Sunday January 22nd 2012
The Letter to the Hebrews
1). Heb 10:16 "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. 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). We will remember from last week that the writer of Hebrews went back into the OT scriptures from the Book of Jeremiah that he had previously quoted in Chapter 8. On this occasion however he is drawing particular attention to v34 of Jeremiah Chapter 31 ? ?Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more?; commenting in v18 that ?Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.?
b). Now we know from - Heb 9:22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.
c). Therefore we can know that in order for the ?sins and lawless deeds? of Israel to be remembered by God no more there needed to be the shedding of blood through a sacrifice that would have the power to take away sin.
d). The blood of bulls and goats could never take away sin and so the sacrifice we see here is that of our Lord; a sacrifice that is described in ?
Heb 9:14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 ? And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. 16 For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.
e). And as we see from our scripture His death and shed blood brings into being, but not yet into effect, the ?new covenant? with Israel that was promised in Jeremiah Chapter 31.
f). This is a covenant that Israel has not entered into yet, and won?t enter into until the end of the Tribulation, but a covenant which was nevertheless, opened to them by the Lord?s death on the cross 2000 years ago - Zec 12:10 "And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.
Joh 19:36 For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, "Not one of His bones shall be broken." 37 And again another Scripture says, "They shall look on Him whom they pierced."
g). And of course it is with the Lord?s death and shed blood on the cross, that inaugurated the new covenant to be made with Israel, that we find the free gift of eternal life that has enabled us to become part of the family of God and then through our position within the family to receive the offer of the Kingdom of the Heavens in the antitype of Abraham?s oldest servant seeking a wife for his master?s son - Ge 24:1 ? Now Abraham was old, well advanced in age; and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things. 2 So Abraham said to the oldest servant of his house, who ruled over all that he had, "Please, put your hand under my thigh,3 "and I will make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell; 4 "but you shall go to my country and to my family, and take a wife for my son Isaac."
2). Now we will also remember that under the old covenant the way into the Holy of Holies in the earthly tabernacle and temple was barred from access to any but the high priest once a year by the presence of the veil - Heb 9:7 But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people's sins committed in ignorance; 8 ? the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing. 9 It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience?
a). However, at the moment of Christ?s death ? the death of the testator ? the new covenant is inaugurated and the way into the Holiest of All was now manifest, was now opened, symbolized by the tearing of the veil in the Temple in Jerusalem
Mr 15:37 And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last. 38 Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
b). It is because the way into the Holy of Holies had been opened that the writer of Hebrews says, as we saw in our opening scripture - 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,
c). Jesus, we will remember, as the forerunner has ?consecrated for us? [lit. ?initiated for us?] entrance into the Holy of Holies in the Heavenly Tabernacle and He has done this by providing a ?new and living way?.through the veil, that is, His flesh?.
d). The word translated ?new? is a compound word in the Greek language that means ?newly-slain?, which would speak of His death on the cross, but this is also a ?living way? which speaks of His resurrection ? it is then through death and resurrection that Jesus has entered into the presence behind the veil [that has now been removed] in the Heavenly Tabernacle as High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. And this is a way [lit. a road] that He has initiated for us.
e). With this in mind listen again to these words in - Joh 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
f). So then we have set before us what it takes to enter into the Holiest of All during our present race of faith and what it will take in order for us to experience a literal fulfillment of entering there following the events at the Judgment Seat.
g). In our present, fighting the good fight, running the race and keeping the faith requires that we are consistently dying to our flesh in the likeness of Christ suffering in the flesh. So as we choose to die with Him so we can walk according to the Spirit in the power of His resurrection ? the new and living way. Consequently, by faith, we can enter into the Holiest of All to receive forgiveness and cleansing for our sin and to find grace to help in time of need; remembering and believing, as we saw last week, that the blood of Christ has set us free from the bondage of sin that sin should no longer have dominion over us - Le 17:11 'For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.'
h). And if this is our faithful practice now, during the course of our race of faith, then in that Day we will find ourselves literally in the Holy of Holies in the Heavenly Tabernacle in the presence of God where our hope will be realized ?
Heb 6:19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, 20 where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
3). And of course we enter the Holiest of all by a new and living way so that our High Priest may cleanse us from our sin ? and this is exactly where our opening
scripture from Hebrews Chapter 10 continues - 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.
a). In our translation here we see that we have a High Priest, but in the original language the idea is of an exceedingly great, High Priest; and this exceeding greatness is in no small part due to Him being High Priest over the House of God.
b). We might remember that one of the attributes of the firstborn son is to be priest over his father?s house, and here we see that Jesus, the only begotten firstborn Son, is Priest over God?s House - Heb 3:5 And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward, 6 but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.
c). And because we have Jesus as our High Priest we need to ?draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith?.
d). Having a ?true heart? is inextricably linked to having ?full assurance of faith? and the word translated ?true? speaks of more than just sincerity, it speaks of a heart that is in harmony with God?s heart and therefore in complete harmony with God?s stated plans and purposes ? this would be the same as the idea we see presented in - Ac 13:22 "And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, 'I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.'
e). The words translated ?full assurance? literally have the idea of ?most surely believing?, and that which is most surely believed is that contained in ?the faith?, that which the Lord Himself calls, ?The Word of the Kingdom? ?
Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
f). Then we see that we are to draw near with a true heart in full assurance of the faith, ?having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water?. And here the imagery is again taken from the ritual cleansing of the priest in readiness for service in the earthly tabernacle ?
Le 8:30 Then Moses took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood which was on the altar, and sprinkled it on Aaron, on his garments, on his sons, and on the garments of his sons with him; and he consecrated Aaron, his garments, his sons, and the garments of his sons with him.
g). Ex 29:4 "And Aaron and his sons you shall bring to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and you shall wash them with water.
h). The imagery that we see here provides another picture, another type, of the experience of those who will be kings and priests in the coming Kingdom of Christ; who will have willingly subjected themselves to the necessary preparation in the present in order to be ready for service as a king/priest in the age to come.
i). ?Hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience? would be the very thing we had looked at last week, that we had spoken of a little earlier, whereby the blood of Christ has freed us from the bondage of sin, that our conscience need no more be ?evil?.
j). Our ?bodies washed with pure water? would once again take us to ?
Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
k). And implicit in both of these is the renewing of our mind - Ro 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
l). And because we are dealing with those from the family of God who are being prepared as kings and priests we would see the blood that is sprinkled and the pure water to be pictured in that which came from His side after His death ?
Joh 19:34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.
m). Which in itself takes us back to the foundational type in Genesis Chapter 2 when Adam?s side is opened in order that his wife be built.
n). And needless to say those who are having their hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and their bodies washed with pure water would be fighting the good fight, running the race according to the rules, keeping the faith, giving the more earnest heed to the things they have heard, hearing His voice and not hardening their hearts, going on to maturity and not falling away.
4). Heb 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our[the] hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
a). Because of all that we have just seen the admonition to us is to ?hold fast? and we are to hold fast ?the confession of the hope?.
b). The word translated ?hold fast? has the idea of holding down, in the sense of having mastery over the thing being held.
c). And that being held down over which we are to have mastery is the ?confession of the hope? ? the word confession literally means to speak the same thing as, to agree with the statement of another ? and that which we are to speak
the same as, that statement with which we agree is everything that God has said concerning the hope that is set before us ? this would be the ?true heart? of v22.
d). So why do we need to ?hold fast? that which God has said about the hope? Because if we don?t we may waver. The word ?wavering? means to lean back. It has the same sense as to step away, to fall away ? to do that very thing that is pictured for us by Orpah in the Book of Ruth ? in this we would also see the warning not to drift away and the potential to leave our first love.
e). And according to our scripture we are to ?hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering? because ?He who promised is faithful?.
f) God can be trusted to do exactly what He said He will do ? What He has promised with respect to the hope is not wishful thinking but an absolute certainty.
g). Nu 23:19 "God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
h). 2Ti 2:13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.
i). And just in case we need further assurance let?s remember what we read in - Heb 6:17 Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, 18 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.
j)And in case we need an example - Heb 11:11 By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.
k). So the question for us would be ?Do we judge Him faithful who has promised?? ?Do we believe Him who has sworn the oath?? ?Is this really the focal point in our lives around which everything else revolves??
l). 1Pe 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;
5). And so we continue - Heb 10:24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
a). Let?s take note of the progression in the verses that lead into v24 ? ?Let us draw near?, ?let us hold fast? and now ?let us consider one another?.
b). These are 3 interconnected statements that progress from the personal responsibility we have for ourselves to the collective responsibility we have for each other, all with respect to the hope. And this really would be entirely logical ?
if we are drawing near with full assurance of faith, and if we are holding fast the confession of our hope then we would naturally have the desire that everyone else engaged in the race of faith, and most particularly those that we see regularly, should do the same because of the glorious outcome for success and the shocking result of failure.
c). The word translated ?consider? has the idea of taking careful note of each other?s spiritual welfare.
d). Then our scripture says we are to do this for a specific reason ? ?to stir up love and good works? ? and this is to happen with respect to ?one another?. Our stirring up then of another is also to stir us up in the process.
e). The word translated ?to stir up? has the idea of inciting or stimulating and really is a much stronger thought than encouraging. This then would be a mutual incitement to agape/love, which of itself would need a mutual incitement to go on to maturity ? and along with this a mutual incitement to ?good works?; which of course are works of faith, works that come out of believing that which God has said with respect to the race of faith, keeping the commandments of Christ.
f). And in this incitement to agape/love we would have to see love for our Savior as well as love for each other - Joh 14:21 "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him."
g). And the admonishment that we see to consider one another, in order to stir up love and good works is not presented to us as a choice ? do it if you feel like it ? this is something that we must do. And now that we know it, it must become a part of our faithful obedience.
h). Now we might think, ?I don?t have the confidence?, or ?I don?t have the competence?, or ?It?s not in my nature? ? but, if you will allow me to be absolutely blunt here, these thoughts are an enticement to sin, that come directly out of our sin nature, a sin nature that is no longer to have dominion over us because the Blood of Christ has delivered us from that bondage.
i). We have God?s grace, we have God?s commandment ? so let?s do it ? in fact we must do it.
j). In fact we are to do this within a particular context that we find in v25.
6). 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
a). We are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together ? it is not to happen.
b). The word translated ?forsaking? has the idea of abandoning, therefore not considering it to be important. And our scripture says that such a mind-set had become ?the manner of some? ? it had become a habit ? an habitual action that had
come into being for whatever reason so as to become their common practice. And again, according to our scripture this is not to happen.
c). The word ?assembling? is really interesting as it is a compound word in the original language which has come over into the English as the word synagogue. And a synagogue is the place where Jews meet outside of the Temple in Jerusalem.
d). Not having access to the Temple they ?synagogue? together in anticipation of one day returning to the Temple. This would be their Temple surrogate, so to speak.
e). Now think about ourselves here ? we are not looking to a Temple in Jerusalem, but to the Heavenly Tabernacle and the New Jerusalem. The Day will come when we will stand together in that Heavenly Tabernacle. The Day will come when if we are faithful we will enter into the Heavenly Holy of Holies as adopted firstborn sons of God. But, until then, we are to synagogue together in eager anticipation of that event ? considering one another, in order to stir up love and good works, so that in that Day we will be found worthy.
f). Our scripture then goes on to say, ?but exhorting one another? and this exhortation is specifically about the assembling of ourselves together. We are then to exhort ? to strongly encourage one another, to challenge one another to synagogue together and not to forsake that practice. And we are to do this, to exhort one another to assemble together, so much the more as we see the Day approaching.
g). Well here?s a thought ? the writer of Hebrews was admonishing his readers from the 1st century church to exhort one another so much more as they saw the Day approaching ? well here we are close to 2000 years on from them ? how much more do we see the Day approaching? And that being the case what would it say about our exhorting of one another to assemble together?
h). Ps 122:1 ? I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go into the house of the LORD." 2 Our feet have been standing Within your gates, O Jerusalem! 3 Jerusalem is built As a city that is compact together, 4 Where the tribes go up, The tribes of the LORD, To the Testimony of Israel, To give thanks to the name of the LORD. 5 For thrones are set there for judgment, The thrones of the house of David. 6 ? Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: "May they prosper who love you. 7 Peace be within your walls, Prosperity within your palaces." 8 For the sake of my brethren and companions, I will now say, "Peace be within you." 9 Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek your good.
i). Our enemy has significantly muddied the waters concerning the assembling of ourselves together through the legalistic manipulation that we experienced with regards to church attendance in the past.
j). What we will now realize is that assembling together has nothing to do with legalism, but everything to do with faith.
7). And it is no coincidence that these verses that deal with the assembling of ourselves together are the verses that lead us into the warning to be found here in Chapter 10 - Heb 10:26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.
a). What we are going to realize then is that forsaking the assembling of ourselves together is intimately connected to the other facets of the warning we have seen thus far in Hebrews.
b). And it is the sinning willfully in respect of these that will have to be the subject of our study next week ? if the Lord is willing.