Sunday January 15th 2012
The Letter to the Hebrews
Part Twenty Nine
1). Heb 9:24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another-- 26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
a). In our study last week we had seen how the contrasts between Christ and the ministry of the Levitical priests were continued throughout Chapter 9 and that through these contrasts Christ?s ministry is demonstrated to be infinitely superior to that of the Levitical priests.
b). Even though the earthly tabernacle, its furniture and the ministry of the priests all pointed to Christ and the Heavenly Tabernacle and are therefore important in that respect, they were in effect no more than a shadow ?
Heb 8:5 who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, "See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain."
c). And as such could never come close to that which would be accomplished through the ministry in the Heavenly Tabernacle itself.
d). We saw how the Levitical priests would have to enter the Holy Place in the earthly tabernacle every year with blood of another ? not their own blood - a new sacrifice and new blood each year. Christ on the other hand has entered the Heavenly Tabernacle once with His own blood, there never having to be another sacrifice. And we would do well to remember as we think about this that this is the blood of God freely given for us.
e). Had Christ?s sacrifice been anything less than perfect then He would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world. However, so perfect was this sacrifice that it put away sin, completely satisfying the righteous requirements of His own holiness.
f). In the same way that God has appointed for men to die once and then the judgment, so it was appointed for Christ to be offered once to bear the sins of many
g). Then, according to the final sentence in v28 Christ will appear a second time to those who eagerly [expect fully] wait for Him, ?apart from sin, for salvation?.
h). Now it would be a pretty obvious thing to say that Christ is going to appear a second time even to those who are not eagerly waiting for Him. And this second appearing will have nothing to do with making a provision for sin, but will instead have to do with salvation, the salvation to be revealed in the last time, the salvation of the soul, that will be given to those who eagerly wait for Him.
i). It would be good for us to understand what it means to eagerly wait for Him, and in order to do so we can go to Paul?s words, under inspiration of the Spirit, at the end of his own life recorded in ?2Ti 4:6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
j). All those who have ?loved His appearing?, His appearing a second time apart from sin, for salvation, will receive the crown of righteousness, just as is promised to Paul ? and needless to say the Apostle Paul, as with so many others, died before the Lord?s second appearance, an appearance that we still wait for even now ? and so we will realize from this that loving His appearing is not about longing for the rapture of the Church per se, but is rather about loving the purpose for His appearing ? the salvation of the soul, the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom, a position of rulership with Christ, the restoration of all things, the redemption of Israel. Whether the Lord returns in our lifetime or not is in one sense of no consequence. When He does return we know that there will be the events of the Judgment Seat, the new order of rulers in the heavens, the restoration of Israel, the overthrow of Gentile world power and so on. And it is this that takes place at His appearing that we are to ?love?, it is this that we are to long for, to wait eagerly for.
k). And how does our scripture describe the actions of those who long for the purpose of His appearing, as presented through the experience of Paul? ?I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith?.
l). Those who eagerly wait for Him, who eagerly wait for His second appearing apart from sin, for salvation, will have governed their lives after a particular fashion as they look forward to this event - 2Pe 1:10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;
m). ?I have fought the good fight? ? Here is a reference to the spiritual warfare, a warfare that is waged everyday against sin in our lives. Paul had fought
this fight against sin to the very end of his life and could now see that he had the victory. Not that he never sinned, and not that it wasn?t a constant battle, but rather he accomplished that recorded in - Ro 6:10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
n). ?I have finished the race? ? the reference here is to the race of faith, of which the spiritual warfare is a part ? a race that Paul has completed in accordance with - 2Ti 2:4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs[to busy oneself with] of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. 5 And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.
We must run our race of the faith ?according to the rules? ? in faithful obedience to the scriptures in every area of our lives on all occasions.
o). ?I have kept the faith? ? the word translated ?kept? here has the idea of guarding, of protecting and ?the faith? refers specifically to the Word of the Kingdom. Not only did Paul guard the gospel that was entrusted to him so as to speak only the truth that had been given to him ? 1Th 2:4 But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.
But he also guarded that truth with respect to the direction of his own life.
1Co 9:24 ? Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
p). Each of us has every reason to eagerly wait for Him, to love His appearing - Tit 2:11 ? For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
q). And each one of us even now can make a good estimation of how we are doing in fighting the good fight, running the race according to the rules and keeping the faith. And should we find ourselves to be lacking then let?s choose to change ? God did not die and His blood was not shed for us to give up ?
Heb 12:12 Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees,
13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. 14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:
r). And then again we will realize that those who eagerly wait for Him, who are fighting the good fight, who are running the race according to the rules, who are keeping the faith will be those within the context of Hebrews who are giving the more earnest heed to the things they have heard so as not to drift away; those who ?today? are hearing His voice and not hardening their hearts; those who are going on to maturity; those who have not fallen away.
2). And so to continue from the end of Chapter 9 into Chapter 10 ?
Heb 10:1 ? For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. 5 Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: "Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me. 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. 7 ? Then I said, 'Behold, I have come--In the volume of the book it is written of Me--To do Your will, O God.'" 8 Previously saying, "Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them" (which are offered according to the law), 9 then He said, "Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God." He takes away the first that He may establish the second.
a). Chapter 10 opens with a continuation of the contrasts that we have seen throughout Chapter 9 - here again we see that the law, the first covenant, had only ?a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things?. That contained in the law then only pointed to the good things to come; it being a shadow could never achieve or even approximate that which was contained in the reality. The same sacrifices the Levitical priests offered ?continually year by year?, could never make those who approached perfect, could never bring them to completion; because if such a thing were possible then wouldn?t those same sacrifices ?have ceased to be offered??
b). However in the repetition of the sacrifices, especially that associated with the Day of Atonement, there was a reminder of sins each year. Every year the sins of the people during the year would be recalled, be brought to mind, because a new sacrifice needed to be offered.
c). V4 then states the obvious with respect to this - 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. Although God accepted the substitutionary death of animals for the sins of the people that animal blood could never have to power, because of its connection with the world under a curse, to do away with sin. Dealing with sin in a permanent way can only be the prerogative of Deity; can only be by the death of Deity, through the shedding of pure, undefiled blood.
d). V5 then presents this very thing quoting from Psalm 40 - 5 Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: "Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me. Therefore - because the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sins ? when He came into the world as the Son of Man, He said ?sacrifice and offering [according to the law] You did not desire? ? in that it couldn?t take away sins. But, instead of animal sacrifices, You have prepared a body for Me - A human body without sin in which God in the person of Son would then be the sacrifice that He would desire.
e). V6 then says - 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Now clearly God gave the law which required burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin and Israel in obedience did that which God required and so it would not be in the giving of the burnt offerings and sacrifices that God had no pleasure, but rather His lack of pleasure would be in the fact that these could not take away sin. It would of course be impossible for God not to be pleased with obedience to His commands.
f). Because God the Father had no pleasure in the fact that burnt offerings and sacrifices could not take away sins v7 gives us God the Son?s response ?
7 ? Then I said, 'Behold, I have come--In the volume of the book it is written of Me--To do Your will, O God.'"
g). God the Son came to the earth as the Son of Man, ?to do Your will O God? ? the will of God with respect to the Son, being written ?in the volume of the book? ? literally then within the pages of the OT.
h). From Genesis 3:15 onwards the scriptures speak of Messiah?s sacrifice, His exaltation and His rule.
i). There are so many places that we could draw from to see this, from the type of Abel, the type of Jonah, the type of Joseph and so on, so let?s look at just one example that really states it all very clearly - Isa 53:3 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 4 ?
Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. 9 And they made His grave with the wicked-But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth. 10 ? Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. 11 He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.
j). V8-9 that present the conclusion to the matter - 8 Previously saying, "Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them" (which are offered according to the law), 9 then He said, "Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God." He takes away the first that He may establish the second.
The ?Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin? were offered according to the law, but as we have seen God had no pleasure in the fact that these offerings could not take away sin. In order to do that which is necessary to take away sin, which was always God?s intent, Christ came to the earth ?to do Your will O God?, to be the sacrifice ? and through His death and shed blood, through His offering once for all time, He takes away the first covenant ?that He may establish the second?, the new covenant - Heb 8:13 In that He says, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
k). It is through the acceptance of the new covenant following Israel?s repentance that the nation will be restored and receive their inheritance and it is only through the inauguration of the new covenant through Christ?s death and shed blood that we have the opportunity to go to our High Priest for cleansing from sin. And this is the will of God for Israel and the church.
3). And this is the very thing we see with respect to ourselves in the next verses - Heb 10:10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
a). We have previously read that when Jesus came into the world He said, ?I have come to do Your will O God? ? God?s will being Christ?s sacrifice ? It is by the fulfillment of God?s will in Christ?s sacrifice, ?the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all? that we have been sanctified, that we have been set apart for God.
b). V11 shows us that at the time this letter was written the Temple in Jerusalem was still functioning, although functioning outside the will of God; and every day in the Temple the priests stood ministering and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
c). In contrast to this, having accomplished the will of God, ?this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.?
d). According to v14 then, Christ?s ?one offering? has set in place in a completely finished state the perfection, the completion, the goal of the faith of those who are at present in the process of sanctification, who are being separated out to God after the types of Ruth and Rebekah ? those who are believing to the saving of the soul - Php 3:10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,
11 if, by any means, I may attain to the [out] resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
e). Now when we consider the Lord?s ?one sacrifice for sins forever? our thinking is inevitably drawn to our Lord?s High Priestly ministry on behalf of the sins of the saved during this present dispensation ? something of course which is entirely correct ? however, let?s also keep in mind that through the Lord?s ministry as a result of His ?one sacrifice? we may receive the salvation of our soul ? and what exactly does that mean for us? It means the complete eradication of our sin nature. It is the blood of Christ that is able to put away sin so completely that we will never have a sin nature again; we will no longer have any consciousness of sins ? ever again.
f). Not only this, but we need to see that this ?one sacrifice? is even more far reaching than the eradication of our sin nature ? 2Pe 3:13 Nevertheless we,
according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
Re 20:14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire.
Re 21:1 ? Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."
g). In the new heaven and new earth following the destruction of the present heaven and earth at the conclusion of the Millennial Kingdom righteousness will dwell; death and Hades will have previously been cast into the lake of fire and as death is in existence because of sin we would see that sin at this time no longer exists ? it will have been put away.
h). Christ?s putting away sin by the sacrifice of Himself is not just about dealing with our daily sinning but about the complete removal of sin from His universal Kingdom; a condition that will exist throughout the endless ages of eternity ? such is the magnificence, such is the power of the Blood of Christ.
i). Is it any wonder then that we should see and believe and accept that we have been set free from the bondage of sin? - Ro 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
j). Just how incredible is this?
4). Heb 10:15 But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, 16 "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,"17 then He adds, "Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more."18 Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.
a). In order to reinforce the reality of the inauguration of the new covenant through the sacrifice of Messiah and all that is attendant upon that the writer takes his readers back to that which the Holy Spirit had witnessed through a scripture previously quoted from Jeremiah Chapter 31. In v17 however the writer draws
particular attention to Jeremiah 31:34 - ?Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more? ? here we see that the day will come when Israel?s sins and lawless deeds will be forgiven under the terms of the new covenant; when their sins and lawless deeds will be put away so as never to come to God?s remembrance again; and because all of this can only happen through their acceptance of the new covenant, inaugurated through the sacrifice of Christ, ?there is no longer an offering for sin? ? the animal sacrifices of the law are now irrelevant.
5). Heb 10:19 ? Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
a). ?Therefore?, because animal sacrifices are irrelevant because of the sacrifice of Christ; because His sacrifice has annulled the old covenant and the way into the Holy of Holies in the Heavenly Tabernacle has been opened we, as they, now have ?boldness? to enter there ?by the blood of Jesus?
b). What we read in these verses have a present and a future fulfillment ? looking at these as we approach our warning in Chapter 10 will have to wait until next week ? if the Lord is willing.