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God's Word in Hebrews by Dr. Mark Miller

For those who wish to digest the "strong [solid] meat,"
not just "the milk or meat," of the Word of God.
~ Hebrews 5:12-14

A Study of Hebrews
Primarily an Outline
By Dr. Mark Miller, aka The Trickster of My Life Ministries

INDEX LINKS:

Following is the Link to the Study in a Word document:  Links like the following are found throughout this website.  They take one to Word Documents in my computer which has virus protection.  They are safe to open!

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Lesson One

Hebrews 1

1)  Hebrews was written to believers who were under persecution.  There was a great temptation for them to turn away -- drift away -- shrink back from the faith, and not “press on toward the goal for the prize of the high call of God in Christ.” (Philippians 3:14)

2)  The epistle to the Hebrews has much to say about living a “life of faith.”  It also has much to say about the reward of living one’s life in faith, as well as the consequences of not living by faith, i.e., the consequences of walking in the flesh (one's own strength and abilities)

3)  Nowhere in the book of Hebrews does it explain how to “get saved” – "by grace thru faith."  It is a book written to believers about how to successfully and victoriously live the Christian life by faith.

4)  It is all about:

a)  working out our salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12)

b)  not saving my life, but losing it for Christ’s sake, i.e., not living to gratify one's self by the seen things of the world, but choosing to lose one's life for Christ’s sake and things not seen, realizing that Christ will “recompense every man according to his deeds.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)

5)  Why does this book bear the name Hebrews?  You would assume that it is written to Jews -- Israelites.  Not so!  It is written to all believers -- Jew and Gentile.  Some conclude it is written to Jews regarding Jewish problems and not to the saved.  Wrong!

6)  It is written to Hebrews in the true sense of the word.  The word Hebrews is taken from the Hebrew word “eber”.  Eber is a word which means to cross.  It signifies one who crosses over or passes through.

7)  Get this -- Abraham was called Abram the Hebrew long before there was a Hebrew nation.  In Genesis 14:13 we read, “Then a fugitive came -- and told Abram – THE HEBREW"…that Lot had been captured by five kings.

8)  Abraham was a Hebrew in the sense that:

“By faith, when he was called, obeyed by going to a place, which he was to receive for an inheritance; and went out, not knowing where he was going.  By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for a city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” (Hebrews 11:8-10)

9)  As a Hebrew (a sojourner), Abraham received the promise of a land and "as many descendants as the stars of Heaven in number, and as innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore."  But he died "in faith without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.” (Hebrews 11:12-13)

10)  So Abraham as the “FIRST HEBREW” had his hope fixed on a land and the certain promise of God, which he never got to see fulfilled.  This HOPE & PROMISE was a great motivation and encouragement for him to continue in faith and not shrink back.  We look forward to the same promise.

11)  Therefore, Abraham (the Hebrew) gives us a solid pattern to follow.  Abraham’s example teaches us that we, who also are Hebrews (sojourners) in this world, should live our lives with our hope fixed on the promised coming kingdom in which we will be co-heirs sharing with Christ in His inheritance — and ruling and reigning with Him over the world.  That is the great hope that we have as believers.

12)  The true Hebrew can say -- in the words of a song, “This world in not my home, I’m just-a-passing through.”  He is one (true Hebrew) who in the words of the apostle Paul “has chosen to suffer the loss of all things in order to gain Christ” and “is pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 3:7-8, 14)

13)  The book of Hebrews is built around five major admonitions -- five warnings, the purpose of which is to make us successful in our life of faith and keep us from turning back, shrinking back, losing heart, giving up and forfeiting our reward.  It is a motivational book.

14)  There are 13 chapters in Hebrews.  My goal is to present this material in 13 lessons -- one chapter per lesson.

15)  The outline in Hebrews 1 sets the stage for the entire book of Hebrews.

Message of Hebrews 1

Hebrews 1:1-3  Christ is the Heir (owner – Ruler) of all things.  It gives us major qualifications of this “heir of ALL THINGS”.  It gives a picture of this One who is to rule the world.

Hebrews 1:4-14  Understand that Jesus, in his humanity, was made a little lower than the angels, (redemption, salvation), but is now exalted to the right hand of the Father, exalted far above angels.

Read: Hebrews 1:1-4

Hebrews 1:1)  God spoke to the Fathers long ago.  Who were the fathers? Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and those that followed: Joseph, Daniel, Moses, Joshua, etc.  How did He speak?  Through the prophets.

Hebrews 1:2)  God has spoken to us. When? Those last days after the cross. How?  Through His SON, Heir [owner – ruler] of all things including heavens and earth.

Hebrews 1:3-4)  A storehouse of divinities of Jesus Christ.

Some of the attributes of Heir of all things.

Made the world—set the ages in place (John 1:3)

The radiance of His (God’s) glory: Sun = God, Sun’s ray = Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 1:3)

Exact representation (full of glory) of God’s nature (substance).  What did Jesus tell Phillip?  "Seen Me, seen the Father." (John 14:9)

Upholds all things by the Word of His Power:  Keeps everything from electrons to planets in their orbits.  (Hebrews 1:3)

Made purification for sins.  How? See Philippians 2:6-8, Ephesians 1:21.

Now exalted above angels and inherited better name:  What is his Name?  See Philippians 1:2; 2:9-11.

Heir of all things. See Hebrews 1:2.

16)  Do you realize who is speaking to you?  Not the world’s richest person, most powerful ruler, greatest athlete or musician, most creative writer or inventor.  No, the Heir of all things is speaking to you and me.

(Aside:  Remember the Old commercial: “When EJ Hutton speaks, PEOPLE LISTEN.”

WHEN THE HEIR OF ALL THINGS SPEAKS, WE MUST PAY THE UTMOST ATTENTION.)

Hebrews 12:25 says, “See that ye refuse not Him that speaketh.”

Read: Hebrews 1:4-14

What about angels who are great in power?  Are they equal to the Lord Jesus Christ?  Some Jews thought maybe so.  Involved in giving laws at Sinai.

Hebrews 1:4  “He sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high; having become much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.”

Hebrews 1:5  for to which of the angels did He ever say, "YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU"?

Now the seven scripture composite prophetic sketch:

Psalms 2:7  “He said to Me, You are My Son.  Today I have begotten you.  Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as thy possession."

Then the writer refers to Psalms 97:7 pointing out when God does again bring this first born Son (Heir) into the world, all the angels of God will worship Him

Hebrews 1:7 makes His angels winds and ministers a flame of fire (contrasting angels and Jesus).

In the Psalms 45:6 the writer continues to speak of the Son, the Heir; He speaks of His reign saying, “Thy throne O God is forever and ever.”  “The righteous scepter is the scepter of Thy Kingdom.”

In Psalms 45:7 the Holy Spirit indicates that the Son will have companions in His rulership.  “Therefore God, Thy God has anointed Thee with the OIL OF GLADNESS (for ruling – reigning in joy) above thy companions.”  (Not oil of consecration for suffering and death.)

In Psalms 102:25-27 God shows how the present heaven and earth won’t last forever, but will one day be changed --- i.e., a new heaven and new earth.  But Christ the Heir, the King (is) the same yesterday today and forever and His “years will not come to an end.”

(Aside:  Duration of ReignForever Christ will rule from His throne in the New Jerusalem above the earth.  With His companions/co-heirs He will rule earth 1,000 years, during the millennium

During the eternal ages, beyond the millennium, Christ will sit alongside His Father on the "Throne of God and the Lamb," (Revelation 21:1, 3), which will be in the New Jerusalem on the new earth.  Universal rule will emanate from His throne.  Christ's companions will continue to rule with Him, and in this sense, Christ's rule with His saints lasts forever.

Companions:

Hebrews 2:10 -- bringing many sons to glory.

Hebrews 3:1 – fellows/companions/partakers of heavenly calling.

Hebrews 3:14 – have become fellows/companions/partakers of Christ IF

So the holy brethren are fellows or companions or associates of God's anointed King - Jesus.)

The Prophetic sketch is completed with the seventh prophetic scripture, Psalms 110:1, which begins by saying: 

The Lord (God) says to my Lord (Jesus Christ), “sit at my right hand until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet." (Psalms 110:1)

The writer points out that God NEVER said such a thing to an angel and then says of the angels:

“Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service to those who inherit salvation.” (Hebrews 1:14)

(Aside:  In a future lesson we will discuss an inherited salvation for which we can qualify.)

17)  So now at the end of the Prophetic sketch, Hebrews 1:13, we see Christ the King-Priest having ascended the throne, having brought His enemies into subjection and now ready to rule with His companions for 1,000 years.

We can learn more about this initial bringing of His enemies under subjection by reading the remainder of Psalms 110:2-7.

Lesson Two

Hebrews 2

1)  Last week in lesson 1 we learned that nowhere in the book of Hebrews does it tell us how to "get saved" – "by grace through faith."

On the other hand it is a book written to believers about how to successfully and victoriously live by faith, pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  This goal and prize is the reward of being able to "lay hold of that for which I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus."  And that is to rule and reign as a co-heir with Him in the age to comeThat is our goal.

2)  Abraham was the first to be called "Hebrew."  "Abram the Hebrew" (Genesis 14:13).  The word Hebrew is taken from the Hebrew word "eber" which means to cross over.

3)  Abraham was a Hebrew in the sense that he heard God and believed God's promise and "crossed over" (in faith) to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance.  Abraham made it to Canaan, the Promised Land, but included in the promise was "as many descendants as the stars of heaven and as the sand which is by the seashore."  The promise also included "and in you all families of the earth will be blessed."  Abraham died with his hope fixed on promises he never got to see fulfilled.

Hebrews are sojourners who have no home in this world, but have hope fixed on a future land [future time] that God is preparing.  That's Abraham's goal!  That should be our goal!

4)  Abraham's example teaches us that we, who also are Hebrews (sojourners) in this world, should live our lives with our hope fixed on God's promise of the coming kingdom in which we can be co-heirs, sharing with Christ in His inheritance – ruling and reigning the world with Him.  That is The Great Hope and the great motivation that we have as believers to live well our life by faith.

5)  Before dealing with Hebrews 1 we learned the book of Hebrews is built around five major admonitionsfive warnings – the purpose of which is to make us successful in living by faith and to keep us from drifting away, shrinking back, loosing heart and forfeiting our reward (our inheritance).  Hebrews is a motivational book that can transform our lives.

6)  Last week we learned what God has to say to Hebrews (Hebrews 1):

He speaks of His Plan for the Ages, mostly the coming Millennial Age.  (Romans 8:22-25)

7)  How does He speakLong ago He spoke to the patriarchs – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and on down the line -- about this plan.  To them He spoke through prophets"a little here, a little there." (Isaiah 28:13)

8)  But in these last days He has spoken to us through His Son, the heir of all things, through whom He made the universe and "upholds all things together by the Word of His power."  (Hebrews 1:3)

9)  God uses seven prophetic scriptures to give us a brief sketch of what this end time scenario is going to be like:

Psalms 2:7-8  He said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. 'Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.

Psalms 97:7  "Worship Him, all you gods" in the Septuagint reads, "Let all God's angels worship him," and it is quoted that way in Hebrews 1:6.  When God does again bring this first born Son (heir) into the world, all the angels will worship Him.

Psalms 45:6 speaks of His reign:  Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.

Psalms 45:7 speaks of Christ's co-heirs, companions in His reign:  Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness [ruling and joy] above thy fellows [companions].

Psalms 102:24 speaks of the New Heaven and Earth, after the first heaven and earth pass away -- "Lord, you live forever (Today's English Version [TEV])".  But of Christ the King (Heir), His years will not come to an end.  (cf. Hebrews 1:10-12)

Psalms 110:1 says The LORD (God) says to my Lord (Jesus Christ): "Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet."

Finally the writer ends Hebrews 1 by pointing out that angels are all ministering spirits, sent out to render service to those who inherit salvation.  (Hebrews 1:14)

(Note:  Those who inherit salvation are the same as those who will reign with Christ:  Companions.)

So Christ has ascended the throne, will soon bring His enemies into subjection and is ready to reign with His many co-heirs / companions / heirs / fellow partakers, e.g., all qualified Hebrews – those who follow Hebrews' instructions, preventing disqualification will inherit salvation.

10)  It will be much easier for us to understand Hebrews 2 and the remainder of Hebrews if we consider angels and the three aspects of salvation.

Angels – a thumbnail sketch of how I understand the rulership change over the earth:

Lucifer was created before man and had rulership over province earth with many other angels who were subordinate to him.

Lucifer was disqualified when pride was found in him when he attempted to take God's place and rule all the provinces.  He led one-third of those angels under his charge in his rebellion against God. (Ezekiel 28:11-19)

God responded by disqualifying him and those angels loyal to him which also brought destruction on his province, earth, leaving it "without form and void with darkness over the face of the deep."  (Genesis 1:2)

Later, when God decided to restore the earth and create man to have dominion, there was Satan not wanting to relinquish rulership to man.

Therefore Satan deceived Eve and brought about the fall and disqualification of man to rule (have dominion) of the earth.  (Genesis 3)

Man and the earth were in a fallen state, but God immediately began the salvation which has continued for about 6,000 years.  This salvation process is to restore man and the earth to God's original plan and purpose.  Man will have dominion!

Now Christ, who was made for a little while lower than the angels for the purpose of redemption and salvation, has now been exalted to the right hand of the Father.

He is presently in the process of bringing "many sons to glory," who also will be exalted above the angels to reign as co-heirs with Christ in the coming age (millennial age).  Bringing many sons to glory is a major topic of the book of Hebrews.

Salvation –Christians all too frequently restrict the word salvation to the thought of "got saved, going to heaven" or "not saved, going to hell."

But God's salvation / redemption process is extensive.  It includes:

Man's initial salvation (spiritual aspect of salvation), being born again through belief in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, positions man (spiritually saved) to be sanctified.

Man's sanctification (from initial spiritual salvation) is a life-long process for those who choose to seek to "work out your salvation with fear and trembling." (Philippians 2:12)  We have to learn to make salvation work through yielding the different areas of our life to Christ and trusting Him to work in us and through us to bear good fruit (righteous fruit).  God uses various types of trials to accomplish this aspect of our salvation.  It requires our cooperation with God and this is the aspect of salvation (salvation of the soul) that we will be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ. (1 Peter 1:9)

The culmination of God's redemption, restoration and salvation with Christ, the Heir of all things, is ruling a renewed earth with His co-heirs (overcomers [Revelation 2, 3]) with glorified bodies.  And they will rule from the New Jerusalem, a satellite city. 

1 Corinthians 2:9 – but just as it is written, "THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM."

Call this soul aspect of salvation SO GREAT SALVATION!

(Aside:  Gr. so G5082 great G5082

tay-lik-oo'-tos, tay-lik-ow'-tay

Masculine and feminine; from a compound of G3588 with G2245 and G3778; such as this, that is, (in [figuratively] magnitude) so vast: - so great, so mighty.)

Revelation 16:18 - And there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder; and there was a great earthquake, such as there had not been since man came to be upon the earth, so great an earthquake was it, and so mighty.

James 3:4 - Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires.

2 Corinthians 1:10 - who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us,

10)  So we have the beginning of salvation, the working out salvation, bringing many sons to glory, and the "Oh So Great End (Culmination)."

Hebrews 1:14 – those who will inherit salvation [soul aspect of salvation].

Hebrews 2:3 – so great salvation.

Both Hebrews 1:14 and Hebrews 2:3 are speaking of the culmination of salvation.

11)  Hebrews 2:1-4

Hebrews 2:1, the first warning, "For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it."

Hebrews 2:2 - For if the word spoken through angels [see Acts 7:53, Galatians 3:19] proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty,

Hebrews 2:3 - how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard,

Hebrews 2:4 - God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.

12)  Hebrews 2:1-4 comprise the first of six admonitions and warnings.

Admonition:  Pay close attention, don't neglect, to what we have heard concerning so great salvation; make it your focus and hope.  Strive to lay hold of that for which you were laid hold of by Christ Jesus.

Warning:  We shall not escape if we neglect (disregard, make light of, be careless with) so great salvation.  There will be just recompense for us just as there was of the Old Testament Saints for their transgressions and disobedience of God's Word (Deuteronomy 28).  And because of disobedience and unbelief they did not enter their Promised Land (Canaan).  Our just recompense will be revealed at the Judgment Seat of Christ where we will either "gain reward or suffer loss."

Concerning God bearing witness to so great salvation with signs and wonders, hear what Hebrews scholar G. H. Lang has to say:

"It did not demand unusual signs and wonders to assure repentant men of the pardon of a gracious God.  David, the tax gatherer, the woman at the well and millions more of old and of today, have obtained the bliss of justification by believing the bare Word of God.  But the proposal that men should be elevated bodily from the earth, man's natural home, to the heavens above and should share the glory of God Himself and the sovereignty of the universe with the Son of God…..this was so startling, so unimaginable that God confirmed it as His message by exceptional signs, wonders, various powerful workings and especially by distributions of His own Spirit without whose in-working aid it were scarcely possible to grasp the proposal or think it credible."

Jesus speaks of this aspect of salvation, i.e., the Kingdom of Heaven, more than twenty times just in the book of Matthew.

13)  Hebrews 2:5 - For He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking.  This clarifies what we are speaking about:  the world to come.  It also introduces several verses that tell us man, not angels, is to have rulership of this world to come.

14)  Hebrews 2:6-18 will explain how God is bringing man into position to rule.  The world will not be subject to angels, but will be subject to the glorified Son of Man, Jesus Christ, as well as the many mature sons who He is bringing to glory (will be glorified with Him) and will be like Him in His  glorified state.

15)  Hebrews 2:5-8b

Hebrews 2:5 - For He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking.

Hebrews 2:6 - But one has testified somewhere, saying, "WHAT IS MAN, THAT YOU REMEMBER HIM? OR THE SON OF MAN, THAT YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT HIM?

Hebrews 2:7 - "YOU HAVE MADE HIM FOR A LITTLE WHILE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS; YOU HAVE CROWNED HIM WITH GLORY AND HONOR, AND HAVE APPOINTED HIM OVER THE WORKS OF YOUR HANDS;

Hebrews 2:8a - YOU HAVE PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET.

16)  Some questions:

What is man?

What is the son of man?

Why do you remember them?

Why are you concerned about them?

Psalms 8 - This is a prophetic Psalm and the questions are answered.  God says, "Here is why - I'll tell you about man:

MADE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS, and because of "the fall" man has remained lower than the angels.

But look what is planned for man.  This is prophesy – plans for the future:

CROWNED with glory and honor.

APPOINTED OVER THE WORKS OF THY HANDS.

ALL THINGS PUT IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET.

17)  Hebrews 2:8b - For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.   We are still talking about man.  We do not see him EXALTED and GLORIFIED.

So where are we nowWhat do we see?  Here is what we see:

Hebrews 2:9 - But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.

We see a man – we see Jesus Who called Himself "THE SON OF MAN."  He was made for a little while lower than the angels.  But unlike man, JESUS HAS BEEN CROWNED (EXALTED) with Glory and Honor.  While total dominion has not yet been granted, Jesus is AT LAST CROWNED with Glory and Honor.  Why?

Because He suffered death.  He was made lower than the angels for the very purpose of tasting (experiencing) death for every man.  He paid the price for man's redemption.  So NOW one man has been glorified, i.e., the man Christ Jesus.

But many more are yet to be glorified.  Even now in the church age Jesus Christ is bringing many SONS TO GLORY.

18)  Hebrews 2:10 - For it was fitting for Him [God], for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author [leader] of their salvation through sufferings.

Is Jesus not already perfect?  Yes, He is perfect as far as being sin free, perfect in character, wisdom, love, etc.

The reason it was fitting for the captain to suffer is the troops also are brought to glory through suffering.

Christians experiencing suffering makes Him more perfect for His role of bringing many sons to glory through suffering.

19)  Suffering precedes glory!

Romans 8:17 – and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

2 Timothy 2:12 – If we endure [suffering] we shall reign with Him.

1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 – Paul says we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.   Paul is encouraging these believers to "press on toward the goal for the prize."

20)  One writer, whom I respect, gives this perspective on this subject when he writes, "It is one thing to be a child of God saved forever more.  BUT, it is quite another to be a Son of Glory who will ascend the throne with Christ in His Kingdom."

21)  Hebrews 2:11 - For both He who sanctifies and those who are [being] sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren,

I believe God is telling us He who sanctifies (the author / captain of our salvation) was brought to glory by suffering and He is pleased [not ashamed] to call [as brethren] all who are with endurance in faith suffering through the sanctification process.

22)  Mark 8:38 - "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels."

23)  Hebrews 2:12-13 – from the lips of a triumphant Messiah saying,

"I WILL PROCLAIM YOUR NAME TO MY BRETHREN,
IN THE MIDST OF THE CONGREGATION I WILL SING YOUR PRAISE."
And again,
"I WILL PUT MY TRUST IN HIM."
And again,
"BEHOLD, I AND THE CHILDREN WHOM GOD HAS GIVEN ME."

Like an older brother in the circle of younger children, the captain of their salvation can teach them the lessons of faith along the pathway of suffering, as well as exalting the Father.

24)  Hebrews 2:14-15

Hebrews 2:14 - Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,

Hebrews 2:15 - and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.

Jesus sets us free from the fear of death.  Satan wields the power of death only if he's successful in inducing people to sin and to come under sin's penalty, which is death.

25)  Hebrews 2:17 - Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

Jesus has prepared Himself perfectly to be our high priest - an office and ministry covered in Hebrews 3, 4.  He can perfectly represent man to God, and through His blood make propitiation for our sins.

26)  Hebrews 2:18 - For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.

He fully understands and is able to help us with our temptations.

Lesson Three

Hebrews 3

From the beginning to the end Hebrews sites the experience of the Israelites and their failure to receive their promised inheritance in their Promised Land, Canaan.  And from beginning to end it uses their failures as an example, type, for us to heed so we Christians don't fail to receive our promised inheritance in our Promised Land, the Millennial Kingdom.  God uses these examples, types, to make up five major admonitions [do this] -- warnings [don't do this] to help us run our race [of faith] successfully so we can attain to our high calling to rule as co-heirs with Christ.  And not, in the words of Paul, "Be disqualified."  The purpose is to make us successful in our life of faith and keep us from turning back, shrinking back, losing heart, giving up and forfeiting our reward.

A quick review of what Hebrews 1-2 tell us

In Hebrews 1 God begins the comparison:

Long ago He spoke to Fathers through prophets.  In these last days He has spoken to us through His Son.  His son is the radiance of His Glory and the exact representation of His NatureThrough His Son the world was made and He upholds all things by the Word of His PowerBecause this Son humbled Himself to be made "for a little while, a little lower than the angels" in order to make purification of sins, God has highly exalted Him above angels and appointed Him heir of all things. (Hebrews 1:1-4)

Reviewing the O.T. scriptures cited in Hebrews 1, we learn:

God will bring this first born Son back into the world.

This glorified Son will rule the world in righteousness.

Christ's anointing will be with the "Oil of Gladness."

He will have companions in His reign whose anointing with the "Oil of Gladness" will be less than His.

Though the earth be destroyed and changed, He will remain.

When He returns to reign angels will worship/serve Him.

Even now angels are sent out to render service for the sake of those who are on the path to becoming co-heirs with Christ – those who are heirs of salvation.  In that day of His glorious reign, all enemies will be made a foot stool for His feet.

Hebrews 2 begins to show us why we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard.  The reasoning goes like this:

God has spoken to us about His plan and His calling for us, just as He spoke to the children of Israel about His plan and calling for them.

They did not take heed to what God said, therefore they have received and are still receiving a just recompense for their actions.

God expects us to pay close attention to His plan for us, the greatest thing He has ever designed for redeemed man – His high calling and heavenly callinglest we, like the Israelites have to suffer painful consequences for our actions.

We are told in Hebrews 2 the topic of discussion in Hebrews is "THE WORLD TO COME."  Also that man, not angels will rule the world to come.

The man Christ Jesus has now been exalted from His humble position as Savior and is now in position to take His place as King of Kings and Lord of Lords over the world.

He is now waiting as He works with His Father, who is bringing many Sons to glory, i.e. many believers to become co-heirs/co-rulers with Christ.

Jesus, in His earthly ministry, died, not only for the sins of man, but to break Satan's power over man.

Since Jesus, as a man, experienced, to the extreme, the same kinds of trials and temptations to which we are exposed, He fully understands our situation and empathizes with us.  He is totally qualified as our great High Priest, to make propitiation for our sins and to give us help in time of need.

Hebrews 2:1-4 contains the first exhortation/warning in Hebrews.  The reasons for this exhortation are:

We have heard vastly "better things" than those spoken of in old time by the apostles to the Fathers, and the one speaking is the Son Himself, by whom and through whom all things were created.

In Hebrews 3, at the beginning, we receive another exhortation:

Hebrews 3:1 – Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.

He is speaking to "holy brethren."  What does that tell you?  He is speaking to believers.

They are [we are] partakers of a heavenly calling.  What does that tell you?  They [we] are partaking of a heavenly calling, a high calling, and they [we] are being encouraged to press on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling – to rule as co-heirs with Christ.  (Philippians 3:14; Ephesians 1:18; Philippians 1:6)

Consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession.  Since we have the opportunity to be companions/partakers with Christ in His heavenly calling, we should consider carefully all that Christ did [life, death, burial, resurrection, etc.] and said as Apostle sent to earth.  And we should give much thought to the benefits we receive from Christ in His present ministry as high priest as we come boldly to the Throne of Grace.  Doing so we will find ourselves apprehending what we hope for.

Note:  The first two admonitions -- pay close attention and consider Jesus is high priest -- appear in Hebrews 2 -3, and appear again at the end of the book in Hebrews 12 to emphasize their importance.

Hebrews 12:2 - fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter [High Priest] of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God

What was the motivation of Jesus Christ that we fix eyes on?

Hebrews 12:25 is the repeat of the first admonition/warning:

See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him [Moses] who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven.

Apostle and High Priest

An over simplified version:

Jesus, the apostle/author, paid the price for us to enter into the live of faith [salvation] through forgiveness of sin and reconciliation with God.  Now Jesus, the High Priest/Finisher, is offering help to "work out our salvation" during the course of our lives.  (Philippians 2:5-10)

Hebrews 3:2-4 - He [Jesus Christ] was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was [faithful] in all His house.  (Faithful cf. Exodus 40:6-21, 23, 27, 29 32-33)

For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house. 

For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. 

So now after a comparison of Moses and Jesus, let's have a comparison of the House of Moses and the House of Christ.

Who would you reason is the House of Moses?  It's the millions of Israelites who came out of Egypt, crossed the Red Sea and headed for the Promised Land.

And who would you reason is the House of Christ?  It's Believers.

Testimony of the House of Moses:

Testimony in the future – a negative testimony to us and those of the church age.

How not to run the Christian race.

How not to live the life of faith.

How not to lay hold of that for which we were layed hold of by Christ.

How not to press on toward the goal for the prize.

Moses as a type of Christ:

Moses was faithful as a servant, for a testimony of things spoken later (Exodus 40:16-33).  Despite the disobedience and unbelief of the people, Moses was faithful.

Hebrews 3:5-6 – (Another admonition) Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant [of God], for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later;

but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house--whose house we are, IF we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.

Repeating previous questions:

Who would you reason compose the House of Christ?

Are they believersYes

Is it all believers or some believers?  Some believers.

(Those that compose the House of Christ will all be believers, but not all believers will be in the House of Christ.)

Which believers, according to these passages, will be included in Christ's House?

The believers who hold fast their confidence that God will bring us through various trials and into His Kingdom as a Co-Heir and

Who continue to the end to maintain the boasting / rejoicing of their hope of ruling in the Kingdom of Christ as a co-heir.

Hebrews 3:7-11 – Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, "TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE,

DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME, AS IN THE DAY OF TRIAL IN THE WILDERNESS, (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:1-12)

WHERE YOUR FATHERS TRIED Me  BY TESTING Me, AND SAW MY WORKS FOR FORTY YEARS.

"THEREFORE I WAS ANGRY WITH THIS GENERATION, AND SAID, 'THEY ALWAYS GO ASTRAY IN THEIR HEART, AND THEY DID NOT KNOW MY WAYS';

AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, 'THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.'"

Provocations:

Numbers 14:11, 23

a)  "Have not harkened to my voice."

b)  People murmured and complained – the starting point of departing from the living God.

Paul:  "I have learned in whatsoever state I am in to be content."  Contentment must be learned!

c)  Complained about manna [Word of God].  Desired to return to Egypt to satisfy the natural appetite [Types of those believers Paul speaks of in Philippians 3:18-19, "whose end is destruction, whose God is their appetite, whose glory is their shame, who set their minds on earthly things."]

d)  And they tempted God in their heart by asking for meat for their lusts, "Because they believed not in God and trusted not His salvation though He had commanded clouds from above, and rained down manna for them to eat, their heart was not right with them.

e)  They did not believe His promise to defeat enemies.  They sent in spies, but then refused to go in.

Hebrews 3:12-14 - Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.

But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

For we have become partakers [companions, co-heirs, fellows] of Christ, IF we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end [of our pilgrimage].

Assurance of what?  God will do what he has said.  (cf. Hebrews 3:6)

Hebrews 3:15-19 - while it is said, "TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS, AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME."

For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses?

And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness?

And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient?

So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.

What was the problem from which came the murmuring, complaining, and discontentment?

UNBELIEF!

Lesson for us:

We can become co-heirs with Christ IF we hold fast our assurance firm unto the end that what God has determined to be His will for our lives concerning the age to comeHe will bring it to passIF I trust Him for it – it will happen.

Lesson Four

Hebrews 4

Review:

What is Hebrews all about?

Hebrews 1 describes the coming reign of Christ over the world.

Hebrews 1:1-2 sets the pattern for the book:

The book of Hebrews is a comparison between the fathers (mostly Israel) and believers of the church age – you and me.

Listen to the comparison:

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways,

cf. in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. (Hebrews 1:1-2)

Then the author of Hebrews uses seven Old Testament Psalms to give us an overview of the coming age:  Psalms 2:7, Psalms 97:7, Psalms 45:6, Psalms 45:7, Psalms 102:25-27 and Psalms 110:1.  Then:

God will again [second coming] bring Christ Jesus into the world to rule with a righteous scepter.

We are told He will have companions to assist Him in this rule.  They will be anointed with the Oil of Gladness [for ruling.]

His rule will continue, though Heaven and Earth will become old and will have to be replaced.  "His years will not come to an end."

Angels will worship and serve Him and will also render service to those who are on the track to be co-heirs -- "Those who will inherit salvation [soul aspect]."

Hebrews 2 – Tells us to pay close attention to what we have heard in regards to this Great Salvation, lest we drift away from it.  We won't escape if we neglect so Great Salvation.  Israel neglected, transgressed and was disobedient to God's Word to them and they did [and still are] receive God's just recompense.

Hebrews 2 also tells that even now God and Jesus are bringing "many saints to Glory" through trial and suffering, and Jesus the Captain/Author of salvation has been made the Perfect Captain, e.g. through the suffering He endured [suffering precedes Glory].

Hebrews 3 – Tells us since we aspire to be companions with Christ in heavenly calling, we should consider carefully Jesus as apostle and high priest of our confession.

As Apostle, consider all He did, said and accomplished at His first coming.

As High Priest, consider what He is doing now in His office of High Priest to assist us in successfully completing our course/race.

Hebrews 3 also sets forth the House of Moses as compared to the House of Christ.

Moses was faithful as a servant over His house, faithful to bring the nation of Israel out of bondage in Egypt though the Red Sea, through the wilderness to the border of Canaan, then forty years in the wilderness.  Moses was faithful, but most of His House failed to hold fast their confidence and the rejoicing of their hope until the end.  They neglected the calling to the Promised Land. 

Christ was faithful as a Son over His House, who's House we [you and me] are IF we HOLD FAST OUR CONFIDENCE AND THE REJOICING OF OUR HOPE FIRM UNTIL THE END.

We will not hold fast if we do not even know what this heavenly calling is.

Many words / expressions are used as synonyms of the term 'Heavenly Calling'.  A few expressions:

Christ's House - Hebrews 3:6

I've suffered the loss of all things that I may lay hold of that for which I was layed hold of by Christ and gain Christ.  Philippians 3:8, 12

Partakers of Christ – Hebrews 3:14

Press on toward goal for the prize of the upward call of God - Philippians 3:14

Hope of His calling and riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints - Ephesians 1:18

Suffer with Him, so that we may also be glorified with Him - Romans 8:17

Bringing many Sons to Glory - Hebrews 2:10

If we endure with Him we will reign with Him - 2 Timothy 2:12

Those who will inherit salvation - Hebrews 1:14

Overcomers - Revelation 2, 3

Then Hebrews 3:12-14 presents the admonitions / warnings:

Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.

But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end,

Hebrews 4 - Now let's proceed into Hebrews 4, after first reviewing Hebrews 3:12ff and Hebrews 3:19:

Hebrews 3:12ff - Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. [Continue to read.]

Hebrews 3:19 – We see they were not able of enter because of unbelief.

What was it they didn't believe?  They did not believe God's promise concerning bringing them into the Promised Land [safely].

Hebrews 4:1 - Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it.

If we are not aware of this millennial rest, we certainly will not fear falling short of it.

Hebrews 4:2 - For indeed we have had good news [our heavenly calling] preached to us, just as they also; but the word [good news] they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.

What was the good news that was preached to us?  'They also.'

What does 'did not profit them' mean?  They did not continue to believe God's promises about bringing them into their Promised Canaan.  They neglected the promises and drifted away from them.  They did not hold fast their confidence [in what God had said], nor did they hold fast the boast of their great hope, firm until the end.

Hebrews 4:3 – For we who have believed [aorist participle:  who believe / having believed to the end].

The verb 'believe' is an aorist [Audio] participle which shows, as the context here indicates, that the whole course of faith is viewed as a completed act of faith.  The course is finished; the goal is reached.  The runner has maintained his faith to the endenter the rest

But, to the Israelites, He said, "As I SWORE IN MY WRATH, THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST."

To enter the rest:

We who believe [having believed to the end] enter the rest.

It is similar to:

if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.  (Hebrews 3:6)

if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end.  (Hebrews 3:14)

Hebrews 4:4-8:

For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: "AND GOD RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY FROM ALL HIS WORKS";

and again in this passage, "THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST."

Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience [unbelief, cf. Hebrews 3:18-19],

He again fixes a certain day, "Today," saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, "TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS."

For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that (Hebrews 4:4-8)

A Rest of God:

"MY REST" comes after a completed work.  E.g. Perfect Creation – THEN A REST TO ADMIRE AND ENJOY the completed work.

An opportunity for a Rest of God was Israelites entering into the Promised Land.  Had the Israelites trusted God to protect them upon entering and defeating all enemies, they could have entered a rest of God.  They did not -- far from it.  Therefore God said, "You shall not enter My rest."

If Joshua had given them rest?  How do we know Joshua did not give them rest?

The Israelites' enemies were never totally defeated.

Did not inherit the Promised Land.

Israel's occupancy of a land was not permanent.

There is rest only after a completed [permanent] work!

Read Psalms 95.

Hebrews 4:9-11

So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.

For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.

Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.

In what ways could we be diligent

Attitudes, activities, mindset --- to keep ourselves from falling as they did, ensuring we do enter the rest.

Turn to the New Testament for some answers:

In 1 Corinthian 9:24-10:12 we can hear Paul's answer to our question about "being diligent to enter the rest."

Hebrews 4:12-13

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart [motives].

And there is no creature hidden from His sight [sobering, scary thought], but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him [Jesus Christ] with whom we have to do. (Hebrews 4:12-13)

Cf. Romans 14:10-12, 2 Corinthians 5:10.

So, what specific "word of God" is the writer of Hebrews speaking of in this particular instance – this word of God that is so sharp and has such penetrating power that it can divide between soul and spirit and even judge the thoughts and intents [the purity of our motives] of the heart?

I suggest that in speaking of the word of God, it is not speaking of the word of the Old Testament, which was all the word that was available when this was written.  Instead this is speaking about the particular word we have just read in Hebrews 3, the word of God about the House of Moses.  The testimony of the experiences of the House of Moses can judge the thoughts and intentions of our hearts [motives] and separate between soul and spirit, i.e. the purity of our motivations can be judged [made clear].

The word of God in the House of God is able to discriminate between what is "spiritual" in man and what is merely "soulish" or natural.

These inner elements of man [spirit/soul] are often interwoven as closely as "joints and marrow."  The inner life of Christians is often a strong mixture of motivations, both genuinely spiritual and completely soulish/human.

Remember, when we are "born again" our spirit is made new, saved - made perfect - and the Holy Spirit of God dwells in our spirit.  We are to be "led by the Spirit."

The soul, on the other hand, composed of my mind, will and emotions, is in the process of being saved and I cannot depend on my mind, will and emotions to lead me according to the will of God

If we, as believers, consider our Christian walk in the light of God's account of the experiences of the House of Moses, this word will help us be able to more perfectly walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, and worthy of our "heavenly calling".  Our lives will "bear good [righteous] fruit that will remain," and we will "hold the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, so we might become partakers of Christ and His House. 

…Christ was faithful as a Son over His house--whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.  (Hebrews 3:6)

Hebrews 4:13 again:

And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

Still sober and scary!

But the very person who frightens us in Hebrews 4:13 is the very One Who gives us hope in Hebrews 4:14-16:

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession [of our hope, our confession of faith in Him, to Jesus Christ, our High Priest.]

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Help how?

Back to 1 Corinthian 9:24-10:12:

Paul helped the Corinthians evaluate themselves according to the Word of God with regard to the House of Moses.

Lesson Five

Hebrews 5

How would you tell someone, with the fewest words possible, what the Book of Hebrews is about?  How would you summarize it in a few words?

The Book of Hebrews is about the return of Christ [His second coming] to establish His righteous rule over the earth.  He is to reign with those who have lived their lives during this present age by faith and obedience with their hope fixed on the goal and prize of reigning as co-heirs with Christ over the world for 1,000 years.

The Book of Hebrews has major admonitions [do this] and major warnings [don't do this] and, if we heed them, we are assured of gaining reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ and enter into what Jesus spoke as the joy set before Him.

The admonitions and warnings for us are taken from the experience of the House of Moses who failed to enter the earthly Promised Land [attain to their earthly calling].  Each one of us must learn from mistakes lest we suffer loss of the Judgment Seat of Christ, and consequently fail to attain to our "heavenly calling."

Last week, in lesson four, Do Not Neglect The Promise, we learned that the Word of God, and specifically that portion of the Word of God concerning the failure of the House of Moses to enter their promised land, can divide between what is spiritual and what is soulish [natural].  Also the Word of God can "judge the thoughts and intentions of our hearts and purify our motives so that we won't deceive ourselves." The apostle Paul tells us "Let him who thinks he stands take heed [of their example] lest he fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12)  Scripture tells us "if we judge ourselves rightly we shall not be judged."  (1 Corinthians 11:31) 

The last verse of Hebrews 4 says this:

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

A Long Parenthesis

This begins a long explanation (Hebrews 4:14-10:26) to help understand how great it is that we have Christ Jesus as our heavenly High Priest who is focused on helping us to successfully live our lives so as to attain to our heavenly calling.

We can think of this explanation that stretches from 4:14 to 10:26 as a long parenthesis, the purpose of which is getting us up to speed in our knowledge of Christ's priestly office and how we should benefit from it today.

In doing this, God, though the writer of Hebrews, uses:

The earthly Aaronic Priesthood to explain the present Priesthood of Christ, and

The Melchizedek Priesthood to explain the future reign of Christ as King and Priest after the order of Melchizedek.

After reviewing the long "priestly parenthesis," we come right back to where we left off, in Hebrews 4:14-16.  Read and compare 4:14-16 with 10:19-26:

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

 

Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,

by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,

and since we have a great priest over the house of God,

let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;

and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,

not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, (Hebrews 10:19-26)

Tucked away in the long parenthesis about priesthood is the famous Hebrews 6, famous because it is generally thought to be difficult to understand.

Hebrews 6 deals with our pressing on to maturity, moving from babes in Christ to mature in Christ or advancing from milk to meat.

Milk has to do with things surrounding the First Coming of Christ.

Meat has to do with things surrounding the Second Coming of Christ.

My thinking is this short overview of this portion of Hebrews will prevent getting lost in the "long parenthesis" devoted to Priests -- Past, Present and Future.

Hebrews 5

The early readers [first few centuries] of this letter were very familiar with the Old Testament institution of the priesthood.  It may have been easier for them to understand then than it is for us to understand now.

Read Hebrews 5:1-10:

For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins;

he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness;

and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself.

And no one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was.

So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him, "YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU";

just as He says also in another passage, "YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK."

In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety.

Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.

And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,

being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 5:1-10)

Hebrews 5:1-3.

The High Priest was one of man's own number, selected from among men.

The Priest is man's representative in matters pertaining to God, especially the offering of gifts, i.e., grain offerings, etc., and sacrifices for sins, i.e., lambs, calves, doves, etc.

The Priest must be a man of compassion who will deal gently.  His sympathy grows out of the fact that He himself was subject to weakness and failures of His own.

Hebrews 5:4-6.

The High Priestly office required divine appointment.  Even Christ has indeed been appointed High Priest by God and will be appointed King-Priest by God.  (Psalms 2:7 and Psalm 110:4)

Psalms 2:7  "I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.

Psalm 110:4  The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind, "You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek."

(For more on Melchizedek see Got Questions - Who was Melchizedek?.)

As yet He has only entered into the office of High Priest, which He has held for about 2,000 years, since His ascension.

Soon He will enter into the office of King-Priest.

Hebrews 5:7.

Christ Jesus is now in heaven as our advocate, our high priest, on the basis of His shed blood.  Had He not shed His blood for us, He would have no basis to minister forgiveness to us as High Priest.

In 5:7 the writer is authenticating Christ as being fully qualified as High Priest by describing His sufferings on the cross.

Read Psalms 22:15-24:

. . .  and when He [Jesus] cried for help He [God] heard and was saved from death by being resurrected from the dead.

The resurrection furnishes indisputable proof of God's acceptance of Christ's sacrificial shedding of His blood [sacrificial activity].

So Christ is qualified as High Priest by His shedding blood.

Hebrews 5:8-9.

He was God the Son, the ultimate perfect One Son of God – Son of Man.

But in order that Christ be made perfect for this particular ministry, God had Him experience obedience even to suffering death on the cross.

Now as High Priest, Christ can empathize with us, as we walk the path of self denial and suffering.

Hebrews 5:9 says "He became the author of eternal salvation for all who obey Him."

Two things to bring out in Hebrews 5:9:

Eternal salvation:  The Greek word translated eternal is aionian which is more perfectly translated "age lasting," age lasting salvation or salvation for the age which is the focus of this culmination of salvation which we are concerned.

Here we have an aspect of salvation that requires obedience, not just belief as our initial [present] salvation did.

This is the same salvation of Hebrews 1:4 which speaks of those who will inherit [future] salvation.

Also Hebrews 2:3 references the great salvation.

The salvation of which we are speaking is mentioned in other places.  One is 1 Peter 1:5 which speaks of those "who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time", referring to the culmination of the salvation process.

We don't want to confuse this aspect of salvation with the acquisition of the eternal life aspect of salvation which comes to us not by obedience, but by faith alone..

The culmination/great aspect of salvation is referring to that final deliverance from and victory over all enemies and the consequent enjoyment of the many sons who will have been "brought to glory" [glorified].

Romans 8:17 – "for if indeed we suffer with Him we will be glorified with Him."

Now having become perfect [the perfectly qualified High Priest, who has come to glory through suffering], He is the source of the eternal aspect of salvation. (Hebrews 5:9)

Why is Jesus, as our High Priest, the source of this aspect of salvation?  Because He is able to supply all the resources necessary for us to live a life that will gain the "reward of the inheritance" and enter the Millennial Rest.

He sympathizes with our trials, struggles, and is able to make available "mercy and grace" which are necessary to endure our trials and struggles successfully in faith [grace = desire and power].

As it says in Hebrews 7:25:

He, the High Priest, Christ Jesus, is able to save completely those who come to God through Him because He always lives to intercede for them.  It is through His intercession that this eternal aspect of our salvation takes place.

Hebrews 5:10.

being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

Therefore Christ was designated by God to be a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. 

Hebrews 5:11-14.

Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.

For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.

But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

The mention of Melchizedek in Hebrews 5:10 triggers a discussion concerning the lack of spiritual maturity of these believers.

Remember, Melchizedek was a mysterious King-Priest who came on the scene after Abram had rescued Lot from the five kings.  Melchizedek brought bread and wine and said He was a Priest of the Most High God.  Abram tithed to Melchizedek.

Melchizedek is a type of Christ Jesus in His Office of King-Priest, heir of all things.

And though these believers referred to can read and understand the simple story of Melchizedek and Abraham, they are not capable of going from letter to spiritthe letter killeth but the spirit giveth life.  They are not capable to comprehend Melchizedek as a type of Christ, the King-Priest Who will rule the world.  They were not able to go from milk[ babe] to meat [mature]; therefore, they cannot go from milk to rest [heir]. 

The writer of Hebrews has so much to say concerning Melchizedek, but says it is hard to explain "since you have become dull [sluggish, lazy] of hearing." (cf. Romans 10:17)

They have grown spiritually dull, and the spiritual dullness affects their ability to understand Melchizedek truths concerning Christ's second coming to rule with the many sons He is bringing to glory

The fact that they have become dull of hearing indicates they were not always that way.  That begs the question "why" did this happen that they lost ground spiritually and became dull of hearing? 

The first two warnings of Hebrews 2 gives a pretty good indication of why the became this way:

We must pay much closer attention to what we heard lest we drift away from it.

How will we escape if we neglect so great salvation.

He who has an ear to hear, let him hear.

The have neglected it, paid little attention and lost the ability to spiritually discern and understand things surrounding the second coming of Christ.

Hebrews 5:12.

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.

He says you ought to be teachers but you need someone to reteach you the ABCs of Christianity.  I need to give you solid food [Gk. stered trophe derives from stereos ("firm, hard, solid, strong") and trophe ("nourishment, food"], but all you can take is milkMilk is for babes; meat is for the mature.

To reiterate concerning milk and meat:

Milk concerns things related to Christ's first coming.

Meat concerns things related to Christ's second coming.

The thought of Melchizedek triggers the thought of His second coming and maturity.  Therefore, meat, maturity and Melchizedek all go together and point to Christ the heir of all things ruling with His co-heirs

Hebrews 5:13-14.

For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.

But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

These verses describe problems "milk Christians" have:

Not accustomed to the Word of righteousness.

Their senses are not trained to discern good and evil.

I believe the word of righteousness is that righteousness that comes through faith.  (Philippians 3:7-9)

Concerning the inability to discern good and evil in the context we are speaking, refer to Hebrews 3:12 [evil and unbelieving heart].

There is an encouraging message in Hebrews 6:1:

The writer says, "Leave the elementary things --- we will press on to maturity."

Lesson Six

Hebrews 6

To appreciate the context of what is said in Hebrews 6 we need to start at the end of Hebrews 4.

Read Hebrews 4:11-16

Remember -- the warnings and teachings found in the book of Hebrews are based on the experiences of the Israelites (God's Chosen People).  Therefore, when we read in Hebrews 4:11, “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience,” we must remember Israel's example and how, because of lack of faith, they were not able to enter their rest (the Canaan Land -- flowing with milk and honey).  This was to be their reward and great blessing that God wanted to bless them with.  And their rest is a type or example of our millennial rest.  The message to us is to learn from their mistake so that we do not fall short of our goal and fail to enter the 1000 year rest that God wants to bless us with.

In Hebrews 4:12 we are told that the Word of God is sharp and living and able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  In other words, it will help us judge our motives and intentions correctly so that at the Judgment Seat of Christ we will not be judged for failing in the same way, and therefore we will not fall short of our goal and fail to enter our Promised Land.

In Hebrews 4:14 the teaching about our high priest begins and it continues on Hebrews 10:31.  Our High Priest can help us. He has been tempted, as we are, and as the Israelites were.  The temptation is to fail to trust God and fall away in disobedience.  Our High Priest, Jesus Christ can help:

Because He has faithfully walked the path of faith we must walk.  

Because He has endured the sufferings that go with walking that path, He has denied His own will and committed Himself to the will of the Father

And because He has passed through the heavens and is seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven.

He is fully qualified to help us to enter the rest and not fail as Israel did.  Therefore let us draw near to the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace to help -- we have to have His help.

Read Hebrews 5:1-10.

First God wants us to fully comprehend what kind of priest we have.  He does this by comparing our new High Priest with the Old Testament priests that we are familiar.  Christ is not a priest after the order of Aaron but a Priest after the order of Melchizedek.  His priesthood is far superior to the Aaronic priests. He died to fully pay the price for our sins, therefore when we come to Him, He can assure full forgiveness.  He has learned from experience what it is truly like to obediently live the life and to persevere to the end.  Therefore, this One who has been designated a High Priest, after the order of Melchizedek, is fully qualified to be the source of eternal (age lasting) salvation to all who obey Him.  God is telling us that we have an advocate in the heavens whose purpose is to help us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

Read Hebrews 5:11-14.

The writer of Hebrews has much more he wants to tell them [Hebrews] concerning things that have to do with the Melchizedek Priesthood of Christ.  But it is going to be difficult to explain it to them because they are really “tuned in” to the “milk truths,” things surrounding Christ's first coming.  And they are dull of hearing and not “tuned in” to the “meat truths,” the things surrounding the Second Coming of Christ.

He will return as a KING-PRIEST after the order of Melchizedek.

Read Hebrews 6:1-2.

The main thrust of these verses is we must press on to maturity.  The text, as well as the context, shows us this is a specific aspect of maturity related to the Melchizedek Priesthood of Christ.  In other words, we have to press on to gain knowledge and understanding concerning the coming reign of Christ over the earth and our opportunities for participation in this rule of the heavens over the earth.  This aspect of maturity is one in which God reveals His ultimate glorious plan.

Therefore, the plan is not to lay again the milk foundations.  Milk foundations are good, but we must move on to the meat teachings about the coming age.

Those elementary teachings, foundational doctrines, are:

Repentance from dead works and faith toward God.

Instructions about washings and laying on of hands (Forgiveness and separation from sins, redemption and identification with Christ).

Resurrection from the dead and eternal judgment.

So we are not going to lay again these milk foundations, but we will instead press on to maturity -- IF God permits?

Why wouldn't He permit?  He says that for some it would be impossible to progress in growth toward being glorified with Christ and becoming a co-heir with Him.  God will not allow it!

Who then would be disqualified in this way?

Read Hebrews 6:4-6.

It says that if one has come to a mature knowledge concerning the things surrounding Christ's Melchizedek Priesthood, i.e., the Millennial reign of Christ and what it involves, and then has fallen away (has then turned back to fleshly and worldly pursuits) it is impossible to renew that one to repentance.  Even if he wants to repent God won't allow it.  And why will God not allow it?

Read Hebrews 6:6b.

Turning back or falling away after understanding God's glorious plan with unmistakable clarity [mature knowledge, i.e., epignosis, puts the Son of God to an open shame.  Galatians 1:14 states: “Christ gave Himself for our sins to the end that He might deliver us out of this present evil age, according to the will of God the Father.”  Galatians 6:14 states that through the cross "the world has been crucified to me and I to the world."  Therefore to understand the will of the Father and to see and understand about the good things of the coming age, these things for which Christ died, and then to turn away from them, that is, to turn one's focus back to the things of this present world under the incumbent ruler Satan, shames Christ.  For a Christian to do this would be a great dishonor to Christ.  This would be deliberately choosing to turn away from entering into that for which Christ suffered and died.  If they [we] turn away from that which was the “joy set before Him,” for which He died and suffered shame, this exposes Him to open public shame, and GOD WILL NOT ALLOW IT.
 
Read Hebrews 6:7-8.

This is an illustration of the two ages that we have been discussing:

The present evil age is like the ground that yields thorns and thistles (under a curse).

The age to come is like the ground upon which fall the rains from heaven and the blessing of God and which brings forth fruit to those who till it.

Redeemed man finds himself in a position where he can go either of two directions.  He can fix his attention on the land out ahead or he can turn and fix his attention on the land from which he was called.  He can focus on Heavenly Canaan (his heavenly calling) and share in its blessings with the Son of God, or he can, so to speak, focus on the things of Egypt (the world) and spend energies on fleshly pursuits.  The consequences of setting ones mind on earthly things is suffering loss.  It is the destruction of one's - wood, hay and stubble - type works that end up being burned.

Redeemed man lives within the sphere of whichever nature is cultivated, nurtured and fed.

Read Hebrews 6:9-10.

What is he saying?  He has given them some hard words of warning.  But then the writer says, we are convinced of better things concerning you with regard to the things that accompany this great salvation, which we have been discussing.  These Christians may have been dull of hearing concerning the future prophetic things but they were diligent in loving and serving one another (“the saints”).

Read Hebrews 6:11-12.

“Full assurance of hope”:  Full conviction---certainty---assurance wrought through understanding

The writer of this letter to these Christians was not satisfied with conditions as they existed, even though these Christians were loving God and serving one another.  For He knows that it is a common experience for Christians to compromise, become complacent and lose their zeal for the things of God.  They then become insensitive to the voice of God and “shrink back” AND fall away from the faith even as Israel did.

He therefore admonishes them according to Hebrews 6:11, that just as they are diligent to “serve the saints.”  He earnestly desires that they show this same diligence toward realizing the full assurance of hope and attaining to their high calling, and realizing their inheritance (co-heirs with Christ), and they exult in the hope of the Glory of God.

He wants each one of them [us] to realize the full assurance of hope until the end.  But what does that mean?  He wants them not to get slack or lazy or apathetic, but be full of the Spirit, zealous Christians until the end.  In other words, he is encouraging them to set their hope on the final goal so that they can realize the full assurance of that hope until the end, without getting weak in faith or apathetic regarding the things of God.

Hebrews 6:11 is an important verse.  It could be the thesis of this letter, and the purpose for writing the letter:

THAT THEY ALL MIGHT REALIZE THE FULL ASSURANCE OF HOPE UNTIL THE END. 

Hope deals with something out in the future.  We base our hope on something out in the future.  Hope is associated with an inheritance awaiting the saved, that will be realized in the coming age.  God is telling them and us that this hope should be our focus and goal and he wants us to maintain this focus to the endBeing diligent to serve the saints is great, but he desires that they have the same diligence to realize their inheritance.

Now the writer of Hebrews is going to tell us what it is that we are to base our hope on.  He is going to tell us that long ago God made a promise concerning the things that would happen in the future.  And those future things have to do with God's ultimate intention (before the fall) -- the fulfillment of His original plan.  He is going to tell them that it is important to see God's plan, and realize that they have an opportunity to have a part in it.

He knows that knowledge of this awaiting inheritance will motivate them to be faithful and zealous -- firm until the end.  Hebrews 6:12 shows us that this hope that he wants them (us) to have is the cure for sluggishness and apathy.  It is the cure for failing to press on to maturity.

Also in Hebrews 6:12 we see that there are some Old Testament believers who can serve as examples for us in order to help us to realize the full assurance of hope until the end.  And who is one of those OT believers who is the good example of faith and patienceAbraham.

Read 6:13-15 and Genesis 22:16-18.

How did Abraham obtain the promise?  

FAITH: (believing God)--only after he had walked by faith over a long period of time.

PATIENCE: But the realization of the promise awaits a future date:  (Hebrews 11:8-13)

How do we obtain the promise and realize our inheritanceFAITH and PATIENCE.

Read Hebrews 6:16-18.

God's Word and God's swearing of an oath are based on the character of God.

Question:  Why did God interpose with an oath

Answer: To show the heirs of the promise (Abraham) and his descendents (us), the unchangeableness of His purpose.  Read Genesis 22:16-18 for His purpose.

Question:  What effect should this word and oath of God about His purpose have on us?

Answer:  It should encourage us who have fled for refuge in laying hold of the hope set before us.

When we get a glimpse of His plan,

When we see His purpose,

When we know God is committed to bringing it to pass and

When we realize that God desires to include us in this glorious plan and purpose,

THEN we are strongly encouraged in laying hold of the hope set before usOur refuge is in that hope set before us.  That hope of the glory is a wonderful place of fulfillment for us.  That hope of glory is our refugeOur refuge is not in this world.

“in this world we have tribulation, but we, like Abraham, are looking for a heavenly city, whose architect and builder is God.  Our refuge is in 'The Glory.'”

Read Hebrews 6:19-20.

The HOPE OF GLORY is what anchors our soul to the millennial age, which is the age of glory within the veil, on the other side of this age.  Christ has already entered within the veil -- crossed over!  He is our forerunner, ready for the new age to begin. He is waiting -- He is our High Priest who is fully able to assist us and assure us that we will not be disappointedHe has become High Priest forever, after The Order of Melchizedek.

Therefore let us do everything we can to prepare ourselves to join Him -- to press on toward the goal for the prize of being a co-heir with Christ and sharing in His inheritance

LET US BE DILIGENT SO AS TO REALIZE THE FULL ASSURANCE OF HOPE UNTO THE END.

The Lord has sworn by Himself and will not change His mind

“Thou are a Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” (Psalm 110)

Lesson Seven

Hebrews 7

First, a few introductory remarks before our study of Hebrews 7.

Hebrews 5:9-11

And having been made perfect, He [Jesus Christ] became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal [aionian] salvation,

being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.

In Hebrews 6 the writer indicates that a deeper understanding of the High Priesthood of Christ will enable one to move from milk to meat, i.e., from immaturity to maturity with regard to the  understanding of things surrounding the second coming of Christ.

The writer earnestly desires that they [and we] be in diligent pursuit of this knowledge, so they [and we] may 'realize the full assurance of hope until the end.'  This will remedy their [our] problem of being sluggish and dull of hearing.

In other words, even though one has become dull of hearing, a proper understanding of the hope out ahead will fix that problem.  When we have that hope, it binds/anchors us to Jesus who is in the presence of the Majesty on High where He has become our High Priest, after the Order of Melchizedek.

Now let's learn more about Christ's High Priestly ministry – after the ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK.

But before we study about Melchizedek in Hebrews 7, let's read the account of Abraham and Melchizedek in Genesis 14:8-24.

Read Hebrews 7:1-10.

What have we learned about Melchizedek, the King of Salem?

He is the King of righteousness and peace.

Made like the Son of God – without Father, Mother, beginning of days or end of days.

Remains a priest perpetually.

Abraham met him after the battle of the Kings.

Melchizedek blessed Abraham, to whom God has given great promises.

Abraham paid the tithe to Melchizedek

Even the Levitical Priest of Israel can be said to have paid tithes to Melchizedek because Levi was in the loins of father Abraham when Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek.

Melchizedek was greater than Abraham and greater than the Levitical Priesthood.

Read Hebrews 7:11-12.

Since perfection [God's purpose] could not come through the Law and the Levitical Priesthood, it was necessary for another priest to arise, which was not of the order of Aaron, but after the order of Melchizedek.  And when the change in the priesthood was made, it was necessary the entire legal system, on which the Levitical system was based, be changed also – a new covenant.

Read Hebrews 7:13-14.

Christ, our Melchizedek order priest, belongs to the tribe of Judah which has no connection with priests.  This is one proof that a change in the Priesthood was made.

Read Hebrews 7:15-19.

To make it clearer, this Melchizedek priest has become such, not on the basis of regulations as to ancestry, but by His power of an indestructible life, for it is testified (Psalms 110:4), "THOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK."

The former commandment [Levitical system] had to be set aside because it was weak and ineffective in accomplishing God's purpose.  The Law never made anything perfect.

Now there is the bringing in of a better hope through which we draw near to God.

Read Hebrews 7:20-22.

The Priesthood of Christ differs dramatically from the Levitical Priesthood in that it was instituted with an oath:

The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind, "Thou are a Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek."  (Psalm 110:4)

By contrast the descendents of Aaron assumed their jobs without an oath.  Because of this oath Christ Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant since it secures His permanence as our High Priest.

Read Hebrews 7:23-25.

No Old Testament priest ever functioned in a permanent way.  When one died another replaced him.  But the permanent Priesthood of Jesus gives Him the capacity to carry His saving work to completion.  His saving work refers to our ongoing sanctification, or salvation of our souls.  To save completely those who come to God through Him tells us He can see us through every trial and difficulty, right to the end of the road.  "He always lives to intercede for them [us]." 

As we come to His Throne of Grace, we will find that our Captain and High Priest can get the job done!  He can lead us victoriously into the glory of the many sons.  In this way He saves many sons to glory – He saves completely.

Please read 1 Peter 1:3-9 which addresses to some degree the reward of the inheritance and the soul aspect of salvation.

Read Hebrews 7:26-28.

He [Jesus Christ] is the kind of High Priest we need.  His character is utterly without blemish and He has been exalted above the heavens.  Unlike the Levitical high priests, Jesus did not need to daily offer sacrifices for His own sins, and then for theirs.  Jesus, offering Himself once as a sacrifice for the sins of the people, was sufficient.  The Law appointed High Priests who were limited by human weaknesses.  But after the Law was set aside, God appointed His High Priest by an oath and His Son has been made the perfect High Priest forever.

Read Hebrews 8:1.

We do have such a high priest, seated at the right hand of the Majesty on High.  He ministers to us in the true Tabernacle pitched by God, not man.  The source and place of ministry is now in Heaven.

Lesson Eight

Hebrews 8

We are to Hebrews 8; 9; 10, in the midst of a long discussion of the Old Testament Levitical Priesthood after the Order of Melchizedek.

Before we continue with the discussion of the Priests, let's pause to remember what Hebrews is all about.

The book is about the return of Christ, His second coming to establish His righteous rule over the earth.  He is to reign with those who have lived their lives during this present age by faith and obedience, with their hope fixed on the goal and the prize of reigning as co-heirs with Christ for 1,000 years.  Hebrews contains admonitions (do this) and warnings (don't do this) which, if we heed, will assure that we will gain the reward, at the Judgment Seat of Christ, of being given entrance into the millennial kingdom to rule and reign with Christ.  The admonitions and warnings are drawn from the experiences of the House of Moses who failed to attain to their calling to enter their earthly Promised Land.  Each one of us must learn from their mistakes lest we suffer loss at the Judgment Seat and fail to attain to our Heavenly calling.

In the way of review, let's read the verses that give us warning and instructions:

Hebrews 2:1-3; 3:6, 12-14; 4:1, 9-10; 6:4-6,11-12.

Hebrews 4:15-16 begins our discussion about the importance of understanding about our High Priest as we pursue our Heavenly calling.

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 5  In this chapter we learn that Jesus, in the days of His flesh, learned obedience from the things He suffered.  He said, "not my will but thine be done"….even to the point of death on the cross.  Denying Himself in this way to the ultimate extreme of death equips Him perfectly as our High Priest to assist us in denying ourselves and doing the will of God.  In this way He becomes to all who obey Him the source of age lasting (aionian) salvation (Hebrews 5:9).

Hebrews 6  In this chapter the writer begins 'catching the Hebrews up to speed' on the Meat of the Word….concerning things of His second coming.

These believers are diligent in loving God and ministering to the saints, but the writer "desires that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who by faith and patience inherit the promises."

Hebrews 7  In order that the reader may have a full understanding of Christ Jesus in His present priestly rule, after the order of Melchizedek, he launches into a major teaching of the mysterious Old Testament King-Priest Melchizedek, who is a type of Christ in His High Priest Office.

We also learn this New High Priest brings with Him a New Covenant which is far superior to the Old Covenant with its Levitical Priests.

Hebrews 8 

In Hebrews 7 we learned much about our heavenly Priest, after the order of Melchizedek.

Hebrews 8:1-2

These two verses summarize by telling us we do have such a Heavenly Priest Who ministers in a Heavenly Sanctuary (Heavenly Tabernacle).  Our heavenly Priest, Christ Jesus, has taken His seat on the throne at the right hand of the Majestic God in heaven.

Hebrews 8:3-6

Levitical High Priests serve in an earthly Tabernacle which is merely a shadow of the Heavenly Tabernacle.  Since each High Priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices, it is necessary that our Heavenly Priest also have something to offer.  And indeed He does since now "He has obtained a 'more excellent' ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant which has been enacted on better promises."  A new covenant was necessary because of the failure of Israel's first covenant.

Hebrews 8:7-13

As a result of Israel's failures, The Lord spoke through Jeremiah saying in coming days a New Covenant would be established with the House of Israel and the House of Judah (Jeremiah 31:31-34).  The Old Covenant had no remedy for Israel's sinfulness. 

The "better promises" of the New Covenant are:

a)  An inner inclination to obey (God will put His laws in their minds and write them on their hearts).

b)  A firm relationship with God (I will be their God and they will be my people).

c)  A personal relationship with God (They will all know Me).

d)  The forgiveness of sins (I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more).

It is clear that all these benefits belong to all the regenerated of every age since the Cross.  Though the New Covenant is specifically focused on Israel in Jeremiah 31:31-34, it is clear that Christians of the present time also stand under the blessings:

Luke 22:2  And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in My blood."

2 Corinthians 3:6  Our adequacy is from God, Who made us adequate as servants of a New Covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit for the letter kills but the Spirit gives life.

Hebrews 8:13  Then He said, "A New Covenant," He has made the first obsolete, but whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.

(Levitical rituals are out of date, obsolete and will soon disappear.  They are replaced by New Covenant promises.  Apparently the Levitical ceremony was about to cease at the time Hebrews was written.)

Lesson Nine

Hebrews 9

Hebrews 9:1-5: Gives a quick synopsis of the earthly tabernacle which was a mere shadow of the Heavenly Tabernacle. It basically tells what articles were in the two rooms of the Tabernacle:

Outer room: Holy Place.

Inner room: The Holy of Holies.

Each article represents Jesus and His Ministry. It would take hours to give the details – "We cannot now speak in detail."

Hebrews 9:6-10: Tells us that the Levitical Priests are continually performing worship in the Outer Tabernacle. Only the High Priest may enter the Holy of Holies once a year to offer blood for his own sins and the sins committed in ignorance (unintentionally) by the people. Intentional willful sins were given the death penalty, for there was no sacrifice available.

Hebrews 9:11-14: Stresses the superiority of the blood of the New Covenant to the blood of the Old. This leads to the conclusion in following verse 15 -- that Christ is the Mediator of the New Covenant.

Hebrews 9:15: And for this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, in order that since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Christ is the Mediator of the New Covenant. He deals with us through this New Covenant. His mediatorial work has as its aim His many Sons should enter that partnership with Him, as fellow heirs, companions, partakers of the heavenly calling --- but, it is conditional.

Hebrews 9:16-22: A particular covenant is valid only until changed or the one who made it dies. When Christ shed His blood and died, the New Covenant went into effect, the old becoming invalid. An important, much quoted, verse:

…without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (Hebrews 9:22)

The Old Covenant was inaugurated with animal blood.

Hebrews 9:23-26: Christ sacrificed Himself one time to put away sin for all time.

Hebrews 9:27-28:

And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,

so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time, not to bear sin … to those who eagerly await Him for salvation [the Great Salvation – the greatest thing that God ever designed for redeemed man].

It is important to understand what "to eagerly wait for Him" conveys so we can order our lives accordingly. Cornerstone Christian Fellowship explains this rather well:

g). Then, according to the final sentence in Hebrews 9:28 NASB Christ will appear a second time to those who eagerly 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. (cf. 1 Peter 1:5)

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 2 Timothy:

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. (2 Timothy 4:6)

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7)

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. (2 Timothy 4:8)

j). All those who [eagerly wait for Him] 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 – 2 Peter 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 - Romans 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 – 2 Timothy 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 –

Hebrews 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 –

Hebrews 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). Hebrews 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?’

Cornerstone Christian Fellowship - The Letter to the Hebrews, Part Twenty Nine, Page 2

Hebrews 10:1-12:

For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never by the same sacrifices year by year, which they offer continually, make perfect those who draw near. (Hebrews 10:1)

Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? (Hebrews 10:2)

But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year. (Hebrews 10:3)

For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. (Hebrews 10:4)

Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, "SACRIFICE AND OFFERING THOU HAST NOT DESIRED, BUT A BODY THOU HAST PREPARED FOR ME; (Hebrews 10:5)

(Note: We do not know what form He had before He came to earth, but now the Word made flesh has a human body to offer as a sacrifice.)

IN WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND sacrifices FOR SIN THOU HAST TAKEN NO PLEASURE. (Hebrews 10:6)

(Note: God was pleased that Israelites were obedient to the Law and offered sacrifices. God's lack of pleasure was because these offerings could not take away sin.)

"THEN I SAID, 'BEHOLD, I HAVE COME (IN THE ROLL OF THE BOOK [Old Testament scriptures, e.g. Isaiah 53] IT IS WRITTEN OF ME) TO DO THY WILL, O GOD.'" (Hebrews 10:7)

After saying above, "SACRIFICES AND OFFERINGS AND WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND sacrifices FOR SIN THOU HAST NOT DESIRED, NOR HAST THOU TAKEN PLEASURE in them" (which are offered according to the Law), (Hebrews 10:8)

then He said, "BEHOLD, I HAVE COME TO DO THY WILL." He takes away the first [Old Covenant] in order to establish the second [New Covenant]. (Hebrews 10:9)

By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all [one sacrifice for all people]. (Hebrews 10:10)

And every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; (Hebrews 10:11)

(Note: The Temple is still operating, but now obsolete and replaced by a new system: New Covenant.)

but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD, (Hebrews 10:12)

waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET. (Hebrews 10:13)

For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. (Hebrews 10:14)

Additional commentary from Cornerstone Christian Fellowship:

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 v 14 then, Christ’s ‘one offering’ has set in place in a completely finished stateThe 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 Rebekahthose who are believing to the saving of the soul [Hebrews 10:39] -- 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 eternitysuch 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?

Cornerstone Christian Fellowship - The Letter to the Hebrews, Part Twenty Nine, Page 7

Types:

Naomi released her two daughters-in-law to return to their people and their gods (Ruth 1:8-13). Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye (Ruth 1:14). Ruth said, "Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. "Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the LORD do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me" (Ruth 1:16-17).

Hebrews 10:15-18:

And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,

"THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART, AND UPON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM," He then says,

"AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE."

Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.

(Note: The Holy Spirit reminds us of the prophecy of Jeremiah 31:31-34 [Prophecy of new Covenant for Israel] which will finally come into effect after the tribulation period when they finally accept Jesus as their Messiah … and their sins will be forgiven through the shedding of His blood sacrifice of /Christ … then "there is no longer any offering [animal sacrifices] for sin" [without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness].)

Hebrews 10:19-22:

Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,

by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,

and since we have a great priest over the house of God,

let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Lesson Ten

Hebrews 10

In order to better understand the very difficult warning of Hebrews 10 we need to review some of the main points of the book of Hebrews.

Hebrews 2:5 -- For He (God) did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking.

Hebrews 1 -- Gives us a summary of what this letter is about:

Christ Who humbled Himself, and shed His blood to make purification for sin, has now been exalted and become the heir of all things.

In Hebrews 1 we learn:

a)  His throne is forever.

b)  He will reign with a righteous scepter.

c)  He will have companions in His reign.

d)  It was Christ Who laid the foundation of this earth and made the heavens … they will become old and be changed … but His years will not come to an end.

e)  His enemies will be made a footstool for His feet.

Angels will be His ministers and will also render service to those who will inherit salvationgain reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

Hebrews 2:1-3:

For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.

For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense,

how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard,


a)  For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard about salvation of the soul, inheriting salvation, gaining reward and becoming a co-heir with Christ at the Judgment Seat of Christ … lest we drift away from it.

b)  For is the Word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every disobedience received just recompense, how shall we escape ifwe neglect so great a salvation?  After it was at first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to those of who heard.

(Note:  We have been given this great truth concerning the salvation of our souls and God's coming kingdom.  We must be diligent to make that our daily focus.)

Hebrews 3:5-6:

Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later;

but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.

Now Moses was faithful in all his House as a servant … but Christ was faithful as a Son over His House, Whose House we are if we hold fast our confidence in God's promises of hope and the boast [rejoicing] of our hope firm until the endExalt in the hope of Glory of God.

(Note:  We must be diligent to make that hope a reason for daily rejoicing.)

Hebrews 3:12-14:

Take care, brethren, lest there should be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart, in falling away from the living God.

But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end;

Hebrews 4:9-11:

There remains therefore a Sabbath rest [millennial rest] for the people of God.

For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His [completed work].

Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience.

(Cf. Hebrews 3:19:  And so we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.)

(Note:  They needed to pay close attention and believe that God would defeat the giants and give them the land that He had promised them.)

Hebrews 5:11:

Concerning him [Melchizedek – type of Christ in office of King-Priest] we [the writer] have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing [milk vs. meat].

Hebrews 6:10-11:

For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.

And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end,

(Note:  God wants each of them [us] to "lay hold of that for which they were laid hold of by Christ" … as Paul expresses it in Philippians 3.)

Last week we ended with the following:

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 and power of the blood of Jesus.

Hebrews 10:19-22:

Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to [draw near the throne of Grace] enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,

by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,

and since we have a great priest over the house of God,

let us draw near with a sincere [true] heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled [by blood] clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

(Note:  Here we are again, being admonished to draw near to God's throne of grace.) 

Remember Hebrews 4:15-16:

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace [Holy Place], that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:16 began our comparison of the Levitical Priesthood with the Melchizedek Priesthood.

Now we are given more information about the True Heavenly Tabernacle and drawing near to God:

Jesus, God's Firstborn Son, is over the House of God.

Let us draw near with a sincere [true] heart. (Hebrews 10:22)

(From a commentator I trust:  The Greek words for 'true or sincere' mean a heart that desires what God desiresas God spoke of King David, "A man after my own heart.")

We should draw near with full 'assurance of faith.'

In other words, we should fully [faithfully] believe what God says about the hope of Glory and the Coming Kingdom with all that is associated with it including our participation in it.

In Hebrews 6:17-20 God emphasized the fact that we can surely believe Him:

In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath,

in order that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have strong encouragement, we who have fled for refuge in laying hold of the hope set before us.

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil,

where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

(Cf.  Colossians 3:2 -- Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth and 1 Peter 2:9 -- But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's  OWN POSSESSION ………. )

More about drawing near:

We should draw near having hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience, i.e. fully forgiven with cleansed consciences [guilt] through the blood of Christ.

We should draw near with our body washed with pure water [type of preparation of priest by washing].

Ephesians 5 tells us more:  Encourages husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church – that He [Christ] might sanctify her [church] having cleansed her [us] by washing of water with the Word.

We should be in the Word being "transformed by the renewing of the mind." (Romans 12:2)

Hebrews 10:23:

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope [prove the will of God is that which is good, acceptable and perfect] without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;

Hold fast – the word translated 'hold fast' has the connotation of having mastery over the thing being held … our hopeConfession means to speak the same as another.  We are to say what God says about the Hope set before us for He is faithfulSaying what God says will keep us from wavering and possibly 'drifting away.'

The Israelites did not hold fast to the confession of their hope of their Promised Land, their callingbringing God's anger on them.  They died in the wilderness – suffered loss.

Holding fast and not drifting away is a common warning:

Hebrews 2:1  …we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard [so great salvation], lest we drift away from it.

Hebrews 3:6  …Christ was faithful as a Son over His house whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.

Hebrews 10:24-25:

and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love [agape] and good deeds,

not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.

(Note:  Look at the progression in verses that lead into verse 24:  "let us draw near", "let us hold fast", "let us consider how to stimulate one another", to love and good deeds.

These three statements progress from personal responsibility we have for ourselves to collective responsibility we have for each other, all with respect to the Hopesalvation and high calling.)

As we are stimulating others we ourselves are being stimulated with regard to loving God, loving one another and works of faith [good deeds]. 

If we forsake this assembling together to encourage each other in "pressing on toward the goal for the prize and encouraging each other to work out our salvation with fear and trembling," we may find ourselves having drifted away, so that our focus is not at all on the things of the coming age, but on the things if this present age.  And the consequences are devastating [friend of world is an enemy of God]. 

This Christian race of faith is much more easily done with the help of othersBut what if we don't "draw near", "hold fast" and "stimulate and encourage one another" with regard to hope

What if we neglect all that the Lord has said concerning the Coming Kingdom, and all that is promised to us personally?  What happens at "our appearance at the Judgment Seat of Christ?"  What happens to our promise of "the salvation of our soul," "a joint heirship with Christ," "a king-priest in the age to come?"  Not good!

The Coming Kingdom is to be our focus, the goal to which we confidently and expectantly work.  Therefore my beloved, work out your own salvation of your soul with "fear and trembling."

Hebrews 10:26:

For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.

(Note:  The preceding is a rather 'stark warning' which, rather than discussing now, will be discussed in a later lesson.)

Hebrews 10:32-34:

But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened [to the great salvation], you endured a great conflict of sufferings,

partly, by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated.

For you showed sympathy to the prisoners, and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and an abiding one.

(Note:  The writer is reminding them how it was when their focus and their goal were in the age to come and they were able to joyfully endure difficulties.  Remember that this letter is written to those who have become dull of hearingdrifted away.)

Hebrews 10:35-38:

Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward [confidence in the Promises of God, i.e. The Great Salvation – salvation of our souls]

For you have need of endurance [to press on toward the goal for the prize – a challenging obstacle course], so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.

FOR YET IN A VERY LITTLE WHILE, HE WHO IS COMING WILL COME, AND WILL NOT DELAY.

BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH; AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM.

(Note:  Shrinking back from believing the promises of God, concerning the salvation of the soul and the Coming Kingdom of Christ is what displeases God.)

Hebrews 10:39:

But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction [suffering loss, not hell], but of those who have faith to the preserving [saving] of the soul.

(Cf. 1 Peter 1:9  "obtaining as the outcome [end] of your faith the salvation of your souls [salvation ready to be revealed in the last time which is to be determined at the Judgment Seat of Christ].)

That is why Paul so strongly admonishes in Philippians 2:12-13:

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation [soul] with fear and trembling;

for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

Cf.  Colossians 1:27  to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory [in age to come]

THE WARNING:

But what if we, like the Israelites, do not pay close attention to what God has said, concerning the Purpose of His salvation plan?  What if we allow ourselves to drift away, and what if we then embrace the things of the world and this present age instead of the things of the Glorious Age to Come?

And what if we, as believers, choose the things of the world – the flesh instead of the things for which Christ has suffered and died?

So what will be the results if a believer gains the whole world and forfeits His soul?  (Matthew 16:26)

Hebrews 10:26:

For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge [epignosis] of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,

Willful sin in this context [book of Hebrews – truth in regards to the Kingdom of Christ] has to do with neglecting the salvation of the soul [Great Salvation], which is related to suffering loss at the Judgment Seat of Christ, which brings about falling short of our heavenly calling to reign as co-heirs with Christ.

(Root cause of preceding:  UnbeliefUnfaithfulnessDisobedience)

Hebrews 10:26, 27-31:

For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge [epignosis] of the truth [of the Kingdom], there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,

but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES.

Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses [human].

How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?

For we know Him who said, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY." And again, "THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE."

It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Also see 2 Corinthians 5:10-11:  For we must all [believers] appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.  Therefore knowing the fear [Gr. terror] of the Lord, we persuade men.

Additional commentary on Hebrews 10:31, a difficult passage:

Remember Hebrews 10:1 -- For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, …. 

According to this scripture anyone who has rejected the shadow was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses …… witnesses who were imperfect men of flesh and blood.

For those who reject the heavenly reality [not just the shadow], they are not witnessed against by imperfect men, but by God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  And if rejecting the shadow brought death without mercy --- how much worse punishment do you suppose will be thought worthy of one who has rejected the reality to which the shadow pointed?

As we look at continuing to sin willfully, the words disobedience, unbelief and unfaithfulness come to mind – and quite rightly so.  But look at what those words disobedience, unbelief and unfaithfulness translate, from God's perspective – trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing and insulted the Spirit of Grace.

So, in warning, the writer of Hebrews warns us, but he also encourages us:

But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction [suffering loss, not hell], but of those who have faith to the preserving [saving] of the soul.  (Hebrews 10:39)

Lesson Eleven

Hebrews 11

Last week we dealt with the subject of willful sinwhat it is, how to avoid it and its fearful consequences.

Hebrews 10:23-25:

Let us hold fast [let us draw near to the throne of God] the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;

and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,

not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day [of His return] drawing near.

Hebrews 10:26-27:

For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,

but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment

The knowledge of the truth is key to understanding willful sin, as expounded on in the book of Hebrews: We are not to shrink back to destruction but to have faith to the saving of the soul [our goal]. (Hebrews 10:39)  The salvation of the soul for you and me [all those saved], will be determined at the Judgment Seat of Christ, where He will determine whom of us will gain reward and enter into the "Joy of the Lord" as co-heirs with Christ, and who will suffer lossa devastating loss

So what is this 'willful' sin?  How would we commit it?  Knowledge of the truth is major in the defining of willful sin:

If God allowed us [chose us] to have a clear understanding of our heavenly calling to reign as co-heirs with Christ in His Millennial Kingdom, and

We understood the reign with Christ depended on qualifying for the salvation ready to be revealed at the last time – The Salvation Of Our Soulto be determined at the Judgment Seat of Christ,

We understood this with full knowledge [epignosis],

But then hardened our hearts against this knowledge,

This is willfully sinning for which there is a certain terrifying expectation of judgment.

Not going on to maturity; not going on to the full assurance of hope until the end; falling away from the truth concerning the salvation of the soulthis is the willful sin.

"Willfully sinning" is a very uncomfortable truth, and if we should harden our hearts against the truth, it would usually be because it is not what we want to hearthis present age and our present life being of greater value than life in the age to come.

Listen to Jesus explain it in Matthew 16:25-27:

"For whoever wishes to save his life [a willful sin] shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it.

"For what will a man be profited, if he gains the whole world, and [but] forfeits his soul?..........
 
"For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and WILL THEN RECOMPENSE EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS [works of faith].

Hebrews 10:37-39:

FOR YET IN A VERY LITTLE WHILE, HE WHO IS COMING WILL COME, AND WILL NOT DELAY.

BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH; AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK [from living by faith], MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM.

But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction [suffering loss], but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.

Compare to 1 Peter 1:8-9:

and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,

obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.

(Note: Remember, there were no chapter divisions in the original manuscript, so let's ignore the division in Hebrews 10 since we are going to continue the subject 'faith to the saving of the soul.')

Hebrews 11:1:

Now faith is the assurance [substance] of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

To clarify the preceding verse, let's say it like this:  New faith to the saving of the soul is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  This verse is not the definition of faith, but it is the outcome of having faith to the saving of the soul.

The definition of Biblical faith is "just believing God."  Faith to the saving of the soul is two things:

1)  Substance, derived from Greek hupo stasis, meaning 'stand under', signifies a foundation underlying a superstructurefaith to the salvation of the soul is the foundation upon which the "things hoped for" [superstructure] rests.

We saw this hope in Hebrews 6:19:  This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil,

So, our hope, concerning the appearing of the glory of Christ and all that is associated with it, rests upon the foundation of our faith to the saving of our soul – our hope rests upon what is believed, not what is seen.

Faith [to the saving of the soul] is also said to be the "evidence of things not seen."

2)  Evidence, derived from Greek elegchos, means 'bringing to light.'  So faith to the saving of the soul is not only the foundation upon which our hope rests, but is also the one thing which 'brings to light,' from the Word of God, that which we cannot see, concerning the coming Kingdom.

1 Corinthians 2:9-10:

But as it is written: "EYE HAS NOT SEEN, NOR EAR HEARD, NOR HAVE ENTERED INTO THE HEART OF MAN THE THINGS WHICH GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM."

But God has revealed [elegchos: 'bringing to light'] them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.

It is in this way then that things which cannot be seen, except through the eyes of faith, are revealed to those who are believing God, having faith to the salvation of the soul.

(Aside:  The preceding has been my experience, one with which I suspect several of you can identify.)

Hebrews 11:2:

For by it [faith to the saving of the soul] the men of old [elders] gained approval.

In Hebrews 11 we have a whole host of examples of those who live by faith as sojourners with a future goal – which still lies in the future.  With this type of faith we also will gain approval.

Hebrews 11:3:

By faith [to the saving of the soul] we understand that the worlds [ages] were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen [with the natural eye] was not made out of things which are visible [seen only with the eyes of faith].

(Aside:  We don't presently have time to discuss the ages, but only to say that the eternal ages are set in place in perfect order so as to accommodate God's perfect plan.  Nothing in the present ruined world system can show us anything concerning God's original organization of the ages.  Only God reveals it through the Spirit with His Word by faith.)

Hebrews 11:4-10:  Abel, Enoch, Noah and Abraham are all mentioned in the same order as they appear in Genesis.  Each one represents an aspect of God's plan for man:

Abel: Blood sacrifice – salvation – looking forward to the Lamb of God – salvation through blood.

Enoch: Taken up – did not see death [rapture].  Enoch walked by faith until God…  Why?  First, he had faith until the endSecond, He believed that God was the rewarder of those who seek Him.

Noah: Believed God's warning of future trouble, things not seen, and God's plan to preserve Noah and his family.  What trouble?  Flood – Tribulation

The Bible speaks of the days of Noah and the days of Lot, each likened to the coming of the Son of Man:

Noah: A type of Jew who would be protected through the tribulation.

Lot: A type of Christian removed [rapture] prior to the tribulation [Sodom] – not pleasing to God at Judgment Seat of Christ, although removed from Sodom before trouble.  He ended up in a darkened cave.  He is a type of those Christians who suffer loss at the Judgment Seat, whereas Enoch is a type of those whose lives please God and gain reward at the Judgment Seat.

Abraham: Represents a new beginning after trouble [tribulation], i.e. Millennial Reign of Christ.  Abraham is certainly an example of faith in a future promise with his eye on a goal out ahead.

Hebrews 11:8-16:

Abraham was looking to receive an inheritance. (vs. 8) Also he may be telling us he had a revelation of a heavenly city: for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. (vs. 10)

…..God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them [God is pleased with their faith and perseverance]. (vs. 16)

Hebrews 11:24-26:

Moses walked by faith with an eye on the reward -- the Promised Land.

Hebrews 11:31-35:

Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, in order that they might obtain a better resurrection [motivated by the heavenly goal]; (vs. 35)

Hebrews 11:36-40:

Certain saints from both the Old and New Testament days, through faith, will inherit the promises together, at the same time and place.  The faith of both will have been made perfect [brought to its proper goal] through works – works emanating out of faithto result in the salvation of their souls. (vs. 39)

Both Old and New Testament saints will be brought to this goal together, which is what God in His omniscience and omnipotence has foreseen. (vs. 40)

The rulers in the Kingdom, who will occupy the throne as co-heirs with Christ, will be composed of saints from more than just the present dispensation.  These are a great group of people who are examples for us of how to run the "race of faith."

I'm sure there is much more to be learned of these people of faith by looking closely at any or all of them.

Lesson Twelve

Hebrews 12

In Hebrews 11 we are given multiple examples of many kinds of peoples who lived their lives by faith unto the end – different kinds of people in a variety of different circumstancesThrough them God shows us what "having faith to the saving of our souls" really looks like.

In Hebrews 12 we have another example: Jesus Christ Himself that we can look to and learn.

Hebrews 12:1-2:

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses [Hebrews 11 examples/types] surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, (v. 1)

Question:  When the Christian life is spoken of as a race, what does it imply?

1) Lay aside encumbrances [2 Timothy 2:4: No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.]  Some of our encumbrances are "affairs of everyday life."

2) Run with endurance, because it's a long hard race.

In the context of this letter [Hebrews], what is the one sin that so easily entanglesUNBELIEF.

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (v. 2)

Hebrews 12:3-4:

For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart.

You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin;

Question: What do you think was Jesus' motivation for finishing His race well?  Might it be to sit down "at the right hand of the throne of God"? 

In this long race we are going to meet with resistance, fatigue, probably discouragement and the temptation of UNBELIEF.

We began in Hebrews 2 with a warning to listen and pay attention to things that have to do with the Great Salvation, salvation of the soul, and the culmination of our salvation, lest we drift away, lest we neglect so great salvation.  Now, near the end of the letter to the Hebrews, the focus is making it through the trials and difficulties to the completion of the course – it was not easy for Jesus, and it will not be easy for us.

Question: What does Hebrews 2 tell us we are to learn from Jesus concerning continuing our race to its completion?  What does "the joy set before Him" mean?

Hebrews 12:5-11:

and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons [Heb. huios], "MY SON [Heb. huios], DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM;

FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON [Heb. huios] WHOM HE RECEIVES."

It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons [Heb. huios]; for what son [Heb. huios] is there whom his father does not discipline?

But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons [Heb. huios].

Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?

For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness.

All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness ["bringing many sons to glory" program].

In this section we encounter the words discipline, reproof and scourging which could make us think punishment from an angry God.  But this is really child training by a Father who is preparing us for such a blessing as "has not entered into the heart of man."  This training is nothing other than the various trials that beset us as believers.  We just need to count it all joy as we endure these training trials.  And we do need to ask for wisdom so as to be changed, as it says in James 1:21-22:

Therefore putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.

But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.

As we submit to God's discipline in this way of humility, we can know for sure that we will enter the REST as co-heirs with Christ, because the Greek word for Sons [huios] tells us God is dealing with us as mature sons [huios], not children [Gr. teknon].  Huios (mature sons) are those who will gain reward at the Judgment Seat and be chosen to reign as co-heirs with Christ.

(Added by [unknown] other without authorization from The Trickster:  See Interlinear Scripture Analyzer and/or Bible Study Tools - Lexicons, huios for "written between the lines" original words.)

In this passage concerning God's discipline, the word huios, mature sons, is used six times.  Therefore, if we continue to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God and continue to submit to His discipline, we can be certain we will not suffer loss at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

I could be said, "Hardship proves our Sonship."  God brings discipline.  Our responsibility is to subject ourselves to its trainingDon't mummer and complain as some of them did, subsequently 14,700 were destroyed by the Destroyer.

Hebrews 12:12-13:

Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble,

and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.

These verses appear to be looking back to Hebrews 12:3 which is concerned we not grow weary and loose heart.  And the way we deal with weariness, discouragement and emotional fatigue, etc., is to make straight paths, right decisions and corrections where necessary.  The next few verses make this more clear.

How do we make straight paths for our feet?

Hebrews 12:14:

Pursue peace with all men, and [after] the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.

Cf. Matthew 5:9: Jesus says, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons [huios - mature] of God.

Remember, the God of Peace sent the Prince of Peace [Jesus Christ] to make peace between God and man, and between man and man, by the blood of the crossCf. Romans 12:18: If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men

Hebrews 12:14:

Pursue peace with all men (Hebrews 12:14a), for this brings healing so one can finish the race.

Question: So, how do we make peace?

1) Humble one's self: "Only by pride cometh contention."

2) Forgive, ask for forgiveness and make restitution.

3) Don't be judgmental.

4) Love your enemies that you may be sons [huios] of your Father. (Luke 6:35)

Also Hebrews 12:14b also says to pursue [after] the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.  What does this mean? 

Sanctify means "to be set apart for God."  Or "to be put to its proper use." 

When a Christian gives his/her body as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1) and believes Christ dwells in him to give him the desire and power to do His Will, that Christian is sanctified, i.e., "being put to proper use."  So when we live a sanctified life, we are dependent on God and His availability.  This is the abundant life, and the world takes notice when they see man living this kind of life, a life adequate for every circumstanceThrough such a life, man can see Jesus the Lord and becomes a strong witness.  As the scripture says, "pursue after sanctification without which no one will see the Lord."

We continue with the admonition to "make straight paths for our feet."

Hebrews 12:15-17:

See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;

that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal.

For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.

We are to the third "straight path admonition" after "make peace" and "pursue sanctification."  The third is "See to it that no one comes short of the grace [about grace] of God:

• So no root of bitterness will spring up.

• So immorality and godlessness will not arise.

• So temporal values will not triumph over eternal values.

Question:  In the context of these verses, what does it mean to come short of the grace of God?

All of our salvation is by grace [free gift] through faith.

Romans 5:10 says, For if while we were enemies [of God], we were reconciled [initial salvation – past tense] to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved [being saved – present tense] by His life.

So all of our salvation is a free gift [grace]:

• Our initial salvation, which comes through His death, is a free gift which happens in a moment [one act of faith].

• Our present tense salvation is also a free gift – we are freely given Christ's life to live.  This aspect of salvation is a process that comes about over our life time by on-going faithevery day, hour, minute.  Since Christ is in us by His Spirit, we are given His desire and His power so we can do His will.

This learning to exchange our life for His is spoken of in Philippians 2:12-13 as "working out our salvation."  God is working in us.

Therefore, to come short of the grace of God in living the Christian life, would mean we would fail to depend on His desire and His power which His life [within us] makes available to usComing short of God's grace is the basic root cause of all of our sins.  It leads to three basic root problems, from which come all the many different surface problems of man.

The three basic root problems are mentioned in Hebrews 12:15-16:

• Bitterness.

• Moral impurity.

• A temporal value system.

When we deal with these root problems many surface problems/sins go away.

Question:  What root problem caused Esau to forfeit his birthrightTemporal valve system.

Question:  Are you responding to the grace of God within you, or do you have a basic root problem that could cause you to forfeit your birthright at the Judgment Seat of Christ?

Question:  What is our birthright as believers?  Our birthright is to be a partaker of Christ and rule as a coheir in His 1,000 year kingdom.

Next we come to two mountains: Mt. Sinai and Mt. Zion.  Let's compare them.

Hebrews 12:18-21:

For you have not come to a mountain that may be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind,

and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word should be spoken to them.

For they could not bear the command, "IF EVEN A BEAST TOUCHES THE MOUNTAIN, IT WILL BE STONED."

And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, "I AM FULL OF FEAR and trembling."

This was one fearful time for the Israelites.  Read about in Exodus 19:1-25; 20:1-20.

Here, only the saved are in view.  Months before, in Egypt, before they reached Sinai, they had experienced the redeeming power of the blood of atonement on the lentils and door posts which freed them from the authority of the death angel.  This is a type of atonement through the blood of Christ.  They were baptized in the cloud and sea, and separated from the things of Eqypt [world].  This is a picture of our baptism by water and spirit which separates us from the world.  Therefore, both we and the Israelites are saved [spiritually] and separated from the world to a walk of faith in God.

Israel drew near to Mt. Sinai in order to gain a fuller knowledge of the great Jehovah, the God with whom they had to doDrawing near, they met with God which was, for Israel, a frightening experience, but was suited to their need and condition.  Their primary need was to know their God was infinitely greater and more grandeur than all the god's of Egypt and other nations, so the dread of these other god's might be broken off their hearts.  Certainly after this experience they were convinced that Jehovah was the Almighty God.

Their motivation was primarily one of fear and awe, but at this point they were committed and determined to do all that God said to do.  Although committed and determined, this motivation was not sufficient for most of them.  They were to trust a Mighty God and keep certain laws, but for most of them the motivation was not sufficient.

Now let's compare our situation with theirs:

• To what are we called to look?

• To what have we drawn near?

Hebrews 12:22-24:

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels,

to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect,

and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.

Let's see what we 'have come to' in reverse order:

1)  Sprinkled blood.

2)  Jesus, Heir of all things, the mediator of a New Covenant.

3)  Spirits of just men made perfect.

4)  God, the Judge of all.

5)  The Church of the First Born.

6)  Myriads of angels celebrating.

7)  The city of the living GodNew Jerusalem.

(Note:  These things to which we look are of great encouragement and motivation to run our race of faith.)

"We have come" to the sprinkled blood which speaks better than the blood of AbelCain [Israel in the type] killed his brother Abel [Christ in the type - blood].  Abel cries out for vengeance while Christ's blood calls for redemption.  Our standing with God and any hope of glory we may have is based on the atonement at Calvary, the blood of Christ.

Had not the blood of Jesus put away our sins, we would be dead in our trespasses and sins without hope of deliverance.  And if that same blood, sprinkled on the alter in heaven does not keep us clean, then continuous communion with God will be impossible.

But "if we walk in the light," we [God and saints] have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Christ continually cleanses us from all sin.  So remember the encouraging word of Hebrews 4:16:

Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, to receive mercy and find grace to help in the time of need, an encouraging word for those who are in a long, hard race.

"You have come" to Jesus the mediator of a New CovenantJewish believers of that time seemed to have lost all that made life great and safe for them.  Gentile believers, similarly, had lost all of their religious associations.  For the Gentile believers back then, and for us now, the new covenant is a great encouragement.  The old covenant was based on a perfect set of laws to govern man's behavior, but the problem was the covenant was weak because man's flesh was weak.  They neither had the desire or the power to keep the perfect law of God

The vital feature of the new covenant is that God writes the law in the heart of the believer.  By this new covenant the heart is open to God, the heart knows what God requires and instinctively knows what pleases GodThe heart becomes acquainted with God.

Another benefit is our sins and lawless deeds He remembers no more.  And in this new covenant are all the blessings and glory, first spoken by God to Abraham:

indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed [descendants] as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed [descendants] shall possess the gate of their enemies.

"And in your seed [descendants] all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice." (Genesis 22:17-18)

Jesus is the guarantor and the mediator of this new covenant.

This new covenant contains all of our present and future blessings, and Jesus, our great High Priest, is working to bring us into the fullness of its blessings.

"You have come" to spirits of just [righteous] men made perfect [be brought to goal, press on toward the goal for the prize].  I believe these are spirits of the Old Testament saints mentioned in Hebrews 11, as well as many others who will attain to their calling at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  Hebrews 11:25 says "Others we tortured, not accepting their release, in order they might obtain a better resurrection." (Hebrews 11:35)

"You have come" "to God the Judge of all."  It seems the force of the words, "You have come" is we have come to participate in the privileges stated, not merely to view them.  And if this is the case, the idea would not be that we are coming near to God to be judged, but rather to share with Him the honor of His office of Judge.  Supporting scripture: 

1 Corinthians 6:2-3  Or do you not know that the saints will judge the worldwe shall judge angels.

Revelation 2:26-27  And he who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS; (27).AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON.

"You have come" to the church of the firstborn whose names are written in heaven.  These are the "overcomers", those from the church age who have gained reward, who will reign with Christ.  These are those many sons who have been brought to Glory.  These are those who have entered the rest.  These are those who have realized the full assurance of hope until the end.  The pattern is set for the inheritance of a firstborn son in the Old Testament:

• Double portion of inheritance.

• Inherit their father's role as head of family.

Those who make up the church of the firstborn are those believers who have successfully endured trials and testing of their faith.  1 Peter 1:6-9 describes them like this:

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,

that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,

obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.

"You have come" to myriads [thousands and thousands] of angels in joyful assembly.

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels,

to the general [joyful] assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect. (Hebrews 12:22-23)

"You have come" to Mt. Zion, to The Heavenly Jerusalem, to the city of the Living God.  Many, many, many glorious things could be said about The Heavenly City, but it being the City of the Living God makes us realize that it is beyond belief.  This city is like a satellite city which will one day be placed on the New Earth (ref. Revelation 21:10-27).  It appears to me that what we see, with eyes of faith, far exceeds that which the Israelites experienced at Mt. Sinai.

So, with such a display of the Glory to come, the mighty exhortation has reached its climax, and what follows is a recapitulation of warnings previously given.

Hebrews 12:25:

See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less shall we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. (Cf. Hebrews 2:1-3a)

Hebrews 12:26-27:

And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, "YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN."

And this expression, "Yet once more," denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, in order that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.

God will shake the heavens and the Prince of the Power of the air, and all his servants, will come down, i.e. principalities, powers, ruling angels and every spiritual force of evil will fall.  God will shake the earth and everything that has come under the curse will be shaken loose.  Then all will be restored according to the rule of Christ and GodGod is bringing about an unshakable kingdom, perfect in His sight.

Hebrews 12:28-29:

Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to [serve] God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;

for our God is a consuming fire.

That is, hold fast the grace [desire and power] that God gives us to make us able to do His willChrist in us, His life in us, is our free gift by which we live our lives successfully in His sightChrist in us is our Hope of Glory, which our hope depends on.

The warnings of Hebrews are finished, and the departing thought is quite sobering;

'OUR GOD IS A CONSUMING FIRE.'

1 Corinthians 3:13 says "each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work."

There certainly are consequences to how we live our lives.  Colossians 3:23-25 says:

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men;

knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.

For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.

Lesson Thirteen

Hebrews 13

Hebrews 12:28-29:

Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude [let us hold fast, not fall short, the grace] by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;

for our God is a consuming fire.

Hebrews 13:

This chapter gives us practical instructions as to how we serve God with reverence and awe through exercising this faith to the saving of the soul.

Hebrews 13:1-3 [Positives]:

Let love [Gk. phileo] of the brethren continue.

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.

Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.

In the preceding verse 1 the "love" spoken of here is "phileo" which is an affection or fondness for one another.  "Let it continue" indicates this love [phileo] is present.  This would remind us of the admonition in Hebrews 10:23-25:

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;

and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,

not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.

Phileo would easily develop among those who are encouraging one another in the "race of faith" and in "working out one's salvation with fear and trembling."  As believers press on to maturity the phileo should grow into agape.

Agape and phileo defined by Strong:

agapē ag-ah'-pay
From G25; love, that is, affection or benevolence; specifically (plural) a love feast: - (feast of) charity ([-ably]), dear, love.

phileō fil-eh'-o
From G5384; to be a friend to (fond of [an individual or an object]), that is, have affection for (denoting personal attachment, as a matter of sentiment or feeling; while G25 is wider, embracing especially the judgment and the deliberate assent of the will as a matter of principle, duty and propriety: the two thus stand related very much as G2309 and G1014, or as G2372 and G3563 respectively; the former being chiefly of the heart and the latter of the head); specifically to kiss (as a mark of tenderness): - kiss, love.

Hospitality for strangers in times when Hebrews was written was probably of great need.  When darkness arrived a person would need to seek the shelter of a friend since motels were not on every corner.  The reason for showing hospitality to strangers is interesting.  Abraham entertained strangers who were probably angels.  This seems to imply this experience may still be contemplated.

And when he [Abraham] lifted up his eyes and looked, behold, three men were standing opposite him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the earth, (Genesis 18:2)

Remember prisoners.  Believers in the following letter were faithful in addressing prisoners:

But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings,

partly, by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated.

For you showed sympathy to the prisoners, and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and an abiding one. (Hebrews 10:32-34)

Espousing the cause of prisoners for the sake of Christ is similar to showing hospitality, which requires faith, grace and love.  Faith, grace and love will grow stronger when exercised in this way.

Hebrews 13:4-6 [Negatives]:

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,"

so that we confidently say, "THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT SHALL MAN DO TO ME?"

Hebrews 13:1-3 encourages us positively, concerning expressing love [hospitality to strangers; cause of prisoners] for fellow espousing believers.

Hebrews 13:4-6 instruct us with regard to two areas where we can easily be tempted and stumble and fall.  Scripture is pretty clear that if we allow these sins to continue, without confessing and forsaking them, we will suffer loss at the Judgment Seat, forfeiting our hope to reign as a co-heir with Christ.

These two areas where we can easily be tempted and fall are sex and moneyFlee immorality.  Every other sin is outside the body, except the man who practices immorality sins against his own body.

Adultery or fortification verses: 1 Corinthians 1:3-5; 6:9-11, 18 NKJV and Galatians 5:19-21 reference these sins.

Fornicators and adulterers God will judge, but I'm not sure how to explain this judgment.  Perhaps, since this is a sin against one's own body, and can bring with it some terrible diseases, could be considered a judgment of God.  King David committed adultery, was forgiven by God and called a man after God's own heart.  Scripture says David will reign as Israel's King in the millennium, but God judged him severely during his life time, bringing horrible problems in his family.

Love of Money:

Summary – trust in me for needs – be content. (Hebrews 13:5-6)

Trust Christ to provide us in every circumstance.  Take hold of the eternal [aionian] life to which you were called, and you made the good confession [saved].  (See Philippians 4:11-13, 1 Timothy 6:6-12.)  Also 1 Timothy 6:17-21 which gives further instruction and Matthew 6:27-34 regarding what Jesus says about the matter.

And in summary, "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you." (Matthew 6:33)

Hebrews 13:7:

Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.

So consider their present character, the course and fruitful service of their lives and imitate their faith.  Paul was such a leader and teacher, e.g. 1 Thessalonians 1:5-7, Philippians 3:14-21.

Hebrews 13:8:

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever.

Nothing needs updated in the Christian experience.

Hebrews 13:9:

Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened [established] by grace, not by foods [meats - ceremonial foods], through which those who were thus occupied were not benefited.

We do not need new doctrines:

Ephesians 4:14  …..we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine…..[Gnostics, Docetists, Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons, Christian Scientists, etc.  These doctrines deny His supernatural birth, resurrection and unchangeablenessJesus Christ is truth – the standard does not change.

For it is good for the heart to be strengthened [established] by grace [not meats].  Such a heart has settled convictions and can defend them.  We are saved by grace and we stand in grace.  We exalt in the hope of the glory of God.  See Romans 5:1-2.

My heart is steadfast, O God; I will sing, I will sing praises, even with my soul. (Psalms 108:1, also Psalms 57:7)  The heart that is established and steadfast overflows with joy and singing.

Question:  How is a heart established?  "By grace" --- "not by meats."

Question:  What are meats?  Meats stand for those external, bodily, legal observances prescribed by Moses, of which eating or not eating certain food, or not eating at certain times/seasons, or not eating on certain occasions are examples.  They are types of what was to be established through Christ.

This "yoke [meats] of the law" was described at the council in Jerusalem as "a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear."  This yoke of the law and self effort was replaced by Christ's yoke of grace – "a yoke which is easy, a load which is light." (Matthew 11:27-30) 

Galatians 5:1 says "It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore, keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery."

G. H. Lang (1874 – 1958), Bible scholar and prolific author, wrote a book entitled "Epistle to the Hebrews" where he explains a heart being established by grace as follows:

"It is the experience of God's grace revealed in Christ that overwhelms rebellion in the heart, creates assured confidence, kindles gratitude and affection, and establishes the child in dutiful obedience to the Father."  Lang went on to say, "Today, as ever, lack of enjoyment of the grace of God is very widespread among religious persons.  There are huge systems miscalled Christian, the very basis of which is laws, not grace.  Those who adhere to such systems are not profited in soul, but remain without assurance Godward or as to eternity.  In deed cleric/pastors who maintain these systems often deceive the adherents with false assertions that it is pure and serious presumption to think that a sinner can have assurance of salvation prior to the day of judgment.  And they order them to be more zealous concerning meats if so at last they may thereby secure the mercy of God."  See Schoettle Publishing - The Epistle to the Hebrews by G. H. Lang for more commentary.

Hebrews 13:10:

We have an altar, from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat.

The altar of the Christian is the cross of Christ and any approach to God must be by way of the cross.  And those who serve in the tabernacle have no right to eat from this altar, since they have not accepted Christ and His cross.  When Christ died on the cross outside the city of Jerusalem, He fulfilled what all the ceremonies of the tabernacle were all about [pointing to] and made them null and void.  One can't have both, but either one or the other, as one can't mix law and grace.  It is either ALL law or ALL grace.

Hebrews 13:11:

For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside the camp.

Question:  So what is the preceding verse all about?  It is about the day of atonement for the Nation of Israel, the one day of the year when the Blood of the Lamb was brought into the Holy of Holies by the High Priest, and sprinkled on the mercy seat to atone for the sins of the entire nation.  Note that individual sacrifices and cleansing was daily.

The animals were not brought into the tabernacle grounds and burned on the altar, but were burned outside the camp, as the sins of the nation had been placed [imputed to] on them and they were unclean.

Hebrews 13:12:

Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify [make holy] the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate.

Jesus fulfilled this type – He suffered outside the gate [Golgotha being outside the city of Jerusalem].  At the altar of the cross of Christ, both God and the Great High Priest Jesus Christ, and the worshiper, have holy fellowship

It is not in the religious system of Israel or any other religious system that fellowship with God is attained.  God must first be met at Calvary, the place of reproach.

Hebrews 13:13-14:

Hence, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach.

For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.

In summary, Hebrews 13:10-14 tells us He who wishes to have fellowship with the God of heaven must abandon every system of religion that is of law, of ceremony, of self effort, of human devising, of secular authority, and must accept the reproach [Defined] of dependence upon, of fellowship with and of obedience to the Redeemer who suffered "without the gate" at Calvary, the place of reproach.

This is what it is all about, being a pilgrim, a sojourner, "in the world but not of the world."  Our real life is outside the world system, or any legalistic system.  To walk fully in fellowship with God and Christ, it is necessary we identify with Him and deny ourselves, for Christ's sake.  In so doing comes great joy.

Hebrews 13:15-16:

Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.

And do not neglect doing good and sharing; for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

It is through the joy and the security of this fellowship we are able to make these sacrifices that are so pleasing to God, that is, exhibit Godly behavior.  In these sacrifices we see the glory and excellence of Christianity that is truly a witness to the world:

• Praise – the heart truly overflows with praise to God.

• Giving and sharing to the point of self denial.

Paul speaks as one who is experiencing these things when he says to the Corinthians he is sorrowful, yet always rejoicing, as poor, yet making many rich, as having nothing, yet possessing all things.  (2 Corinthians 6:10)

So, being full of joyful praise to God and giving to the point of true sacrifice, giving glory to God, is a powerful witness to the world.  (E.g. 2 Corinthians 8:1-5)

Hebrews 13:17:

Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.

No society or group of people can enjoy order and peace without proper respect to authority.  Christ calls for submission of heart to authority, as we humble ourselves to valid authority we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God.

Standards for leaders:

• Watch over souls of believers as shepherds.

• Watch over health and well-being of sheep.

• Serve the flock as one who must give account to the owner.

Hebrews Study Closing Prayer:

Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip us in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory, forever and ever.  Amen.

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Note of appreciation to Mark from Serving 5:

Mark, thank you for giving of your time the many hours preparing and delivering these lessons on Hebrews.  We are so thankful for your presenting the "meat" of God's Word.  We feel close to you, not only you as a mentor, but also as a friend.  We and you is friends!  You smile, we smile!  You hurt, we hurt!  You cry, we cry!  You jump off bridge, we gonna miss you!

The same appreciation, except for the humor, applies to your Lovely Consort Queen, Carol.  We desire to emulate the faith of you two.  God Bless both of you!

Serving 5

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Hebrews Warnings and Admonitions
By Carol Miller

(Also see The Five Warning Passages in Hebrews in this site.)

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