a wicked and an ungodly nation. You go back to the Old Testament and you wonder how God ever put up with it. And never forget the vast majority then, as now, even though they were ‘religious,’ they didn’t have saving faith.
And I’m always going back to Elijah when he confronted the prophets of Baal. That’s probably the clearest explanation of the spiritual level of Israel. And here most of Israel had fallen down and worshipped Jezebel’s god, Baal. And you know the story, and when Elijah confronted them and the fire from Heaven lapped up all the water that Elijah had put on his sacrifices and God instructed him to kill the prophets of Baal, which he did. But then he got the message from ole Jezebel, “that tomorrow at this time he’ll be as dead as my priests of Baal are.”
And poor old Elijah did what? He ran and he ran and I always like to make it graphic. He was more than a marathon runner. He was triple that. And he ran all the way to the Negev. That’s a good hundred miles. And then he gets down under a juniper tree and I would imagine he all pooped out. Scared to death. And what’s he say? “Lord, take my life, I’m the last one left in Israel. Take me and forget about the nation.” And what was God’s answer, “Elijah, I have seven thousand that have not bowed their knee to Baal.”
And we think, well that’s a pretty good chunk of people – seven thousand. But out of an average population of 7 million, 7,000 is one tenth of one percent. Even in Israel, that’s all that were remaining true to Jehovah. Well, it’s never been much different. At the time of the flood it was less than that. There were just eight. And I feel there were four billion people on the earth at the time of the flood. Eight people. That’s all.
And now another graphic illustration. When you get into Acts chapter 1, after the Lord has been ministering to Israel, up and down the dusty roads of the little nation and they come together in the upper room, how many were there? A hundred and twenty. Now I have to feel that that was most, if not all, of the TRUE believers in Israel concerning Christ. A hundred and twenty after three years of His miracles and His ministry. Then we wonder why people don’t listen to me or you?
It’s always been that way. We can never expect much from the multitudes, at least I don’t. That’s why I’m tickled if people call and say we’re going to get twenty people together, will you come? Sure I’ll go! Because I’d rather have twenty true believers who are really concerned as to have a whole stadium full that want to be entertained. But you see, it’s always been that way. God has always had to settle for that tiny little remnant. Alright in the couple of minutes we have left let’s look at verses 12 and 13.
“For (God says,) I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” Now stop and think. Can you and I forget something that has happened in the past? Not very likely. Not if it’s made an imprint on us. We can try our best but you cannot forget it, it’s there. And as you go through life something will just trigger it and there it’s back.
But what about God? He can. See, God can forget. And that’s the precious promise that when He forgives, He forgets. He doesn’t throw up our past. Our own memory will, but God won’t. And always remember that God doesn’t hold (I don’t care how black the past) that against us. He has forgotten it. Well, He did the same thing with Israel. And so then verse 13 in the few seconds that are left.
“In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old, (like a garment that’s ready to be folded up and cast aside.) Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.”
Well, what’s He still trying to impress upon these Jewish people? That the old system of Law and the old religion of Judaism is now worn out, it’s past, it’s done and they’re to look for something totally new.
Lesson Three • Part II
Once, By His Own Blood
Hebrews 8:11 – 9:14
Well here we are finishing up our 50th book this afternoon, with each book containing twelve programs. Who would have thought when we were asked to do a television program starting in Genesis 1, that we’d still be taping over 10 years later, and when we finish this afternoon we would have taped 600 programs. We thought when we came on television that this would probably be about a six month deal, but here we are still. We just give the Lord the credit, the praise. And how we thank you for all your support, your prayers and all that it takes.
Alright, let’s go right back where we left off in Hebrews and we’re now ready to start chapter 9. Now it’s rather interesting that after Paul almost exhausts chapters 7 and 8 with the constant reference to the high priesthood of Melchisedec now we move on into these chapters and we’re certainly still going to be looking at that priesthood but we never again see the name Melchisedec. And as I study, I find it’s rather interesting that it is used so rarely through Scripture.
Genesis 14 is when we have the first mention of Melchizedek and then again in Psalms, I think it’s 107. Then we see nothing more of Melchizedek until we get here to the book of Hebrews and again it’s only just for a couple chapters in here. Now the name disappears but the priesthood continues.
“Then verily the first covenant (again going back to the Mosaic) had also ordinances of divine service, (in other words, they had to go through the ritual prescribed) and a worldly (or an earthly) sanctuary. 2. For there was a tabernacle…” (a tent)
Now I trust you all know that the word tabernacle is better translated in our English, as a tent. It was a temporary place that could be taken down, folded up and moved. It was not stone and brick and mortar like the temple which came later. But it was a temporary tent situation and so, consequently, it was called a tabernacle.
“For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary. 3. And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all;” In other words, all part of this same little tent. Now while we were waiting for the cameras to get ready, I just quickly drew a little makeshift illustration of what we’re talking about. This isn’t according to scale, but in the outer fence there was only a gate on the East. I’m using the typical directions of North, and East and South and West. This is the way the tabernacle was always set as was the temple on the Mount in Jerusalem. Alright, so as you came in from the East through the outer gate the very first thing that was in the furnishings was the brazen altar; the sacrifices. Then you came to the laver of cleansing, which was filled with water. And then you came to the first door of the tent, or the veil if you want to call it that, and this was called the sanctuary. This was the only place that the priests ministered every day of the year.
And in this, we had the table of showbread with the twelve flat loaves of bread. Down here was the candlestick, the light for the sanctuary. And then right over here next to the veil was the altar of incense, which was still in here but close enough that the aroma of the incense covered the Ark of the Covenant, which was just behind the veil. And we’re going to look in a minute how, specifically, God told Moses to place these. And then here was the veil that most Bible readers are acquainted with, the veil that rent when Christ died on that Cross. But it was the veil behind which only once a year the high priest could go and sprinkle the blood on the Mercy Seat, which was above the Ark of the Covenant. So this is basically the floor plan.
Now the Temple was established years later on the same kind of a floor plan, only instead of being a temporary tent, it was made of all the materials that are part and parcel of a building. In other words, the mortar and the stone and the gold and the silver and all the rest of it. But, out in the wilderness, which Paul is dealing with here, it was just the little tent. Now verse 3.
“And after the second veil, (the back room of this little tent or of) the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; (or what we really refer to so often as the Holy of Holies.) 4. Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein (that is in the Ark – this little box made of wood and covered with pure gold) was the golden pot that had (a sample of the) manna (the food in the wilderness) and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;” (or the Ten Commandments.)
Let’s go back to Exodus chapter 40. And the children of Israel are now ready to set up the tabernacle. The last year has been spent getting everything ready. Craftsmen of every sort were commissioned to do the work and they must have been brilliant – to take pure gold and overlay these articles of wood, out of which everything was tremendously beautiful. Verse 19.
“And he spread abroad the tent over the tabernacle, (the various hides and cloth and so forth) and he put the covering of the tent above and upon it; as the LORD commanded Moses.”
Now I just had the question during our last break, of whether the Lord spoke directly to Moses. Well, of course He did – with the exception of the Ten Commandments – they were written in tables of stone by God’s own finger. But all the rest of the setting up of the ritual and the appointing of the priests; that was done orally as God spoke directly with Moses. Now verse 20.
“And he took and put the testimony into the ark, (the tables of stone) and set the staves on the ark, and put the mercy seat above upon the ark.”
Now I’m going to stop and shock a few people. The word ‘ark’ in Hebrew is also what we would call a what? A coffin. Same word. And the analogy is the same; So this Ark of the Covenant was a coffin. Oh, not for a human corpse but for something else that was going to die and it spoke of death throughout Scripture and what was that? The Law!
Now I know that shocks people but I’m going to show you here in just a minute that that’s what the Scripture called it, ‘a ministration of death.’ So the Law, the tables of stone, were placed into that little box, that Ark of the Covenant, which was a coffin that spoke of death. But whenever you speak of death in the spiritual, what’s the next item? Life! Out of death always comes life. Let’s follow it. That’ll come in a little bit later.
“And he brought the ark into the tabernacle, and set up the vail of the covering, and covered the ark of the testimony; as the LORD commanded Moses. 22. And he put the table in the tent of the congregation, upon the side of the tabernacle northward, without the vail. 23. And he set the bread in order upon it before the LORD; as the LORD had commanded Moses.” In other words, that’s the table of showbread. So here are the instructions: that as you would come in from the East, up here on the North side was to be the table of showbread. Alright, then just read on a little bit further.
“And he put the candlestick in the tent of the congregation, over against the table, on the side of the tabernacle (what?) southward.” So you’ve got the table of showbread up here; on the south-side you’ve got the candlestick and then in the center right next to the veil was the altar of incense, so that the incense would literally cover the Ark of the Covenant without actually being in the room. So, it was not behind the vail but it was close enough that the effect would cover the Ark of the Covenant. Verse 25.
“And he lighted the lamps (down here in the candlestick) before the LORD; as the LORD commanded Moses 26. And he put the golden altar in the tent of the congregation before the vail.” In other words, right in front of the veil was the altar of incense.
“And he burnt sweet incense thereon; as the LORD commanded Moses. 28. And he set up the hanging at the door of the tabernacle.” And so on and so forth. Now when we studied all this back in Exodus the thing I always like to emphasize, and I still do, is that everything – every jot and tittle of this tabernacle set up – was a picture of the complete finished work of the Cross. In fact, if you’ve got a little imagination, you can see that the very floor plan depicted a cross. You come from the altar to the laver of cleaning to the two articles here and over to here. And everything from man comes with sacrifice toward God, but with God, the God of mercy, everything moves out this direction. And that’s what makes Bible study so interesting.
Whenever I read scoffers, I feel sorry for them. You know why? Because they scoff and they ridicule and they have no concept of how beautifully this whole Book is put together from Genesis to Revelation. The words I use so often are, ‘”it’s so intricate.” It is as intricate as the illustration that I gave years ago, back when we first started on television, “like a Swiss watch.” Everything is in perfect harmony, everything in ways that man could never imagine, all fit, and dovetail together. And that proves that it is a supernatural revelation of the mind of God.
Now just this right here that we’ve been talking about should be enough to convince anybody that the very setting of all these various furnishings of this tabernacle worship was already picturing a cross and how everything spoke of the very mercy of God, moving out to meet sinful men. On the other hand, the only way sinful men could approach this Holy God was through sacrifice and the shed blood. Now we’re going to see later in this chapter, of course, that the blood of animals couldn’t take away sin. All it did was stop-gap it. It was a covering but it was all looking forward to when Christ would finish that work of the Cross.
Alright now let’s see, while we’re back here in Exodus, let’s just stop in at the Book of Numbers chapter 17. If you remember a few weeks ago, we covered the rebellion of Korah. I don’t remember if it was the last taping or the one before. You remember how that Korah came up to Moses and said, “You and Aaron think you’re too much. After all who are you that you have to do all this. God can use any of us. I can be my own priest.” Remember that? At that time I read you the account here in chapter 16 of what took place. Alright now, as a follow up of that, Moses told Korah, “Alright bring all the people that are consorting with you against us and we will just see what God thinks of the whole scenario.” And you know what happened. The ground opened up and all those that sided with Korah and his rebellion went down, the Scripture says, into the pit.
Alright now, chapter 17 follows that. Let’s just take the time to read this. Every once in a while someone will call my program “a program of Bible reading.” Well, I don’t mind that a bit because after all that’s what we do mostly, we just let the Scripture speak for itself.
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2. Speak unto the children of Israel, and take of every one of them a rod (like a shepherd’s rod) according to the house of their fathers, of all their princes according to the house of their fathers twelve rods: (In other words, one from each one of the Twelve Tribes – Judah and Reuben and Ephraim and all the rest of them.) write thou every man’s name upon his rod.”
“And thou shalt write Aaron’s name upon the rod of Levi: for one rod shall be for the head of the house of their father (one rod per tribe.) 4. And thou shalt lay them up (all twelve of them) in the tabernacle of the congregation before the testimony, where I (God says) will meet with you. 5. And it shall come to pass, that the man’s rod whom I shall choose, shall blossom:…” Remember, they’re starting out with dead sticks of wood. These rods are just dead sticks of wood, probably almond.
“…and I will make to cease from me the murmuring of the children of Israel, whereby they murmur against you. 6. And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, and every one of their princes gave him a rod a piece, for each prince one, according to their fathers; houses, even twelve rods: and the rod of Aaron was among their rods. (remember Aaron’s will be a rod from the Tribe of Levi.) 7. And Moses laid up the rods before the LORD in the tabernacle of witness. 8. And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi (remember will be the rod from the Tribe of Levi.) was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds.” But only his rod did this. Now I suppose the scoffer reads that and thinks boy, that’s pretty good story telling. But see, there’s more to it than that. This is telling us a tremendous New Testament truth. What is it?
“And Moses brought out all the rods from before the LORD unto all the children of Israel: and they looked and took every man his rod. 10. And the LORD said unto Moses, Bring Aaron’s rod again before the testimony, to be kept…”
Remember what the Book of Hebrews said? “That within the ark of the testimony was a sample of the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of testimony.” That was in the Ark of the Covenant, in that box. Alright, completing the verse:
“…for a token against the rebels; and thou shalt quite take away their murmurings from me that they die not. 11. And Moses did so; as the LORD commanded him, so did he. 12. And the children of Israel spake unto Moses, saying, ‘Behold, we die, we perish, we all perish. 13. Whosoever cometh any thing near unto the tabernacle of the LORD shall die; shall we be consumed with dying?’”
Well what did they suddenly realize? The power and the Holiness of God, that Aaron was the designated priest of Israel and the rest of them dare not usurp that kind of authority. But it goes further than that. This wasn’t just a sign to Israel because, in this little box that we call the Ark of the Covenant (and that’s all it was remember, it was just a box over which of course) you had the angelic beings and the gold. But in here you had Aaron’s rod that budded, the tables of the testimony and a sample of the manna. Now, if the Law, the testimony on the stones, spoke of death, then what did the budding dead almond stick speak of? Resurrection life!
And so even though those tables of stone were a ministration of death in that box which was a coffin, there was also the promise of life to come. And when life to come came along, what do we have to sustain it? The Bread of Life! Now there’s a whole sermon for you right there in one little box!
Now let’s turn up to II Corinthians chapter 3, and see if that isn’t just exactly the way the Scripture puts it. I think I mentioned it once before on the program, when I taught this one night in one of my classes here in Oklahoma, I’ll tell you what, you could almost hear a pin drop. They were so shocked when I called the Law a ministration of death. That’s all the Law could do was kill; it couldn’t save anybody. It couldn’t give life to anybody, and it still can’t. As much as people try it will never work. And that’s why Law-keepers are doomed – they are beating a dead horse. It’ll never get up and give them a ride.
Alright, II Corinthians, chapter 3, let’s just jump in at verse 6. Paul is writing. And he says:
II Corinthians 3:6a
“Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, (that is the Law) but of the spirit:…”
And that’s where we are. We’re not under the Law, we’re under grace. Now I guess I’d better stop and explain again because some people get all bent out of shape when I say, look, we’re not under the Mosaic Law. And they say, “You mean I can do whatever I please and get away with it?” That’s not what I said. I said, “You’re not under the Law because we’re under Grace.”
Now then, since Israel was under the Law and they tried to keep it, what happened? They failed – miserably. I already gave you an example in the last program. And the reason was those Ten Commandments on those tablets of stone had no power. Nothing to help the people keep them, so they were ministrations of death. But now, we come under grace the moment we become a believer and we’re not under the Law but we’ve got something a million times better, and what is that? The indwelling Spirit. And it’s the Spirit of God that keeps the believer from breaking, if I may use that word, the Law. The Holy Spirit will never tell a believer to steal. The Holy Spirit will never lead a believer to gossip. The Holy Spirit will never lead any of us to go contrary to the basic laws of God, that’s the whole power element. Finishing the verse.
II Corinthians 3:6b
“…not of the letter, (the law) but of the spirit: (the power of the Holy Spirit. Now look at the conclusion) for the letter (law) killeth, (that’s all the Law can do, it’s a ministration of death.) but the spirit giveth life.” What was that? The rod that budded. Now do you see it all fit? Alright, then come down to verse 7.
II Corinthians 3:7
“But if the ministration of death, (that’s what your Bible calls it) written and engraven in stone was glorious, (and it was. It was great for its time) so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; (when he came down from the mountain, remember) which glory was to be (what?) done away;”
The day would come when all that pertained to Moses, like I said in the last program, would be folded up like a worn out garment and laid aside. And Israel to this day, can’t understand that. But trusting God to give us wisdom, we do. Verse 8:
II Corinthians 3:8
“How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather (or more, what?) glorious?”
Now what does that tell us? All that the Law was in all of its glory under the Mosaic system has faded away and in its place has come something a million times better. We’re not living under a ministration of death. We are living under eternal life. It’s already promised. It’s already begun. Oh we may pass away from this old earthly tabernacle some day, and Iris and I talk about it. I mean after all, we’re walking into the sunset whether we like it or not. And if the Lord doesn’t come, one of these days, it’s very possible either she or I will suddenly be gone. That’s the way of all flesh, that’s why we pray harder and harder that the Lord will come. I don’t fancy going to the cemetery and I don’t think she does either. And I don’t think any of us do. But if the Lord doesn’t come, that’s going to happen, but the death of a believer is what? Oh! It’s a graduation into something far better because we’ve already got that eternal life.
So remember we are no longer under a ministration of death. We are now under a ministry of life. Eternal life! But again, don’t forget now that that Ark of the Covenant contained the three things that pertain to all of these end-time events. It contained the rod that budded, speaking of resurrection life, it spoke of the ministration of death which was the Law and had to be put away, and it spoke then of the manna which would be the Bread of Life, that would sustain us as believers as we go through this earthly sojourn. They were all back there in type, but now revealed by the Apostle Paul.
Lesson Three • Part III
Once, By His Own Blood
Hebrews 8:11 – 9:14
Alright, back to where we left off – we were in Hebrews chapter 9 and again, we’re just trying to show that everything that went before was God ordained and even though it wasn’t perfect from man’s side, it was from God’s. But it had no power and consequently the Law was weak and beggarly as Paul calls it in Galatians and now as we saw in our last program then, that everything back there in the tabernacle was a preview of the finished work of the Cross. And how even the materials in the Ark of the Covenant all spoke of His death, His burial, His resurrection and the Word of God being the very manna that would sustain us for this Age of Grace.
Now let’s just go on, I think Chuck is doing the numbers today, and we’re going to be in Hebrews 9 and we’re going to start verse 6 in this half-hour and just continue on.
“Now when these things were thus ordained,…”
That is by God Himself. The furnishings in the tabernacle, all the way from the brazen altar, the laver of cleansing, to the table of showbread, to the candlestick and the altar of incense. And then behind the veil was the Ark of the Covenant in which were the three things we just spoke of. Now continuing the verse:
“… the priests (the priests of Israel, all Levites remember) went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. 7. But into the second went the high priest alone, once every year,…”
Let me come back to my diagram here on the chalk board. So daily, the priests would begin with the animal sacrifices out here at the brazen altar; they would stop at the laver of cleansing and wash and wash and wash. And then they would come on in and they would replace the loaves of bread on the table of showbread and they would trim the wicks and fill the oil and all that in the candlestick. They would trim the fires and everything on this altar of incense but never beyond the veil. And then they would accomplish their daily work and go back out. Now that’s as far as they could go in their daily ministration, but once a year the priest could go behind the veil.
We were just talking at break and I’ve never been able to discern from Scripture, did he come around the end of the veil? We know he didn’t go under it, but somehow or other, once a year the high priest would come in behind the veil and sprinkle the blood upon the Mercy Seat and then go back out, get the blood of another animal; come back in for the sins of Israel and go back out. And only once a year on what we call the Day of Atonement.
Remember the Day of Atonement could not take away Israel’s sin. It was only a stopgap, it was a covering and that’s why David said in the Psalms, “Blessed is the man whose sins are covered.” They weren’t atoned for completely; they couldn’t be with animal’s blood. I wasn’t planning to do this – maybe I’d better do it again. So few people understand this whole concept of the departure of the Jewish believers or unbelievers as far as that goes in the Old Testament economy. And the Scripture is so plain that they went down into Hades or Sheol or Hell as we call it in the English. But Hades was divided by a great gulf, and on one side were the ‘flames of torment’ and on the other side was ‘Paradise.’ But it was all down in the center part of the earth.
Now maybe we’d better chase down the Scriptures for this because it’s been a long time since we’ve done this. Come back with me to Matthew chapter 12, and we’ll begin at verse 38. Remember this in Christ’s earthly ministry.
“Then certain of the scribes and the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. (now you remember, the Jews were always requiring a sign. And His answers are in red if you have a red letter edition) 39. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; but shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:”
If you ever have somebody scorn the story of Jonah, then you just tell them well, the Creator of the whole universe believed it. And if the Creator Himself believed it, you’d better! Because if you don’t you’re going to stand in danger of the judgment someday, because if you can’t believe that, then you can’t believe the work of the Cross. That’s the way I look at it. Because one is just as believable as the other. And so here the Lord of Glory Himself is putting His stamp of affirmation on the story of Jonah.
“For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Which means the very center. “In the heart of the earth.” Now let’s go up and get a little glimpse of that place in the center of the earth, in Luke, chapter 16, and we can jump in at verse 19. Again, I think we’ll just take the time to read a good portion of this because the Word of God is more powerful than any two-edged sword. And it’s certainly more powerful than anything I can say, so we’ll just let it speak for itself. And again in the words of the Lord Jesus, Himself. Now I can never emphasize enough that even though He was on earth in the flesh, He never stopped being the Creator God of Genesis 1:1. And of course, this is what Hebrews has been showing; that Christ was totally God in the flesh. So, as God you see, He knows exactly what He’s talking about and this is not a parable.
“There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously everyday: (in other words, he was really rich.) 20. And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores. 21. And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.” Now that poor guy was in really tough shape, materially, wasn’t he? Now verse 22.
“And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom:…”
We know the beggar was a believer, because he’s carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom. Now you want to remember that Abraham is 2,000 years before Christ’s earthly ministry.
“…the rich man also died, and was buried: (but his soul is in Hell) 23. And in hell he lifted up his eyes,…”
Now the rich man is in the same center of the earth of course, but he is not on the Paradise side, he is on the torment side. And so in Hell, this place of the departed, down here in the center of the earth, as Jesus said in Matthew 12, the rich man is in torment; and Abraham and Lazarus are over here on the Paradise side, all in the center of the earth.
“And in hell he (the rich man) lift up his eyes, being in torment, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. for I am tormented in this flame. 25. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. (Now here it comes) 26. And beside all this, (Abraham tells the rich man) between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: (no bridges across it. No way across) so that they who would pass from hence to you cannot; (Lazarus can’t come over and help you.) neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. (you can’t come over here) 27. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, (Abraham) that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: (my kinsmen, still alive up there in Israel) 28. For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.”
You know what that tells me? Every lost human being, the moment they depart this life, they wish they could have somebody go back and tell their loved ones, don’t come here. But it’s impossible see? Alright, and this is no different. Now remember this is not a parable. I have to feel that Jesus is giving us a little window of information that is as true as truth can be. So the rich man says, “send back Lazarus that they can be warned, that they not come to this place of torment.” Now verse 29.
“Abraham said unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.”
What does that mean? They’ve got the Word of God. Now today, you see, when lost people immediately find themselves in that place of torment, and if they could scream send somebody to warn their loved ones, what would still be the same answer? They have the Word of God. Only God would probably narrow it down a little more and say, “they have Paul’s epistles, and Paul salvation message” You remember, what I’m always showing from Peter, Peter says, “that if you would have salvation, you go to the epistles of Paul for according to the wisdom given unto him, and found in I Corinthians 15:1-4 and Romans 10:9-10.” Now verse 30.
“And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. (oh, if somebody could just tell them what it’s like down here, they would believe. No they won’t. Look at the next verse) 31. “And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets; (now remember this is an Old Testament economy, if they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets) neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.”
What does God know? The human mindset. And it’s no different today. My, sometimes I guess we wonder, if only God could just sort of manifest Himself in some tremendous way people would believe. No they won’t. Someone wrote me the other day and they said, “Les, I’m beginning to realize more and more as I hear you teach, that if Christ would come today, the world would crucify Him again.” And I’m afraid that’s true, because the vast majority wants nothing to do with these things.
Alright so now we can establish that in the Old Testament economy before the Blood of Christ was shed, since animal blood could not take away the sin of even the greatest believer such as Moses and Abraham, they went down into the center of the earth into the Paradise side of Sheol. But when the Blood was shed and the work of the Cross was finished, that now we see as Paul teaches in Ephesians chapter 4, that it all falls in place again so perfectly, and so clearly. I want to give you time to find it because you’ve got to read this with your own eyes, otherwise it won’t sink in.
Now remember the setting, all the Old Testament believers have been going down into Paradise, only in the realm of soul and spirit of course, fully conscious. But when Christ says to the thief on the cross and I don’t have to have you read that one, you all know what He said. What did He say? “Today thou shalt be with me (where?) in Paradise.” Not up in Heaven, in Paradise. Alright, now here Paul, puts the frosting on the cake:
“Wherefore he saith, (that is Christ in verse 7) When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive,…” In other words, He took those that were in captivity down in that paradise side of Sheol, and removed them. Now who were the ones in captivity? These Old Testament believers waiting for the atoning Blood. Maybe I should put it this way. They’re waiting for the work of the Cross. They’re waiting for Christ to come down in those three days and three nights and declare unto them as Peter puts it in his epistle, “He preached unto them (what?) that the atoning Blood was now shed and He could take them out and now they could go into the Heavenlies into the presence of God because, because of Christ’s Blood their sins were totally removed.”
I was just talking to somebody on the phone again the other evening. about my maintaining that at salvation we are forgiven and God has sent our sins far, far away. I think the Psalmist puts it, “as into the depths of the deepest sea.” Doesn’t he? Never to be remembered against us any more. Well you see, when that happens and you and I are so cleansed by the Blood of Christ, now we have no compunction with saying, as Paul does, “to be absent from the body is to be(where?) present with the Lord.”
He doesn’t hold our past against us. He’s forgotten it. It’s gone and we are now fit to go into His presence. But the Old Testament saints were only under the blood of animals. And it was just a stopgap, as I’ve been saying over and over all afternoon. It was just a covering waiting for the finished work of the Cross. Alright, now let’s read on in Ephesians.
“Wherefore he saith, When he ascended, up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?…)” See how that fits with Matthew 12. Then verse 10.
“(…He that descended (the Christ of the Cross) is the same also that ascended up far above all the heavens, that he might fill (or fulfill) all things.)”
See how plain that is? You don’t have to be a seminary graduate to understand that. You don’t have to be a PhD in English. It’s just plain as day “that as Jonah was three days in the belly of the fish, for three days and three nights; so must the Son of man be in the heart of the earth, three days and three nights.” What is it but that he descended first into the lower parts of the earth, took captive all these Old Testament believers, and took them up to Paradise which is now in heaven and torment of course now is enlarged, according to the Old Testament prophets. The torment side of Sheol now covers the whole area because Paradise is now in glory.
Well, now let’s come back to Hebrews chapter 9 and verse 7, and see if we can make some more sense out of this:
“But unto the second (that is beyond the vail, back into that Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant was placed.) went the high priest alone once a year, not without blood, (animal blood) which he offered for himself, (and then he’d have to go back out and kill the second animal, take it’s blood and again go behind the veil) and (that) for the errors of the people: 8. The Holy Ghost this signifying, (showing) that the way into the holiest of all (the very presence of God) was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:”
In other words, when the high priest would go in behind the veil, oh he was going into the Shekinah Glory presence of God as it hovered above this little tabernacle. But there was no way he had access into the throne room of God in heaven because all he had was animal blood. And it could not remove sin. It merely covered it.
Okay, now can we go to the next verse, verse 9, and all of this was a figure, a type, a picture, all of this:
Which was a figure for the time then present, (animal sacrifices, temple worship) in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, (or whole or complete) as pertaining to the conscience;”
Animal blood could not do it. Now isn’t it amazing that Israel did not lose the temple until after Christ was crucified, buried and risen from the dead? I’d never thought of it really before. Isn’t it amazing? Those Romans could just as well have destroyed Jerusalem and the temple before all that was finished.
My goodness, they were fighting the Jews for a hundred years before Christ came. But oh, God in His Sovereignty made sure that that temple worship kept on going until the finished work of the Cross was accomplished because you see, otherwise, there would have been a time in there where the Jews had no way of approaching God. If the Cross hadn’t been completed and if the temple was gone, then there would have been nothing. But God made sure that they could keep on with that temple worship, they could still bring their sacrifices. Remember, though that it was a dead religion. And not many of them were true believers anymore, but there were a few.
But God in His Sovereignty made everything fit, that after the work of the Cross was completed, the temple could be destroyed. And that’s why Paul can write in here that “everything pertained to the Law is like an old worn out garment, that you can fold up and lay it aside.” How it all fits historically, as well as Biblically! Alright, now then, verse 10 – all of these things of tabernacle worship:
“Which stood only (that all, that’s as far as it could go) in meats and drinks, and divers washing, and carnal (or fleshly or earthly) ordinances, imposed on them (that is on Israel) until (there’s your time word, when?) the time of reformation.” (or setting everything straight.)
In other words, again, they stayed under this old system of tabernacle, animal sacrificial worship, until that work of the Cross was consummated, and then all of this could fade away – it was now useless. It counts for nothing, and that’s the whole purpose of this letter to the Hebrews. Now let’s look at verse 10 carefully, for the minutes that are left.
All of this worship service, all of this daily operation of the priest, the yearly practice of the Day of Atonement was all just simply a ritual “of meats and drinks.” In other words, there were drink offerings that were poured out. The animal sacrifices and the burnt offerings and so forth, and then the next one; it’s real interesting – diverse what? “Washings.” A lot of people don’t want to hear this, but what do you suppose the word washing is in the Greek? You’d better write this in your margin. It’s ‘baptismos.’ In other words, along with all this sacrificial worship they had baptisms as we would call it. But they didn’t call it baptism in the Old Testament. What did they call it? Washing. Now goodness, I don’t have to tell you that. Let me go back to Leviticus chapter 8, and we’ll just have time for one verse. Now this is preparation for the priesthood. But not only was it when they prepared for the priesthood it was every day, as they got ready to do this ‘daily ministration.’ Whoever happened to be the priest’s turn for that particular day, how did they have to start? Wash, wash, wash – in water.
“And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water.”
Now if that would have been in the Greek it would have said he ‘baptized them in water.’ That’s really what it said. And so the whole religion of Judaism was based on wash, wash, wash. And so when we come to John the Baptist and he begins baptizing in the River Jordan, were the Jews all shook up, saying, “What in the world is all this?” No, nothing new. They’d been used to it for 1,500 years.
Lesson Three • Part IV
Once, By His Own Blood
Hebrews 8:11 – 9:14
Now as we begin this last lesson for book 50, let’s go back to Hebrews chapter 9 where we ran out of time again in our last lesson. As we teach this we see the association of the Old Testament economy as it was practiced back there first in the tabernacle, and later on in the Temple which had the same floor plan as the tabernacle. But, here in Hebrews we’re really referring to that tent in the wilderness. And then our last verse was that “all these things,” the furnishings, the Day of Atonement, the bringing in of the animal’s blood, all of that was just a picture of what would be fulfilled and consummated when Christ would go the way of the Cross. So now the first word of verse 11 is what?
“But…” Now you have the flip-side! Yes, all that was as good as it could be, BUT it had now outworn its usefulness. Now we’ve got something ‘far better,’ as we’ve been seeing all through the Book of Hebrews.
“But Christ (after the priesthood of Melchizedek) being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, (now I’m reading this slowly) not made with hands,….”
Well, if it’s not made with hands, where is it? In heaven. In the heavenlies. There is a prototype and we showed that several weeks ago, that when Moses got instructions to build the tabernacle in the wilderness, what was it patterned after? The likeness of the one in heaven. Alright, and here it is again. That this Priest, Christ, the Priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with silver and gold and animal skins and linens and so forth. But with materials of the Heavenlies and only God knows what that is.
My, aren’t you getting kind of homesick for Heaven? I think every believer from the young ones to the old one should be – and you know what? We had to drop a television station a while back and we had kids that were eleven and twelve years old who called and cried, literally, bawled, because they were using our program every morning in their home schooling and wanted to know why in the world we had to drop the program? Well, I’ll tell you that tears you up. But, on the other hand, it thrills us, that we do have a lot of kids listening and watching our program.
A couple of years ago, Iris and I were just beside ourselves because a mother and two kids came to one of our seminars and the kids came up; one was 14, and one was 12, something like that. And they hugged us like long lost grandparents! And the poor mother was so embarrassed. And she said, “Well Les, you’ve got to remember, they watch you every morning.” Well you know, that thrills our hearts that we’re not just appealing to the ‘gray hairs;’ we do have a large audience of kids, eight, nine, ten – in fact we’ve got one family, now their kids are 17 and 18 and they’ve been with us for almost seven or eight years every morning. So you keep praying that we’ll keep reaching a lot of these younger folks.
But anyway, most of you understand that the tabernacle in the wilderness was made of earthly materials, but this tabernacle, this prototype, if I may call it that, is made in glory, with things that we can’t comprehend. All I know is, it’s glorious! It’s going to be beyond human comprehension. Alright, so verse 11, finishing it.
“…by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;” (creation). So it’s not on this earth. Alright now verse 12, and here comes the whole meat or the substance of this portion of Scripture.
“Neither by the blood of goats and calves, (as we just saw in the previous verses in our last program) but by his own blood (the Blood of the Cross, on Calvary as the high priest entered behind the veil with the blood of an animal. This high Priest, Christ Jesus Himself) enters into the holy place, (in heaven. In other words into the presence of God the Father. Not with the blood of bulls and calves) having obtained eternal redemption for us.”
With His own Blood we have the redemption. Now I know this is all hard for us humans to comprehend but we take it by faith. How did He approach the Father in the Holy of Holies in heaven presenting His own Blood at the Mercy Seat of the Throne Room? Remember Aaron and the following priests came in behind the veil with the blood of animals, so Christ came in with His own Blood. Now I’m going to take you back to John’s Gospel for a short lesson, we haven’t done this either for a long time.
I think we did it when we taught the gospel of John verse by verse. So come back with me to chapter 20 and you all know the account. How that Mary Magdalene, along with all of the other believers and followers of Jesus, had no idea that He would be raised from the dead. That fact never entered their mind, even though Jesus had told the Twelve more than once, that He would die and rise again, yet it was hidden from them, providentially of course. And so Mary Magdalene is no different and so she’s going to carry out the process of anointing the body after the burial.
“The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, (in other words, before full daylight.) when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.”
Now here comes the human element, the minute she sees that, she’s shaken to her toes and what does she do? She just turns on her heels and she runs as fast as that poor girl can run and finds Peter and John.
“Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, (whom we know was, John) and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.”
Peter doesn’t say, “Well, Mary, we know! He’s not supposed to be in the tomb. He’s raised from the dead!” He hasn’t got the foggiest notion of resurrection yet, and so he’s just as shocked as Mary.
“Peter therefore went forth, and the other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.”
Don’t think for a minute that was an early morning stroll. They ran! This was shocking, the tomb empty! With all those Roman guards stationed with threat of their lives if anybody would try to take the corpse. Because you know, that’s what the Pharisees did. They made sure that the Romans stationed guards around the tomb because they had heard that somebody had said He would be raised after three days and three nights, so they thought that was just a gimmick. They’d come and steal the corpse and then they’d be able to say, “See, He rose from the dead.” So they purposely asked the Romans to put extra guards around the tomb.
Now if you know Roman law, you know that when those men were stationed with that kind of responsibility it was with their lives at stake. And here comes Mary and now Peter and John and I don’t even see any record that the soldiers are around. They’ve either run for their lives or they’re already executed, but they’re not there. But the tomb is empty.
“So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.”
I think this is all so practical because we’re pretty confident that Peter was quite a bit older than John and so the young man shows his athletic ability. And so John outruns Peter, and gets to the sepulchre first. But of course, John is more timid than Peter and so he doesn’t go right in. You want to remember the sepulchre was a cave in the limestone and that’s why the stone could be rolled away from the opening. And so verse 5.
And he (John) stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.(I just picture him as being a little bit young and timid.) 6. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, (now I like to bring this down to the every day. He’s probably around forty years old. And I don’t know how far he’s run but he’s been running pretty hard, so what’s he doing? He’s huffing and he’s puffing, but he doesn’t even stop to get his breath, Can’t you just hear him? So Peter) went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie.” As he looks around, he just surveys the whole scenario. Now verse 7.
“And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.” In other words, meticulously folded in a place by itself. This wasn’t just some ramshackle casting off of these grave clothes.
“Then went in also that other disciple, (John) which came first to the sepulchre, (now watch this) and he saw, (the evidence and he, what?) and believed.”
Now what does that tell you? He didn’t know anything of resurrection before this. He knew Who Jesus was, he was a believer, but he had no concept of resurrection. Again that just tells us something. You see, to believe in the resurrection was not a prerequisite for salvation in the Kingdom Gospel. All they were to believe was that Jesus of Nazareth was Who He said He was. And that He was the King of Israel, the Promised Messiah, and that’s all. They didn’t have to believe in a death, burial and a resurrection like we do for salvation, as found in I Corinthians 15:1-4, and Romans 10:9-10 So it wasn’t necessary for Peter and John to have believed in resurrection up to this point because it wasn’t expected of them. God had kept it secret from them, as you see in Luke 18:31-34, but now when they see the evidence, they believe. Now look at the next verse.
“For as yet they (Peter and John and I guess I can safely include Mary Magdalene) knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.” Plain English. They didn’t know, but they didn’t have to know to be saved in that Kingdom economy. Now verse 10:
“Then the disciples went away again unto their own home. 11. But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,”
I suppose her curiosity got the best of her. What in the world caused Peter and John to exit so quickly and go? And so she looks in. Now she sees something that Peter and John did not. And what is that? Angels.
“And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13. And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. 14. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. 15. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seeketh thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener,…”
I have to stop right here. Why, first and foremost does not Mary recognize the resurrected Christ? Well, I have to feel the number one reason is found in Isaiah chapter 52. Why do you suppose Mary did not recognize Jesus, as He’s now standing there in human form, bodily? He didn’t have a ‘kooky’ look about Him. He looked very normal. But here in Isaiah is what she saw last before they took Christ down from the Cross.
“Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. (so we know the prophet is speaking of the Messiah.) 14. As many were astonied (astonished) at thee; his visage (or His appearance) was so marred more than any man,…”
Now listen, we know that the human beings were experts at torture. All the way up through human history, they have been able to torture men beyond human comprehension, but, nobody under the most extreme torture ever had their facial appearance so distorted and so marred as Christ’s was on the Cross. Now we have to realize that, yes, He was scourged. He took the beatings that the Romans administered before He went to the Cross, and they pulled His beard, and the crown of thorns but other than that, we have nothing in the record that they beat on His face, so we have to kind of put two and two together.
What caused his visage to make him look so horrible that it was worse than any human being had ever appeared? The sins of mankind. All the sin of the world was laid on Christ as He hung on that Cross. And you and I again, in the human realm, cannot comprehend that, but I can see that this would cause that physical deforming of His very appearance. And so “He was more marred than any man and his form more marred than the sons of men.” Not so much because of what the Romans had done, but because of the sin that was laid on Him as He hung there on the Cross.
Alright, so now if you’ll come back to John, use just a little bit of human logic. So if the first thing that Mary would have thought of Christ coming back to life, she would have had to undertake seeing that marred face and all that went with it. But here stands Someone looking perfectly whole. Not a scar. Not a mark, except in His hands and His feet and His side. Looking at verse 15 again:
“…supposing him to be the gardener, (which means He looked perfectly normal, not like anything bizarre at all) saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.” I will give Him the proper burial and all the ceremonial ritual of the spices and herbs and so forth is implied. Now Jesus speaks in verse 16.
“Jesus saith unto her, Mary….”
Iris and I are learning that when we’re in strange places people recognize our voice far before they’ll recognize our facial appearance and you just watch for it. I’ve given this example before. You can be in the kitchen and if your television is in the den or living room completely out of sight and if you hear a movie with someone that was maybe a great star thirty or forty years ago, you’ll recognize the voice long before you will the picture. I know I do. I can recognize a voice just immediately. Well, I think it’s typical of everybody. Well it’s the same way here. She didn’t recognize anything about Him from His physical appearance but the minute He spoke; it was voice recognition. And that’s all He had to say, “Mary,” see?
“…She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.” Can’t you just hear the excitement in that? These people are human! Just as human as we are and to suddenly realize that this was Jesus standing there in front of her alive and normal looking! No wonder she was shook. And now look what she does.
“Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not:…’”
Again, you’ve got to read between the lines once in a while and you won’t do any violence to Scripture by doing it. What was the custom even back then when you saw somebody that you hadn’t seen in a while or you were just suddenly engrossed in who they are? Well, you hug them! You all do. My, I see a lot of people and I’ve always said, I’m not a born hugger, but I see some of the rest of you and, my, you can hug! Well, listen, they were no different. So what’s she ready to do? She’s ready to give Him a bear-hug. To think that He’s alive and well and normal! But what does Jesus do? He stops her short and he says: “Touch me not.” Mary, don’t you hug me. Why?
“…for I am not yet ascended to my Father: (now He’s not talking about Acts chapter 1, He’s talking about an immediate ascension right here.) but go to my brethren, (the eleven) and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. 18. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her. 19. Then the same day at evening, (Sunday night) being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.”
Now where was He those eight or ten hours? In Glory! Plain as day. Alright now let’s come back to Hebrews once again and maybe this will all fall in place. Back to Hebrews chapter 9 verses 11 and 12 again:
“But Christ (Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified, now resurrected) being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, (in other words, this glorious tabernacle in the heavenlies) 12. Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place,…” He did not enter once a year, but rather, once for all eternity He entered into the holy place, that is in heaven. Not the one behind the veil as it was on earth, but he entered into the Holy of Holies in the Heavenlies, into the very presence of the merciful, gracious God, not with the blood of bulls and calves but with his own Blood.
Now what does He do? When He leaves off speaking with Mary, He took some of His Blood that was shed on the Cross – I feel He literally took His own Blood and being the God that He was, that was no problem for Him to recapture some of that Blood that had fallen. He takes that Blood and He takes it right up into the Throne Room of Heaven and presents it as the full atoning Blood now, of the Cross, which was far above the animal’s blood. It was the Blood offering that all of humanity had now been waiting 4,000 years, from Adam, and now it finally happens.
And now, He has totally removed the veil and we no longer have to go through all of this ritual. Now every believer has full access, without apology, into that Throne Room of heaven. Why? Because this divine Blood of Christ has now been placed on the Mercy Seat forever and ever. Alright verses 13 and 14:
“For if the blood of bulls and goats, or the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, (if it could) sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: (in that old economy) 14. How much more (oh, beyond comparison!) shall the blood of Christ, (you cannot compare the efficacy of animal’s blood with this divine Blood of Christ) who through the eternal Spirit offered himself (as the supreme sacrifice. See how plain this is? He is the atoning Blood. He is the supreme sacrifice and so) without spot to God, purged your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
Oh, what a difference. We’re not worshipping idols of wood and stone. We’re not worshipping some manmade religion. When we come in under that shed Blood of Christ by faith in His death, burial and resurrection; we now have full access to God. We can pray to Him twenty-four hours a day and we can slip out into eternity with full assurance that we’re going into His presence.