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Studies on the book of Hebrews
By Raymond McGough
I never really thought I would do something like this, because there are tremendous men and women of God better suited to it than me. But it just goes to show, what do I know? God knows best! Do I know the risen glorified Lord? There was a time I thought that I knew all that there was to knowing him, after accepting him as Lord, many decades ago, and then receiving adult baptism at the age of eighteen in a Baptist church. How wrong I was, but through the years of getting to know him, he began to gently correct my thinking as he does. But even although I had given my life to the Lord I had not received the baptism of his Spirit until twelve years later, when he manifested himself towards me, while I was in bed late at night. I was sleeping, after having read Psalm 139 out loud, and then asking God if he really wanted me to go to Bible College, because a year before someone dropped the idea into my mind. But I wanted to be sure that this was of God, and not some egotistical idea of my own. I soon found out, at 2 in the morning I was awakened by the sound of a great wind rushing around me, it seemed to go on for ever, but suddenly it stopped, and God in that still small voice of his confirmed to me that is exactly what he wanted me to do. Even then God had to deal with my spiritual pride, lots of it, even after I had graduated from college. I would like to express my thanks and gratitude to all who helped me at the college, in particular my Principal. The late Reverend Geoffrey Grogan, Christ just seemed to radiate from him. I will meet him. I am sure, when I am called to glory While in a class taken by him, I think it was on Bible Content, he suggested to us, one of the best things we could do, was to study at least one of the books of the Bible, in depth, because from there, we would have a reference point to all the books of God’s word. I would also like to express my thanks to my senior pastor James Glass of Glasgow Elim for his encouragement in the writing of this. But most of all I would like to give praise, and thanks to God, that through his Spirit, he has enabled me to write this. All the praise and glory is rightfully his. I would also like to thank him for my wife Irene, whom I met at the college, and whom I love very much. All of this is just part of getting to know Jesus Christ as Lord, and as his disciple, a learning curve that will continue until I have been called home. I hope, and pray, that all who may read this will find it a tremendous challenge, meeting it with the help of the Spirit of God, who will enable them to walk with the Lord, as close as it is possible in this earthly life, even if it is only one person, who reads it. From a servant and disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, Raymond McGough let all the honour, the glory, and the praise be given to the Son of God, our Lord, and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Study One. The Excellent Revelation of God in His Son Hebrews.1:1- 4 Study Two God the Son glorified and exalted above angels. Hebrews.1:5-9 Study Three Jesus Christ the Son who has always been God over all. Heb.1:10-14 Study Four Do not fail to take care of your salvation Heb.2:1-4 Study Five The Son of God made lower than angels. Heb. 2:5-9 Study Six Jesus Christ brings many sons to glory. Heb.2:10-18 Study Seven The faithfulness of the Son of God Jesus Christ. Heb.3:1-6 Study Eight Be faithful and obedient. Heb.3:7-15 Study Nine The failure of unbelief. Heb.3: 16-19 Study Ten To be able to rest in God’s promised rest. Heb.4:1-10 Study Eleven The word sharper than any two edged sword. Heb.4:11-13 Study Twelve Jesus Christ the great compassionate High Priest. Heb.4:14-16 Study Thirteen The criteria for priesthood. Heb.5:1-11 Study Fourteen Active faith not passive. Heb.5:12-14 Study Fifteen The danger of stopping. Heb.6:1-8 Study Sixteen But you have not stopped. Heb.6:9-12 Study Seventeen. God’s unfailing purpose in Christ. Heb.6: 13-20 Study Eighteen Righteous King Forever. Heb.7:1-10 Study Nineteen The old covenant superseded because of its weakness.Heb.7:11-19 Study Twenty The greatness of the new High Priest Jesus Christ. Heb.7: 20-28 Study Twenty One. The new high priestly service. Heb.8:1-6 Study Twenty Two. The old covenant abolished by the new covenant. Heb.8:7-13 Study Twenty Three. The earthly holy place. Heb.9:1-5 Study Twenty Four Earthly service limited never enough. Heb.9:6-10 Study Twenty Five. God’s heavenly sanctuary. Heb.9:11-15. Study Twenty Six. Christ dies to become the Mediator. Heb.9:16-22 Study Twenty Seven. The immeasurable greatness of Christ’s sacrifice.Heb.9:23-28 Study Twenty Eight Animal sacrifices not the answer. Heb.10:1-4 Study Twenty Nine. Christ’s death is the fulfillment of God’s will. Heb.10:5-10 Study Thirty The death of Christ perfects the separated. Heb.10:11-18 Study Thirty One. Be true to the confession of your faith in Christ. Heb.10:19-25 Study Thirty Two. The godly live by faith in Christ. Heb.10:26-39. Study Thirty Three Accepting and acting out what God says, to us in faith. Heb.11:1-7 Study Thirty Four Abraham’s faithfulness to God. Heb.11:8-12 Study Thirty Five The true home of God’s people in Christ. Heb.11:13-16 Study Thirty Six Faithful Patriarchs. Heb.11:17-22 Study Thirty Seven. Supreme faith in God against an overwhelming enemy.Heb.11:2329 Study Thirty Eight An explanation of how faith works.Heb.11:30-40 Study Thirty Nine. Marathon of faith Heb.12:1, 2. Study Forty Discipline of God brings maturity Heb.12:3-11
Study Forty One Study Forty Two Study Forty Three. Study Forty Four Study Forty Five. Study Forty Six Study Forty Seven.
The renewing of spiritual and physical strength. Heb.12:12-17 God in his glory Heb.12:18-24 Listen and obey the heavenly voice. Heb.12:25-29 The concluding directions in morality Heb.13:1-6 The directions of Christian orders in conclusion. Heb.13:7-17 The necessity of a prayer life.Heb.13:18, 19. Benediction with final conclusions Heb.13:20-25
© Disciples of Jesus Ministry 2012
I would like to start by pointing out that there is no evidence of identity for the author of the book of Hebrews, and he remains anonymous. Nobody can with real conviction say, who penned this letter, with the total approval of the rest of the scholars, and theologians. However; that is of less importance against the Spirit of God, who influenced the godly author to write this letter, to these Jewish Christians, not only the Jewish Christians, the Gentiles too. The date of writing can be seen from the contents of the letter, probably done before the destruction of the temple in 70A.D. The Jewish priests were still officiating in their duties before this. (10:11.) “And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.” Concerning the location from which the letter was sent, the only evidence there is, can be found again from the contents of the letter. (13:34). “Greet all those who lead over you, and all the saints. Those from Italy greet you.” Perhaps the author sent his letter to Rome or perhaps he sent it from Rome. I have no idea, but again I believe what is of the utmost importance is to understand that the letter was sent to Jewish converts to Christianity, and then the Gentiles My reading of the Synoptic Accounts of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the fourth gospel narrative by John the Apostle, clearly gives evidence that the first Christians were Jews converted from Judaism. Christianity was birthed from the cradle of the Jewish religion. The Jews who continue to accept Christianity call themselves Messianic Jews, who are in the minority, against many who continue to practice the religion of Judaism. The purpose of the author of this letter is to counter against the ideas of Judaism by providing evidence of the New Covenant sealed in the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, that the Lord’s Covenant is far superior to anything that had went on before. Many of God’s own people have still to accept, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the long awaited Messiah, rejected his claims, that it is precisely who he was, and is, but while they continue to live, and breathe like the rest of humanity, there is still hope of being rescued from a lost world.
Study One The Excellent Revelation of God in His Son Hebrews.1:1-4. (1) God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,(2) has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed the heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;(3) who being the brightness of His glory and express image of His Person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (4) having become so much better than angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they, (1) Without God there would be nothing, but there was nothing only God. He was always in existence, even when there was nothing. I find it difficult to imagine nothing. I was nothing, not in existence, not the earth in its present format, not heaven, not even the universe. Quite hard for my limited intelligence to grasp hold of, and understand, with the grey cells of the brain of a mere mortal. Nevertheless; because God loved me he made me in his image, including the whole of humanity. The starting point for all of those who desire to know where they have come from, for the believing Jew, and then the believing Gentiles, who have accepted the New Covenant, sealed in the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. However; the starting point of the author, I believe to be a Jewish convert to Christianity is with God the Father When God wants to reveal his character and person towards humanity, it is his choice to decide, where, and when, never that of men. I must not forget that when the author speaks of God, he is thinking of the one triune God. However; at this point, he is thinking of the first person of the trinity, God the Father I have said that it is God who makes himself visible to his servants. The initiative is always with God. Speaking of God, the author goes on to say, “who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,” God reveals himself first of all to his prophets, to give to them a message for his people. They in turn give it to the fathers of God’s people, in order that they give it to them. There is never any direct link between God, and his people. He always uses his prophets to communicate to them. The awesomeness of the God of the universe is totally breath taking for the mortality of my soul, and my spirit, that he should reveal himself to me, one who was born in sin, through his Son, my Lord, and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who died for my sake, crucified upon a cross, provided me with God’s favour, which I did not deserve, setting me free from sin, with his shed blood. He spoke to me, just as he spoke to his prophets. He continues to speak to those who listen to him, just like long ago. Evidence of this is to be found in the Book of Numbers belonging to the Old Testament. (Num.12:6-8) “(6) Then He said, “Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you I, the Lord, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream, (7) Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house. (8) I speak to him face
to face, Even plainly, and not in dark sayings; And he sees the form of the Lord.” Moses has always been highly favoured of the Lord, even when he got it wrong. God always restored him to himself, because he always repented from his wrong doing. When I get it wrong, I must seek his face, and truly repent of my sinful actions. I said that God spoke to his prophets in visions, and dreams, further reference to visions: Ezk.1:1. “Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the River Chebar, that the heavens were opened and I saw a vision of God.” Reference to angels: Zec.1:9. Then I said, “My lord what are these?” So the angel who talked with me said to me, “I will show you what they are.” There are also signs God uses to speak to those whom he has chosen. Ex, 3:4 So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses! And he said, “Here I am,” The Lord also used direct speech. (Gen.12:1.) Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family And from your father’s house, To a land I will show you.” Nothing is impossible for my God! (2) The author speaks of the era I am living in now, which he describes as the last days. It is in this era that God has spoken through his Son. The final revelation of himself is in the person of his Son Jesus Christ. From the day God’s Son was born into the world as a man, he was both man and God, which he continues to be, the beginning of the last days was then. What is a far superior excellent revelation, than for God the Father to reveal himself personally in and through his Son Jesus Christ, who is God himself? I believe none. My Lord did not only speak the word of God, he is the Word of God, being God. The splendour of the majesty of the glory of God the Father, made manifest in the excellent revelation of himself in his Son Jesus Christ, the only begotten of the Father. The imagination could never stretch as far as this, but yet it is so. He who controls the whole of creation, who continues to bring life, bless his glorious name. Let praise erupt from my heart towards him, who gives me breath to breathe, God my Saviour. Not only is my Lord, the Son of God, and the final excellent revelation of his Father, but also because the Father has already made him heir to everything that was made, and is being made. The author writes of one who is God, that is precisely who he was, and is, and deserves the whole of my life, and more, like I can see from the life of the author, on the pages of his letter to the Hebrew converts to Christianity. I would like to repeat, and it is worth the repetitiveness, without the purposes, and will of God’s grace, the world in which mankind lives, breathes, and has his habitat, would have completely disappeared some time ago. Praise God for his continuing mercy, and compassion on a world, that does not deserve it. Quite extraordinary is the last clause of the verse, in which the author writes, “through whom also He made the worlds;” the universe and all which that entails, including the earth with every living creature, and those of mankind, who have rebelled against him, who were made, in and through, the Son of God, Jesus Christ, my Lord. From my own earthly life I can see that the mercy and compassion of God still prevails. John, the author of the fourth gospel, adds weight, to what the author of the Book of Hebrews had to say, when he underlines the point that everything was made in and through the Son of God, for further reference, Jn.1:3. “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made, that was made.” What a stupendous statement to make, far beyond the greatest of finite intellects to interpret, far less understand,
without the wisdom from God, yet it is through the Son of God, we have our being, paradoxically those who refuse to acknowledge his existence, owe their existence to him, so that perhaps one day, they may repent seeking his forgiveness. The ultimate reason why they still live, and breathe the oxygen God provides them with. My God is merciful to those whom he has made. I, with the help of God, the Holy Spirit, must make them aware of the forgiveness. He would like to give to men, and women who have yet to know him. All praise, glory, and honour, must go to the Lord God, the one whose reign knows no end. (3)(Who being, the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself cleansed our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.) Jesus Christ is the excellent revelation of God the Father, because he is his Son, therefore; it naturally follows he will be the brightness of the glory of his Father. When on earth the Son’s glory of being God was well hidden in his humanity, but even then, he was always the brightness of his Father’s glory. He is in a sense, his Father’s glory, because he and his Father are one. There is the glory that was uniquely the Son of God’s, before he came to earth, that was returned to him, when he went back to heaven. I would like to turn to the fourth gospel, which is traditionally attributed to John the apostle, in order to shed more light on the subject of God’s glory, for further reference: Jn.1:14 “ And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as the only begotten of the Father.” I had said, earlier, that in order to come to earth, the Son of God had to leave his glory behind. Did the author see the glory of the Son of God, while he was in the flesh of a man, the first time he met him? I do not think so, taking into consideration, the fact that he did not write his account of the gospel, until roughly thirty years or so later, after the death, and resurrection of my Lord. Perhaps the author is thinking of both, with the benefit of hindsight, after the passion of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ’s glory could be a reflection of John, on the glory my Lord did have before coming to earth, now returned to him. The most appropriate of the verse in connection with the glory of the Father being seen in the Son, is the middle clause: (the glory as of the only begotten of the Father.) Not only does he now have his own glory back, he also shares in his Father’s glory as the Father does with him. But peculiarly distinct from each other, both have their own separate glory. However; the glory the author of the Book of Hebrews is pondering over is the glory of the Father, which can be seen in the Son of God, Jesus Christ. There is something else I must ponder over, I can look upon the glory of the Son of God, because his blood covers my sin, but I can never look upon the glory of God the Father, his Majesty on high, because that is peculiarly His glory. It is enough that because of his love for me, he sent his only begotten Son to die in my place, who in obedience to his Father, obeyed, because he also loved me, the glory of deity, that will never fade. Hallelujah! The Son of God is described as the express image of his Father, he is not the Father, but as his Son, he is the only image of him. When letters of ancient times was sent by the king to his subjects, he would seal it with hot red wax, upon which the engraving of his ring would be pressed upon to show the royal approval of authority. Jesus Christ is the King of kings, God his Father chose him to reign by his side. In him, I see the very image
of God the Father, ruling in and through the Royal Authority of the sovereignty of deity, of one who is God the Son, which has always been the case. The glory of the risen Christ, who is the Son of God, continues to shine in this dark world. I need to drink this into my spirit with the help of God’s Spirit. The very nerve centre of how the world in which I live, is being held together, is a constant challenge to my faith in God, because he is the one who holds the whole thing together. I can see this, as I read further into the verse: “And upholding all things by the Word of His power.” There is awesome power in the Word of the Lord, with it he sustains or keeps the universe in motion, breathes life into every living thing, continues to breathe life into me, including his people, my brothers and sisters, even those who refuse to acknowledge his existence. He sees the rebellion of many against him, and paradoxically shows love, mercy, and compassion towards them, by continuing to breathe life into each one. That at some point, they may reflect upon this, which in time will lead some to repent before him, if not all? I was an enemy of God, but he led me to repentance through the crucifixion of his Son Jesus Christ, when I was yet a sinner, God was reconciling me to himself while his Son was dying on the cross. It is in, and through the death of my Lord, that I received mercy, and forgiveness, which culminated into receiving the gift of eternal life. I bow on my knees, vocally praising my God and Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. The frightening fact is that my risen Lord is coming back, and those who continue rebel have only got to then, to repent, unless they pass from this life, before then. Not forgetting the fact that it is my God, who continues to uphold the whole of the universe, with the power of his Word, not men. The great apostle Paul corroborates with what the author of Hebrews is writing of to his readers. (Col.1:17) “And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” What is quite outlandish, as well as astonishing to human thought, is that a god should become a man to die for mere mortals. Of course there are those who do not believe in any gods of any type, because they themselves have assumed the position of being gods in themselves, without being consciously aware of it. But many religions do, and use livestock, for sacrifice to the gods made of wood, and metal, who do not possess any power of their own. Nobody had heard of a god becoming a man, and then meeting a sacrificial death to appease the god he had come from. But that is what the Son of God, Jesus Christ, my Lord had done. He, who was God, came to earth to become a man, lived as a man while being God, doing what pleased God his Father. Jesus Christ while being God, and man without the power of being God, journeying through his earthly life, allowed himself to be taken by mere mortals, that he had made, who then flogged him, and crucified him on a blood soaked cross, blood spurting from the holes, they had made in his body, died, whom God raised on the third day. He allowed this to happen to him. Because he knew that it was the only way that mankind could be saved. Hallelujah! Although I had not been born, I was one of those mere mortals. Praise God that He saved me. Jesus Christ, my Lord, because he is God, was, and is, for that very reason, the most suitable to be born into the world. He would be the perfect man. He, therefore; was the perfect sacrifice, meeting the conditions that would appease his Father’s anger, against the sins of humanity. God the Father loves mankind, but he hates their sin. The Father’s love towards mankind is never in question, but as a holy righteous God, he hated sin, and could not
look upon it. He is an all consuming fire towards those who rebel against Him, but while they continue to breathe, they can consider their ways, and when the opportunity presents itself, show repentance before God. The author makes it plain the fact that my Lord sacrificed himself for the sins of the world. “When He had by Himself purged our sins,” Nobody else could do this only the Son of God, because being God he was perfect in birth, and later on in his humanity he met all the moral and ethical standards of the law of the O.T. Later on in the proceeding chapters the author goes on to say, ( Heb,7:27) “ Who does not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.” “Sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” Incredible! He who has always been God, for my sake came to earth, and became a man, yet still retaining his deity as one who is God, divested himself of his power in order to be truly man. He was, and is the Pioneer, of how to rely on the Holy Spirit, to show how it is possible to please God. To be everything that God wants me to be, which for me is totally impossible to be without the Spirit of God. I need God the Holy Spirit. While he journeyed through his earthly life, not once did my Lord rely on himself, it was always with the help of God, the Holy Spirit. An exhilarating thought, that he who had his own glory, while being with the Father, after becoming a man has even more glory. The glory of one who is God, the glory of one who is the perfect man, the glory of overcoming death, the glory of being the King of kings, and Lord of lords, and there are more titles, that belong to the Son of God. The One, who existed before the beginning, continues to exist now, and will exist forever, Praise his glorious name, Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. (Ps.110:1.) “The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool.” He is the Lord, who continues to reign, the Lord God, who is my Lord, whom I have a living relationship with. He speaks to me, and I to him. Can I prove this? I do not need to God proves Himself through me. But I am not speaking of me. I am speaking of the Lord. The very same subject, the Lord of glory, the author of the Book of Hebrews addresses. (4) The Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Son of Man, and Lord of glory, as I have said, above, has now a more excellent name, than angels, because through his inheritance, inherited a more excellent name than any of them. Angels are created beings, not so my Lord. After all it is through him, they were made, existing in and through him, Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God along with being the glorified Son of Man. Once again, I turn to the apostle Paul, for corroboration, who agrees with the author on this point. (Phil.2:9, 10.) “And being found in the appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross, (10) That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those in earth, and of those under the earth.” Very much conclusive, that one day, my Lord, who is the Son of God, will rule over all things Amen.
Study Two God the Son glorified and exalted above angels.
Heb. 1:5-9 (5) For to which of His angels did He ever say: You are My Son, Today I have begotten you”? And again, “I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son.”?(6) But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: “Let all the angels of God worship Him.” (7) And of the angels He says, “Who makes His angels spirits And His ministers a flame of fire.” (8) But to the Son He says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. (9) You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions,” (5) There is a tremendous elevation from the mundane things of what is made to that which is not made. The author takes me out of the equation, as he does with these later Jewish converts to Christianity. He points them in the direction of what has taken place in the heavenly realm by doing this. My spirit is also transported to that location. I know he is speaking of it to these Jewish Christians, but it is more about the glorified risen Christ, in his true identity, as the Son of God, for their appreciation, and gratitude towards him. The same type of heart, mind, and spirit, I equally should have towards my Saviour, and God, the Lord Jesus Christ. I know what is expected of me, as did these later Jewish Christians, to love my Lord, completely, giving my life, as a thank offering to him. He is after all God. In complete contrast, I am a mere mortal, who is loved by him. Quite right that the author should focus on one who was, and is God, before anything was, is still God, continuing to be God. The Second Person, of the one triune God, in the same substance of His Father, God the Son. It needs to be impressed upon my spirit, that without him, I am nothing. Even if I was not here, had not been brought into being, Jesus Christ would still be God, God the Son ,who is sat at the right hand of the Majesty on high, bringing all things under his sovereign rule, enjoying the title of being the perfect man, forever. But what the author is concentrating on here, is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, his Person, and Deity, the Second Person of the Godhead, exclusive to all else. It is not my intention to classify angels as being mundane, but to compare angelic beings with the Son of God, who is self sustaining, and self existing, in comparison I believe you can call them pretty mundane, not only that, they belong to his creation, and creativity, as I do, his glory is greater than theirs, as One who is the Son of God. No angel was ever chosen to be the Son of God, but a fallen angel known as Satan, wanted to be more than God the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ, a position that could never be his, no matter how hard he wanted it, because of his rebellion against God, he lost the position God had given him, a warning that God is supreme over all. Perhaps this is exactly, what the author had been thinking of, who gives details later on, of such serious error, of which God is totally against. I believe that the author, being a Jew converted to Christianity, would have remembered, what the Psalmist said, in connection with Jesus Christ, identifying him, as one who is the Son of God. My Lord used this very text of Scripture, to validate his claim of being the Son of God. (Ps.2:7) “I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, You are My Son, Today I have begotten you.” The Old Testament corroborates the next line of the verse, in which the author
quotes, God the Father, in saying, that he would be a Father to a Son, and that Son, would be a Son to him. The proof, and evidence of this, is to be found in the Second Book of Samuel, which is found in the O.T. (2.Sam.7:14.) “I will be his Father, and He shall be My Son, if He commits iniquity, I will chasten Him with the rod of men and with the strokes of the sons of men.” What I see here in this text is a tremendous paradox, a paradox that would not have gone unnoticed by the author, because of his Jewish roots, he would see, as I do, the punishment mentioned here, was carried out upon the Son of God. Not because of any sin that he carried, he had none, but because hundreds of years later, he carried my sin, and those of others. The fact of the matter is that Jesus Christ was chosen to be the Son of God in the flesh. He in his deity has always been God, but he chose to be God in the flesh, as there was no other. I should never forget this. Bless my God, and Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ. (6) “But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: “Let all the angels of God worship Him.” What does the author want his brethren to understand from the reading of the text? I ask myself the very same question, what does God want me to understand from it? Turning to God the Holy Spirit I ask for his answers. Many commentators are of the view that it points to the Incarnation of the Son of God, others to his Second Coming, but there is a third view, that it points to his preeminence. I believe the answer is in his pre-eminence, because the answer can be seen in the third clause of the sentence: “ Let all the angels of God worship Him” I do not deny that my Lord will always be the firstborn of his brethren, but that is not what is on view here, it is his preeminence. The apostle Simon Peter gives proof of this from his first letter to the exiles in the dispersion. ( 1.Pet,3:22) “who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.” My risen glorified Lord’s pre-eminence is seen in the fact that everything has already been made subject to him. It has already been done. I have only to see it occur. Angels have to bow down and worship the Son of God. If angels are commanded to worship him, surely I have to worship Him too, because he is my God. ( 7) “ And of the angels He says: “ Who makes His angels spirits And His ministers a flame of fire,” a direct quote from the Psalms of the Old Testament. (Ps.104:4) Angels are like me, created beings, although far more powerful, than I, still inferior to the risen Lord. Angels are subject to him, as had been said earlier, when they are commanded to worship him. They are never to receive worship in any shape or form. It alarms me, when I hear some of my brothers and sisters talking excessively about angelology at the expense of the one triune God. It ought not to be! There are many texts that provide proof of this. (Col.2:18) “Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.” (Rev.22:8, 9.) “ Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things, (9) Then he said to me, “ See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets and of those who keep the words of this book worship God.” Only God is deserving of my worship. The term spirits can also be translated into the word winds: “who makes His angels winds,” Unlike my Lord, angels
who occupy a high place in heaven are nevertheless transitory; where as the Son of God is eternal. They are dependant on the one they have been made through for their own existence, that one, being the Son of God. He sustains them, keeps them in existence like everything else, it is on those grounds, they need to know, that they have to bow down and worship him, unless they do, they will perish, like the powers of nature that he controls. I believe it is necessary to have awe and a reverence towards God, not through terror, or to be afraid of Him, but because of whom He is, the more I read his word, and ponder over what is said of Him, with my spirit, the more I will appreciate the exact nature of Him, falling on my knees, before an almighty God. It will make my life more effective for his kingdom. The same can be said, of the author, of the Book of Hebrews, who God the Holy Spirit operated through, continues to operate through the word, he gave him, towards his recipients then, and now me, while I read and digest it. (8) The author continues by speaking further on the Son of God. “ Your throne,O God, is forever and ever,” Not like the thrones of this world, that come and go, or the seats of political power, that in the end, perish, taking along with it, mortals that had sat on these seats. My belief, and why the author writes of these things, to his brethren, is because of the oppression, and persecution, brought against them by earthly kings and rulers. For the stand they had taken in defense of their most precious faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The kingdom, they, and I belong to will never perish, which has an eternal King, on an eternal throne, ruling everything, from eternity, and at the moment, subduing all things, until all things come under his direct rule. With the help of God the Holy Spirit, I need to do what God asks of me, through my risen, Lord, looking to him always, doing what he asks of me, and not doing the things asked of me, by those who do not know God, when it is in rank disobedience towards Him. My Saviour, and Lord must always come first, no matter how costly. He will help me to meet that. I believe this is the same testimony of these Jews, who had been converted to Christianity, to whom the author writes. I must look upwards to the throne of God, which will last forever and ever... Once again a direct quote from the Psalms of the O.T. ( Ps.46:6,7) (6)“ Your throne,O God, is forever and ever, A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. (7) You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.” (9)The righteousness the author is speaking of here is that of God, because he is God, he can keep the rules, he himself has made, but because of that, he expects those whom he has made to keep them. But since the fall or rebellion of those whom he made is against Him, they cannot. The answer to this problem of rebellion is in the Son of God, my Lord, and Saviour, Jesus Christ. When the author writes: “Therefore God,” he is the Son of God, “ your God,” is God the Father. The Son of God loves righteousness just as much as his Father God. The key theme of the passage is the righteousness of God. A scepter can be seen as a sword ,other translations describe it as a staff, a symbol of the righteousness of the kingdom that belongs to the Lord of glory. Again the theme of righteousness is continued, God the Son, like his Father, loves righteousness, and hates wickedness. The Son of God, always loved God his Father, continues to love him. He never put any conditions on his Father’s love towards him. Jesus Christ, the Son of God
was, and still is exceptional in his love towards God his Father. Obedience in love towards the Father marked him as being far above, any other son, in the flesh of the human race. When asked of his Father to come to earth, which meant he had to leave his glory behind in heaven, he immediately obeyed, even although being God with the foreknowledge that brings, knew what lay in front of him. My Lord did not shrink an inch, to give up his glory and power of being God, and enter the path of the suffering of a human being, because of being God, he would be perfect as a man at the time of his birth. I have no idea how he suffered, when he realized with the help of God the Holy Spirit, that he was both God and man, without the power of being God. There is no record of what he thought personally of the mission God his Father had given him to do. All he would say, was that he had come to do the will of the Father. I believe what is important is the love, and the harmony that exists between God the Father, and God the Son. Not two Gods, one God, but two different individuals, the first, and second persons of the one triune God, God the Holy Spirit, being the third person, in which love and harmony has always existed between them. The one triune God, the same God, who continues to bless, my brethren, and I with the same love, which I receive, enables me to be a vessel of his love to give to others. Unconditional love comes from God the Father, made visible in his Son, my Lord, and Saviour, Jesus Christ, through the dynamic power of God the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the manifestation of the Father’s unconditional love to his people, and the lost. My Lord met all the requirements of righteousness laid down by God his Father, that is why it is said of him in Psalm.45:7: “ You love righteousness and hate lawlessness,” I need to continue to mature in the righteousness of God, my Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, only he can help me to do this, with his Spirit, which abides in me. However; my focus should always be on God, precisely the purpose of the author of the Book of Hebrews. The same unconditional love, the apostle John spoke of in his fourth gospel. (Jn.3:16) “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” The very fact of what God my Saviour, in the person of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ went through, shows precisely his view on lawlessness. Lawlessness and sin is both the same thing, an abomination to God. The Lord hates lawlessness. There is no ambiguity in the sentence, this is quite transparent for all to see. Rebellion against God, required him to send his Son, to take the death penalty, for mankind, meaning you, and me. Not only for my physical body, my spirit too. The same thing applies to the whole of mankind, who do not know the Lord. I believe, something needs to be straightened out here, in regard to God’s love, and his righteousness. He loves men, and women, but he hates their sin. He loves me, but when I fall into temptation, he absolutely hates it, and until I repent of it before him, the relationship I have with him will continue to be broken. I am a person, who knows Jesus Christ in an intimate fashion , specifically, in my relationship with him as my Lord, knowing him like that, I know how much unconfesssed sin can affect my relationship with him. Sin against God by one of his children can be like a disease growing inside, until it is dealt with, that person is never going to be at peace. I had said, that the author of Psalm 45: verses 6 and 7 recorded a conversation between God the Father and God the Son, two different persons, but one God, the first and second person of the one triune God, Father, and Son. I note what the author of the Psalm goes on to say, about God the Son, and God the
Father: “Therefore God, Your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.” I have to understand that the conversation is taking place in the third heaven, even more startling, is that it has been revealed to a mortal, to give to God’s people, Israel, and the Church. My own interpretation of the verse, with the help of God the Holy Spirit, even although it is clear from the verse, is what follows: The first mention of God is God the Son, the second mention of God, is God the Father, otherwise it does not make any kind of sense. My Lord receives the anointing of the oil of gladness, more than his companions, from God his Father. What also comes to mind is the claim of Jesus Christ, in his fulfillment of the prophecy, Isaiah had made of him, hundreds of years earlier. God’s purposes and plans are predetermined, nothing is of mere chance, and Jesus Christ, my Lord, is the fulfillment of the prophecy Isaiah spoke of long ago.(Isa.61:1) “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken hearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;” A challenge that continues to lie before me, while God gives me breath to breathe, to bring praise, glory, and honour to his Son, my Lord, and Saviour, Jesus Christ allowing his Spirit to use me in bringing the lost into his kingdom. Praise God.
Study Three Jesus Christ the Son who has always been God over all Heb.1:10-14. (10) And: “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. (11) They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; (12) Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not fail.” (13) But to which of the angels has He ever said: “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”? (14) Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?
(10) An affirmative of the eternal existence of my Lord. I must never forget that Jesus Christ is God. Why do I say that? The tendency in Christendom of today is to always speak of Jesus Christ the man, with only a mere glance at his deity. Not a conscious thing, but it happens. Again the author’s theme is the Son of God, and his eternal existence. He was, before anything was. I have to take myself out of that equation, the whole of humanity are not there, not even the people of God, which had still to come.
Because I am here, it is difficult to imagine, not being there, but I was not there, before the beginning. There was just a void, and only God. Human beings, incredibly put a lot of importance upon themselves, without a backward thought on God, a tremendous paradox, because without him, no one would exist. I would not exist, but the point being made here is that the one triune God always exists. The very fact of the matter, here in the thought of the author, and I wholeheartedly agree with him, is that Jesus Christ, my Lord was in existence before the beginning. The devil has fooled a lot of mankind into believing that the universe, and mankind was made by something else, dangerous ideas. The author quotes from the Psalms of the O.T. (Ps.102:25-27) “Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. (26) They will perish, but you will continue; Yes, they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will change them, And they will be changed. (27) But You are the same, And Your years will have no end.” I believe the person that the author of the book of Hebrews, and the author of the above Psalm is writing of is none other, than the Son of God, being God in his own right. Colossal power can be seen here, far above any ingenuity of earthly mortals, stretching, even further than their most vivid imaginations. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, laid the foundations of the earth. Can any ordinary mortal, make another planet, like the earth, I live on, with everything that is on it, to help mankind to live, and survive, never mind the universe? I really do not think so. I feel very inadequate looking at the might and power of my Lord. I bow before him, and give praise to his glorious name. Hallelujah! The other thought that comes to me, is that what men create, it lasts sometimes, longer than them, not so my Lord. He is the God of the whole of the universe, and it will do; whatever he commands it to do, and whatever has been predetermined for it, planned before time in the counsel of deity. Reference to God the Son, being with God his Father is found in the first chapter of Genesis: (Gen.1:26) Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness...” But before this, God the Father and God the Son, one God, made the heavens and the earth: Gen.1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. I believe what is being spoken of here is the whole of the universe. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was in the very centre in the making of the heavens and the earth. I cannot even imagine that, with the finite intelligence, that I possess, but what is important is that my spirit understands. Praise God that he decided that he would create what he has created, absolutely amazing, and quite astonishing! I notice too, that the author of the book of Genesis declares in his opening sentence, that God first of all made the heavens. I do not believe that it is any coincidence, that all three authors, all godly men should point out to me, that the heavens are the handy work of my Lord. The purpose of which is to make a mortal like me, appreciate with gratitude, the greatness of my Lord’s glory, never to be surpassed by anything else. The heavens and the earth are his handiwork. The third heaven was, and is the abiding place of God, but a new heaven and a new earth will take their place. (11) Even although my Lord made the heavens and the earth, they will come to an end, but he will not. The author points out that my Lord will remain. Isaiah the prophet spoken of in the O.T. prophesied of this, which is still to occur, which in turn spurs me to walk,
even closer to the Lord. (Isa.34:4) “All the host of heaven shall be dissolved, And the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll; All their host shall fall down As the leaf falls from the vine, And as fruit falling from a fig tree.” The author also points out that the heavens and the earth will grow old like a garment. I will turn to the prophet Isaiah for more information on this. It is another prophecy that depicts the end of this world, but I have no fear, because I belong to the Lord. (Isa.51:6) Isaiah speaks of the vision given to him by the Lord, who also converses with the prophet. “Lift your eyes to the heavens, And look on the earth beneath. For the heavens will vanish away like smoke, The earth will grow old like a garment, And those who dwell in it will die in like manner;” Inevitability, this will occur some time in the future. I must use the time I have wisely in pursuit of my Lord, being obedient only to him. But that is not what is on view here, what is on view is the eternity of the eternal one, the Son of God, my Lord. There is nobody like him. Praise his glorious name. When I look at this, everything that is of creation shrinks and totally disappears, and only the glory of God, radiates from God the Son, continuing to remain forever, his Shekinah glory chasing the darkness away, never to return. (12) My Lord is in control of all things, he will bring the heavens and the earth to a close, decided before the beginning of time, space, and history in the predetermined counsel of the Godhead, when it will actually happen, the Son of God will execute the plan and purposes of God his Father. “Like a cloak you will fold them up.” Another pointer to his perpetuity is in the next part of the verse: “But You are the same, And Your years will not fail.” Jesus Christ is the creator of the heavens and the earth, in him, they are held together, he is immutable, a point that is well illustrated through out the passage, unchangeable in his character, and person. (13:8) “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” I know in my present life, it is hard to be like that, but with the help of The Holy Spirit, that is what I earnestly aim for. (13) The author makes the contrast between, that, which is not made, and that, which is made. He, who is not made, the risen glorified Lord, is enthroned far above, that which is made, angels, who were made through and in him. An unimagible fact, that all I hear, and see, including, what I do, as well as not see, and me, are, and were, made through my risen glorified Lord (14) These celestial beings, called angels, have been made to serve my Lord, and his people. There are things that they do, for my Lord, on my behalf, that I cannot do, guarding me, against the evil that they see, which I cannot. The Lord has thought of everything, in regard to me, as one of his son’s. The same principle applies to all of his children. I praise God, for who he is, the Lord of the heavens, and the earth, the whole of the universe, all glory, and honour belongs to Him
Study Four Do not fail to take care of your Salvation. Heb.2:1-4
(1)Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. (2) For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received retribution, (3) how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, by which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, (4) God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will? (1) The responsibility of working out the salvation, that Christ, my Lord has given to me is my own, nobody else has that responsibility. I believe, that is exactly the author’s intention for those to whom he writes, to take up, and although he uses the plural, we, what lies behind it, are the individual believers of God I must strictly, adhere to the message of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, exactly, as how he spoke it, and to also make sure with the help of the Spirit of God, that I do not drift away from the precious truth of his word. (2) A warning about the consequences of not meeting the criteria of my salvation, and what can occur. The author speaks to his readers about the fact of what angels spoke of, proved to be reliable and true in regard to the Mosaic Law, and mediated by them. Stephen the first Christian martyr spoke on this very serious issue. (Acts.7:53) “ ..Who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.” They, the chosen people of Israel, received the Mosaic Law of God, and failed to keep it, were punished, because of flagrant disobedience. I need to show my faith, by doing what the Lord asks of me. The book of Numbers in regard to the Mosaic Law of the Old Testament, spoke of God’s penalty or retribution, for those who failed to keep his laws. (Num.15:30) “But the person who does anything defiantly, whether he is native born or a stranger that one blasphemes, brings reproach on the Lord, and he shall be put to death from among his people.” Sin is a very serious matter in my Lord’s eyes, which will meet with his rebuke, and chastisement of himself against me, while I continue to rebel against him, showing no repentance, I could die, and be called home. (3) If I am indifferent to this great gift of salvation, God has given to me, through his Son, my Lord, and Saviour Jesus Christ, will my punishment not be greater? (10:28) “Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.” I believe what is on view here, in the intellect of the author, guided by the Spirit, is the issue of apostate behaviour.An abandonment of the principles of faith, and I do only, what pleases me, giving only lip service to the Lord, devoid of the fruit of the Spirit. If that is the case, Jesus Christ, is no longer Lord, and I may not be going to heaven! But praise God that is not the case! Salvation was spoken of to me, by the Lord, from whom it came, and continues to come from. (Matt.4:17) From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The author goes on to speak of how, he, and those, who are with him, received their faith, from the Lord. It had been confirmed to them, by the apostles of Jesus Christ. My opinion, as far, as I am concerned, it was those, who heard my Lord preach, while, he was still in the flesh. Before, I became a Christian, I heard the gospel of Jesus Christ being preached, and it was through, these means, that I accepted him as Lord, simple, but very profound. I heard from my brethren, how Christ had changed their lives. I believe this is the confirmation that the author is looking back on. (Mark.16:20) “And they went
out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs.” Amen. The work God has given both, my wife, and I to do, has met with accompanying signs, in the fact, that he, has opened the doors of families, and their homes, to us by the work of his Spirit. Praise God. I believe the importance of the clause of the above verse is seen in the fact that the Lord was working with them. Again the words of the author, “confirmed to us by those who heard Him,” are corroborated and attested too by the author of the gospel of Luke. (Luke.1:2) “. . . Just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us.” (4) One of the husbands, of one of the Slovak wives is very deaf, Irene, and I laid hands on him, commanded the deafness to go in the name of Jesus, and he said, he felt his hearing had got better. God bearing witness to the work, he has called both Irene and I to do. He performs his signs and wonders through us for the glory of his kingdom. All praise, glory, and honour go to him. He does not need to use us, but he does. The glory of Christ my Lord will be, and is continuing to be, confirmed in the ministering of his gospel, outwardly manifested by the influence, and the power of God the Holy Spirit in this world. All of this is being done at the discretion of God. A note of caution, because not everyone will accept the salvation of God, only those who have been chosen by him, but only he knows who they are. (Eph.1:5, 9 ;) “Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, (9) having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,” I praise God for his infinite goodness, and kindness towards me, which is unmerited, and undeserving. The cause of salvation was taken up for mankind by God our Father, which I am numbered among by God, who predetermined long ago, before the age, those he would adopt as sons and daughters through Jesus Christ his Son, my Lord. He of himself, that is, God, my Father, decided he would do this for his own good pleasure. I note, that he, who initiates, who brings into action, the plan for the salvation of men, is God, executed in and through Jesus Christ his Son, who is my Lord, and Saviour. Salvation is of God, who is the principal of it, who decides, who will get the gift of salvation, the very reason, why I must continue to press on, with the glorious message of the gospel of Christ. He already knows in the remit of his foreknowledge those who will accept his gracious invitation, and those who will reject it. Therefore it falls upon me to keep on pursuing godliness in the manner that pleases God, through the strength he gives to me in and through Christ Jesus his Son, and God the Holy Spirit, so that I do not fall into idolatry, as some, keeping my salvation sure. Study Five. The Son of God made lower than angels. Heb.2: 5-9
(5) For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels. (6) But one testified in a certain place, saying: “What is man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that You take care of him? (7) You have made him for a little while lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honour, (8) You have put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that He put all in subjection under Him, He left nothing that is not put under Him. But now we do not yet see all things put under Him. (9) But we see Jesus, who was made for a little while lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.
(5) The author, and the believers to whom he wrote, have all passed on into glory. I have to read it with the present context in view. There is another world coming, the content, of the context of the clause, of the first sentence, makes it abundantly clear, (“…for He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection of angels.” Simon Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, substantiates what the author writes of here. (2.Pet.3:13,) “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” The new world the author speaks of is of the new heavens, and the new earth, which will not be subject to angels. I can see that at the beginning of the sentence, and at the end of it. Angels are not uncreated beings, God is. He is the immortal, uncreated God, standing behind the universe, time, space, and human history. The uncreated self sustaining light, who is slowly, as I see it, bringing all things to a close through his Son Jesus Christ, while through him, continues to sustain all things according to his purpose and will. (6) The question being raised by the author is a very good one. What am I that God should be mindful of me? Or what man? There is really nothing I can do for myself, without light, oxygen to breathe, water to drink, and food to eat, but God needs nothing of these. I can do nothing for God, he alone provides for himself with the minimum of effort, and ease in all his majestic glory, effortlessly sailing along. The other question raised, is why does he take care of me? The things I have spoken of to enable me to live, God supplies. The question is why? The answer is because God made man his centre piece of his creation, continues to love them, even although that love is not returned by quite a majority of them. Notwithstanding, that love will continue, until he brings to a close the present world that I know, rolling it up like a garment, that has become old, through his Son Jesus Christ, the same who will usher in the new. Clearly; when the author speaks of the Son of Man, he is quoting from a passage in the Psalms of the Old Testament. (Ps.8:4-8 This godly author applies the designation of Son of Man, as a title to the Messiah, who is Christ the Lord. I have spoken a little on this immense subject of my Lord in the role of Son of man, the promised Messiah, who has been, and gone, sits at the right hand of his Majesty on high, who one day will return in all his majestic glory.
(7) He, the Son of God, condescended, willingly to become less than angels, for a time, when he came to earth, to become a man. I am not able with the whole of my imagination able to envisage, what he felt like, when the execution of the process of becoming a man was taking place in and through Him. The Son of God of his own choice, while being God, becomes a man, but continues to be God. Do I really understand this concept, especially when the Holy Spirit continues to burn whatever dross that still lies within? I am sure I do not. But praise God, because it is true. My God is crowned with glory and honour by his Father God. The Father, and the Son are two different persons, but in substance one God. The scenario that I see here is of my Lord, being crowned with glory, and honour from God his Father. I have to keep on thinking, that what is being played out here is already future, even although that has still to arrive. My conclusion is found from the following verse, when it speaks of everything, being made subject to him, where clearly I can see from the present that is still to come. (8) After the fall from the grace of God, described in the early chapters of the book of Genesis, I, until I met the Lord, with the rest of humanity faced death, I had become a slave of this world and the Devil. Praise God that he has through his Son Jesus Christ rescued me, from this destructive destiny. I spoke of how all things are still to be put under the sovereign rule of my Lord, the author reminds his readers of this important fact: “But now we do not yet see all things put under Him,” Paul the apostle speaks upon this weighty subject, giving proof, and evidence of what I believe the author of the Hebrews is writing of, and I agree with him, and Paul, led by the Spirit of God. (1.Cor.15:25,) Speaking of Jesus Christ, my Lord, he had this to say, “For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.” The fact of the matter is that at some future date, only known to God, everything will be made subject to his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.(1.Cor.15:27,) For “He has put all things under His feet” But when He says “All things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is accepted.” (9) Despite the fact that what has already been said, in regard to forth coming events, the author writes of what is really important in the present. “But we see Jesus,” Do not look at your present circumstances; focus your attention on Jesus. How many times have I tried to engineer myself out of problems, with out consulting Jesus, in regard to them, too many to remember. All met with failure, hard to understand, that Jesus Christ, my Lord, is interested in every little detail of my life, no matter how mundane. I have to take that on board. The fact that I speak of it illustrates my willingness to believe this precious commodity. I believe the reason why this godly author concentrates so much on the fact that Jesus Christ was made to be lower than the angels is because he is God. Before the very foundation of all that was, and is, he was never meant to be put in that position. My opinion is that this is God’s second plan, from my point of view, much better for me, but not his Son, humanly speaking. The other point is that I can become too familiar with it, and apathy can settle in. I have to work out my salvation with fear, and trembling in order to stop the darkness from getting the better of me, a mute point in which the author is trying to get his readers to understand. Hitherto, there is nothing in the created world that comes anywhere near, what is described in the following clauses, at the end of the verse. God, help me to understand this, with the freshness that only you can give. Bad enough that Jesus Christ, my Lord, had to leave heaven’s glory, divesting
himself of the power that he had for my sake but to come and suffer a physical death. I am dumbfounded, what can I say? There is nothing that can be said in any earthly language that is appropriate. All it does is to convey what God would want me to understand. He was made lower than angels by becoming a man to enable him to suffer a physical, bloody, and violent death. I cannot gloss over this. I need to drink this in into my spirit. My responsibility towards Jesus Christ, God my Saviour, when reading this, and drinking it in, is heightened immeasurably. Talking personally about my sin, the blood soaked death of my Lord, really brings home to me, the fact that God abhorrers, and hates sin. Even although if I had to give my life for another, without knowing the Christ, the Son of God, I would still be heading towards hell, because that is what it is, and the fact, that, I did not know the risen glorified Christ. I believe there is no greater statement than that of Paul’s on this most crucially important point of my faith in Jesus Christ, the cornerstone of his church. (Phil.2:7-9) “But made Him of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.(8) And being found in the appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross (9) Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,” Of course I can only look, and wonder, because this is far beyond my finite intellect, outside of God, there is no full apprehension of the matter in hand. My spirit may be able to understand some of it, and continue to mature into the excellent mind of Christ, my Lord, but it is an on going process. I have to depend on the influence and power of God the Holy Spirit to enable me to live in the manner that pleases God. Jesus Christ, the Son of God was crowned with glory and honour, because, he with the grace of God his Father might taste death for everyone. The fact of the matter, as I see it here, at the end of the passage, while Jesus was on earth in his physical form, as a man, he could nothing of himself. It was only through the grace of God his Father, that he was able to receive the strength, patience, endurance, and the toughness of mental and Spiritual attitude, to meet the challenge of his death upon the cross, proving to be faithful to the point of death, and after he had died. It is the exact same grace that the Lord affords to me. I need to listen more to my God, to be able to communicate with him, who will also tell me what the next step will be, going forward with the gospel of his Son, Jesus Christ, my Lord, influenced and equipped with his Spirit. Hallelujah, and praise his glorious name, the Lord of glory, may he come quickly.
Study Six. Jesus Christ brings many Sons to glory. Heb.2:10-18 (10) For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their
salvation perfect through sufferings. (11) For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, (12) saying: “ I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You,” (13) And again: “ I will put My trust in Him.” And again: “Here am I and the children God has given Me.” (14) Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, (15) and release those who through fear of death were all their life time subject to bondage. (16) For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. (17) Therefore, in all things He had to be made like his brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. (18) For in that He Himself, being tested, He is able to aid those who are tempted. (10) I have been speaking at some length on the deity of Jesus Christ, which in my view is very important, but just as equally important is the genuineness of his humanity, because it was while he was a man that he executed his Father’s plan of salvation for me, and the rest of the human race. From the outset, I have said that these are highly personally studies, which are concentrated on my spirit, and intellect, but it does not exclude any of God’s people. I have been a pastor, and the difficulty of that, was when I preached the Word, addressing everyone else, even although I included me, the whole thing, at times, seemed to be lost on me. Now the Lord has got both Irene, and I taking the gospel of Christ, our Lord, into the streets, and market places of Glasgow, planting seeds in homes. He is using a very different tact of how I have to study his Word, applying it to me, to enable me to help the lost. The author reminds his readers, including me, that it was indeed, fitting the path my Lord took as the suffering servant in the flesh of a man. He had to be the same as me without sin, how incredible! Jesus Christ, the Son of God, a man in every detail, apart from sin. Like me in his humanity, he depended on God his Father to help him, to overcome all that the world would throw at him, with the power of the Spirit of God, an astounding fact. But even more astonishing is what is said, in the next part of the sentence, “for whom are all things and by whom are all things,” Obviously this is no mere man, the author writes of here. There is more than what meets a cursory glance, much more. I have to grapple with this in my spirit and intellect, first, he is in the form of humanity, and then in a flash he is deity. For whom are all things, takes a little while to get used to, because it is just possible, even although nobody humanly speaking has done it, even although they would have loved to have done so, having all things. But it is in the next clause of the sentence, which is totally breath taking, “and by whom are all things,” Every living creature and inanimate object continues to have its existence in and through him. I live, and breathe upon the earth, in and through Jesus Christ, the Lord, in the physical sense. I am also saved spiritually, because of the express will, and purpose of God the Father, made visible, in and through his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise his glorious name.
It is unbelievable to the human intellect, that everything exists, in and through Jesus Christ, my Lord, good and bad, but that is what is directly referred to in the sentence, “and by whom are all things,” Paul expressed the same concept, and then he went on to enlarge upon it with more detail. (Col.1:16) (For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.) It blows all my earthly intelligence away, what is spoken of here. is too much for it. I am glad that God continues to instruct me to lean on his understanding, because it is far too great for my finite grey cells. To approach this with my human intellect would mean I would not get very far with it, an obvious understatement. I need to see it as Christ would have me see it, the only route forward. He is the central figure, actively through his Spirit, bringing many sons to glory. It is through Jesus Christ, that I have been adopted to be a son of God the Father. He has brought me into the glory of the Godhead. I am a son who now belongs to God, and his family of children, past, present, and future, and I will be with them, when we go to heaven to be with the Lord of glory. An event too wonderful to behold, praise his glorious name, let the glorious Christ be exalted far above anything else. Jesus Christ, the risen Lord, had no ethical or moral shortcomings, but through his suffering, culminating with his death upon the cross, he became the perfect man, and Saviour of mankind, more than sufficient to meet the needs of the people of this world. It is through his temptations, suffering, and his death that he qualified to be my Captain, and great High Priest of my faith, who went before me to open the door of salvation, only he could have done it. He has been perfected in his flesh through temptations, suffering, and the death of the cross, to become the perfect man. The perfection of my risen Lord, now being a man is well attested to in the later chapters of this letter to the Hebrews. (Heb.5:7, 8.) ( ..who in the days of his flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, (8) though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.) I really cannot appreciate this, although in a small measure within my spirit I do. Am I saying that I am ungrateful, and I lack appreciation? To that I say, no, what exactly am I talking about? The fact that the Holy Spirit continues to mould my mind, burning the dross off, shaping it, into the perfect mind of my Lord, and Saviour Jesus Christ, while on earth I have not arrived, that will only happen, when the Lord calls me home or I meet him in the air. (11) I am in Christ, and he is in me, likewise all of Christ’s people, God’s children. The reading of the first sentence makes this concept plain :( For both He who sanctifies (set apart) and those who are being sanctified (set apart) are all of one ;My brothers and sisters, who like me belong to the Lord, are one. We are one in Christ Jesus, he is in us, and we are in Him. I have been sanctified or set apart by God to be used by him to take the gospel of Christ, his Son into the world to make visible the living Christ, abiding in me, with the help of God the Holy Spirit, the whole of Godhead, abiding in my spirit bodily. The same principle is applied to my risen Lord. (Jn.10:36.) ( “..do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, “You are blaspheming,” because I said I am the Son of God?”
God, the Father of my Lord, set him apart, to be sent into the world, to manifest the kind of life that he originally wanted to see in mankind. To enable his Son to accomplish this, he was provided with God the Holy Spirit, the exact Spirit who continues to help me to live in a manner that pleases God. My above statement, in which I said, we are all one in Christ, also makes us brethren of each other, not only of each other, but of Christ, as well, he calls us his brethren, and he is our brethren. (Matt.28:10) Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.” The family of God, chosen by him, and for him, blessed is his Holy name. The only person, who can give to me peace, and tranquility in the turbulent world, that I find myself in is Jesus Christ, my risen and exalted Lord, who continues to live forever. I would like to bring verses eleven and twelve together, after having said, what I have said above, it really illustrates the love of my Lord towards the body, which I am a member of: “For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren (12) saying: “ I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.” Quote: “Jesus sings praise with us, PRAISE AND WORSHIP. This quotation from a messianic prophecy (Ps.22:22) reveals how the Spirit of the Christ fills the N.T. church, as Jesus identifies Himself so closely with His people (Heb.2:11) and enters into songs of worship with them. Note 1) how the Lord Himself enters into the gathering ( “ in the midst” ) and 2) how the joint praise releases the Spirit of prophecy ( “ I will declare Your name to My brethren” ), as the holy power of praise ignites “ the testimony of Jesus” ( Rev.19:10.) End of quote, page 1732 of the New Spirit Filled Life Bible New King James Version. Nelson Publishing. (13) God has given me to his Son Jesus Christ. A transaction that had taken place, long before I had been born, and before anything was in the predetermined counsel of the Godhead. The very same thing applies to every child of God. Jesus Christ, physically, when he was born shares in my descent from Adam, and when I was reborn, I became a member of God’s family that is why Jesus can say, to his Father: “Here am I and the children God has given Me.” A wonderful family to be part of, all because of the grace of God, and a great destiny, that lies ahead of me. (14) To be truly a brother of mine, Jesus Christ had to be made in the same way I was, in the flesh, similarly all of the children of God the Father. Partakers of flesh and blood that is what we are. “He likewise shared in the same.” I turn to Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians for the evidence of this. (1.Cor.9:10) “Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who freshes in hope should be partaker of his hope,” The word partaker is better rendered, “to have with” It means to be in partnership with, to participate with someone, sharing in participation with another, co partnering with others in a joint venture. The connection can be seen here in Hebrews.2:14 I believe you can say this of Jesus, because it is indeed, through his incarnation, he becomes one of us, the taking of a body, the same as me, of flesh, and blood without sin, for my redemption, and the redemption of others. The word, redemption, in simplistic terminology, means paying a ransom, buying back, that which was originally someone else’s. The blood of Christ, bought me back from the Devil, who had stolen me from God. It was his precious blood that has delivered me from evil and
the penalty of sin. Furthermore; as I carry on into the sentence, I am told explicitly, why, the Son of God had to become a man, to enable him to die, shedding his precious blood, which enabled him to overcome death, thereby destroying him, who had the power of death, the Devil. Paul in his letter to the believers at Colosse spoke on this issue. (Col.2:15) “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” The death that is spoken of here is not just physical side of me it also includes the spiritual too, of being brought back from the very edge of destruction. Christ’s death and resurrection is his victory, but because of it, I am a child of God, sharing in His victory, provided me with a quality of life that I did not have, with the gift of eternal life, when I am called home to glory. Of course the ultimate victory is of my Lord. Hallelujah! (2 Tim.1:10) “but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,” (15) The benefits of my Lord’s death, and resurrection, subsequently his victory, before I was saved by the Lord Jesus Christ, I feared death, because I did not know where I was going. I was in bondage to fear, the fear of death. Christ’s victory released me from that. The author of the gospel of Luke writes on this precise subject, (Luke.1:74, 75 ;) “To grant us that we, Being delivered from the hands of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear, (75) In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our lives.” I have to serve God in holiness and righteousness until I am called home to glory.(16) Jesus Christ does not take on the form of an angel, but of the nature of humanity, angels serve him, by serving me, and the brethren, the fact that he takes on my nature, makes him the seed of Abraham, which in turn, means that I belong to the seed of Abraham. He is in a sense my earthly father, and the messianic Jews, including Gentiles, who are Christ’s of which I am one, descended from the earthly line of Abraham. Other Biblical passages speak of Christ providing aid to the seed of Abraham. What better aid can there be than to be saved from a spiritual life in the pit of hell through Jesus Christ, our Lord, he deserves all the praise, glory, and honour, that I am able to give him. Hallelujah! (17) The author reiterates once again that Jesus Christ had to be made like my brethren, and I ,who are his brethren, with flesh and blood, ( Phil.2:7,) “ but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men”. To step down from heavens glory on my behalf, from his point of view is bad enough, but to come in the form of a bondservant, he who is the Son of God is in the world’s eyes, the deepest humiliation that a person of his stature had to suffer. To become void, Paul the apostle uses it of himself, to enable him to take the gospel of my Lord into the city of Corinth. (1.Cor.9:15) “But I have used none of these things, nor have I written these things that it should be done so to me; for it would be better for me to die than that anyone should make my boasting void.” This should be seen in the context that Paul never boasted of himself, it was always about his risen Lord, the glorified Christ. The same Lord, who is my Lord, made invisible his deity, through, and in his incarnation, in the above reference to Philippians the glories attendant to his deity or one who is God, his self emptying, but still remaining as one who is God. I have to
subject myself to the will and purposes of my Lord, nothing else will do, and I am pleased to do that. The very purpose of why he had to divest himself of power is made transparent in the next part of the sentence: “...that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God,” To be able to be my great High Priest, Jesus Christ had to be like me, one with his people that is why through his incarnation, becoming a man, in his humanity, he is able to show mercy to all. The gospels belonging to the N.T. highlight this beautiful trait of his character. I must continue reading them, and more importantly, it was necessary for his saving work upon the cross, for my benefit, and that of humanity. Therefore; as the great High Priest, he is able to show mercy towards his people. I can only look upon this with awe, and astonishment, that God would do this for me, again I say, Bless his wonderful name. Jesus preached upon the subject of mercy, while sitting on the plateau of a mountain, just outside of the vicinity of Capernaum, (Matt.5:7) “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” God shows me mercy, how can I not show mercy to all those whose paths I cross, one of the attributes of his character, seen in his Son Jesus Christ, which should always be seen as a hallmark of God’s children everywhere. To be actively merciful with kind and compassionate actions meeting the needs of others, such a person is my Lord. He expects no less from me. The fact of my Lord’s great High Priestly role I will look at in the chapters following. Our author goes into more detail in regard to this immense and weighty subject. Because of what my Lord has done in his physical frame, he has made propitiation for the sins of the people. The word is also used by the apostle John in his first letter of the N.T. (1.Jn.4:10.) “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” So what does this word propitiation, precisely mean, what am I meant to understand in regard to it? The word is used, to describe my Lord’s active attribute of being merciful to me, through his sacrificial death, appeasing God’s anger, against my sin, providing a covering over it by his blood, of which theologians, and scholars describe as expiatory. It is by these means, the atoning death of Christ, my Lord, which enables God his Father to be merciful to me. I, who was a sinner, that being the case, my reconciliation with and through him is processed. I know this through, and through, in my soul, and yet again I am struck dumb, because of it. I can only say, praise God. Heb, 2:17, and 1.Jn.4: 10 are the only two verses of the N.T that mention propitiation (18) The final confirmation that all that I need is found in the Lord of glory. As a man, he suffered, while being put to the test, and overcame it, through his death and resurrection, because of that, in like manner; he will help me to overcome temptation. I give all the praise, glory, and honour, to my risen glorified Lord, Jesus Christ, and God the Father, Amen. May my voice reach above the heavens, in the praise of the glorious name, of our God? Study Seven The Faithfulness of the Son Of God, Jesus Christ Heb.3:1-6
(1) Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, (2) who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses was faithful in all his house. (3) For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honour than the house (4) For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God.(5) And Moses indeed was faithful in all his house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward, (6) but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope. (1) I am called to consider the fact that Jesus Christ is His Father’s Apostle, who is the representative of him towards me. He as my High Priest is representative of me towards his Father. As an Apostle, he represents His Father to his people, and as the great High Priest, he is their ambassador in a priestly role to the Father. The author describes those to whom he writes as holy brethren, and partakers of the heavenly calling. Unless I had been called by God, I would not be sharing in this heavenly calling, which is the prerequisite, God has qualified me with, to be part of that esteemed host, then and now. Our author makes an important point concerning my Lord in the third clause of the sentence. I have to confess with my mouth, tongue, and voice that, I believe in my prayer time, that, he is my Apostle, and great High Priest, because in reality, that is precisely, who, and what he is. To consider, means to weigh up, and in this case, all that has gone on before in the life of Christ Jesus. It is because of Christ’s public ministry, and his work on earth, his passion, crucifixion, and resurrection, that he now stands as His Father’s Apostle towards me, and as a great High Priest, he intercedes on my behalf to his Father, what a glorious God, who continues to love me, showing compassion and mercy all of the time, but not only to me, to all of my brethren. (2) On the agenda is faithfulness, the faithfulness of Christ Jesus to his God. I believe obedience is the key role of my Lord’s attitude and behaviour towards God the Father. I spoke a little earlier of how Jesus Christ was the perfect Son towards God the Father, while walking, and living in the flesh of a man, when upon the earth, he did all that God asked of him. Jesus Christ the Son of God, when being in the form of a man, upon the earth, appointed by God, was in his earthly life, faithful in all he was asked to do. What I see here, is the action of faith in Jesus Christ, my risen Lord, towards God his Father, action and response, never passive. I can say, that I am a child of God, when confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord, verbally, without doing anything, constitutes it as being passive, never accomplishing anything. My Lord’s faith was never anything like that. I have to be active in obedience towards my faith in God. He has a code of behaviour, I have to strive to meet, with the help, and influence of God the Holy Spirit. Two parallel courses of faith are mentioned by the author in distinction, the one belonging to Jesus Christ the Son of God, the other of Moses the servant of the Lord. But the bottom line is obedience to your faith, obedience to my faith in God. Moses the man typified what constitutes faithfulness, the author
points out that he was faithful in his entire house. (Ex.40:16) Thus Moses did; according to all that the Lord commanded him, so he did. (3) The distinction is made plain, the very fact that the One (Jesus Christ, the Son of God.) is worthy of more glory, than Moses, by the very fact that he is the Son of God. Jesus Christ built his house, which is the church, is worthy of more honour, than his house, the church, as a member of that church it mean’s that I have to give him all the glory, the honour, and the praise that is due to him. I am pleased and glad to do that. Another point is that Moses is a member of the house, he built under the instruction of God, and in that case, he is a servant of God’s house, and of God. The distinction is that Moses is the servant of God’s house Israel. Jesus Christ is the Lord, and builder of his house, which is the church. Christ, who lived then, and lives now forever, the living one is the builder of all things, nothing can happen out with the will and purposes of God. He is the great God worthy of all my praise, and the honour I give to him. (4)Furthermore, the emphases is on the fact, which is stressed upon, Jesus Christ being the Son of God in his preincarnate form is the builder of all things, the house of Israel under the leadership of Moses is his, and the house which is also exclusively his, of which he is Lord of, the church. Let God’s church sing praises to his name. All the glory, the honour, and exaltation goes to the Lord of lords, and my great High Priest Jesus Christ. (Ephes.2:10) “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before hand that we should walk in them.” (5) Although my Lord is superior over Moses in everything, his faith in God should not be belittled. He is outstanding, because of his faith in the almighty God. The Lord spoke to Aaron and Miriam about Moses, and his obedience towards him: (Num.12:7) “Not so with my servant Moses; He is faithful in all my house.” The author brings the servitude of Moses into view. (Ex.14:31) Thus Israel saw the great work which the Lord had done in Egypt; so the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord and His servant Moses. Although I have been adopted into sonship, in and through my Lord, and Saviour Jesus Christ, I try to take on the role of a servant towards him, by being obedient, to what he has to say to me. An active faith, one that is not passive. Precisely because of his active faith in God, Moses left behind the testimony of his godly character, the same thing I strive to do. (Deut.18:15) Such was his godly life; Moses prophesied that a prophet like him would come in the future to the shores of this world. “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear.” He was prophesying of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, who has already been, and is coming again. An event I keenly await with anticipation. The testimony of God, which I leave behind, after being called home to glory, is very important to my God, and me. For all my brothers, and sisters who strive for perfection with the help of God the Holy Spirit. (6) The Risen Glorified Christ as the Son of God is Lord over his own house. I believe what the author is thinking of here is the High Priest Melchizedek, who suddenly appeared from no where, and went back to where he came from, he had no genealogy. My Lord did not come from an earthly priestly line, like the Levitical Priesthood. Unlike earthly priests they die and another has to take their place. Jesus Christ, like Melchizedek is a great High Priest, forever. He is superior over the Aaronic Priesthood, and replaces
them, continuing to intercede on my behalf, and my brethren, but just like Melchizedek, who was a king, and a priest, likewise is Jesus Christ, my King, and my great High Priest. (Ps.110:4) The Lord has sworn And will not relent, “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.” Therefore; as a King, and a great High Priest, after the order of Melchizedek, being like that of his household, he reigns over me. Not only me, all of his brethren. This very godly man, the author, places himself in Christ’s house, along with his brethren, including those to whom he writes. The house, he writes of, I believe to be the church of Christ, of which I am a son, including my brothers, and sisters, who are all sons of the living God, because there is no gender in heaven, only earth. All I can say is praise God for his goodness towards me, and my brethren. I along with my brethren are one, the temple, and body of the Lord, the apostle Paul addressed this issue. (1.Cor.3:16) “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” I must hold fast and rejoice in the Hope of my Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus spoke very stern words on the difficulties I would face as a disciple of his, but in a proper manner to encourage me. (Matt.10:22) “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.” I have nothing to add, Jesus Christ, my Lord, says, it all.
Study Eight Be faithful and obedient Heb.3:7-15 (7) Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, If you will hear His voice, (8) Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness, (9) where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works forty years. (10) Therefore I was angry with that generation, And said, “They always go astray in their hearts, And they have not known My ways.” (11) So I swore in My wrath, “They shall not enter My rest.” (12) Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; (13) but encourage one another daily, while it is called “ Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. (14) For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, (15) while it is said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
(7) Had the Jewish converts to Christianity fallen away? It would seem so, when the author asks, moved by the Spirit, if they would listen to the voice of God the Holy Spirit. I believe the whole of the Godhead is on view. The Holy Spirit does not operate independently of the Son and God the Father. He speaks to the believers of what God the
Son, Jesus Christ, my Lord, and God the Father would want of them. Like them, I could not live a successful Christ like life, without the help of God’s Spirit. I cannot overcome my old nature, without his help, the same principle applies to all of my brethren. I repeat, I cannot live my life in the manner God expects of me without the help of God the Holy Spirit. The word, “If,” implies that they had experienced the Spirit of God talking to them. I believe what the author is saying, here to them, is that, you must listen to the Spirit of God, and obey him again, not once, all of the time. A challenge of listening to God is that I must do it all of the time. When faced with difficult decisions, watching certain men of God, committing themselves to apostasy, and their flocks, of which I was a member, there is only one course of action, I have to challenge it, which I have done in the past. I will probably have to do it in the future, but only in and through the Spirit of God, that I am able do that. Praise God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, the one triune God. There is another point, the words of the Bible, do not come merely from men, they come from God the Holy Spirit, who influenced them, to write them down. Many of God’s people have diluted or watered it down and as a result walked away from him, enticed back into the world; by their own selfish motives. God does not want that to happen to any of his children, but it is their choice. The author in his zeal, and passion for God, warns his brethren, not to allow that to happen to them. (8) He warns them not to harden their hearts against God as their predecessors did! Can hardness take over my heart? Hardness can only occur, when I stop listening to the Spirit of God, and start doing my own thing. I must listen to what he has to say to me, listening, and being obedient to his voice. The hardness of the hearts of their predecessors led them to rebel against God. The difficulty of being obedient to God is to succumb to his will, and purposes for your life. I have to succumb to the will and purposes of God for my life. It means I have to crucify my ambitions, self, and self centredness, to take up my cross to follow Jesus Christ, my Lord. No easy task, but the Spirit of God enables me to do just that, the very same thing that was expected of these Jewish Christians, the very same thing that is expected of all of Christ’s people. To do other than that is too horrific to contemplate, as I can see from the passage. (9-11) I believe the message can be seen by taking these three verses together. The believers are Jewish Christians, but they are reminded by the author of where they have come from, although they have become Christians, a much worse destiny will befall them if they continue to harden their hearts, while failing to listen to the voice of God. The author cites a passage from the O.T. Their ancestors, the Fathers of them, and their forefathers, had been put on trial by God, to see what their reaction would be? It was not a good one. While in the desert they grumbled, and complained against God. He had delivered them out of the hand of Pharaoh, and slavery, but they showed no gratitude or appreciation to God for what he had done for them My salvation comes from God, and is assured, but if I do not live my life in a manner that pleases him, and go back to my old ways without a thought for him, I will never enter into heaven. I have walked away. God becomes angry with me, when I stop listening to Him. The very same scenario is made clear by the author to these Jews who had been converted to Christianity. How God became angry with his people in the desert. But not 31
once did they think of what he had done for them, the end was, that he destroyed them in the wilderness. None of them entered into God’s rest. The question that continues to run through my spirit is the following: Is it possible to know God, yet not know Him? I have to say, yes, temptations will always filter into the grey cells of my brain, while I continue to live on earth. It is what I do with them, which remains crucial to my faith, to be able to overcome these temptations; I have to ask the Spirit of God, to enable me to do this. Part of the Lord’s Prayer for his disciples comes to mind: “Lead me not into temptation, and deliver me from all evil,” But I have to utter these words to my Lord. The choice of either doing what pleases God or me continues before me. (12) I would like to print this verse for my own spiritual benefit, because the world I live in is a constant challenge to my faith. “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;” I believe, what the author is addressing here, is the deliberate action, not to take on board, what God has to say to me, through the precious word of Holy Scripture, and speaking directly to me, through his still small voice. I know of the concept, once saved, always saved, but I believe this only applies to God’s people who truly love him. Judas Iscariot certainly did not love Jesus, even although he had been chosen to be one of his disciples. I need to be on constant guard within my spirit while being led by the Spirit of God. The apostle Peter spoke to his brethren on this very vexed subject. (Acts.1:17) “For he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry.” One more text from the same passage, from the book of Acts, details a deliberate act of defiance. (Acts.1:25) “To take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.” Transgression is a highly emotive word, because it is a wilful and deliberate act of self will, the word is the English translation of the New Testament Greek term, parabaino, carrying with it the expression of abandonment, rebellion, disobedience, abandoning the trust of someone else. Judas abandoned the trust Jesus Christ had placed in him, as one of his chosen apostles, the path of one who is an apostate. He was with Jesus for three years, and learnt nothing, but there are still many like him. There was only one in the actions, he took, and that was Judas Iscariot, but there are many of similar behaviour. Only God knows who they are, they know who they are, but while they live, and breathe, they can learn to repent before the Lord. I know from experience, how hard it is to live a life of obedience to my Lord that is why he has called on me, to keep carrying the cross, he has given me.(13) The Blessed Holy Spirit will give me the power, and the strength to do just that. It also helps to be encouraged by my brethren, when facing various trials, and I am to encourage them while they are going through the same. (14-15) I am a partaker of Christ, but it is not a one off experience. I am to grow, experiencing his love for me, and by listening to his still small voice, being obedient towards him, the love I experience from him, I have to give to others. Praise His holy name.
The failure of unbelief. Heb.3; 16-19. (16) For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? (17) Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? (18) And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? (19) So we see they could not enter in because of unbelief. (16) Is it possible for me to rebel against God, after hearing the preaching of his word, and accepting his Son, Jesus Christ, as Lord, through God’s Spirit, who led me out of sin? Regretably the answer is yes. The children of Israel had been led out of slavery, from Egypt, seen the miraculous work of God amongst them, through their leader Moses, and rebelled against him. (17) For forty years God put up with their unrepentant behaviour to see whether, even one, would repent before him. But the answer was no, and God killed them, because in all of that time, they rebelled against him. The text translates, as having sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness. (18) If after all God has done for me, I refuse to do what he asks of me, can I really expect to enter his kingdom? I do not believe so. (19) In their misapprehension, they thought, that they could do, whatever, they liked, and still be accepted by God, absolutely not! They knew there were certain standards, and conditions, demanded from them by God, in order to enable them to enter into his rest. The very same is applicable to me as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. I have to carry my cross, as he did for my sake, doing it gladly showing his love to others (1.Cor 10:11, 12) “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our instruction, upon the end of the ages have come. (12) Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”
Study Ten To be able to rest in God’s promised Rest Heb.4:1-10 (1) Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. (2) For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. (3) For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: “So I swore in My wrath, “They shall not enter My rest,” although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. (4) For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works” ;( 5) and again in this place: “They shall not enter My rest.” (6) Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and to those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, (7) again He designates a certain day, saying in David, “Today,” after such a long time, 33
as it has been said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts.” (8) For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. (9) Therefore there remains a rest for the people of God. (10) For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.(1) I have always thought very deeply on the subject of God’s rest, sometimes, I get it right, other times, I do not. At times, I believe the church becomes stereotyped with too many Christian work programs, stifling the influence of God the Holy Spirit, and then wonder why there is no success. Not that I am against programs, only those that are man made without the influence of the Spirit of God. One of the things, which I have found in my own Christian experience, is that I fail, when I try to witness the love of God for others, in my own self suffiency, without consulting Him, first. You invariably meet those who are not in the least interested. Yet there are many times God witnesses his love through me vocally, and by other means, without my brain being actively engaged, God’s Spirit, working in and through me, for the glory of the Kingdom of God. How does that work, you have to give yourself wholly over to God. Study Nine I had spoken of those who had failed to enter Canaan, and experience the physical rest that God had wanted to give to them, but I believe it is also a spiritual warning to professing Christians like me, who endeavor to follow the risen glorified Christ, to be obedient, because of the promise of eternal life. That is what lies in the future. However; there is a greater truth that is present with me, I am meant to enter that rest now. How do I explain this to myself, what does God want me to understand by it? I ask God to help me to understand this with the help of his wisdom. I believe, with many of my brethren, the fact, that I am in that rest now, an explosive mix. On the one hand you have to live totally in, and through God, and on the other hand allow the Holy Spirit to control my life, and stop planning things, and doing them in my own self sufficiency. A very difficult exercise, because I am so used to my brain telling me what to do. I am not saying my brain is defunct, because it is used by God to communicate to me, what he desires of me, and his Spirit controls what comes from my brain. To live a holy life, dedicated to God, my Saviour, the risen glorified Christ, I have to give up, what I would like to do, stop gratifying the lusts of my flesh, which will in turn bring me closer to God, entering more deeply, into the rest, he wants to give to me. Hallelujah, for the fact, that God knows me better, than myself, and therefore, knows what to do with me, to enable me, to bring the lost into his kingdom. Reinforces the reality of the fact, that I cannot do anything for God, it is what he does through me, that bring the lost into his Kingdom, and my life’s end is to please Him. The second clause of the sentence bears this out. Otherwise, it would make no sense. “Let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.” This is now, I have to get that into my heart, and my spirit with the help of God. Amen. This godly author is crying aloud to his brethren, in the words, he uses towards them. You at this present time should be resting in God. Resting in God is a tremendous gift, from the grace he gives to me, through his Son, Jesus Christ, my Lord.
I have been operating, to some degree, in and through it, without being totally aware of it. Now I know it is impossible to do the work, he has called on me to do, without abiding in his rest. The great apostle Paul had this to say, on this vital, vitality, which I need. (Rom.6:1.) “We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain,” Grace gives me the vitality to do what he asks of me. There is no mistake in what the author writes of concerning the point that they must not come short of God’s rest. They had listened, but had not believed, because they did not put into action, that, which they had heard. Many come to Christ’s church thinking they know him, but by their actions, they truly illustrate, that they do not. Again I turn to Paul, who underlines what the author of the Letter to the Hebrews is writing of. God strengthening my faith, through what the author of Hebrews speaks of, and the apostle Paul, agreeing on this, in his letter to the Galatians (Gal.5:4,) “You have become estranged from Christ, you attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” Quite clearly nobody can be justified by God’s law, obviously! I believe, what is on view here, is that those, who have tasted the grace of God, have turned away from him, to rely totally on good works, by their own efforts, to get them into heaven, refusing to listen to the voice of God, and what it is, he would have them do. Good works should only be a by product of my love for God. Once I stop listening to God, and continuing, to stop listening to him, I am in a perilous position. I praise God that I am not, praying that will never be the case. (2) I have no idea who is being addressed here, but in the context of the verse, I believe we have belief and unbelief in the gathering. How does the author know? He must have received reports of how things were going in regard to these Christian Jews, from a genuine believer. Like those I see here in this gathering, the same is applicable, to those who gather, to worship God, in church buildings up and down the country. I have no idea who they are, but God does. I must make sure no unbelief creeps into my heart. (3) I do not claim, that, I am always aware of being in God’s rest, which is not to say, that I am not, but it is what I aim for, to know the closeness of God in me. I pray that this is also the aim of my brethren. There are times my Lord just wants me to chill out, and enjoy the quietness, while he talks to me. This can be difficult for my natural man, because he just wants to be doing all the time, my spirit says, no! (4) My God rested on the seventh day, after he had finished all of his labours. Therefore; seeing that he rested from his work, it must follow, that I have to rest, from the work that has been given to me. But to be refreshed in my body, and my spirit, I have to rest, in the rest of Jesus Christ, my Lord. (5) Again, and again the author points out to his readers the necessity of rest. Why is it so important? I believe the answer to that is the reality of Jesus Christ, being in me, and I in him. I sing hymns and songs with this phrase in it, and read the Bible, which has many passages containing that phrase. The concept of Christ living in me, is not just a nice idea, it is meant to be a living reality, through that reality, which must be a lively relationship with him, he can through his Spirit, talk to my spirit, leading me to the people, he wants me to talk too. While I do this in this manner, I am resting in him, and from that very premise, I am not doing, and in a sense I am doing the work, I have been called to do, Christ does it through me. I need to keep my spiritual ears open to him. What a wonderful God! Amen. To be 35
not wholly committed to God with the whole of my life, means I do not know him. I will therefore, not enter his rest, now, and the eternal rest that awaits me. I praise God, because that is not the case. I know him, and he knows me. I praise God, my Saviour, Jesus Christ, Son of God, and my great High Priest. Hallelujah! (6) The hinge pin of this text is obedience to God. The experience of having an initial encounter with God, should lead on to a more lasting relationship with him. Not a one off initial encounter, and then I go off and do what I like, that is disobedience. I heard the gospel and embraced it, but for a time, I did not fully understand, what it meant to be in Christ. God in his mercy slowly revealed to me, the understanding of it. I had to have the heart to accept it, many do not. The acid test for me, was that God said, through His Spirit, that if I wanted him to be Lord of my life? It had to be the whole of it. The very same question the author challenges his readers with. (7) Israel had been promised rest by God, through David, but never entered into it, the rest that I find in Christ, a total perplexing situation, and circumstance, because God often spoke of the coming Messiah, who would rescue his people, from the O.T. Scriptures. Many never seem to have understood. (8) The author cites another quotation from the O.T (Jos.22:4) Here Joshua is only speaking of physical rest for his troops, and for those who were around him, which would come at another time, but not the spiritual rest, which is the best rest of all, and can only be found in the Lord Jesus Christ This is the rest in which I find myself in. (9) My prayer is for my brethren, that if they have to still find this rest, God would give it to them. (10) Just as my God rested from his work of creation. I, because of my trust in Christ, in achieving salvation for me, I rest in him, learning to depend on the help of God the Holy Spirit, to enable me to please God. I give all the praise, all the honour, and the glory to God.
Study Eleven. The Word sharper than any two edged sword. Heb.4:11-13. (11) Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. (12) For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intent of the heart. (13) And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. (11) I must always be careful to apply the word of God to the practical applications of my faith in Jesus Christ, living my life in, and through his rest. If I focus, and concentrate on what pleases the Lord, in the life, he has given me, I will not go wrong. Simon Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, adds his weight behind this precious truth (2.Pet.1:10.)“Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election 36
sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble” Continuing to ask myself, the same question, over, and over again, is it really possible for me to fall from grace? The same theme is taken up by two of the godliest men of the N.T. I need to avail myself of the answer to enable me to grow, and mature in my Lord, the risen glorified Christ. I have inadvertently answered my own question. Continue to seek the face of God, doing what pleases him. There are many in the visible, and invisible church of the Lord Jesus Christ, universal, and world wide, who pervert the truth of the doctrine, of the gospel of Jesus Christ, twisting the words of Scripture, to make them say, something, that they clearly do not, in order to justify the life style that they lead. I must be careful not to be misled by them. The mark of a true follower of Jesus Christ is to show the fruit of the Spirit, and I can only do it through him, Jesus Christ, our risen glorified Lord. (12) There is nothing God cannot see, nothing is hidden from him. Things that I do, and say, while being hidden from the eyes of humanity, my Lord can see. He sees straight into my heart, and the thoughts that lie in there. He is actively searching my soul and spirit, and if there is anything there, which I have not repented of, he sees it. Frightening, because he will deal with it, the more that I rebel against him, the harder is his chastisement, and rebuke will be against me, until I show repentance towards him. God’s word is living and powerful, just, as I have already said. Is, present tense, operating now, though the Spirit of God, using his word, to search my spirit, continually in action. But a better translation from the New Testament Greek, would be energetic, a continuous action of the Holy Spirit within me. Nothing in me is hidden from God. If I continue to love my Lord, because he first loved me, I have nothing to be frightened of. The Psalmist often spoke on this vital subject. (Ps.147:15) “He sends out His commands to the earth; His word runs very swiftly.” The fact that the word is sharper, than any two edged sword, makes it a potential devastating weapon, used with great ferocity by God, he with this two edged sword will slice through anything the blow is aimed at. I have to remember that he is a jealous God, jealously; guarding the love he gives to me. Likewise I have to return his love, not allowing any false idols to take his place. My preference is for the alternative King James translation: “piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit,” Reinforces the idea of a cutting edge, especially of a weapon that is sharper than a two edged sword. God’s word, like a sword is so precise, that it cuts through into my inner man, discerning, as well as defining the dividing wall, between spirit and soul. The word spirit translated from the New Testament Greek: pneuma, describes the human spirit within me. It is through my spirit, that I have my relationship with God in the life I am leading now. The apostle Paul spoke on this very crucial point of how I am to live for Christ. (Rom.8:10) “And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” Soul which comes from the N.T. Greek term, Psuche, expresses the idea of my inner life, regardless of my spiritual experiences, like my emotions, thoughts, desires, and choices. The word of God, in that still small voice, when he speaks to my spirit, he awakens, and strengthens my spirit
within me, exposing my soul’s battle, with my spirit, because it is in conflict with the purposes, and the will of God for my life. But I must submit to God’s piercing cutting word, which softens my heart, enabling me to enter into his rest. To do otherwise would mean, because I rebel against his voice, unbelief enters into my heart, becoming cold, and hard towards him, it will also manifest the same conditions, against my brethren, and the lost. Exactly, because of that, it would mean, not only the physical loss of my body, when I die, the spirit would be lost too. I continue to praise God, because that is not the case. (13) There is no doubt in the author’s godly spirit, and intelligence, that there is coming an appointed time, when all will stand before God to be accountable. Those like me, who love the Lord, being obedient to his voice, have nothing to fear, because of which, we will enter the kingdom of God, receiving the gift of eternal life. Amen.
Study Twelve Jesus Christ the Great Compassionate High Priest Heb.4: 14-16. (14) Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. (15) For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.(16) Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (14) To be my great High Priest, Jesus Christ had to be like me, and with me, without sin. I believe it illustrates very well the necessity of the incarnation of my Lord. Without it, there would have been no salvation, and nor would there be grace. All would have perished. A deeply disturbing picture, so it should be! When my Lord came to earth, and walked as a man, he became one like, and one with his people, a prerequisite that he needed, in order, to be my great High Priest, not only me, of all his people. After my Lord’s crucifixion, death, and resurrection, after meeting his apostles, he ascended into heaven. He, at this very precise time is sitting at the right hand of the Majesty on high, interceding on my behalf, as one who is the great High Priest. This great High Priest is none other than Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The very person that I have given my life too, because holding fast my confession, I believe with the help of God’s Spirit, and the reading of his word, including my encounters with God, enables me to lead a life pleasing to him. Christ, my Lord is my lively hope, in Him; his promises to me are yes, and amen. Therefore; I hold fast to the promises I have received from him. (10:23) “Let us hold fast
the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” I have to trust in my Lord, regardless of what my flesh understands, and sees. (15) Help me O God to understand this, from a fresh point of view, helped by your Blessed Spirit, because I have become too familiar with it. One of the core issues, if not the centre core issue of my relationship with the risen glorified Christ is that he sympathizes with my every weakness. I have to remember that Jesus Christ is God, and has always been God, continues to be God, because he is God the Son. But when he became a man, he relinquished his power, as one who is God to become an ordinary man, still retaining his identity as one who is God, a contradiction from my fleshly point of view, but from his perspective, absolutely true. Humanity describes a highly contradictory statement as a paradox, but from God’s point of view, nothing is a paradox, when it originates from him. Isaiah the prophet saw a day in the future, when my Lord would become the suffering servant, on my behalf, by becoming a man, while still being God, without the power. (Is.53:3-5) “He is despised and forsaken by men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. (4) Surely He has borne our sicknesses and carried our sorrows; Yet we reckoned Him stricken, struck down by God and afflicted.(5) But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by his stripes we are healed.” Because, my Lord became incarnate, born into the world without sin, he was perfect in his birth, and then went on to live a sinless life, a perfection that marked him out for the perfect sacrifice, to appease his Father, for my sin, and the sins of others. I have to keep remembering, that the suffering servant illustrated here is Jesus Christ the Son of God. The great difficulty that I have here, while reading the passage, is how to respond towards this immeasurable love of God, towards me, in what is appropriate to him? At this moment in my human frailty I am at a loss of how too? Because, historically speaking, I was not in the flesh, when all of these terrible things were happening to him. I need a fresh impetus from God the Holy Spirit, for my spirit, to give the proper praise, glory, and honour, to God, which he looks for from me, accompanied with the deep appreciation, gratitude, and love, towards him, which comes from the heart. Only the Spirit of God, who abides in me, can help me to achieve that aim. An incredible statement of prophecy from the lips of Isaiah, the one whom he prophesies of is God, finds himself as a man, was despised by me, and since my birth, I had turned my back upon him. Past tense, had despised him, and turned my back upon him. However; that is the case of humanity, who has still to come to know him, the very circumstance into which he was born. No matter how hard it is for me, to try to understand, Jesus Christ, my Lord, had to receive the bestial, brutal treatment that was inflicted upon him, from the hands of men, barbarous, and cruel, because it was necessary, in order to free me from my transgressions, making a path back to his Father for me, and becoming my great High Priest, through suffering, and death, raised to life on the third day by his Father God, so that he could sympathize with my every weakness. He
appreciates my loyalty to him, and because of his great humanity, in his role of my great High Priest, sympathizes with the weaknesses of my humanity, a love that transcends my life. Every temptation I have gone through Jesus Christ has been tested with, and even more, than I have known. The key to his perfect sacrifice, despite all that was happening to him; he continued to be with out sin: “Yet without sin,” But was tested to the utmost. (Luke.22:28) “But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials.” He will continue to be with me, and will help me to overcome the trials that come against me in this life. (16) My Lord, the risen glorified Christ, now sits at the right hand of His majesty on high, in his new role of the great High Priest, interceding on behalf of his people. He is at this moment in time interceding on my behalf, because of the work he had done on earth, and because of his passion, I now can approach the throne of his mercy, and grace. It is not a throne of judgment, quite the opposite, it is a throne of mercy, where I can speak openly about my failures, to which he shows me mercy. There would be no point of me having a High Priest, if I were already perfect? None of us can be perfect, because we have a battle between our spirit, and our carnal nature, an on going struggle, which will continue until I am called home to glory. I have to be totally honest with my Lord about my failures. I must come clean about everyone of them. It is only then, he is able to show me mercy. What a wonderful God, who knows me, because he made me, knows all of the thoughts that continue to go through my intellect, or grey cells, ready to show mercy, when I truly repent of any wrong doing. Even now, after my prayer to my Lord, and great High Priest for forgiveness, he has already shown his mercy towards me, while I continue to be blessed with his unmerited favour.Paul the apostle makes a tremendous statement and confession of faith on this precious truth, forever to be enshrined upon my heart. (Eph.2:18) “For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.” Praise the Lord God Almighty, who reigns from his throne in the heavens above.
Study Thirteen The Criteria for Priesthood Heb.5:1-11. (1) For every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. (2) He can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is also subject to weakness. (3) Because of this he is 40
required as for the people, so also for himself, to offer sacrifices for sins. (4) And no man takes this honour to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was. (5) So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.” (6) As He also says in another place: “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek”; (7) who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard, because of His godly fear, (8) though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. (9) And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, (10) called by God as High Priest “according to the order of Melchizedek,” (11) of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. (1) God in his foreknowledge knows that I like all of his people can fall into the temptations of the enemy by succumbing to him. He is aware of the fact that the enemy is always attacking the points in which I am weak until I fall, that is until the Lord helps me to overcome them. The very same things happened with the people of God in the days of the Old Testament. He provided a system in which they could sacrifice animals, using their blood to cover their sins. But it did nothing to stop them sinning again, the flaw in the system, an empty ritual that did not, and could not change their nature, can I change myself, no! However; once a year the high priest, according to the traditions laid down by God, would bring gifts, and sacrifices on behalf of himself, and the people of God for their sins. An illustration of how much God abhors and hates sin. Scripture instructs me that without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sin. (2) The outward form of a ritualistic practice that changes absolutely nothing. The high priest whoever he is still remains in the flesh. The same thing applies to the people of God. Even the high priest had to offer his own gifts, and sacrifices to God, for whatever sins, that he had committed, before making intercession for the people of God, and bringing gifts, and sacrifices for their sins to him. I believe it is possible to know God through his Son Jesus Christ, and not know him, having had a first encounter with him, then falling away from him, because he ceases to be the Lord of our lives. Obedience that is what God looks for from me. The trap that the enemy, so skillfully weaves, is to let me think, that all I need to do is attend church, continue to live in a manner that pleases me, and I will still enter into heaven. The answer is absolutely not, that is duplicity, double standards, hypocrisy, God can see right through it! (3) Because the high priest and the rest of God’s people do not have the ability to overcome sin, it is necessary to continue to bring sacrifices for sin. I have to continue coming before God, entering into his throne room, and on confession of sin, before him, receive mercy and grace. (Lev.9; 7) And Moses said to Aaron, “Go to the alter, offer your sin offering and your burnt offering, and make atonement for yourself and for the people. Offer the offering of the people, and make atonement for them, as the Lord commanded.” Aaron was the very first priest chosen by God to represent his people. (Lev.16:6) “Aaron
shall offer the bull as a sin offering, which is for himself, and make atonement for himself and for his house.” (4) God had chosen Aaron to be a high priest in order to represent his people. (Ex.28:1) “Now take Aaron your brother and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel that he may minister to Me as priest, Aaron and Aaron’s sons: Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.” Only God can make it very clear to me, what my calling is in this life, the same principle is equally applicable to my brethren. With God’s help I have been called to preach the gospel of his Son Jesus Christ, who is, the risen glorified Lord, wherever; he would send me. (5) A very severe warning not to rob God of his glory, thinking, that because, wherever my God has put me, I am more special, than anyone else, if that is the case, and it is not, I have become a victim of my own spiritual pride, something that I have suffered from in the past, and I continue to pray that the Spirit of God will continue to keep me from entering into that position again. The glory belongs to God the Father; his Son Jesus Christ knew this, not only in his foreknowledge of being God’s only begotten Son, but from where he had come from, outside of time, space, and history, the glorious throne room of God. The emphases are on the words, did not, Christ, even although being the Son of God, did not glorify himself. Therefore; it means, that I am not here to exalt myself over others, just, because of the gifts of the Spirit, that God has provided me with. I have to show the fruit of the Spirit. They are not to be used towards my own selfish ends. I am to use them to bring glory and honour to God, uniting his people into one. (Jn.8:54) Jesus answered, “If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is our God.” He did not need to do this, because his Father had already done so. (Ps.2:7) “I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.” Jesus while on earth, when he became an adult, the consciousness of whom he was, and is would become known to him. Christ did not need to glorify himself in order to become the High Priest of his Father’s people. God had already declared in Scripture that Jesus Christ was and is His only begotten Son. He is of the same substance of God the Father. (6) The author, being a very godly Jewish Christian, would be very aware of what the Old Testament had to say, about the risen glorified Lord. Christ, my Lord, from before the beginning would come to earth, and be a priest forever in the mould of Melchizedek. ( Ps.110:4) “The Lord has sworn And will not relent, You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.” Addressed to the Lord of glory, Jesus Christ, the risen exalted, Lord, perfect man, Son of God, and Great High Priest. (7) A real challenge of how I am to live my life, which should be in a manner that pleases God? I see the importance of that in this passage of Hebrews. The author turns my attention to the time, when Jesus was a man, before God his Father in the Garden of Gethsemane, offered up prayers to Him. The fact that he was in the flesh illustrates his real manhood. I will be tested while here on earth to see who I really trust, my self sufficiency or Christ my Lord, a test that continues, while still living life upon the earth.
“.. had offered up prayers and supplications,” Jesus Christ leads by example of how I am to react as one of his disciples, when the world brings pressure to bear upon me. (Mat.26:39) He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” God’s will and purposes for my life should be what motivates me. I must try to understand, that with my Lord, being a man in the flesh, he would be absolutely fearful of what was going to happen to him, growing up under Roman occupation, he may have seen how cruel, and barbaric, it was to be crucified, and nailed to a cross, a cruel, and long lingering death. His humanity can be seen in his vehement cries and tears to his Father. (Ps.22:1) “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me and the words of My groaning?” Words spoken by a truly genuine man, I feel, are some what, glossed over, when Easter is celebrated. The death, he suffered was totally horrific, barbarous and cruel, even although in his flesh, he was fearful of this, he allowed it to happen to him for the sins of this world. He was always in control, a point I should not miss. God his Father could have intervened, and saved him from this grisly death, but then I would have not been saved, and it was not part of the divine plan. But I have to look at the consequences of sin, personal sin, because it was sin that put Christ upon the cross. He was the scapegoat for my sin. God absolutely hates and loathes sin, but I have a responsibility, when temptation comes, to ask him to help me to overcome it, and he will. The reason why he had to die was because of the sins of humanity. God his Father saved his Son, as a man from the grave, in the context of which, after my Lord had died, the Father raised him to life, from the tomb in which he had been laid. (8) I had been speaking earlier of the great contradictory statements of the New Testament seen through the eyes, and interpretation of men. This, as they would see it, is another paradox, but only because they cannot see it though the wisdom of God. I have to keep in mind that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, and yet he had to learn obedience towards his Father, through suffering, a great paradox for those who do not know God. The key element is my Lord’s obedience towards his Father, I likewise must be obedient, and submissive to him. ( Phil.2:8) “ And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” When I allow God to change my character into his Son’s Jesus Christ, from that moment, with the help of his Spirit, he is able to further his kingdom. But this is about the suffering of my Lord, to enable him, to open a path back to heaven for me, culminating in his crucifixion, death, and glorious triumphant resurrection over sin, and his arch enemy the Devil. (9) There never was a time, when my Lord was not ethically, and morally perfect, the perfection the author speaks of is the perfection that qualifies him to be the author of salvation. Again, obedience is such a key word in the vocabulary of this very godly Christian Jewish author. Salvation only comes to them, who obey him. I must press on in doing that. I would not have been saved from hell, had I not obeyed the voice of God the Holy Spirit, speaking to me through the preaching of the gospel of the Lord
Jesus Christ . Paul in his letter to the believers at Rome spoke on this very subject. (Rom.6:17) “But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were entrusted.” Therefore; when I hear the Lord speaking to me, I have to respond to him, and be obedient. (10) My Lord did not confer upon himself the office, and title of High Priest, after the order of Melchizedek, God his Father called and put him into this position, anointing him with oil. Before and from the beginning of time, this office, and title was always going to be my Lord’s. (11) A warning not to stop listening to the still small voice of my Lord. The text seems to suggest that some had fallen away from sound doctrine. It had become increasingly difficult to explain to them the role of my Lord’s office, and title, as the High Priest of the order of Melchizedek, so bad had this become, the author accuses them of becoming dull of hearing. He speaks of much to say, but it would have to be done in their hearing. Jesus said, (Jn.16:12) “I have still many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” I believe the spoken word, under the power, and influence of God the Holy Spirit, while speaking from a text like this from the Bible, can be explosive to the ears of those wavering in their faith.
Study Fourteen Active faith not Passive. Heb.5:12-14
(12) For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. (13) For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. (14) But solid food belongs to those who are mature, that is, those who by reason of practice have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (12) A very important point is being made to these Christian Jews, not to be only listeners to the word of the Scripture. If I only listen to the word of God being taught, without doing what it teaches, I am a babe, totally useless. God cannot use me in order to further his Kingdom. The Christians to whom this godly author writes had slid back, even beyond the things of Scripture that they had been primarily taught . So bad had it become, because they had been in a position to learn Scripture for themselves, but now needed someone else to teach them. I have a responsibility to read God’s word, and to study it, applying it to me, with the help of God the Holy Spirit, to make it effective in my life.
On a Sunday morning church service, and evening, I have to take on board the message that is preached by putting it into practice, but I also must put into practice what God says to me in my private study times, both help each other. If I am only going along to listen to what is being preached, without putting it into practice, I am back to drinking milk. Paul had some very strong words to say, on this crucial subject, designed for spiritual growth in his first letter to the believers at Corinth. (1.Cor.3:1-3) “And I brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. (2) I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; (3) for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?” (13) If I am only listening and not practicing what is preached, I am unskilled in the word of righteousness, I am not living it out; I am still a man of the world gratifying the lusts of my flesh. Again Paul had some very severe words on that issue to the church at Ephesus. (Eph.4:14) “that we should no longer be children, tossed to and thro and carried away with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,” Regardless of who is preaching, whether it is the pastor of the church or a visitor, I have to check out what has been preached, to see whether it aligns itself with the word of God, asking the Spirit of God to give me the understanding of it, accepting what has been said, when it proves to be genuine.(14) To be mature in the word of God, with the help of his Spirit, I need to practice, what I believe in the world, in which I find myself, living out the gospel of Jesus Christ, discerning with my spirit, what is true and false teaching, living the new life Christ has given to me, according to the Word of God, which gives me the solidity of the spiritual food, provided to me from above. Hallelujah, and praise the Lord God Almighty!
Study Fifteen The danger of stopping Heb.6:1-8 (1)Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, (2) of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.(3) And this let us do if God permits. (4) For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and become partakers of the Holy Spirit, (5) and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, (6) and have fallen away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. (7) For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; (8) but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.
(1) I can discuss the doctrines of the Christian faith, which have already established me in Christ endlessly, but if I do not practice, what I believe, I will not grow spiritually. I have to press on to spiritual maturity, which only comes from God. The difficulty I have is in the next part of the sentence, “ of not going back,” again to the doctrine of repentance, my question on this subject is as follows, what exactly am I meant to understand in by it? I believe my answer is found in the fact that I cannot work my way into heaven. Works without faith in God are totally dead, but the works that I do as directed by God the Holy Spirit, who abides in me, enables me to show the fruit of Spirit towards others. The difference, it is to be done in and through the love of Christ in me, making it visible to those who are still in darkness (2)Doctrines of or teachings of repentance, faith, baptisms, resurrection of the dead, laying on of hands, and eternal judgment. (3) Are of crucial importance but are done under God’s permission, everything I do, and say, must be aligned to the will, and authority of God.(4-6) the key to this small cluster of verses grouped together is found in the word impossible, addressed to those, who have deliberately turned their backs upon Jesus Christ, not those who have not met the mark of spiritual maturity sliding into carnality. No! These are those who have deliberately walked away, and vocally denounced Jesus Christ as Lord. There was a period in my life, when I did not walk very closely with the Lord, but that is not what is meant here. The readers, to whom the author writes, some have deliberately walked away from the Christ, and now have disowned him. They had been enlightened by the light of Christ’s truth, the gospel, set free from their darkness, experienced the saving grace of God, in their lives, coupled with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, when he took up his abode within them, having experienced all of that, deliberately renounced their faith in him, and walked away. At the end of this mini passage, the language contains a strong warning of what they should not do, because of what they have done, there is no way back. I had spoken of the word impossible, well, according to the author; it is indeed for such people who have again taken the side of those who have crucified my Lord. Does this really occur in our so called modern age? I have to say, yes, although I am not aware of ever meeting such people. I have to pray that this does not happen to my brothers, and sisters, and me who love the Lord, because the Devil is always on the prowl. (7) But my God is an incredible God, he sends the rain to water the plants for the just and the unjust, showing love to all, who live, and breathe upon the earth. Speaking of the Lord the Psalmist had this to say: (Ps.65:10) “You water its ridges abundantly, You settle its furrows; You make it soft with showers, You bless its growth.” (8) The briers and thorns are the apostates who after knowing the risen Christ rejected him and his doctrines or teaching, whose end is to be burned on the great Day of Judgment.
But you have not stopped Heb.6.9-12 (9) But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. (10) For God is not unjust to forget your work and love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. (11) And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, (12) that you do not become lazy, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (9) Although I may look around me, seeing things with my physical eyesight, all that is going on in the earthly visible church, that is of an apostate nature, nevertheless, there are still many standing up for their precious faith in the risen glorified Christ. I have to take my cue from them. I am confident that those brothers and sisters of mine, who are in Christ, and contend for the faith, will always do so. The brevity of the apostle Paul sums this up, (2.Thess.3:4) he says, “And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, both that you do and will do the things we command you.” I must have a certainty in my spirit, and my intelligence, which comes from the Holy Spirit, to do the things, he asks of me. To be encouraged by what the hero’s of faith are doing today. The benefits of salvation are that thing that accompanies it, the possession I have of it now, Christ’s salvation within me, which is always present, (Luke.1:77)(“To give knowledge of salvation to His people by remission of their sins.”)There is a future perspective also on my salvation, illustrated by the fact, when my risen Lord will take me home to glory, if I am still alive, when He comes in his glorious return, but even if I die, my spirit will go to be with the Lord, and at his coming again, he will raise my body from the ground, and give me a new one.(Rom.13:11) “And do this, knowing the time that it is high time to wake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.” (10) Even when I have come to the place, when I have made a number of personal decisions that have been wrong which affected my personal relationship with God, he in his grace towards me will never leave me there. He will not forget the love he has put into my heart, which he makes visible to the saints, by doing good deeds for them, and the lost. Paul wrote of this to the believers in Thessalonica in order to encourage them. (1.Thess.1:3) “Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father,” The world will always have a negative report concerning my earthly life, but against that, my life in Christ outweighs all the negatives of a positive spiritual life. Praise God! We are to serve our Lord by serving one another and not to wait to be served by others. The great pinnacle of the Apostle Paul’s Christ likeness success was to serve, and put others before him, I have to imitate his example, pleasing God with the help of God’s Spirit. (11) My desire should not only be about me showing the Christ likeness of my Lord to my brethren and the lost. I should desire the same for them. I pray for each individual brother and sister that they will become more and more Christ like in their
earthly lives. All of us being united together in our most holy, and precious faith, of our love in Christ Jesus, our risen glorified Lord. I believe God speaks perfectly on this subject through the mouth of his servant Paul. (Col.2:1, 2.) “For I want you to know what a great struggle I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for many as have not seen my face in the flesh, (2) that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, and of Christ.” To desire something, simply means to crave after it, above anything else, and you would do whatever is in your power to attain it. The very same Christ looks for that from me, and his people. To crave after him. Jesus Christ, speaking of himself, said this: (Matt.13:17) “for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” (12) It is easy to become lazy, when things become hard, and difficult, that is only because of what the Devil tries to tell me through my old nature. I have learnt through God to rely on Him through what he is doing through my wife, and I, he knows the beginning, and the end, being God, of course he does! I praise him with my mouth from my heart, his wonderful name, praising Him with glory, and honour. Jesus Christ is patient with me, and long suffering, he could have had his revenge upon me, and the rest of humanity, because of what I, and they did to him upon the cross, but he chose to show mercy, with his help, I have to do the exact same. There is no room for those who seek revenge! The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatians instructs me how to behave towards hostility, when it comes against me from humanity, under Satan’s influence, at large. (Gal.5:22) “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” and more. How can I show these things, by asking the Spirit of God to help me.
Study Seventeen God’s unfailing purpose in Christ Heb.6:13-20 (13) For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, (14) saying, “ Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” (15) And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. (16) For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. (17) Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, (18) that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we have strong consolation, which have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set
before us. (19) This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the presence behind the veil, (20) where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. (13) The promise God swore to Abraham includes me, because I am an earthly descendant of his through the seed of Jesus Christ. God spoke of this to the Devil, (Gen.3:15) “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” He who has bruised the devil’s head is none other than Jesus Christ my Lord. ( Gen.22:15-18.) “Then the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, (16) and said: “ By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and not withheld your son, your only son- (17) blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of your enemies. (18) “ In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” Abraham’s seed, in the earthly sense, finds its fulfillment in Jesus Christ, my risen glorified Lord. Looking back to that day,and then to the events that took place on the hill of Calvary, where Christ was crucified, resurrected on the third day by God His Father, and on that, I can see the unfailing purposes of God being fulfilled in the risen glorified Christ. The promise God had made to Abraham thousands of years ago finding its fulfillment in my glorious, and exalted, risen Lord, Jesus Christ. Abraham must be overjoyed to see what is happening now! But at the time of writing this letter, the godly Jewish Christian author, desired that his readers would see this, with the help of God’s Spirit, the same thing that I desire for my brethren. (14) The concrete and heavy weightiness of God’s promise to Abraham is yes, a positive outcome to his promise. By the same token God’s promise to me is yes, but my obedience to him is the key, the very same that my risen Lord illustrated in his life upon earth, and his earthly predecessor, his father Abraham. God expects me to bless my critics, and my enemies, not only those who show me favour. Jesus commanded this from his disciples, and apostles, he also commands me to do the same. (Luke.6:28,) “Bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you” (15) The promises the Lord has made to me, I have to wait patiently for him to bring them to fruition. I cannot hurry God; he has his own predetermined time and purpose of when it is to happen. Abraham was one hundred years old, when the promise of a male child was born to him, a promise made to him, when he was seventy five. He had waited twenty five years in order to see it happen. (Gen.12:4.)(16) In a court of law men and women, before the judge, have to make an oath that they are telling the truth before God, the fact that God swears by Himself, means, that thing which he has promised, will come true. The promises he has made to his children will all come true. Abraham was promised a male heir, which came true. The criteria of his promises, is that they all align themselves, with his predetermined will, and purpose for my life, and for others. (17) God is determined to show me, more than I could humanly hope for or imagine, as an heir of his promise, towards me, the unchangeableness of his purpose is guaranteed. The promise is that I am an heir of the kingdom of God, chosen by him, through his Son,
my risen Lord. He chose me, I did not choose him. On this subject Paul had this to say, (Rom.11:29) “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”(18)God has made two things clear towards me; one is that he has made a promise, and secondly an oath, that it will come true, because of the unchangeableness of his person, and character, including his predetermined purpose ,and will. The very same holds good for all of his people. I also have the hope of the Lord Jesus Christ resting in me, solid as a rock, not the vague hope of thinking of something might happen, when I know it will not. He stands before me solid as a Rock. Paul spoke on this. (Col.1:5) “Because of the hope (Jesus Christ) which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel,” The purpose and predetermined will of God towards me is what I have to earnestly search out, and desire for my life, and he will show me what it is. (19) My anchor is not like a ship’s which fastens to the ground below the water line, no, it is fastened to the rock that cannot move, Jesus Christ, my Lord. He is the anchor of my soul. He is the one who enters the presence of the Lord behind the veil. Only Christ my Lord can do this, because he and his Father are one. ( Lev.16:2) and the Lord said to Moses: “ Tell Aaron your brother not to come at just any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, lest he die; for I will appear in the cloud above the mercy seat.”(20) Jesus Christ, my Lord is my forerunner, who has entered into the Holy of holies for me, entering into the presence of God his Father, to become my great High Priest, forever, and ever, like Melchizedek.Amen.
Study Eighteen Righteous King Forever. Heb.7:1-10 (1) For this Melchizedek, King of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him,(2) to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated “ king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “ king of peace,” (3) without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually. (4) Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the plunder. (5) And indeed those who are the sons of Levi, who receive the priesthood, have a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law, that is, from their brethren, though they have come from the loins of Abraham; (6) but he whose genealogy is not derived from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. (7) Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better. (8) Here mortal men receive tithes; but there
he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives (9) Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham , so to speak,(10) for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him. (1) The author begins at the point that he had left off in chapter six, namely, with the king of Salem, Melchizedek. He was a man of God. Later on he would be seen as a type of the Christ still to come, especially in his role of a priest.Melchizedek is a name full of meaning, particularly towards this man, understood or interpreted in the following manner, “My king is righteous.” Or “My king is legitimate.” (Gen.14: 18-20) Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. (19) And he blessed him and said: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth ;( 20) and blessed be God Most High Who has delivered your enemies into your hands.” I notice that it is Melchizedek who has brought with him bread and wine to share in a Royal Banquet with Abram, as he was known then. He is therefore a king and a priest, worships God, very much a rarity at the time. Two godly men together, even although there were not many of them, God still had his righteous ones upon the earth. I may feel alone at times, but my brethren are all around me, and more importantly Christ is always with me. (2) Abraham returned his generosity recognizing Melchizedek was a man of God. I believe when Abraham saw the bread and the wine, he would immediately recognize his office of a kingly priest belonging to God. The former blesses the latter, and the latter blesses the former with a tenth of his plunder. In his superior role of king and priest Melchizedek blessed Abraham. The superior blessing the inferior, in like manner God blesses me, all that I have comes from him, but more priceless than anything else is the gift of his only begotten Son Jesus Christ. What an incredible God I have in God the Son, and God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit, although at the moment now he is not mentioned, (3) There is no record of Melchizedek’s genealogy, but that is not to say, there was none, only that there is no evidence of it. The fact of his humanity is well attested too, because Abram, now Abraham had dealings with him, having conversation, being blessed, giving to him a tenth of his plunders. No account of his birth, nothing to say who his parents where, but that does not mean, he did not have any, only that there is no proof of them, no record of when he died, does not mean he did not die, did he die or was he translated? Remains a priest continually, because nobody knows what had happened to him, only God that is what matters. It is not what I think, it is what God thinks, which is important. This man was made like the Son of God in the flesh, but was not him, like him. He reminds me of Enoch, who is mentioned in the book of Genesis, and at chapter five, (Gen.5:23,24) “So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty five years; (24) And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” I am not saying, that is what happened to Melchizedek, but it is a tremendous possibility. There is another possibility, but it is only a supposition, did God raise Melchizedek from the dust of the earth, and breathed life into him, considering, that there are no personal details, regarding
his life? However; he is a type of the Kingly Priest still to come, the risen glorified Christ. The silence of any personal details, relating to Melchizedek, and points to my Lord’s universal Priesthood, his Royal Kingship, and his Royal Reign, which has no beginning, and no end. I give all the praise, the honour, and the glory to God. (4) This man Melchizedek is reckoned to be greater than Abraham, because he paid tithes to him. I do not think Melchizedek in his role of priestly king really needed anything from Abraham, but Abraham was honouring him, in like manner I have to honour my Lord.(5) The author stresses the point that the priests of the Levitical line have been commanded by law to take tithes from God’s people. I believe the point that is being made here, is that it is by law; God’s people had to give tithes, and could not refuse. But a tenth was the very least that they could give. Generosity does not come into it. The fact of the matter is a tenth had to be given. Christ gave of himself for me; I cannot refuse to do the things I am asked of by him. (6) There are two blessings spoken of in the text here. The first blessing is of Abraham giving a tithe of his plunder to Melchizedek, the second is the blessing Melchizedek pronounced over Abraham, who had the promises of God, and again the author repeats the fact that Melchizedek had no genealogy, identifying him with Jesus Christ, my Lord in his High Priestly role, which will last forever. The reason why God gave Abraham his promises was because of his obedience towards Him. I have to be obedient to Jesus Christ; my risen glorified Lord, because I love him, but he loved me first, a love I will never be able to repay! Our great apostle Paul’s life was characterized by his obedience to his risen glorified Lord, a bench mark for me. (Rom.4:13) “For the promise that he would be heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but though the righteousness of faith” When the Lord commanded Abraham to do something, Abraham would go and do it, believing what God had said to him, that is faith in God. The act in of what God had asked of him to do, an act that brought Abraham righteousness, but I must not forget that it is the righteousness of God, that shines through him. When I do what he asks of me his righteousness shines through me. The very same can be said, likewise of all God’s people who obey him. (7) Abraham was the lesser, because he is not like Melchizedek, a kingly priest of the Most High God, he was blessed by this man, who is his better In my case I know there are far better preachers than I, and show more of the fruit of the Spirit than I, but God blesses me through them, likewise, they through me, because we are all here to build each other up in our most holy and precious faith.(8)There is no mention of the death of Melchizedek, but the Levitical Priesthood being men, all died one after another. It then stands to reason, because there is no mention of the death of Melchizedek, he truly is a type of the risen Christ, who lives forever, my risen Lord, and Great High Priest. (9) Before Levi was even born, he paid tithes to Melchizedek through his father Abraham, (10) because he was Abraham’s seed, but not so Melchizedek. It is quite astonishing, that, because I belong to the seed of Abraham through Jesus Christ, my risen glorified Lord, I have been blessed by the kingly priest Melchizedek, but the greater blessing comes from my Lord, and my Great High Priest Jesus Christ. Amen
Study Nineteen. The Old Covenant Superseded, because of its weakness. Heb.7:11-19. (11) Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called to the order of Aaron? (12) For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law. (13) For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has served at the alter (14) For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priests. (15)And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest (16) who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life. (17) For it is testified: “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.” (18) For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, (19) for the law made nothing complete; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. (11) The idea of perfection through the Levitical priesthood was not obtainable, because it did not alter the thoughts of God’s people towards him. Aaron’s priestly line was instituted under the law of God, which nobody could meet. All they could do was to bring livestock to the priest, in order that he would kill it as a sacrifice to God, for the sins of the people, but he had to make a sacrifice for his own sins, before he did so, for God’s people. But it ended up as just being an empty ritualistic religious practice totally meaningless to them, and God. All the outward ceremony did not change their attitude towards God. It is the same for me, I can go to church, be baptized, confess that Jesus Christ is Lord in front of my brethren, without telling the world, live a life devoid of the Spirit, who would know? God would, and that is very important to me. I am not here to please my brothers, and sisters. I am here to please God, and I am, most of the time doing that while pleasing God. It is how my heart is before God that is important, more important than church, for without the Head of the church, Jesus Christ, there would be no church. The word, “if,”suggests that the old covenant had failed miserably, because nobody could ever hope to keep the law, whatever a man thinks, so he is. What I think, if it is wrong, before my Lord, it will accuse my conscience. Difficult for the flesh to put it into operation without the help Of God’s Spirit. Therefore it stands to reason that
something had to be done. God intervened by sending another to be a priest in the fashion of Melchizedek But the author is debating with his Jewish Christian readers about the pointlessness of the Levitical priesthood, it had achieved nothing, burnt offerings and animal sacrifice did not change the attitude of their hearts towards God. I could go through all the ceremonial rituals of Judaism, but that does not mean I will walk closer to God, far from it. The same parallel course of the church follows straight behind. I can do all the things required by the church to show that I know God, but I do not, only God knows. Am I saying adult baptism, baptism of the Holy Spirit, testimony and church practice does not matter? Of course not, but when I religiously rely on these things without an intimate personal relationship with God, through his Son Jesus Christ, in themselves they are nothing. It is exactly what had happened with God’s own people Israel, the pursuit of keeping his laws through ceremonial ritual handed down by him through Moses to them. The purpose was for it to be a device to drive them into the arms of God, because nobody could keep the law, but unfortunately they tried to be perfect under the law in this world, totally impossible. Also factual is that the enemy brings temptation before me, shows just how impossible that is, but with God’s help through his Son I can overcome all of these things. Furthermore, the possibility of a priest like Aaron would mean a change to the law of the Levitical priesthood, which would affect nothing. Things would go on as before. Therefore; another priest like Melchizedek would come upon the scene of Israel’s history. I would like to focus on the word, “another”, because it is not an accurate translation of the New Testament Greek. The New Testament Greek term is heteros, pronounced, “het-er-oss,” used by Luke in his account of the Acts of the Apostles under the guidance, and help of the Holy Spirit. (Acts.4:12), “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” The word signifies generic exclusiveness, Jesus Christ was, and is the only one that saved me from an eternity with out God; he is the only one that can do that, there is nobody else, no other, only him, he is exclusively, the other. The Levitical priesthood could not do it for God’s people, precisely the author’s point. (12) As I have said above the High Priesthood of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is exclusively, and uniquely his, he is the only one of his kind. Standing to reason, that because he does not belong to Aaron’s priestly line there is no need for a change in the law. (13) The exclusiveness of my Lord’s High Priestly role is heightened considerably by the fact that he belongs to another tribe, and from that tribe no one has officiated at the alter.(14) Now the High Priestly role of my Lord’s is excessively heightened to the pinnacle in which it takes over from the Levitical priesthood, he is the new High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. He is from the tribe of Judah of which Moses said nothing about priests coming from that tribe. The exclusiveness of his title as one who is the High Priest of the order of Melchizedek can be seen in the fact that he is the only one. (15) The author reinforces the fact of the Levitical priesthood being superseded, by a new priesthood, of the order of Melchizedek, which does not have any human descendants, or
any before the appearance of Melchizedek in front of Abram. No genealogy before and after. It signifies the universal reign of an eternal office, of being the great High Priest in the likeness of Melchizedek, applied to my risen glorified Lord, he who is the Lord of glory, Jesus Christ. (16) Interestingly how the author describes the law against the coming of one who would be a great High Priest, after the order of Melchizedek. The Levitical priesthood was of the flesh, all who officiated were men, because of that they were weak and powerless against the temptations of sin. But now the one who had come did not belong to their priestly line, belonging to a different priesthood, likened to the priest of the Most High God Melchizedek. This priest had no beginning and no end, Christ is likened to him in his High Priestly role, unlike the priests of Aaron who died, he has the power of an endless life, it is by these very means, my Lord intercedes on my behalf, and not only me, including all who know, and serve him as Lord. (17) Jesus Christ, my exalted, glorified, risen Lord fulfilled the prophecy spoken of him in the Psalms of the O.T. The author cites directly from the words of the Psalm: Pss.110:4, “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.” But I have to also understand the reasons why the author goes to great pains to explain to these Jewish Christians, the fact that Jesus Christ their Lord, is also their great High Priest of the order of Melchizedek of all his people. Because of oppression, hostility, and persecution the Jewish Christians were thinking of denouncing their faith in Christ, and returning to the Mosaic Law, pressurized by unbelieving Jews, who viewed Jesus Christ as a blasphemer. I know I have been called to carry a cross, but my risen Lord will help me to do just that, with the help of his Spirit. The Jewish Christian readers, to whom this letter is addressed, their faith had begun to falter to the extreme, the author writes to them, in order to correct the slide that they had embarked upon. Now because of oppression, hostility, and persecution, the thought for them, was to go back to the Mosaic Law, because of pressure brought against them by unbelieving Jews, who thought of Jesus Christ as being a criminal, and blasphemer, deserving the death, that he died of. The author’s point to them is to look to the Lord for his help in these very difficult circumstances. To be a genuine truly godly man of my risen Lord, I need to always look for the help of his Spirit, to enable me to do that. The stumbling block is when I suffer innocently, being falsely accused of something I did not do, because of my witness and testimony of what the risen glorified Christ has done for me, and what he can do for others. Suffering is a big part of being genuine and true, as a disciple of the risen glorified Lord, his Spirit enables, and helps me to overcome the difficulties of having a true Christian life, precisely the message of this truly godly author to his brethren. (18) Again the author reiterates the folly of going backwards to the Mosaic Law, because of its inability to bring God’s people into his presence, and to make them fit enough or perfect, in order to be in his company. Sometimes I do not appreciate what I have in my Savior the Lord Jesus Christ, of being able to enter his throne room at any time, because he took my place upon the cross, nailed to it, and died for my sins, rose
again on the third day, Hallelujah! Not only for me, it was also for these Jewish Christians whose faith seems to be faltering, going back to the deadness of the Mosaic Law, and all the sins of humanity. The apostle Paul in that unique, and impressive manner of his, under the influence of God the Holy Spirit, puts his point on this, rather well, (Rom.8:3) “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,” (19) Because of the weakness of the Mosaic Law in its inability to draw Israel back to God, God annulled it, by sending his only Son Jesus Christ to earth, to supersede it by replacing the deadness of it. Like Israel I could never keep the law, a total exercise in futility from a human response. But I now have a living hope in my Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, through whom I can draw near to God. Bless his glorious name, my great High Priest, the risen glorified Lord, Jesus Christ! Paul the apostle endorses this very thought from God. (Rom.5:1, 2.) (1) “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (2) through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” Amen.
Study Twenty The greatness of the New High Priest Jesus Christ. Heb.7:20-28 (20) And inasmuch as He was not made priest without an oath (21) (for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him: “The Lord has sworn And will not relent, “You are a priest forever,” (22) by so much more Jesus has become a guarantee of a better covenant. (23) also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. (24) But He, because He continues forever has an unchangeable priesthood. (25) Therefore He is able to save forever those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (26) For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, innocent, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; (27) who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. (28) For the law appoints as high priests men who have weaknesses, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.
(20) One of the many key words of this passage is the swearing of an oath, by God the Father, to his Son Jesus Christ, my Lord. A solemn undertaking by God, that what he has declared will take place. God had sworn by his name that his Son Jesus Christ would be a High Priest forever. He was made a High Priest, because God his Father declared that is what he would be. (21) This makes it absolutely clear what I have said previously, the priests who were appointed by Aaron, under the law of the old Levitical priesthood, was not done by a solemn promise from God. But he, which is referring to God the Father, made a solemn undertaking by him, again reference to God the Father, said to him, reference to God his Son, Jesus Christ, “ You are a priest forever,” I believe, even before God sent his Son Jesus Christ to this world, he was already a great High Priest, but still to be revealed to his people that is exactly who he was and is: Psalm 110:4 makes this quite plain in the books of the Old Testament. The Lord has sworn And will not relent, “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.” What a wonderful God that we have in God the Father’s Son, Jesus Christ, from eternity past to eternity present, and eternity future, he loves us. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the one triune God loved me before I came into existence. All I can do is bow down and worship Him, giving my Lord, and great High Priest Jesus Christ, and God his Father, with the help of the Holy Spirit, all the praise, the honour, and the glory, which is rightfully His. (22) It is because of this beautiful trait of my risen Lord’s character, the very fact that he lives forever, which included his suffering, his death by crucifixion, and glorious resurrection, on the behalf of my sins, his blood cleansing, and covering them, as if I had not sinned, establishes the risen Christ as the guarantor of a better covenant, because now as the perfect man, he lives forever Mark, the author of the gospel, under that name, recorded these words of Jesus, which still continue to ring loud and clear through out the world. (Mark.14:24) And He said to them, “This is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many.” Absolutely astounding, because when he said this, he knew, he was about to face a violent physical death, one of crucifixion for my sake, and be brought back to life. He now has done that, and now he lives forever more. (23) Death even befell the priests, because they were ordinary men, death comes upon the whole of humanity. Like them I too will die, but the destiny of my soul, and my spirit will be with my risen glorious Lord. However; the point being made by the author, is that because of death, they could not continue in their priestly role. A godly pastor can pray for you, but he cannot give you faith to carry on in the face of impossible circumstances, or take over the role of being a high priest, not that he would want too, he would know that there is only one high priest, Jesus Christ, the great High Priest in the likeness of Melchizedek. You have to pray to Jesus Christ our Great High Priest to enable you to overcome the trials of faith. (24) Now the contrast is made between the priests under the law and the priesthood of my risen Lord. Unlike them, he has been resurrected, continuing to live forever, from a different priestly line, of which he is the only one, Jesus Christ, the great High Priest of the order of Melchizedek, who lives forever, and is immutable and unchangeable forever.(25) In a disbelieving world I know that Jesus Christ lives, even, although they do not, because I have met him through his Spirit, who has spoken to my
spirit. I have had visions of him covered in gold, while in this vision; he put gold into my hands, to enable me to do the work I have been called to do. My faith is a living and dynamic faith in someone who is very much alive. Jesus Christ, my Lord, and great High Priest, who lives forever, makes intercession on my behalf. Not a dead religion, not a doctrine, not teaching, not a denomination, useless if you do not know Jesus Christ, but a living personal relationship with Jesus Christ, who being the eternal God lives forever. I have that relationship with him, my great High Priest, hallelujah, continues to make intercession on my behalf. My reaction is one of worship. The author then declares to his readers, the only way that you can come to God, is through his Son, Jesus Christ, and the same holds good for me. (26) He is the only High Priest of his kind, Jesus Christ, my Lord. He is the perfect High Priest in God the Father’s eyes, for me, and those who come to him. (4:15) “ For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus Christ has always been holy, from the time he stepped down from heaven to earth in his identity as one who is the Son of God, conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit, still holy, grew up as a young man, resisting temptation with the help of God’s Spirit, still holy, went to the cross, and died, still he remained holy, raised to life by God his Father, continuing in holiness, by which he has become the perfect man. The condition which qualifies him to be my great High Priest in the likeness of Melchizedek. He now sits on the throne beside his Father, which is higher than the heavens, totally outside, and above the universe. (Ephes.1:20) “…which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,” (27) Who could be better than ordinary men, and to be able to offer up sacrifice for them, that would please God, because of their sins? It could only be God the Son, perfect in every point, he, and only he could be the perfect man, meeting the whole of the law, thereby, meeting the conditions of a perfect sacrifice in the pureness of his blood, when he gave of himself to be crucified upon the cross. The purity of his shed blood washing over me, and his chosen ones, cleanses us of sins, when I accepted him as Lord. But the Levitical Priesthood was made up of ordinary men full of weaknesses, just like me, and they had to bring offerings for their sins, offering it up to God, before offering the sacrifices the people brought before God for their sins, Our risen glorified Lord, Jesus Christ had done away with all that, when He offered up himself for the sins of the world, once for all.(28) Jesus Christ, my risen glorified Lord, because of his sufferings at the hands of humanity, and the cruel barbaric death of the crucifixion upon a cross, being raised to life by God his Father on the third day, has been perfected forever, now reigning as my great High Priest, and also for all of the saints, forever, and ever. Amen. Hallelujah!
Study Twenty One The New High Priestly Service. Heb.8:1-6. (1) Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, (2) a minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man. (3) For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer. (4) For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; (5) who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” (6) But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. (1) Jesus Christ, my risen Lord, has taken over from the earthly Jewish high priests, and now sits at the right hand of God his Father. He shares a throne with the Majesty; obviously, God his Father, who sits above the heavens, none of the Jewish earthly priests could aspire to that, never mind achieve it. (Col.3:1.) “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.” The Majesty is another title of God our Father in his relationship with his Son Jesus Christ, and the whole of the universe. As the Father, he is the first Person of the Godhead. Jesus often spoke of his Father being in him, and that he has always been in, and continues to be in the Father. That being the case the Son is the second Person of the Godhead, otherwise known as the trinity. When I see my risen Lord in a vision I am also gazing at God the Father! I have to seek the things above, in order to nourish my spiritual life in my earthly Christian walk, until he calls me home. (2) Jesus Christ is now described as a Minister of the sanctuary; other translations translate it as holies. The sanctuary or holies is the third heaven ,where Jesus Christ, my risen Lord, because of his perfect sacrifice, through his death upon the cross, is now as my great High Priest, has gained access to the throne room of God, making intercession on my behalf, Jesus Christ, our great High Priest. It can also be called the tabernacle, another description of the Holy of Holies. Which the Lord erected, made by him, not by human hands, nothing to do with men. It is a very difficult idea to accept that Jesus Christ, my Lord is in control of all things, or that things are being brought under his control, without any input from men, specifically, those who do not know him.
The first tabernacle was a tent made by human hands under God’s direction, and this can be seen in the books of the O.T. Not an ordinary tent, a tent the size of a marquee in which a circus would perform acts for the paying public. (Ex.26:1, 7 ;) “Moreover you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine woven linen, and blue, purple, and scarlet thread; with artistic designs of cherubim you shall weave them.” (7) “You shall make curtains of goat’s hair, to be a tent over the tabernacle. You shall make eleven curtains.” But that was only a copy of the things to come. The reality of the tabernacle is the third heaven in which the one triune God dwells. Further on the author had this to say, (9:24) “For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;” Very dramatic, but so it should be. I have in front of me, God the Son, representing his church, which I am a member of to his Father, while in his presence, he is in his High Priestly role, the only one that can do that. I wonder what I would do if this wonderful scene was made visible to me? Not only to me, to all of the brethren, who love the Lord. We would more than likely fall on our knees before Him. (3) It was by God’s royal command that every high priest had to bring offerings of both gifts, and sacrifices. Therefore it was necessary that the High Priest in the likeness of Melchizedek had to bring something to offer. He offered up himself as a sacrifice for my sins, by meeting his death upon the cross, and then being raised to life on the third day by his Father. Paul wrote of this to the believers in Ephesus.( Ephes.5:2) “ And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling aroma.” What do I learn from this, the fact that my life and all that I have belongs to God, to be used for his purposes, and the furtherance of his kingdom here on earth, to continue to worship my risen Lord with a thankful, and an appreciative heart, even when the enemy comes against me. (4) Had he not been, as described in the last verse, he would not have made any difference, because he would not have been a priest, seeing that he did not meet the regulations that the Levitical Priesthood required of him to qualify. Praise God that he was not like them. They could not change the hearts of themselves, and that of the people, regardless of how many ceremonial religious rituals, they performed, and could not hold office for long, because of death, and more were needed to take their places. (5) The Levitical Priesthood was established upon earth by God through men, but because of that, it was of the earth, in origin, following a set of ceremonial religious rules put into place by God,but it could not change the human heart towards him. That is why it is called only a copy, and a shadow of the heavenly things, because it had been instituted upon the earth by God through men. Therefore; it certainly could not change the attitude and nature of men and women. This was only a pattern of the superior things that were still to come in the time of Moses, when instructed by God to build his tabernacle.( Ex.25:40) “ And see to it that you make them according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.” The whole thing depended on a change of heart for the men, selected for the Levitical Priesthood, towards God, including his people that they should love God with all of their hearts, but it never was going to happen without the
coming of the Messiah. However; God the Father knew that, which is why he sent his Son Jesus Christ from heaven to earth, he was and is the Messiah, to die as a human being, while being God the Son, without his power of being God, God his Father raised him from the dead, to become a High Priest, for his people, forever (6) There is no other ministry quite like my risen Lord’s, superior in every point, compared to any earthly ministry given by God to men. The author describes as a more excellent ministry in which Jesus Christ, my Lord, has been resurrected, glorified, and exalted by God his Father, and given the position of Mediator. A position he now is in above in the heavenly realm. He mediates both day, and night on my behalf, and his brethren. I can only praise his wonderful name, and do his bidding. The covenant, of which he is the Mediator, is far superior to anything that had went on before, because he shed his blood to establish it for my sake, and that of my brethren. (Luke.22:20) Like wise He also took the cup after supper saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.” The perfect covenant or the superior covenant could only be founded in blood that was untainted by sin that is why God had to send his Son Jesus Christ to earth, in order that he would die for my sake, and that of the world ‘s, because his blood was untainted by sin, and continues to be pure. Amen.
Study Twenty Two The Old Covenant Abolished by the New Covenant. Heb.8:7-13. (7) For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. (8) Because finding fault with them, He says: “ Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah- (9) “ not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. (10) “ For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (11) “ None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, “ Know the Lord,” for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. (12) “ For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins I will remember no more.” (13) In that case He says, “ A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
(7) The Lord had set the rules for the very first commandments of the old covenant, but nobody had the strength or the ability to keep them. I believe I would have been numbered in that catergory.Only God can help me to do what he asks of me, but the difference is, is that I have the Blessed Holy Spirit residing in my spirit, to call upon, for his help, they did not. God, alone from them, aided his people. Moses the prophet recorded this conversation that he had, had with God. ( Ex.3:7.8.) And the Lord said: “ I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their pain. (8) “ So I have come down to deliver them out of the hands of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites.” God would help them to overcome captivity, but they had no personnel knowledge of him, only Moses, the prophet, and a selected few. Above all else, including the law of the old covenant, God commanded them to be obedient to his voice, but history dictates otherwise, the recorded facts of his people. (Ex.19:5.) “ Now therefore, if you indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for the earth is Mine.” The whole thrust of the passage hinges upon two words, “ if you?” Again choice confronts them, they have to make the decision, whether to obey or disobey, and rebel. God will not force them to do something, they do not want to do. The same applies to me, all of the time, even although I have been saved, to serve my own aims or be selfless, serving God is a choice that I will have in my life time. I will do the latter rather than the former. I certainly do not seek the praise and flattery of men that would be to rob God of his glory. At the end of the paragraph the author concludes that there would have been no need for a second covenant, had they listened, and had they been obedient to the voice of God. The same holds good for me, and those who love the Lord in the present and will do so in the future. (8)The author is emphatic, explaining to these Jewish Christians that God found fault with their forefathers. I find it incredibly difficult that the church of today does not teach God’s people the cost of discipleship, exactly the point the author is making here. There are the exceptions, but who they are only God knows. When I have preached, and taught the word of God, I have never diluted or watered it down. I have preached it, as the Spirit of God had led me, living it, as much as I can with the help of his Spirit, which has made me unpopular from time to time, but I seek to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. Exactly as many godly men and women do. Precisely the same challenge is asked of these Jewish Christians. The graciousness of the next clause of the verse shows a sharp contrast against the context of what has been said above. Despite the rebellion of their fathers in the past against God, including child sacrifice to the false gods of other religions, which God totally abhorred, and really hated, he decides to show mercy to them in the future This is the God I worship, love, and obey. A modern day precedent would be if North Korea decided to give democracy to its people, forgive South Korea for the war that they had,
had, not so long ago against each other, seek peaceable reunification with one another, and become one country again, something that will never be a reality in this world. But God takes the initiative to save his people from themselves by making another route open to approach him. Mercy and forgiveness is in very short supply in the world that I live but it is two of the many attributes of God, my Father, and his Son, Jesus Christ, he expects me to show these with the help of His Spirit. I have to remind myself that it is God who initiates the promise of a new covenant, despite the rebellion of his people against him. The whole account of the old covenant gives the details of many rebellions of God’s people against him, but he hands out a promise of a superior covenant to them, of which I am now a recipient, praise God. The mercy and compassion of God can be seen in the next few words of the verse: God says, “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah” This new covenant includes Jews and Gentiles, all of the peoples of the earth, from which God has chosen a number of for himself, through his Son, my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The author quotes directly from the words of Jeremiah the prophet, which he received from the Lord, (Jer.31:31-34.) Roughly six hundred and forty years from the birth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. The author looks back upon those days, being a first century Palestinian Christian Jew, already a recipient of the new covenant. (9) Everything in the old covenant was impersonal, because God had to help them, without them, really knowing him. He took them by the hand to lead them out of captivity from Egypt, metaphorically speaking, because they could not see him in bodily form. They are then accused of not continuing in the covenant that he had made with them, and because of that he disregarded them, the conclusion is that they perished in the wilderness. There is nothing the Lord does not see, he is everywhere, wherever I am, he is. I ought to meditate, and ponder over this precious Biblical truth. The generation the author refers back to in this passage forgot and perished. (10) The new covenant that the Lord speaks of is of one that will be imputed into the hearts and minds of his people. God will do this through his Spirit commonly known as the Holy Spirit. I notice it is the Lord who will do this for me, who has already done it, as he had done for the author, and for those to whom he writes .My risen glorified Lord’s ministering in of the new covenant was done, in through the work of the Holy Spirit by softening my heart, and mind, and through his shed blood, under the grace of God my Father in heaven. When God had done that for those whom he had chosen, he became their God, and they became his people. Only God can save the lost in this world through his grace, and mercy, which is in his son, the Lord Jesus Christ, which is in me, and my brethren, who are truly in Christ, because my Lord, and Saviour Jesus Christ continues to dwell within my spirit, including the Godhead. I am a carrier of God, and all who are devoted to him are also carriers of God. He loved me first before I loved him. I then must choose to love him, and be obedient to His Spirit, and Jesus Christ his Son, my risen Lord. I am one of his chosen people, with the many who have been chosen, the body of Christ, which is his church, and I with them, therefore, he is our God.
(11) There will be no exclusiveness of who will know God, and who will not, of those chosen to be his people. Against that, I like all of my brethren must desire to know more of him in every passing second, and minute of the day. It is only by these very means that he is able to use me for the furtherance of his Son’s kingdom here on earth. Isaiah the prophet saw that day coming in a vision given to him by the Lord. (Is.54:13.) “All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.” The peace that the prophet is speaking of here is the peace that comes from knowing Jesus Christ as Lord. A difficult commodity if you keep listening to the lies of the Devil, and not abiding in the peace, and tranquility of knowing the risen, glorified Lord. I only find it elusive, when I do not focus fully on my Lord. That mighty apostle John recorded these words of Jesus in the narrative of the gospel of Jesus Christ (Jn.6:45.) “It is written in the prophets, “And they shall all be taught by God. “ Therefore everyone who hears and has learned from the Father comes to Me.” John reinforces this idea in his first circular letter sent to the churches in Ephesus, and outside of the city, probably around 90A.D. (1.Jn.2:27.) ( But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.) This is an eternal truth, that the personal knowledge of God is intimate, with a universal application to all those whom he has revealed himself too. Knowledge of God can only come from him, revealed by his Spirit, made visible in his Son, my Lord, and Saviour Jesus Christ, raised from the dead by God the Father, and now glorified. The choice of who God reveals knowledge of himself too is wide ranging, from the smallest in stature, to the greatest, regardless of whom. I will close this verse with the words of one of the greatest prophets of the Lord God of the Old. Testament, who lived a life under very heavy persecution and oppression, because of his faith in the Lord. (Jer.31:34.) “ No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, “Know the Lord,” for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” I have no idea the impact that these words would have had on Jeremiah, but I believe, having read of the man in his book, under the title of his own name, on the pages of the Old Testament, he would have fell humbly on his knees before God in worship of him, the very same thing is required of me. (12) Despite the continuing rebellion of God’s people towards him, he will show mercy against their unrighteous acts, remembering their sins no more, once they have truly repented of their sins. I must always remember that the mercy shown to me by God is unmerited, on my behalf, which will always be the case. Paul the apostle spoke on this very important doctrine to the believers in Rome. (Rm.11:26, 27.) “And so all Israel will be delivered, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; (27) For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.” It is only through the forgiveness that God forgives me with, that enables me, to forgive others. (13) The old covenant that had been made under the law, has been made obsolete by the new covenant, established and founded in the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. God the Father’s new covenant has been established, and founded by
Jesus Christ, his Son is to be seen in his people, of whom he is Lord, I am one of such people. Again I turn to the apostle Paul for a glorious summing up of this passage, which is to be found in his second letter to the Corinthians. (2.Cor.5:17) “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
Study Twenty Three The earthly holy place Heb.9:1-5. (1) Then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly holy place. (2) For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the holy place; (3) and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All, (4) which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; (5) and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. (1) The very first covenant was instituted, and established by God through his instructions to his prophet Moses. He then gave directions to Moses, to be laid down to his people, of how the service of ceremonial religious rituals was to be conducted, and that his people had to precisely follow these rules, without any alteration. They were, and are of divine origin, because they come from God, as such God demanded their reverence or fear, and their love, because of who he is, not of terror, or tyranny, but because he is God. I call him, “Abba, Father,” but I never forget that he is God, who demands my love, obedience, and respect towards him. Paul the apostle taught this in his letter to the believers at Rome. (Rm.8:15) “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of Adoption by whom we cry out, Abba, Father. An earthly holy place is a location chosen by God upon the earth, solely separated from the rest of the land, and consecrated to him, for his use, exclusively. I find the text for this in the Old Testament. (Ex.3:5.) Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet. For the place where you stand is holy ground.” Not only that there is the standard of behaviour that God expected from them. (Lev.19:2.) “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy” The same call for holiness is found in the New Testament.
(1.Pet.1:15, 16) “… but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, (16) because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” Unequivocal in what God demands from me, but unlike then, he has given to me the gift of the Holy Spirit to carry it through, including his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Holiness means to be like God in all that I do and say, reflecting all the qualities, and attributes of Christ, my Lord, while I journey through this earthly life. A thought has just occurred to me. I am not my own, I have been bought at a price, the cost, the blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The blood of the New Covenant founded in his name. Is it difficult to crucify the flesh, yes, without the help of the Spirit of God, but I must want it. I need to love him more. The principle behind the earthly set up of the holy place, and the divine ordinances that came with it was to drive God’s people closer to him, when they realized that he loved them, and it never happened. Also the fact that keeping all the ritualistic ceremonial practices under the law would never change their earthly nature that is why they continued to bring sin offerings, and sacrifices. (2) An unusual description of the type of bread, God demanded his people to make, and to bring it into the very first part of the tabernacle, a tent the size of a marquee used for worship, when Israel was wondering in the wilderness, dedicated and consecrated to God. The showbread was a copy, without the power of the bread of life, Jesus Christ. But to continue in worship in the ordinances of the old covenant is a negative result, because you will always be in bondage to your fleshly lusts. I can do nothing to overcome the temptations of my earthly intellect, only God can help me to do this. The traditional approach of Christ’s church can do nothing for me without the attendance of the Spirit of God. I have to be strong in my relationship with the Lord of glory. The people of God in that bygone era, which still takes place today, thought and think, that by keeping the ordinances of the old covenant was all that mattered in their individualistic and collective approach to God, failing to realize that he had a purpose for each, and everyone of them, in their individual pursuit of life, that went beyond the restrictiveness of the old covenant. Paul the apostle, whose life can be read of ,and found upon the pages of the New Testament, spoke on the purposes of God for all of his children. (Rom.8:28) “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (3) I believe that one of the many strands of the teaching the author expounds on in the book of Hebrews is the unapproachable presence of God, without knowing his Son, Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. God’s elaborate approach to the detail of the Ark of the Covenant, how it was to be made and designed, what those who officiated as high priests where to do once a year, when they went into the holy of holies or the holiest place, when they represented themselves, and his people before him. Reminding me, that this is exactly what God ordained the high priests for, before the arrival of his Son, upon the earth, Jesus Christ, my Lord. My opinion is that I have to have the right balance of attitude towards God, seeing him as a holy righteous God, and also as my heavenly Father. The mere mortality of my human frame tells me that, but I have the unspeakable joy of knowing God as God, and as Abba Father. This can be seen in the fact that behind the second veil is the Holiest of All. Incredible sombreness with tremendous quietness
and dignity would have entered the man’s heart, who was officiating as high priest, while entering into the Holiest of All, beyond the second veil. He knew that he was entering the presence of God. The awesomeness of the whole thing would have gripped him, indeed! God looks for that from me, not because of fear or terror of him, but because of who he is, the God who loves me. Before doing all of this, the officiating high priest had to offer gifts of sacrifice for his sins, and then that of God’s people, before representing them before him. But it just illustrates how much God hates sin, specifically unrepentant rebellion towards him. (4) The golden censer speaks of the glory of God, which shines above everything else. But the extraordinary thing is that God through his Son the Lord Jesus Christ has chosen me, and as I have previously said, all those who are devoted to the Lord, to let his glory shine through them, and me. However; there is a qualification of his I have to meet, and that is to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in every detail of my life. The same is equally applicable to my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. As I have said, gold is symbolic of the glory of God. “….overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot...” Gold is a precious metal, but comes no where near the preciousness of the blood of Christ, which is truly glorious. In like manner similar to what Jesus Christ’s blood has done for me, but not with the same everlasting effect, the censer was not only symbolic, it was also used under God’s instructions to the high priests, when they appeared before God, once a year, bringing sin offerings, and sacrifice for themselves, and the people, a fact that is made quite clear in the book of Leviticus of the Old Testament. (Lev.16:12, 13 ;) “Then he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from the alter before the Lord, with his hands full of sweet incense beaten fine, and bring it inside the veil. (13) “And he shall put the incense on the fire before the Lord that the cloud of incense may cover the mercy seat that is on the testimony, lest he die.” It is crass stupidity to think I can do something to please my brethren which does not please God, even if it comes from well meaning Christian brothers and sisters. What I see missing today is the fruit of the Spirit, as defined by God’s word, being shown in the streets of our towns, and cities. God had to address that complaint in me, and still does from time to time. The very same thing that is spoken of here in Leviticus, but in a very different era, the Lord knew that even although they carried out his ordinances religiously, it would not change their hearts towards Him. (5) The indebtedness of the whole of the human race towards a righteous God is seen in his mercy towards them, mercy of which we are still the recipients. The author writes to his readers of the mercy seat of God. Today I am a recipient of God’s mercy, to me, through his Son Jesus Christ my Lord. Our New Testament describes it as the grace of God, his unmerited favour to those who have received his Son, Jesus Christ as Lord. Again I am a recipient of this grace from God. I can never shy away from the anger of God directed against me, because of my sin, the very reason why he had to send his Son Jesus Christ to earth, to become a perfect man, becoming a perfect sacrifice for my sins. He was crucified upon the cross, because of me, and died taking my sins with him into the grave. God his Father raised him to life upon the third day.
The term, mercy seat, comes from the New Testament Greek, “hilasterion,” from the root of the word, which means to either appease or placate a god who has been offended, case in point, the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ’s sacrifice turned his Father’s anger away from me, but it cost him his life. I have a responsibility to live my life before him in a manner that is pleasing to him. I have no idea why many men and women of God gloss over this pertinent fact of our common faith. But they are answerable only to God. The New Testament only mentions the mercy seat twice. The other one is to be found in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the believers at Rome. (Rom.3:25.) “…whom God set forth as a mercy seat by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because of His forbearance God passed over the sins that were previously committed.” Even before God’s Son had come to earth, he was still showing mercy to the whole of mankind... He deserves all of my love, adoration, obedience, and my life.
Study Twenty four. Earthly Service Limited Never Enough. Heb.9:6-10 (6) Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services. (7) But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance; (8) the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing. (9) It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience – (10) concerned only with foods and drinks, various baptisms, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation.
(6)The priests had fallen into habitual ritualistic practices, never even thinking beyond that point, everything had become very familiar. The key is in the word, always. But I believe God wanted them to look beyond that, beyond mere tradition, and a
set of rules. To find out the true identity of God, inasmuch of how much, he would disclose of himself to them. These priests were blindly setting out to keep rules God had provided them with without even asking why. They would know the obvious answer, but did not want to look deeper than that. Sometimes, I need to ask God to refresh my spirit, to enable me to see the challenges to my faith, that lie ahead, because it is not about going to church, preaching from the platform, or fulfilling a church office, or being a leader, or just going to church in habitual pattern, so as to put a fire into my heart. It is about my living relationship with God in Christ, making sure that it is alive, and vibrant. If I only conform to the habitual patterns of the church or the Synagogue, like in Christ’s time. I become cold hard, and useless. The point this godly author is making to these Jewish converts to Christianity. (7) He is still looking back on Israel’s past history, chronicled in the books of the Old Testament, specifically in the five books of the Pentateuch, namely, Exodus, and Leviticus. I notice that not even the high priest could enter the second part of the tabernacle without bringing a blood sacrifice for his own personnel sins. Sin is enmity with God, which cannot be broken without a blood offering for sacrifice. Then it was the blood of animals, selected for their perfection, but they were and are quite obviously imperfect, compared with the blood sacrifice of my Lord, and Saviour Jesus Christ. Of which John the Apostle had this to say, (1.Jn.1:7,) “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” However; there is a telling remark, that precedes it in the old covenant, the blood is only for sins committed in ignorance, for both the representative of the people, and the people, which points to the one who would die for sins done against God in a deliberate manner, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, but there where those who where still trapped in the covenant of the Old Testament . (8) Now continuing his subject of still being in the Old Testament, the author writes of the Holy Spirit’s work of indicating to them, that while the old covenant or tabernacle was still standing, there was no path into the Holiest of All, the presence of God. The term made manifest, simply means to reveal that which was previously hidden, in this case, Jesus Christ, the risen, glorified Lord. The apostle Paul reminds me of a number of pertinent instructions on this matter, in his letter to the church at Colossae. ( Col.3;3,4) “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (4) When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” The whole point of it is that Christ wants to live, through my life, at all times, and therefore it ceases to be my life, it is seen as his. I, however; must continue to submit to the Lordship of Christ over my life. (9, 10) The old covenant ordinances, and ritual ceremony was all that it was, a ritual offering gifts, and sacrifices, because it did not change the conscience of the one who executed the discharge of these former duties, until the Son of God, the risen, glorified Christ had reformed it, by replacing it, with the shed blood of his own glorious person. Amen.
Study Twenty Five God’s Heavenly Sanctuary Heb.9:11- 15. (11) But Christ came as High Priest of the good things that have come with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. (12) Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered into the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. (13) For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, (14) how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (15) And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. (11) I believe that the tabernacle spoken of here is none other, than my risen glorified Lord, Jesus Christ. He was not made with hands and certainly not of the created universe. He was, and is God the Son, without being made, or created in any kind of fashion, he is God, chose to be born as a man, while being God, without the power of such, totally trusting in God the Holy Spirit to enable him to please God his Father, even right up to his death upon the cross making him a more acceptable tabernacle. The tabernacle mentioned here is the body of Christ, in which the triune God abides, but is not limited to a physical body as Christ was before his resurrection, and ascension. It is Spiritual, and can go wherever, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit want to go, but the Person on view is Jesus Christ, my great High Priest. He has superseded the old covenant bringing with him a far superior covenant within his own person. The question I must keep asking myself is this, what is more important, the church, the lost, or me, and I always come up with the same answer, Jesus Christ, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, without him there would be nothing. No wonder Paul the apostle had this to say to the church at Ephesus. (Eph.1:3) “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,” (12) Nobody humanly speaking could have put things right with God the Father, on behalf of the human race, from the human race, absolutely impossible, after all it was them that rebelled against God. Although God through his prophet Moses set up the old covenant for ritual cleansing by sacrificing animals, and the sprinkling of their blood on the alter, for the cleansing of their flesh, none of this could cleanse their conscience, that was the chasm, which could not be bridged with the blood of animals slain in sacrifice to God.
Rebellion against God meant eternal abandonment. God in his mercy towards the human race had to put it right, nobody else could, an act of great magnanimity, a word that can only exclusively describe the Lord’s actions towards me, and the rest of humanity. The actions of sending his Son Jesus Christ, born in the flesh of a man, sent to die on the cross on my behalf, shedding his blood to set me free from sin. This is the blood, his own blood with which he entered into the Most Holy Place, once for all Incredible; he who is, and was, and is God, while being mortal man shed his blood for me. Isaiah prophesied of this moment, and he speaks for all who love the Lord. (Isa.53:12) (Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors,) where as the old covenant was repetitive, with the constant use of animal sacrifice, Christ my Lord’s was a once and for all act of sacrifice, for the sins of many. The Old Testament prophet Zechariah was given a vision of the sacrifice of Christ, the Son of God that would finally save mankind from sin.(Zech.3:9) “For behold, the stone That I have laid before Joshua: Upon the stone are seven eyes. Behold I will engrave its inscription, says the Lord of hosts, And I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.” The reason why he came to earth is made explicit; he obtained eternal redemption for God’s people, which are those, who confess him as Lord. Daniel the prophet saw this,( Dn.9:24) “ Seventy weeks are determined for your people and your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy.” (13) It is very important for me to grasp hold of the fact, that even before, Christ arrived upon earth, God in his mercy, provided a blood sacrifice to cover man’s sin, against him, although it is further developed, in the book of Leviticus of the Old Testament, but its earliest beginning is in Genesis. God is slow to anger quick to show mercy. I need to be like that. I see that here in this text.(Gn.3:21.) “ Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.” Right, from the very first sin of Adam and Eve, God’s covenant of love with them, demanded a sacrifice, to stop them from being destroyed by his righteous anger. Only the covering of blood would stop that, and God in his mercy provided it to them, by killing enough animals, in order to cover them with their skins. The blood of animals sacrificed, points to the blood still to come from the sacrifice of my Lord. Life is precious in the sight of God. All that the blood of bulls and goats could achieve was the cleansing of the flesh, to eradicate sin from the conscience, impossible! What a man thought of then, and what he thinks now is exactly what he is, mostly about self, a habit that the world ingrains into all the firstborn of the flesh. The people of Israel were no different; they could not change the thought patters of the grey cells of their brains. (14) Something had to happen to change the chemistry of the brain cells, but God’s people could not do it. It had to be a supernatural occurrence, which came in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, accompanying him was his sacrifice upon the cross, the
shedding of his blood upon a guilty world, and then raised to life on the third day by his Father. The blood that he shed is unlike any other blood, it came from one who is God, and then man. Therefore; nothing like it can be found in this world, but it is only his life giving blood, that can change the grey cells of my brain into his marvelous light through his Spirit in me. It is precisely because Jesus Christ was, and is both God, and man, the divine nature, consisting with his human nature in the one person, he offered up himself without sin, to be put to death upon a cross, through the eternal Spirit, which is the third person of the trinity, God the Holy Spirit, as a sacrificial offering to God, absolutely perfect, and pure. How much more does this cleanse my conscience, from all what the ceremonial dead works could achieve, but could not achieve, this aim, and enable me to serve the living God? My answer, more than anything, than that this age could ever hope to accomplish. (15) Because my Lord, the Christ is both God, and the perfect man, after having suffered death by crucifixion, his Father God raised him from the dead on the third day, he now qualifies to be my Mediator before God, and for the rest of God’s people. The apostle Paul strikes one of his most important confessions of the cardinal statements of faith on this very important subject. (Rom.3:25,) “…whom God set forth as a propitiation or mercy seat by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,” It is precisely because of his death, the blood he shed redeems me from the transgressions of the old covenant, the very same blood establishes the new covenant. But it is to these Christian Jews the author addresses this issue, because God’s first covenant was made with them. The word redemption simply means to be released from the slavery of sin by the payment of Christ’s blood for me. The apostle Paul corroborates with the author of the book of Hebrews on the fact that my Lord is the mediator for all of God’s people. (Gal.3:19) “What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator.” The mediator in question is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Next the author speaks of the qualification for those who will receive the promise of an eternal inheritance, you need to be called. When I gave my life to my Master, and Lord, he asked me to do that. I, in other words received a calling from God’s Son Jesus Christ, to give my life to him, and I did so gladly. God’s own people would have to do the exact same. (3:1) “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus,”
Study Twenty Six Christ dies to become the Mediator Heb.9:16-22.
(16) For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.(17) For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.(18) Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood (19) For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, (20) saying, “ This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.” (21) Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. (22) And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (16) A will is not binding until the death of the person who had made it. My will does not come into force until after my death. I believe this is what the author describes as a testament. I testify in writing who I am going to leave my worldly belongings too. I am the testator until I pass from this life. (17) The author repeats what he has already written, that a will does not come into force until the death of the person who had made it. (18) Now the idea of a will and testament is moved from the earthly scene to a godly commodity. More precisely, a God given commodity, his covenant. I believe it is very important for me as a disciple of Christ to understand what is meant by this. It is a binding agreement between God, and his people, he would, and will certainly keep it as recorded in the Old Testament. First of all there had to be blood used in dedication of the first covenant. Evidence of that is to be found in the book of Exodus. (Ex.24:6) And Moses took half the blood and put it into basins, and half the blood he sprinkled on the alter. (19) After speaking all the commands of the law of the Lord over them, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, Moses sprinkled it over the book of the covenant, and over the people. The blood covered their sins, which illustrates how serious my Lord views sin. I must view it with the same seriousness.(20) Blood ratified the first covenant between God and his people, but they had to keep the commandments that was in it... My Lord expects me to keep his commandments, but the difference in the New Covenant is that he is there to help me to do that, which is established in his blood. (Matt.26:28,) (“For this is My blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.”) Christ’s blood has cleansed me from sin, and now I am forgiven, the same principle applies to all who know, and love the Lord. (21) Blood is the only fluid that cleanses an object and separates it for God’s use that is why Moses sprinkled the tabernacle, and the vessels of ministry with. I am covered in the blood of the Lamb to enable God to use me for the furtherance of his Son’s kingdom in the world in which I live. The sacrifice of animals, and the use of their blood for the cleansing of God’s people, pointed to a greater sacrifice, the sacrifice of God’s only beloved Son Jesus Christ, my Lord, and Saviour, Mediator, and great High Priest, his blood has established a new covenant with his Father, blood that has cleansed me from sin. Blood that has cleansed all who follow and love him, submitting to his Lordship over them. All praise, glory, and honour to the King of kings, and Lord of lords, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Study Twenty Seven The Immeasurable Greatness of Christ’s Sacrifice. Heb.9:23-28. (23) Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. (24) For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; (25) not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another- (26) He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.(27) And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, (28) so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. (23) The sacrifices spoken of here from the old covenant could not cleanse the conscience, they were only copies of a better sacrifice to come, which is my Lord Jesus Christ, and he is the heavenly thing. Christ is the singular most superior sacrifice of all time, the offering of himself did more for mankind, than anything previously. Praise God! (24) An absolutely astounding, and astonishing claim that Christ has not entered into the earthly tabernacle on my behalf, but into heaven itself, the third heaven, the abode of the Most High. A factor I believe which points to the deity of his person, being God, and the perfect man. Because Jesus Christ, my Lord is God, and man, he can appear in the presence of God the Father, as a representative on my behalf. The great apostle Paul in his letter to the believers in Rome adds further credence to this statement from the author of the book of Hebrews. (Rom.8:34) “Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” (25) Christ in his perfection of a man at his sacrifice only needed to offer himself once to God the Father for my sins, and the sins of others, unlike the earthly high priests who had to do it once a year. He as the great High Priest through his sacrifice has made it null, and void. Who is to be praised with honour,and glory.(26) Not enough can be said of how sin is hated by God, nor can it be over stated. I must take a very grave view of how my sins, when I do not repent of them, can severely damage my relationship with God. Interestingly; when Christ appeared as God and man to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself that was the beginning of the end times. I am in the end times, and because he loves me, and I love him, I have to do what pleases him. There is a lost world out there.
(27) A message to these Christian Jews is full of clarity, the meaning is clear. Death is only of the physicality of the body, the soul lives on. My physical body will die, decompose, and waste away, but not my soul, where that goes depends largely on me. Seeing that the risen Christ has chosen me, and that I have accepted that choice, I will receive rewards for following, and dedicating my life to him. Those who refuse are judged. We who are of the flesh will die at a future date decided by God, what is important for me, is to do what pleases him, while he gives me breath to breathe on earth, the result of Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God (Gen.3:19) “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; For dust you are, and too dust you shall return” If only the political rulers of this world would look upon this, pause to think, and perhaps their hearts would be softened towards God, and they would accept His Son, Jesus Christ as Lord, with the repentance of sincerity and truth towards him. Those who have rejected the call of the gospel, the good news of God, have already been judged by the righteous judge, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I turn to the apostle Paul on this serious issue, (2.Cor.5:10) “ For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” My own opinion on this, as led by God’s Spirit, is that some will receive rewards, and others will not, but the choice will be made by God. The absolute criteria, as I see it for me, are to let his love absolutely control my life by loving him. John the apostle makes an excellent remark on this in his first letter to the Christians in Ephesus, and around that area, nearing the end of the first century of the primitive Christian church. (1.Jn.4:17) “Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.” I have to be like Christ unreservedly showing love to all. (28) The means by which I can do that is illustrated in the last verse of the passage. God offered up his Son Jesus Christ once for the sins of many, including me, like many of my brothers and sisters, who are devoted to our risen glorified Lord, we eagerly await the Rapture when he will meet all who love him in the air. But until then, we must continue the work; He has given us all to do. All I need to do is rely on the Spirit of the living God, who is in the Christ, the risen glorified Lord, and me. Again I turn to the apostle Paul in his letter to Titus. (Tit.2:13,) “Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ,” Christ is coming again. Amen.
Study Twenty Eight Animal sacrifice not the answer. Heb.10:1-4
(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 cleansed, would have 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. (1) The law was only a shadow of the good things to come, and could not even be an image of the reality of the good things. I can never keep the law by relying on my ability, totally impossible. There was in me a rebellious spirit, and darkness against God, that I could do nothing to rectify. The same lack of morality and spiritual insight was in God’s people of the Old Testament, despite religiously keeping all the ceremonial ritual handed down to them from God, which included offerings of animal sacrifice, it could never cleanse the conscience from sin. What I think of leads me into what I do, and no amount of religious practice is going to stop me from doing things that I know to be wrong, going to church will not cut it. The very same principles are applied here to Israel. It did not make the people then perfect, and it will not make me perfect, or anyone else going down this road. It is only by recognizing Christ as Lord, and allowing his Spirit to control me, that I enter into his perfection. I believe the failing of God’s people here in this passage was to recognize that they had no righteousness in themselves, because it belongs to God. I have no righteousness of my own, because I am a sinner saved by God’s grace and mercy alone. If I was to think otherwise in the light of this passage it would be sheer folly on my part. The crux of the matter is that none of the religious moral and ethical precepts God had written on stone tablets given by him to his servant Moses, who in turn handed it to his people made any difference, not even the inclusion of offerings, and the sacrifices of livestock. None of it brought God’s people any closer to him. The whole provision of the old covenant was to drive God’s people closer to him, but it never happened. I can go through all the outward signs of being a born again Christian, but if I fail to respond to the voice of my Saviour, and Lord, the risen glorified Christ, do I really know him? A question this godly author keeps asking his readers, including me. If I do not know him, I am no where near perfection, and I will continue to be in darkness, praise God that is not the case. (2) The futility of religiously keeping the law’s ceremonial ritual is questioned by the author, since it had to be done on a repetitive basis once a year, because of that fact it illustrated the point that it could not cleanse the conscience of men, indirectly suggesting the hardness, and coldness of the hearts of God’s people towards him. Can my heart be hard and cold towards my Lord? I have to say, that from time to time that can be the case, but God in his mercy lifts me out of the mire. Am I conscious of sin, only of that which lies in my old nature, of that which God the Holy Spirit continues to deal with on a daily basis. But I do not need to concern myself with past sins, the blood of the risen glorified Christ has already dealt with them. However; that was not the case in the old covenant
,because they had to repeat the same ritualistic pattern every year, which did not cleanse their minds from sin. In other words it was complete folly for these Christian Jews to reject Christ, and go back to the old covenant. (3) The following verse clearly demonstrates this absolute truth: “ But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.(4) Because Adam and Eve rebelled, disobeying God in the Garden of Eden, everything was affected by sin that had been made by God, even domestic animals, that being the case, not even the blood of a human could cleanse the conscience of sin, never mind domestic animals. I believe Micah, one of the prophets of the Old Testament makes it quite clear what is expected of me from God. ( Mic.6:6-8,) “ With what shall I come before the Lord, And bow myself before the High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, With calves a year old? (7) Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, Ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?(8) He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” A daunting task, but with the Spirit of God who lives within me, he will help me to do just that.
Study Twenty Nine Christ’s death is the fulfillment of God’s will. Heb.10:5-10 (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. (10) By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (5) I believe the starting point of this passage, for me anyway, is to take myself out of the equation, the focus is on the Son of God, and what he has done. Who came into the world, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The body Christ speaks of here is his own physical flesh, prepared by God his Father, which does not say an awful lot about us. Why does this godly author stress what the law, sacrifice and offerings could not do? Because it was compulsory, God’s people were made to do it, they had to do it, whether they wanted to or not. God sees into my heart in all that I do, and say, the same is applicable to all of his
people. (6) What I bring before the Lord marks out what kind of man I am. If I with hold anything, God can see that, and has no pleasure in it. My earnest desire, like my risen Lord is to do his will, regardless of the cost with his help.(7) The point being made here, is that the Son of God, Jesus Christ, my Lord came to the world to do the will of God his Father. To determine the will of God for my life is crucial to my faith in him. (8) Once more the author points out the uselessness of burnt offerings and sacrifices to God, when the hearts of the people are far from him. I can go to church, do all the right things outwardly, but my heart could be hard, and cold, what is the point of me being there? I do not listen to anything, while I am there, therefore; it is a pointless exercise. But that is not the case, and as far as I am concerned, my personal faith in Christ is the way forward in my life, confronting the present darkness that I find in this world. I do not listen to men, who would tell me, otherwise, that is between them, and God.(9) But I had said, that this is all about the Son of God, Jesus Christ, and this is borne out in this verse. He says, of himself, “ I have come to do your will, O God.” I notice by completing the will of God his Father, he abolishes the old covenant, and establishes the new one in his blood, as I will see at the end of the passage . (10) I said at the beginning of the study that I had to take myself out of the equation, because the passage is about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, how he met and completed the will of God his Father, while here on earth, without Him, there would be no universal, visible, invisible church worldwide. He is the Head of the church, which is the body, made up of its members belonging to the risen, glorified, and exalted Lord, who confess a personal faith in him, as I do. It is by the will of God, that I have been sanctified or separated from the world, but in the world to serve him, which only came into being through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, my Lord, for the sins of the world, in accordance to God the Father’s will, once for all. Speaking on sanctification or being separated to God from the world, but to remain in the world serving God, the risen Christ had this to say, from the Gospel of John. (Jn.17:19,) “And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.” Although I am in the world, I am not to live like the world, but to live my life in a manner pleasing to God, who will help me to overcome the things of this world with his Spirit.
Study Thirty The death of Christ brings to spiritual maturity those who are his. Heb.10:11-18. (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.(15) But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us, for after He had said before,(16) “
This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” (17)then He adds, “ Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” (18) Now where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer an offering for sin. (11) No one of any earthly origin, can take my personal sins against God away from me. It simply cannot be done in that fashion. The same point is being made regarding the priests, regardless of how many sacrifices they make, their sins remain with them, and the people. (12) It is because of his perfection, as that of a man; Christ was able to offer Himself once, and for all, as a sacrifice for my sins. He has taken my sins away forever. After that he sat down at the right hand of God. The apostle Paul spoke of this in his letter to the Colossians. (Col.3:1) “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.” The Psalmist in conjunction with this passage, although he did not know about it, prophesied that this event would occur, as he had looked at it from his day, illustrating the deity of my risen Lord. (Pss.110:1) The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” My Lord is continuing to put his enemies under his footstool. (13) The author then underlines that this will continue to happen until the end of the age. (14) I have been separated completely to my risen glorified Lord, Jesus Christ, while being continually separated to him, God my Father is working his holiness in and through my life, which he has already done through the finished work of Christ, my Lord, and the very same thing applies to all of my brothers and sisters. (15) The importance of the Holy Spirit abiding in me is crucial to the work of God in a believer, without him, it would be impossible. The fact that His voice speaks to me is a constant witness of what God has done in my heart. (16) Crucially, for my spirit, and my intelligence to be able to understand is the fact that without the coming of the Christ, the Son of God, with his death, and resurrection, there would have been no new covenant, and no Comforter. Even more important for me to understand is that to know the interpretation of this verse I have to lean on God’s understanding, not my own. Who will put God’s laws into my heart, God the Holy Spirit will, and who will write them into my intellect, again, God the Holy Spirit will. The only response needed from me is to submit to the predetermined will and purposes of God for my life, which is what I do, But even that, is the work of the Spirit, softening my heart towards the mercy God offers to me in the accepting of his Son Jesus Christ as Lord, who is the embodiment of the new covenant. This very same Spirit of God enabled the prophet Jeremiah to prophesy of this event, ( Jer.31:33)( “ But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”) which has now taken place, the very same Holy Spirit, who gives me the understanding of how important Christ’s sacrifice is on my behalf, and of others. Praise God! (17) How extraordinary; the sins I have committed, including my lawless deeds, God will remember no more, because of my acceptance of his Son Jesus Christ to be my Lord, but what must be borne in mind, is that I have been chosen to do
the work He predetermined for me in the divine council of the Godhead of time past, present, and future, nothing more. I did not choose the work, but my Lord chose it for me, and I am glad ,and pleased to do it.(18) I do not need to provide an offering for my sin, Christ’s sacrifice has procured for me the forgiveness necessary in the presence of a holy God.
Study Thirty One Be true to the confession of your faith in Christ. Heb.10:19-25. (19) Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, (20) by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, (21) and having a High Priest over the house of God, (22) let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (23)Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering. (24) And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, (25) not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as in the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (19) It is because of the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed at the cross on Calvary that has made it possible, for me to receive God’s forgiveness of my sins. Because of his blood I have received boldness to enter the very presence of God. Paul the apostle talked about this quite often: (Ephes.2:18.) (For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.) Him is a reference to the risen exalted Lord, Jesus Christ. However; the passage under my consideration at the opening sentence is about the body of Jesus Christ, and the blood that flowed from his wounds for my sake, which covered my sins, making it possible for me to approach the throne of grace. (20) The beauty of his love for me goes even deeper, and deeper by degrees, as if it was not enough, for his shed blood to cover my sins, he also provides his body for me. He provides a new and living way to enable me to enter into the presence of God his Father. When my Lord died on the cross, God his Father raised him to life, on the third day, he is alive! I worship the God of the living, not the dead. The life he led on earth was dedicated to God the Father in a life of obedience towards him, that consecration, and dedication marked his physical body as being holy for my sake, the veil which is His flesh, is that which I can come through into the very presence of God the Father. Jesus, while he was on earth, in his physical frame, answered Thomas, a question, he had asked of him. (Jn.14:6,) (Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”) God the Father, and Jesus Christ the Son are one.
(21) He is the High Priest over the house of God, which I am a member of, because of God’s grace towards me, the unmerited favour, which I have received in and from his Son, Jesus Christ. (22) To draw near, and enter into the presence of Jesus Christ, my great High Priest. I must confess any sin that I have not repented from. I have to confess, and repent of any wrong doing. Then and only then will my heart be true before him, when I have done that my heart will be assured fully. My confidence must be in my belief which is in my faith in Jesus Christ, when I am in the act of confessing, whatever sins, I have committed, that I have not confessed, the Spirit of Christ, washes over my body, and spirit, cleansing me from sin, with the purity of invigorating fresh cold water. (23) I am not to waver nor falter in living a life pleasing to God, precisely the instructions of this devout godly author to these Christian Jews. The promise of eternal life from Jesus Christ will be kept, because of his faithfulness to his Father, and his people. I am a recipient of that promise. He will not allow the Devil to tempt me beyond what I am able to resist, strengthened by his Spirit. (1.Cor.10:13) ( No temptation has overtaken you except such that is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.)I have said that the gospel of Jesus Christ was initiated, and activated by God the Father, to men through his Son, that will always be the case.( 1.Cor.1:9,) ( God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.) (24) I am to encourage my brothers and sisters to love me, and I am to love them, to stir each other up, to good works, showing the love of Christ to others, as individuals to individuals.(25) That very same love that Christ loves me with, which fills my heart, soul. and spirit, must be emptied out, and lavished upon my brothers and sisters, and in return my love with their love, should be solely poured out upon my Lord, and Saviour, Jesus Christ, while gathered in one place, in his name, and in praise and worship of him, the Lord of glory, his return is imminent, the Day of the Lord is nearer than what I think. I like the Apostle Paul’s remark, on such a crucial matter of the Lord’s return, as addressed to the believers at Rome. (Rom.13.11.) ( And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when you first believed.) Amen.
Study Thirty Two The godly live by faith in Christ Heb.10:26-39. (26) For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, (27) but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. (28) Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. (29) Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will be thought worthy who has 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? (30) For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” (31) It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (32) But recall the former days in which after you were enlightened, you endured a great struggle with sufferings; (33) partly why you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; (34) for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your possessions, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven. (35) Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. (36) For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: (37) “For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not delay. (38) Now My just one shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” (39) But we are not those who draw back to destruction, but of those who believe on the saving of the soul.
(26) I have to be very careful here, in what I say, my belief on what is perceived to be sin, in the author’s thoughts, as led by the Spirit, is that, this is the sin that would lead me away from Christ. Of course I am not perfect, because the Spirit of God continues to mold me into the image of Christ. The Devil tempts me, while I live upon the earth, and I sometimes fall into his trap, but I have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous. God has said, he will provide a way out of temptation, but I must look for it. If I decide to live in a manner that is typical of this world. I am willfully rebelling against God. I am as the Bible describes it, willfully sinning against Him. God hates sin, and deceit being brought against him, and he will act accordingly, against the perpetrators. ( Num.15:30) “ But the person who does anything defiantly, whether he is native born or a stranger, that one brings reproach on the Lord, and he shall be put to death from among his people.” To continue rebelling, or sinning against, Jesus Christ, my Lord, after receiving knowledge of him, means that he no longer is part of my life, but that is not the case. I am only suggesting a hypothetical case that is all too real for some. The apostle Simon Peter commented on this dangerous attack upon those people of God who were, and are susceptible to it. (2.Pet.2:20.) ( For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.) But this must be taken in the context of after believing in the truth of Christ’s resurrection, they now deny it. Does it still happen? I believe so. However; not in the churches, that teaches the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. These Jewish Christians or some of them, were denying the truth of the resurrection, by going back to Orthodox Judaism, specifically the old covenant under the law. (27) If violent physical death is the result of breaking God’s commandment in the Law of Moses, then the punishment of apostasy towards the Lord, meets with a horrible, and awful physical, and spiritual end. Very graphic language is used to describe the
destiny of such, a fiery indignation awaits those, who do such things, which will devour them.(28) The author cites from the Old Testament the severity of the punishment from God towards anyone who in a willful manner defies him in the breaking of his Law given to them by his servant Moses. I have quoted from the book of Numbers of the Old Testament. There is also in the Old Testament the book of Deuteronomy, (Deut.17; 2-6) the penalty was death. (29) I have pondered over the punishment handed out by God towards those who openly defied him in the Old Testament, but much worse awaits those who take up an apostate behaviour, and attitude towards his Son Jesus Christ. Those who act and behave in a rebellious manner towards the Son of God by rejecting him, after having known him, have trampled him underfoot, stomped him into the ground, treated him with arrogance and scorn, looked upon his blood to be totally common and unclean, by their actions have insulted the Spirit of grace. They have by their mouth vocally and actively insulted the Spirit of grace by rejecting the experience, they had, had of him, working within their own spirit. Jesus had quite a lot to teach on this vital issue. (Mk.3:28, 29.) (“Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; (29) but he whom blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation.”) I believe these are those who reject the risen Christ, living only in accordance to what they want. Moreover; there is a high price to pay, for those who after accepting the gospel of Christ, they then reject him. God will have vengeance upon them, not because he hates them, he loves them, but as a righteous, and holy God, he hates their sins. God hates sin. (30) He will judge the rebellious, his judgment will be absolute, and the divine decree that is made against them is one of vengeance, evidence of this is found in the book of Deuteronomy of the Old Testament. (Deut.32:35,) (“Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; Their foot shall slip in due time; For the day of their calamity is at hand, And the things to come hasten upon them”.) (31) If, I like those who have rejected Christ, after knowing him, it will be worse than those who do not know him, to fall into the hands of the living God. Jesus Christ is the righteous judge, of this, he had this to say, in the gospel of Luke. ( Lk.12:5.) ( “ But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!”) My caption for this passage was, and is, the godly live by faith in Christ. The next verse of the passage is proof of that: (32) This godly author brings to their attention, what they had gone through, after being enlightened with the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. After having been enlightened with the truth of the gospel of Christ, they had learned to trust in his Spirit to supernaturally help them to overcome a great struggle with the sufferings, the world had brought upon them ,because of their faith in Christ. Something I know a little of, but I must increase, my trust in my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To enable me to overcome, what the world would, and does bring against me. Believing I can do all things through Jesus Christ, who strengthens me. (33) Here I have in detail, the struggle, and the sufferings these Christian Jews had to go through, because of their trust, and faith in Christ Jesus. Because of being made a spectacle, and ridiculed, suffering tribulations at the hands of worldly people, enabled
them to become companions of those treated in that way, which in turn, they where able to help them, by showing the fruit of the Spirit. I believe what God has been trying to do with me is to show me what is important to him, in how I should lead my life, not in the way of world. He is an incredible loving God, and he through his Spirit within me is showing the love of Christ to others in a very practical manner, with preaching, and teaching, as led by the Spirit of God. Academic Biblical theology is no use to anybody on its own. (34) The lasting realities of eternal life in heaven, against that which will whither away and dies, exactly what the author underlines here. Nothing I have in the flesh will last, a big bank account, and material possessions, but my life with Christ will, praise God. This godly author had been imprisoned for his faith in Jesus Christ, only through knowing him, on an intimate basis in his relationship with Christ, gave him the supernatural power from God to enable him to overcome his trial of faith. The very same principle holds good for me. God the Holy Spirit had given them the boldness to show the author compassion, while he was in prison. They had because of their faith in Christ, accepted the plundering of their possessions, knowing that their eternal possessions are far more worthy than them. I have not to worry about what happens in this life, because God has already taken care of it, in similar manner the life I will have with him, when I leave this life. This can be seen in the third clause of the verse: “ knowing that you have a better and enduring possession for yourselves.” (35) Confidence is sometimes an illusive quality, and quantity that can be difficult to hold, even in the most positive person. But the confidence spoken of here is a day to day test of my belief, and my trust in the risen glorified Lord. I have to seek him out at all times, obey, and listen to the voice of God the Holy Spirit, that is how men, and women of God, gave up their lives for him, as a sacrificial offering to God. Matthew the tax collector in his account of the gospel of Jesus Christ recorded these words of my risen Lord, on this vital crucial teaching on a very important matter of my personal faith in him.(Mtt.6:12) (Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”) The age and the world I live in will always be against me, bringing persecution, oppression, false testimony, and hatred, when I do what is pleasing to my Lord, and my God, Jesus Christ. But his Spirit that is in me, will help me to overcome these things, praise his wonderful name. (36) To endure with cheerfulness, all that the enemy would bring against me, because of my love, and commitment to God’s Son Jesus Christ, and because of the eternal inheritance that is before me. I do not mean laughing or joking, but with a quiet smile within my spirit, despite what the Devil brings against me, to encourage others, who are going through severe testing. The Apostle Paul spoke on this to the believers at Colossae: (Col.3:24) (“Knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; you serve the Lord Christ.”) I serve the Lord Christ.(37) I have not to grow weary waiting for the return of my risen glorified Lord, he will return, the reason he has not is to give mankind the opportunity to repent of their sins, and turn to God the Father, in and through Jesus Christ, his Son, the risen glorified Lord. Jesus spoke on this in Luke’s account of the gospel. (Lk.18:8,) (“I tell you that He will avenge them speedily.
Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”) If it was now he would find faith in me, and my brothers and sisters with the same faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord. The Son of Man is also the Son of God, will he find faith upon the earth, sometime in the future, I do not know? (38) My understanding on this, as led by the Spirit of God, is that I have to continue trusting in His word, and that still small voice, that continues to speak to me, the only way forward to enable my faith to grow and mature in Christ, my Lord, that is how the godly will live by faith. I believe the words the apostle Paul used in his letter to the believers at Rome speak powerfully today, as it did then, of how I and the body of Christ are to live committed lives towards the living God. (Rom.1: 16, 17) (“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (17) For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”) I believe the commitment to live for God starts within me, but paradoxically God has put it there in the first place. However; in the last clause of the verse I am given a warning not to draw back from the work God has given me to do, and to draw back comes from the most unexpected corners, but a minority, nevertheless, an influential minority, who think my wife, and I are doing it for our glory. How crazy can you be? If God’s hand was not in it, the Slovaks, and the Czechs would not be continually Blessed by Him, not by Raymond McGough, and not my wife, but by God the Father, who is in Christ Jesus, who abides in my wife, and I, through whom he pours out his love upon these needy people. Before you can be used by God, you have to love him unreservedly. (39) I like this, because it is everything that my God is about, the saving of the soul, my soul, and the souls of others. Why do I speak of my soul, because I like many others could slip back into our old life, and that in God’s eyes is apostasy, committed against him, but I am aware of it, and I will keep my eyes fixed on his Son, the risen glorified Lord, Jesus Christ, who will help me to overcome the excesses of the flesh. Amen.
Study Thirty Three Accepting and acting out what God says to us is faith Heb.11:1-7
(1) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (2) For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. (3) By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. (4) By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks. (5) By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. (6) But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (7) By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became the heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. (1) When Jesus spoke to his disciples, he told them to have faith in God (Mk.11:22) (So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.” He addresses the very same instruction to me, “Have faith in God.” Faith is the English translation of the New Testament Greek word, “pis-tis,” A word used in a general sense, meaning, confidence, believing, trusting, and trust worthiness, conviction, convicted in your intelligence about a certain matter. Taken it to a higher degree, from God’s point of view, it is the Spiritual implant of God into the human heart, as seen in the New Testament. From this I have an inner confidence, assurance, trust, and reliance in God, who lives within me, in and through Jesus Christ his Son, my Lord with his Spirit. In other words I believe in the visible, invisible God, who has made this world, the universe, things seen, and unseen, continuing to be held together by the word of the risen, glorified Lord, Jesus Christ. (2) Those elders, to whom the author writes of here, have embraced the belief God has given them, and acted accordingly, by showing the fruit of the Spirit in how they lived. Something I must continue to pursue.(3) The incredible power of the spoken word of God is superbly portrayed by the author, as he writes, moved by the Spirit of God. God spoke and brought things into being, that could not be seen by the naked eye, the beginnings of the age, time from the beginning that is controlled by God. (Ps.33:6) “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.” (4) Belief in God was shown by Abel after the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden. He came and offered to God, what he expected of him, not so Cain his brother. There is a proper attitude of heart, and of mind that God expects of me at all times. The author writes of the more excellent offering of sacrifice Abel offered to God, against what Cain offered. I believe it was a blood sacrifice, perhaps Abel was taught by his parents that God killed a couple of animals to cover their nakedness, the blood was used to cover their sins, symbolizing the blood Christ shed to cover my sins. But there is also the attitude of Cain towards God, which was disrespectful, and bad, and God could see what was in his heart. He can see what is in my heart, while He gives me breath. If believers pondered over his word, applying it to the manner in which they live, perhaps
they would have an awe of him, making them love him, even more, with the awe he expects, and be ready to obey the Lord. Even more, I also believe Cain knew what sacrifice was expected of him from God, had he asked God, to help him to provide the sacrifice required by God, it would have been provided to him, but he did not. He decided what he would offer God. God decides what I should bring as a sacrificial offering to him, not man, and that sacrifice is my life. Abel brought to God as an offering, exactly in every detail, what God had wanted him to bring, and because he was obedient in his offering of the sacrifice, that God had looked for from him, God imputed his righteousness upon him. Because of this act God looked upon Abel’s obedience as a righteous act, and bestowed his own righteousness upon him. It was by this very act of obedience towards God that Abel obtained witness of being righteous before God, and caused him his life, because Cain his brother murdered him. God through the gifts Abel brought to him testifies of them, even although he is dead Abel speaks through them. God shows favour to those who love him the most, sometimes, because of jealousy from brothers, and sisters, they can be ostracized or even worse killed, but what they fail to realize, it is God who will have vengeance upon them, through his will, and purposes in the shape of discipline, and rebuke, if failing to repent, he will call them home. The very same can befall me, if I walk upon the same path? I have to fix my eyes upon Jesus Christ at all times, doing what pleases him, only by faith in him am I able do that. Faith is the key note of the men and women of God mentioned in this passage. The very same faith Christ call’s upon me to show in Him. (5) Despite the disobedience of Adam, and Eve, and the repercussions that followed, it was still possible to please God. Humanly speaking, if Adam and Eve had done to fellow humans, what they had done to God, they may have killed them, but that is the difference between God, and us, he wants to show mercy, and love to us, where it is at all possible, from the very first instance. Enoch found a way to please God in a fallen world, before his Son Jesus Christ came to earth as a man. He must have walked close to God all of his days, so much so, that God took him into heaven without facing death. There are no words in the world that can describe this event, none at all. But the fact that it was possible without the Messiah in the flesh, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, still in his preincarnate form, who became incarnate, God and man in the one body, known as the Godman in theological, and scholarly circles, a title given to him by scholars and theologians. I stress, not to be there at the time of Enoch being taken into heaven, without facing death, Christ in his incarnation, completely blows away my earthly intelligence. Nothing is impossible for God to do, and to work through me, as long as it meets with his will, and his purposes, while I continue to love, and serve his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and do what he asks. Enoch is the very epitome of what God looks for in godly men and women. All I have to do is submit to his will, and purposes. (6) I would not come to God in prayer, if I thought he did not exist, it would not make any sense, whatsoever! The incredible thing that I ponder over is that God initiated belief in my heart to enable me to approach him in prayer. I owe him a debt of gratitude that I can never repay. He will also give me rewards, for the fact of diligently seeking him out.
Faith must never be static, it must be active always. (7) God has spoken to both Irene, and I about how he wants us to serve him. A few years ago, before I became ill with cancer, God asked me to build a church for a people that I did not know at that time that is why; I knew it was not time for me to be called home. I had my left kidney successfully removed by surgery. Some years later he led both Irene and I to the Slovak communities in Govanhill that was roughly two years ago. He is doing a wonderful work through us with them, not that we are any more important, than our brothers and sisters or our brethren, he just chose us to do the work. Irene and I have to be very careful that they do not just rely on us, there will come a time, when they will have to rely on the Lord Jesus Christ. We cannot be with them all the time. Regardless of what happens in the future the thrill of seeing a number of them accepting Jesus Christ as Lord is totally priceless in our eyes But God just came and spoke about a plan that He and his Son had conceived for a people, who were poor, but hard working, people that I had never met, a number of years ago. I just accepted, what he said to me, and waited for his timing. Not as dramatic as Noah, but there are similarities. Obedience is the key here. He was warned by God of an impending disaster that was to soon come over the earth. He could not see the disaster that was coming of which God warned him. Nevertheless; he moved in godly fear to prepare for the coming disaster that would be soon upon him. Noah started making an ark out of wood, just as God instructed him, and I believe he became the laughing stock of his neighbors, because they were godless, they had no fear of God, and did not think he existed. They looked at Noah laughed at him, and made a fool of him, because he believed in one God, and even more so, when he started building the ark. At that precise moment in time, when they saw that; fear should have gripped their hearts, but it did not, and when the flood came they perished. I have to take the gospel of Jesus Christ into whatever city, he would send me, without being afraid of men, who do not want to know him. Because what he suffered, I have to suffer in order to carry my cross. There are those, whom God will save, he will lead me to them. In like manner he saved Noah, and his family from the flood for his righteous attitude, building the ark as God had told him, the world was condemned by his actions. Noah obtained, and became an heir of the righteousness, that can only be had through an active faith in God. My righteousness can only be increased by my active faith in God, but it is not my righteousness, it is the righteousness of Christ that God bestows upon me. The very same righteousness God through his Son, Jesus Christ has imputed, and imputes his righteousness upon those who humble themselves before him. Praise God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, in all of their holiness, the one triune God.
Study Thirty Four Abraham’s Faithfulness to God.
Heb.11:8-12. (8) By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And went out, not knowing where he was going. (9)By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; (10) for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. (11) By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. (12) Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude- innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore. (8) To know God in a very intimate fashion is just incredible, and there is nothing quite like that. Abraham had a relationship with God even stronger than that. He knew that with God, nothing could go wrong, even in the face of overwhelming odds. Where are the men and women of today, who are like that? It is not enough to preach God’s word from the platform, while living separately from the world. It just becomes empty rhetoric to those who have already accepted Jesus Christ. I used to think like that, until God showed me differently. When you hunger for God, and his love, you must return your own love to him, only then, will great and wonderful things begin to happen with the lost.
It has taken me years to discover Christ’s intimate love for me as an individual, now that I have it I will never let it go. Whatever he asks of me I will do To see men and women being saved, you have to love them, and you can only do that if you truly love God, but you have to go out into the streets, and the market places to see it happen. One thing God has taught me through his Son, and his Spirit, this valuable lesson. It is God, who does it through his Spirit in me. I am the earthen vessel, he has chosen. Obedience to the still small voice of the Spirit of God, that is all that it takes. All the empty religious rhetoric in the world will change nothing. The first thing Abraham did after hearing the voice of God was to obey, that is what I do now. I could have listened to what God had to say to me, and done nothing, but
it would have achieved nothing. Had Abraham did the same thing, I shudder to think what would have happened? Praise God that Abraham was faithful to him. God did not show Abraham immediately, where the land was to which he was leading him too, he just had to go, and believe that God was leading him to a land that he would inherit, according to the promise God had given him. He left his home in obedience to God, not knowing where he was going. Nobody from the disenfranchised peoples of all the cities in Eastern Europe, particularly in the west, will even enter a church building, even when they do, they are not made very welcome by some in the churches, who have their own criteria of who they will accept, but not that of God’s. As a result they do not come back. I would not like to be in their shoes when God is dealing with them. The very same thing would happen to Abraham, as he journeyed to a new country where there would be those who would not accept him, but God was with him, as he is with me. God had spoken to me about what he wanted both Irene and I to do, but not when, now it is being brought forth to fruition, we have to rely on Him to make it successful, which it is, and will be even more so, because God’s Spirit is being poured out upon it, and into the hearts of those who have listened, accepting his Son Jesus Christ. Success is measured by how God looks at it, and I believe we will see some of the fruit of our work from God in heaven. (9) Abraham leaves his home in U r of the Chaldeans in obedience towards God, and now that he has done so, he finds himself in a strange land as a foreigner. But he is living in the land promised to him by God. When he received his calling from God, he, and his wife, and nephew immediately left their homes. Abraham did not see a vision of the country God was leading him into, he heard his voice, and obeyed. I know from my own experience of God that is how he does it. What an incredible portrait of the faith, Abraham shows in my Lord, the kind of belief I diligently search after, to know him, as Abraham knew him. They were nomads journeying in a foreign land, living in tents traveling to the promised land Eventually they would possess the land God had promised to them. I believe this godly author of the letter to the Hebrews was not only thinking of an earthly inheritance, but coinciding with it a Spiritual Kingdom, to which I have been called to as a child of God with the rest of my brethren. (10) Abraham like the rest of the heroes of faith in the passage wait for the foundations of the new city of God, likewise I am waiting too.(Heb.12:22,) (But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels,”) God is the builder, and maker of the foundations of his city, lasting forever. The reality of God’s Jerusalem in all it’s breath taking beauty. (Rev.21:10) (“And He carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,”) No superlative can describe this vision. (11) There is nothing my God cannot do, as I can see from the birth of a child to Sarah. Sarah the wife of Abraham was past the age of being able to produce children physically, but she believed the Lord, when he promised that he would give her a child, even although she was ninety, when she did. It was conceived with the help of the Holy Spirit. She believed the Lord, when he said to her, that she would give birth to a child, belief leading to faith. I must continue to increase my belief in the Lord, which increases
my faith to do what he asks, and believing what he speaks of to me. Sarah being the example of her faith in God. (Gn.21:2.) (For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time God had spoken to him.) (12) Abraham was one hundred years old when Isaac was born, physically, it was impossible for Abraham and Sarah to produce a child, but God miraculously helped her to produce a child. (Gn.21:1.) (And the Lord visited Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had spoken.) In my experience with God, through his Son Jesus Christ, my Lord, he is the same today, as he was then, doing great, and wonderful things amongst the lost. What is in contention is my lack of belief at times. I pray that God my Saviour, the Lord, Jesus Christ will increase my belief in him, while I await his coming. From Abraham came the seed of Jesus Christ, the man, while being the Son of God, who being the Father, became the earthly father of millions of God’s children, from all the nations of the earth to go to heaven, which includes me, and my brethren in Christ, as innumerable as the grains of sand on the seashore. There is no other God like Him (Gn.15:5.) (Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”) I believe it is important to understand, as far as I am concerned, that God’s chief reason for me to live, eat, drink fluids, and breathe is so that I can respond to his love in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ his Son with others. Earth is not my home. I am a stranger passing through on my way to the new heaven, and the new earth.
Study Thirty Five The true home of God’s people in Christ Heb.11:13-16 (13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. (14) For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. (15) And truly had they called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. (16) But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.)
(13) The author, speaking to his readers informs them of the fact that the men and women of the Old Testament died, without seeing the promises made to them being fulfilled in their lifetime, but the importance is in the fact that they died, believing that the promises would be fulfilled. Unlike me, they did not receive the fulfillment of the promises at that time. But although they did not receive them, they embraced the idea that they would in the future, Jesus spoke of this, Jn.8:56. “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” But I have to remember, like me, they have received the promises, and are now in heaven with the rest of God’s people, having passed from this life to the next standing next to God their Saviour, and ours the risen glorified Christ I need to understand with the help of God the Holy Spirit the fact like Abraham, and his descendants. I am a stranger and a pilgrim upon the earth. Heaven is my new country that my spirit within my body is journeying too.(Ps.119:19,) “I am a stranger in the earth; Do not hide Your commandments from me.” My quest is to know God in order that I can do what pleases him, whether it upsets anyone or not, only that my conduct of life should show the living Christ to everyone, the saved, and the unsaved. (14) If I continuously want to hold onto all that the world has to offer me, including my earthly life, does that not deny the existence of heaven? I believe that it does, not for a moment am I suggesting life is not precious in the sight of God, of course it is! But I am going to die, when that occurs, my physical life will cease anyway, and my spirit lives on. What is vitally important to me is that while I live, and breathe the air God gives to me, I do what pleases him, because after I have left the earth, I will not get another opportunity. However; I leave that sombre note behind, and rejoice, because I am on my way to the glorious city of our God... (Heb.13:14.) “For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.” (15) Having been called from an earthly habitat, they had no desire to return to it or they would have. I similarly having been called by Jesus Christ to a heavenly abode I do not want to be left in the manner I was found. (16) Like them I desire something better, than what I live in now, that something is a new city prepared by God.
Study Thirty Six Faithful Patriarchs Heb.11:17-22. (17) By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, (18) of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” (19) concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense. (20) By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. (21) By faith Jacob, when he was dying,
blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on top of his staff. (22) By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones. (17) To believe that God is able to do, whatever he has said he would do, contrary to what the gray cells of the brain would say, telling me that it is impossible. I have no idea, what Abraham must have been thinking, when God instructed him to take Isaac up to the top of the mountain to offer him up as a sacrifice. He was being tested to the extreme, to see if he truly thought that his God was, and is the God of the impossible, the testing of my faith will continue, as long as he gives me breath to breathe. The same equally applied to the Patriarchs. The question asked of Abraham was what kind of God do you worship? A question God asks of me. Abraham’s belief was in the promises God made to him, when he was tried, he would find the substance of the promises to be genuine. It is one thing to be given a promise from God, but it is another when asked to prove the validity of that promise, when the bearer asks you to do so. God has asked both Irene and I to do what is humanly impossible, but because it is his plan, it will be successful. All of those who humble themselves before God will find it to be true. Isaac was also a type of the Christ to come. Jesus Christ was, and is God’s only begotten Son, whom he sacrificed upon the cross for my sake, and for others. This was the imitation of the reality that was to come. Passiveness in God’s eyes never works, had Abraham only listened, nothing would have been accomplished. The author of the letter of James adds weight to an active faith in God. (Js.2:21.) “Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the alter?” (18) Even before God called Abraham to take up his only son Isaac to the mountain top to be sacrificed, he had been promised his seed would come from Isaac, and from that seed the Messiah would come. His trust in God regarding this promise is really being put to the test. I have no idea how I would have responded to such a challenge, but I praise God, because Abraham met the challenge, for from his loins, down through his descendants came Christ the Anointed Son of God. (19) Now Abraham reasoned to himself, seeing that Isaac had been given to him, supernaturally, while Isaac lay bound on the alter, he was already dead, plunging the knife into him would be symbolic, and even after such an act, God would bring him back to life, to be true to his promises to him. The faith Abraham shows in God leaves me speechless, but it is the kind of faith the Lord looks for from me, but he gives each of us a measure of faith, to increase this, I must humbly with love obey his will. (20) The author uses the technique of repetitiveness to draw out a crucial principle of how spiritual growth is to be attained. Faith is the vital, operative word, to believe, and act upon. Isaac blessed Jacob, and Esau with the things, that were coming in the future, but they to would have to make a decision of faith, believe and act upon it What God has shown me to be future, I have to believe, and act upon. (21) Jacob continued in what he had learnt from Isaac, he had received blessings from him, and now was doing a similar thing by blessing the sons of Joseph. Astonishingly, while he was dying, continuing to bless these sons of Joseph, Jacob was actively worshiping God. It would leave a huge
imprint upon them concerning the testimony of Jacob’s faith in the living God. (22) God revealed to Joseph, that his people would sometime in the future leave Egypt, and they were to carry his bones into the land promised to them by God. He believed that this would happen, which eventually did, the historical narrative is to be found in the book of Exodus of the Old Testament. I have to live by faith in God, believing that what he has called me to do will bear fruit in his kingdom.
Study Thirty Seven Supreme faith in God against an overwhelming enemy Heb.11:23-29 (23) By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child, and they were not afraid of the king’s command. (24) By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, (25) choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, (26) esteeming the reviling because of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. (27) By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. (28) By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them. (29) By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians attempting to do so were drowned. (23) I cannot imagine, what must have went through the thoughts of the parents of Moses, when Pharaoh sent his troops to all the Jewish settlers in his country, to take hold of new born baby boys, and throw them into the River Nile, in order to drown them! He had instructed the Jewish midwives to kill all male children at birth, but even although, he was king, they refused him, knowing he could have put them to death for refusing the royal decree. But they knew God, and he would not have allowed that to happen, they knew that, and also God could have killed the Pharaoh at any time, but he was merciful towards him, giving him time to repent from his actions. It is the same old problem of men, and women, who only believe in what they see, with their physical eyesight, without realizing, they are being hoodwinked by the enemy, Satan, as was Pharaoh, and his people. However; like today, and the future, the decision they make is their responsibility, not God’s, and not the Devil’s. Moses parents had a choice to make, they knew the one God wanted them to make, and they went with that one. God is interested in the whole of my life, down to the tiniest detail. I have to
submit all of that to him, but, because of my flesh, it can be difficult, and I must look past that, fixing my eyes upon Him. Moreover; the tension of my body, while working out my salvation within my spirit, as Paul aptly describes, will always be there. Like the parents of Moses, the tension of their physic must have been there, while doing what was right, as God would see it, even although it went against an evil king’s edict. The emotions of my humanity can never be played down, but nevertheless, in order to do his will, God through his Spirit within me, can enable me to overcome all that the enemy would throw at me. Supreme faith is to trust in God, no matter how impossible the situation seems. (24) Now the author of the letter to the Hebrews, high lights the turning point in the life of Moses, to his Jewish Christian readers: when he became of age, something occurred, but the author is not specific in what he means? There is no direct evidence of him actually verbally or vocally denouncing the Pharaoh’s daughter of being his mother, the fact that he killed an Egyptian overseer makes it quite clear that he would be disinherited from Pharaoh’s throne, and had to escape from Egypt, because Pharaoh had sought to kill him.(Ex.2:15) (When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh and dwelt in the land of Midian; and he sat down by a well.) He quite possibly may have known that he was a Jew, because of being circumcised. The fact that Moses was a very well educated man and more than possible knew of his Jewish ancestry. He would have been circumcised at the age of being eight days old. However; the circumcision was a sign that he belonged to God, one of his covenant people. It also demonstrated that he could not depend on his natural abilities, but on God alone, (Ex.17:10-14) how many times does my flesh stumble upon that, but God the Holy Spirit enables me to overcome my flesh, and when I get it wrong I can go back and ask Christ for his forgiveness or in the present, because he is always with me. (25) Here I see the greatness of Moses belief in God, one of the outstanding hero’s of faith. God gave him the ability to look far beyond the earthly scene, things that had not taken place, the kind of faith I crave for. He chose to suffer the same persecutions of God’s people, while they were under the captivity of the Egyptians, nobody forced him to do that. He made the choice, probably on the grounds of his own morality. When I do what pleases God, his Spirit that lives within, enables me to overcome all that the world would throw at me, because the Devil likes nothing better than to see my belief in God begin to waver, but then the Spirit of the living God helps me to defeat that, but my eyes must be fixed upon him all of the time. (26) I believe Moses met the Son of God at the burning bush, described in the Book of Exodus at chapter three as the angel of the Lord, those who believe in the Son of God accept this as the preincarnate Christ. Moses looked away from the earthly treasures that he could have gathered for himself, by looking forward to the greater eternal glory of being with God, accepting the reviling that Christ would be reviled with, when he came in his incarnation, abusive language being used against him They would use expletives foul language towards Moses as they did towards Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. I have never experienced it, even although the Lord has helped me to witness for him, perhaps in the past, but I do not recollect any instance of it. But the incredible thing for me, is a
man made like me in the flesh, Moses, demonstrates an astonishing belief, and faith in my God. The word reproach does not only mean abusive language being directed towards me, because of my loyalty to Jesus Christ, it also means the loss of friends, which has already occurred. But that is nothing compared to the reward, which I will receive in heaven. I like how the apostle Paul describes this great event in his letter to the saints at Rome. (Rom.8:18) “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us,” The glory is already enshrined within me, ready to be revealed at the right time, the same is applicable to the body of Christ, the church. (27) The testimony of the faith of Moses, illustrates the power of the sovereign God that will never diminish. I like the words the author uses to describe the belief and the faith Moses showed in God, which poses quite a challenge to my own faith, and belief in God. Moses allowed the anger of Pharaoh, the king to come against him, because he was an earthly monarch, a puny man, who would be destroyed by the might, and power of God, who is all wise, and immortal, whose reign knows no end. He could see the invisible God, and the outcome of all that God was going to do. This is the belief and faith that I chase after God can change the events of history, and will. He will also come against those politicians, who try to dilute, and water down his word, who do not know the anger that will come against them, as had happened to Pharaoh, while continuing to rebel against him, and his Son Jesus Christ. This is the faith, and the belief that I must have in Jesus Christ, my risen Lord, to enable me, and to be ready as the Spirit of God moves me, to stand up for what I believe, which will be against, not only politicians, but all who try to weaken the word of God. Moses believed that God would eventually bring Pharaoh to an end. I believe he will do exactly the same against the earthly rulers, who fail to bow the knee to him in this life, because after death they will be forced to do so. (28) Actions should always follow belief and trust in God, belief, and trust are the two major components of faith in God, hear, believe and do. I hear what God has to say, to me, and act accordingly, that is what constitutes faith in God. Moses carried out all the instructions God had given to him for his people. In this verse it illustrates how important the Passover was to God, and his people, founded, and established by God, through his servant Moses, instructions given by him to the people of God, telling them, what they had to do. With the Passover came the sprinkling of blood, they had to do this to stop the destroying angel from killing the firstborn of their children, who killed all the firstborn children of Egypt. No amount of prayer would have stopped the destroyer from killing their firstborn. They all had to meet the requirements of the Passover, a fact that is made abundantly clear in the book of Exodus of the Old Testament. (Ex.12:11,) “And thus you shall eat it: Made ready to travel a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So shall you eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover.” I notice too, the reference to blood, and it is very important that I understand the significance of blood, guided, and helped by the Spirit of the living God, to enable my spirit, and intellect to soak in, and understand Without blood, there would be forgiveness
of sin towards me, from a holy and righteous God. He is morally upright, and ethical in his person, and character, and therefore, he cannot look upon sin. Anyone who is not covered by the blood of an animal sacrificed to God, at that time, if they were to look upon God, would be immediately destroyed. But that did not cover the sin of intent. He is an all consuming fire, devouring everything not covered by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. A pertinent point, that my flesh, must understand, and submit to the purposes, and the sovereign will of God, the same thing Moses the Prophet had been determined to do, and had done. This was a precursor type of the Christ that was still to come in the age Moses lived. (29)The trust that is shown in God by his servant Moses and by the people of God is truly remarkable. They had come to an impasse, the shores of the Red Sea was in front of them, with nothing to sail over it with to get to the other side, Pharaoh’s army of chariots and horsemen where almost on top of them. I can’t imagine the dreadful terror of how they were feeling realizing that Pharaoh with his army was thundering towards them. They had come to a dead end or so they thought. But they had not reckoned on God’s miraculous power. He had spoken to Moses about what he would do, which is recorded in the book of Exodus of the Old Testament: (Ex.14:15-16; 21,) (And the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. (16) But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea ; (21) Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.) The Egyptians with Pharaoh in the lead, led his army in pursuit of Israel, on the dry ground that God had opened to his people, without thinking of who had done this miraculous sign, thinking it to be the force of nature. How dangerously wrong, they were, and they would soon find out to their cost. They had thought that he was only the god of the desert, what a foolish notion. All of them, including their king were soon to be taught a terrible lesson incurring the loss of life of the whole of their nation of fighting men with their king being taught that he was and is the God who controls the destiny of nations, and all the elements of the weather.( Ex.15:28,29;) (Then the waters returned and covered the chariots, the horsemen, and all the army of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them. Not so much as one of them remained. (29) But the children of Israel had walked on dry land in the midst of the sea, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.) Although they perished, those Egyptians who were still alive believed. The conceit and arrogance of men will always be with us, only God through his Son Jesus Christ can change that, for those who continue to rebel right up until after death there is only a lost eternity without God, a stark reality. But I have to believe that the God who miraculously guided the children of Israel with his divine power and influence is the very same God I worship today. It is not God’s will that any should perish, but undoubtedly there will be those who do. The Egyptians who drowned had all seen the miraculous things God had done for his people, but because they had hardened their hearts against him they perished. I am a free moral person with choices, what I do with them is mainly down to me, it is the same with all of God’s people, who are members of the body of Christ the church. I either choose to do what is right in the eyes of God or fail to do so, because I do what I think is right which can be often wrong. Like all great men and women of God the
biggest battle that I continue to have is with me, every member of the body of Christ is great in the eyes of God. Study Thirty Eight An explanation of how faith works Heb.11: 30-40 (30) By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled seven days. (31) By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who were disobedient, when she had received the spies with peace. (32) And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah,also, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: (33) who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, (34) quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. (35) Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. (36) Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. (37) They were stoned, they were sawn in two, tempted, were slain with the sword. They wondered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented – (38) of whom the world was not worthy. They wondered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. (39) All of these having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, (40) God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us. (30) To stretch my belief in God and what he can do is the sole study of this particular passage in Hebrews. How does my faith compare to the hero’s of faith, and what can I learn from them in their relationship with God? Now to the human mind of today, with the world’s systems brainwashing them into thinking what is rational, without knowing God, the Bible to them is just a story, a fairy tale. I must guard against it slipping into my sub-consciousness, because of my own relationship with God and his with me. The walls of Jericho fell down, because of God’s supernatural intervention, but his people had been given a part to play in it, namely, to walk around the walls of Jericho for seven days. Here I see active faith, not the passive type. God’s people obeyed him through his servant Joshua, I believe both Joshua and the people of God were having their belief in God tried and tested. It is easy to say, I believe and do absolutely nothing, God looks for me to submit myself to his Son Jesus Christ the Lord of glory and do what pleases him. There is nothing passive in that. I believe the proper step for me is to believe that is exactly what happened to Joshua. (Josh.6:1-5.) (Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none came in. (2) And the Lord said to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of
valor. (3) You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days. (4) And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of ram’s horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times and the priests shall blow the trumpets. (5) It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet that all the people will shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him.”) I believe that what God did then with his miraculous power, he does today, and will continue to do, nothing is impossible for my God. (31) He loves the whole of the human race, not only his chosen people Israel, Rahab is a Gentile prostitute, but God still loves her, but not her sexual immorality. He softens her heart towards his people, even although, if her king found out, it would have meant certain death. I have to show the love of Christ to all who I meet. Israel was taught by God to show hospitality to the stranger, most of the time they did not. Job was not a Jew, and I have read of how much he was loved by God, of his reaction towards God in his love towards him. Once again in the case of Rahab, obedience is shown by her activity towards God, because she had heard of the mighty exploits of God on behalf of his people Israel. (Josh.2.8-12,) The essence of seeing God’s hand at work in the world I live in is in believing faith, and obedience. I have to comply to his voice, and in the reading of his Word, the Bible. (32) The author gives me six godly heroes of faith, excluding the prophets, that being seven, but for one there was a different outcome or conclusion to his trust in God, and that was Samson. It knocks on the head the idea of worldly prosperity being always a sign of great spirituality of godly men and women, far from it. Only the Lord knows how they have accumulated it, some may have compromised their Christian beliefs in order to obtain it, while others have been blessed by God with it. But those who have been given great wealth by God give it back to him, in order to further his kingdom. Others rather die than denounce their faith in God, Samson was such a person. Am I ready to die? Rather than denounce my faith in God, only he knows the answer? I pray that whatever the cost, his Spirit will enable me to meet it, like Samson, and God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, whom he resurrected to eternal life, who will do the same for me. (Jdg.16: 28-31.) ((28) Then Samson called to the Lord, saying, “O Lord God, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O God that I may with one blow take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes!” (29) And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars which supported the temple, and he braced himself against them, one on his right and the other on his left. (30) Then Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” And he pushed with all his might and the temple fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead that he killed at his death were more than he killed in his life. (31) And his brothers and all his father’s household came down and took him, and brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of his father Manoah. He had judged Israel twenty years.) Rebellion against God can only have one outcome, physical death in this life and the soul being lost forever, God loved the Philistines, but he hated their sin, the same is applied to the whole of mankind. It is the same for every man and woman as long as the earth remains. Some do not know how short life can be in light of the bigger picture.
(33) A staggering outcome of the heroes of faith who dared to believe that with God anything is possible, with his help, and considerable influence, with it, subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness in those whom he called, obtained promises from God, because of their active faith in him, he also closed the mouths of lions to stop them from devouring them, such was their belief in him. (34) An endless list of exploits of how God makes himself visible to the outside world in and through his people in Old Testament times, but that has been carried on into the New Testament, making himself visible in and through his Son, Jesus Christ, the risen, and exalted Lord of glory of which I am studying in the book of Hebrews of the New Testament. To be all that Christ wants me to be, I need to continue reading the Bible, allowing the blessed Holy Spirit to interpret it to me! He is the only one that can give me a true understanding of the word written between the covers of the Holy Scriptures. Praise God. (35) The other side of the coin of my belief in God is that He can give me the ability to accept torture, his Spirit enabling me to go through it. God does not always give exemption from suffering, when I suffer for the sake of Christ, even when I have done no wrong I am glorifying him through suffering I can see that in the text that reads, “ others were tortured, not accepting deliverance”, now that is really hard for my earthly understanding to grasp, even for my spirit. But I believe the answer is in the fact that they would not deny God was their God, the condition of being released from torture. I will not be stopped from being a disciple of my Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, he with the power of his Spirit within me, will enable me to overcome all that the world would, and will throw against me for the sake of his glory, all I have to do is ask for his help. The enemy is alive, and well, causing problems for God’s people, who will not stand up for their faith in Christ, taking the choice to be passive. I praise God, because there are those whom he has chosen, through the strength of his Spirit, abiding in them will be vocal in testimony of God’s love for them, and theirs for him, for the lost, and the enemies of the cross of Christ, regardless of the cost to self. My prayer is that I will be in that number showing that love through good deeds to all. The idea that because I am dedicated to following Jesus Christ, my Lord, having been saved by his Spirit that I will then have a care free life is from the pit, it is absolute nonsense. He gives me the strength to overcome whatever the world brings against me, because of my love, and loyalty towards him, he, having first loved me through his Son Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, God the Father. (36) The author spells it out how the cost can manifest itself for some of those who love the Lord deeply, even although it is the suffering, and death of godly men, and women of the Old Testament, because of the word of their testimony of faith in the one and only true God. The same occurs on the pages of the New Testament. Christ was crucified upon a cross, and then resurrected to life by God his Father. He has said that in order to follow him I must take up my cross. Stephen was the first Christian martyr, stoned to death by an angry mob of Jews. James the brother of John was put to death by the sword by an evil despot, King Herod in order to please the Jews. These accounts can be read of in the book of Acts of the New Testament. But in the most extreme religious countries where Christianity is looked upon as heresy, my brothers and sisters are being tortured, put in prison, and put to death in today’s world, because they will not deny their faith in the Lord.
(37) An incredible account of the faith shown by those who ended in death, some quickly, others slowly. Stoned to death would have been quick, sawn in two while still being alive would have been excruciating agony, before lapsing into unconsciousness, with death immediately following. Naboth was murdered for his vineyard, King Ahab tried to buy it from him, but he refused to sell it to him. He must have known that he would be killed for refusing to sell. Jezebel King Ahab’s wife, and Queen, had Naboth stoned, and killed by bringing false witness, and testimony against him from a couple of scoundrels. (1, Kings.21:13.) (And two men, scoundrels, came in and sat before him; and the scoundrels witnessed against him, against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, “Naboth has blasphemed God and the king!” Then they took him out of the city and stoned him with stones, so that he died.) An outrageous lie spun to gigantic proportions resulting in the death of an innocent man. It reminds me of the lies brought against Jesus Christ, my Lord, while on trial before his death by his enemies in the Sanhedrin. Those who hate Jesus Christ will hate me, and those like me, who love the Lord Jesus Christ by putting at his disposal their lives, and me, my life. In regard to those whom the author looks back upon in Jewish history, particularly those who were sawn in two, one man comes to mind in the author’s research, Isaiah the prophet, according to their traditions from that time. Under the reign of the evil King Manasseh, Isaiah the prophet was taken out of the court, and put into the trunk of a tree, and sawn in two, because he dared under instructions from God to tell the King of God’s forth coming judgment that was soon to fall upon him, and his kingdom. Whatever the Lord asks of me to go, and do, I have to do it, even when it is not acceptable to the ears of men. (38) Here the author reflects on the history of his ancestors, specifically, the undoubted heroes of faith, and makes the remark that the world was not worthy of them. Is the world worthy of those who follow the risen glorified Lord, who are obedient to him, until they have passed from this life into the next? I do not think so. But while I live and breathe I must do what pleases God with the help of his Son, Jesus Christ, my Lord, with the help of His Spirit that dwells within me, enabling me to show his love to others in whatever shape and form that expresses itself. Why do I want to please God? Because I love him, not forgetting that he first loved me. It may very well be that in the future, in the world I live in now, the government will rise against God, and his people, bringing pressure upon them to dilute, and water down his word written, which is upon the pages of Holy Scripture, commonly known as the Bible, in order to win popularity with the masses, who do not believe, for their own political ends. Such people were King Ahab, and his wife, Queen Jezebel. Queen Jezebel was just as much an evil person as her husband King Ahab. They cared very little about human life, if it got in the road of the pursuit of power, and glory for themselves. (1.Kgs.18:4,) ( For so it was, while Jezebel massacred the prophets of the Lord, that Obadiah had taken one hundred prophets and hidden them, fifty to a cave, and had fed them bread and water.) I have no idea if this could happen again, in all likelihood it could. Jesus Christ said to his disciples, which includes me in the present, and the future, with my brothers and sisters, who are members of the invisible, visible church of the Lord Jesus Christ, these words recorded by Matthew, one of his disciples, and apostles, in his narrative of the gospel of Jesus Christ. (Mtt.10:22.)(“And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to
the end will be saved.”) When I am tempted I need to look to God for a way of escape, whatever, and wherever that may be, and because he loves me, he will provide one. (39) I believe that what the author is pointing out to me here, in this part of his conclusion, that even without the gift of the Holy Spirit dwelling within, the Lord still empowered all of these righteous men, and women to be faithful to him against absolutely fearful, and terrifying enemies from within their own ruling monarchs, some meeting their deaths by the hand of their own wicked Kings, and Queens. But what this illustrates is the boldness, and the immense courage God placed within them for that time to do what he asked of each individual. The lesson, is that they listened to God, and done exactly what was asked. I have the Holy Spirit living within my spirit, who waits for me to listen to what God would have me do, in and through his Son Jesus Christ. The solution is to submit my flesh to the Lord while I live and breathe, wait and listen to what he would have to say to me. What stands out for me in this passage is that the men and women it speaks of, after doing what God had asked of them, which included for quite a number the suffering of the ultimate penalty of a violent physical death from violent men, who did not receive the promise until after Christ ‘s first advent. Obviously they knew of the promise, but did not receive it until all of God’s people received this, from his risen resurrected Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. They received it at the time of Christ’s death, and resurrection, as I, and my brethren have received it now. But what can be seen here, is the glorious testimony, and witness of men, and women called by God, to serve him in appalling times of great wickedness, and evil that was brought against them, because of their love, dedication, and obedience towards God. However; the guiding principle is that they heard the Lord speak to them, believed, followed his instructions to the letter, and he enabled them to do what was asked of each individual by his power. I must believe in what he asks of me, and do it, that is my personal belief, and faith being put into action, without that I have no faith. (40) Perfection can only come, when I see the Lord in glory, which obviously means, I have not arrived, even although I am saved, but to keep my salvation I must continue pressing onwards, pleasing God in all that he asks of me. Those who have went onwards into glory, all the hero’s of faith of the Old Testament, not forgetting those of the New Testament, to the present, have arrived, because they are no longer present in the body here on earth, having gone to be with the Lord of glory.
Study Thirty Nine Marathon of Faith Heb.12: 1, 2. (1) Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, (2) looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
(1) I believe the author’s intention is to help me focus on the witness and testimony of this great cloud of witnesses, not as spectators looking at me from above, but how with God’s help they obeyed him, even when they were killed, because of their love, and loyalty towards him, the account of which is in the previous chapter. There is a line in the New Testament that reads, you have still to prove your faithfulness right up to the point of death. I believe it can be found in the early chapters of the book of Revelation. An awesome challenge issued to me from the mouth of the Lord. But only the Spirit of the living God can help me to meet that particular challenge. I have to recognize the specific sin that I am not able to overcome, which stops me from having a closer relationship with God. Extra weight stops me from running the marathon of faith successfully, precisely what sin does to my progress to spiritual maturity. I have to ask God to help me to overcome that, and want or desire to overcome it. The apostle Paul makes it quite clear, what is expected of me in his letter to the Christians in Colosse. (Col.3:8.) (“But now you yourselves are to put off all of these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.”) The apostle was not talking to those who did not believe, he was talking to God’s people. Obviously none were the finished article, a warning against me not to think that I am, and the urgent need to keep pressing on into spiritual maturity, which can only be accomplished by giving control of my life to God the Holy Spirit by seeking the purpose, and will of God, continuing to look to Jesus Christ, his Son, and my Lord. The author continues with the rest of the verse by encouraging these Jewish Christians to keep running in the race of faith, not to stop, with the help of the Spirit of God, I have to press onwards to the goal set before me by God the Father, and the Son, complying with his will, and purpose for my life, that I may glorify God in the world that I live. Paul spoke on running the race with the intention of winning. (1.Cor.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 win it,”) “with endurance,” is as follows: the race that is spoken of here, I believe is a marathon, not a sprint; you could hardly call the Christian life a sprint. To run a marathon I need stamina, likewise to be effective in my walk with God, Jesus Christ I need the energizing power of God the Holy Spirit from within, I believe it is also called his anointing. The method in which I achieve that is through prayer. (Rom.12:12 ;) (“..Rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, continuing steadfast in prayer.”) (2) I have to continue looking towards Jesus, but not in a passive sense, where nothing is said or done. It means talking to him, in and through my spirit, with his Spirit, being active in my spirit, while being led by the same Spirit in following his instructions. Belief, faith, and trust is always active in whatever form and shape that takes. Jesus Christ is not only my Lord, important as that is, he is also the pioneer of my faith, not only has he pioneered it, he continues through his Spirit within me to perfect the faith he has placed within my heart, and spirit. The next part of the clause of the text needs to be scrutinized very closely with the help of the Holy Spirit. This godly author writes of the joy that is set before my Lord. I would hardly imagine that my Lord would feel that, while he was being flogged almost to death, and then nailed to a cross, left to die. The joy that he saw was the finished work that he had come to do, to release me from the captivity of sin with millions of others. The joy that my Lord felt after his work was accomplished is described by Luke in his narrative of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
He recorded the words Jesus spoke of from a reliable and authoritative source of information. (Lk.24:25, 26.) (Then he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! (26) Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?”) I am to believe that my God can do even greater things today, and not to be hindered by what the flesh sees. Not only was the death of my Lord barbaric in its cruelty, there was an embarrassment hanging over this form of death with the awfulness of shame, because this form of death was for a common criminal, which my Lord was not. The author is correct in writing that he endured the cross despising the shame of it. To endure is to hold my ground, built on my belief, and trust in my Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, he through the Spirit of God within him, overcame the barbaric treatment that was brought against his physical body, the very same Spirit that he has given to me, to enable me to overcome all that this world would bring against the Christ in me. I turn to the Psalms of the Old Testament, which spoke of this day, hundreds of years before the Son of God’s incarnation, in who the new covenant has been established. (Ps.69:7, 19.) (“Because for Your sake I have borne reproach; Shame has covered My face.” (19) “ You know my reproach, my shame, and my dishonor, My adversaries are all before You.”) The reproach, shame, and dishonor Jesus Christ felt while being flogged, and then nailed to the cross was not his, he volunteered to take the sins of this world upon his body, and was crucified with them, upon that same cross, to free those who were made captive to sin, who have accepted his mercy, accepting him as Lord over them. The very same thing he did for me. He who was, and is God, Jesus Christ, the Son, became man, was crucified as a man, although still God, resurrected by God his Father on the third day, became the perfect man, now both God, and man in the same body, my Lord, after being raised by God, the Father, went into heaven to be with his Father, now sitting on his right hand side of the throne of God. I find that totally breath taking, and absolutely awesome, the idea that God the Father, and God the Son, with God the Holy Spirit conceived the plan of salvation, because of the love of humanity, executed through the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise the Lord! Hallelujah!
Study Forty Discipline of God brings maturity. Heb.12:3-11 (3) For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. (4) You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. (5) And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; (6) For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges
every son whom He receives.” (7) If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? (8) But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. (9) Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? (10) For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. (11) Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
(3) An accurate pin point of the birth of faith, in him who would become the Messiah, in and through his suffering, crucifixion, death, and resurrection, Jesus Christ, Son of God. Hostility from sinners such as me, which manifested itself in the cruel and barbaric actions of humanity against him, as mentioned above, before I was reborn in the Spirit of the living God. I have to consider all that had happened against Christ, my Lord, before his resurrection, and the implications of it for me. I believe, what is being said here by this godly author, to these Christian Jews is the point, that because Jesus Christ suffered, and died to become their Messiah, God the Father having raised him on the third day. Acknowledging him as Lord would, and will bring persecution against them, for vocally professing their faith in him. I expect hostility from the world in which I live, because of my faithfulness to the Lord, with that, there will come great hostility, and persecution from sinners, who do not know Jesus Christ as Lord, and the fact that there are those who reject him. Jesus makes it very clear that many will suffer, because of their love and allegiance to him. Matthew recorded these words of Jesus in his narrative of him: (Mtt.10:22-24.) ((22) “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. (23) “When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes. (24) “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.”) (4) The importance of the Holy Spirit cannot be stressed enough, without him, it is totally impossible to please God. To resist falling into sin, because of the threat of death by denying my faith, cannot be achieved through human strength, or mental toughness, I would fail. Therefore; I need the Spirit of God to enable me to overcome the temptation of denying him, through his Spirit within my spirit. The Apostle Paul in his letter to the believers at Corinth sums it up very well. (1.Cor.10:13.) ( “ No temptation has overtaken you except such s is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” ) God is not the one who brings evil against me, but he allows it to occur to test my trust, and belief to see whether I trust in him or in my self sufficiency, which usually ends in failure. When I do the accepted thing that God expects of me, my trust, and belief in him is increased, that in turn leads me into spiritual maturity, God’s Spirit is then moulding me into the image of Christ, to enable those whom he sends me too, to see the Christ in me. But all who love
the Lord have that same challenge before them! I like the promise Paul speaks of here in his first letter to the saints at Corinth, the fact that God will not allow me to be tempted by something I cannot overcome, because he will with his Spirit enable me to be an overcomer, the difficulty is seeing it, when the Devil entices me into evil. I may fall from time to time, but God can allow the same temptation to come back, to enable me to look to him, to give me the ability to overcome that specific temptation, he allows that to happen until I have overcome this specific enticement into evil from the Devil with his help. What a wonderful loving God praise his name, he thinks of everything. (5) It would be very wrong of me to blame God for my failures, even the Devil. I am a free moral agent capable of making choices to whatever thought springs into my head, from those thoughts I execute my actions. The fact that I do make wrong decisions from a selfish nature is quite apparent by the fact that the Lord has to chastise me from time to time. I am not the finished article by any means, none of the saints in this life are. I have to continue pressing on into my holy faith, working out my salvation with fear and trembling, meaning, having a respect, and an awe of God, because of who he is! He loves me, but that does not mean I can treat him in any way that I feel like, far from it. I have to love him, show reverence, and respect towards him, be in awe of him, not because I am terrified of him, that would be wrong, but because of whom he is, and the fact that he loves me. It is because that he loves me, that he sees the need to discipline me, when I act from selfish motives. Righteous Job was rebuked by God. (Jb.5:17.) “Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty.” (6) To be scourged is simply to be understood as being flogged, but not as a beating to an inch of my life. It is best understood as a certain amount of physical pain meted out to me, when I have strayed from the narrow path which leads to life, and righteousness to bring me back in line with the purposes and will of God.(7) When I was very young, while my father was alive, If I did anything wrong, then I would get into trouble from him, suffering any penalty he decided to give to me, to bring me into line with the manner I should behave in. My heavenly Father is no different, like my earthly father, he loves me, but there is a certain way he would have me live my life.(8) But if I do not accept God’s discipline, and rebuke for the manner in which I live, and I know it displeases him greatly, I am then no longer one of his sons. I have become illegitimate. I now do not belong to God, if I continue to live like this, having become part of the world back to square one.(9) Once more the author points out the similarity of my earthly father, and God my heavenly Father, in that, when I was disciplined for something I had done wrong, my respect for my father never wavered, the very same holds good towards my heavenly Father, even more so!(10) The vital difference of being disciplined by my earthly father, and God my heavenly Father, is that my earthly father did it for what seemed best to him, but God my Father does it in order that I profit from it. How do I profit from God’s discipline? It helps me to become a partaker of His holiness, the light of Christ, and his love will then radiate from me to the lost. (11) No one likes being corrected or rebuked, but sometimes it is necessary in order to grow into full spiritual maturity. When I allow God to take me through adversary, asking him to teach me about what he is showing me, I am learning more, concerning Jesus Christ, our Lord, and being trained in what to do, when temptation comes against me.
Study Forty One The renewing of spiritual and physical strength Heb.12: 12-17 (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: (15) looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; (16) lest there be any fornicator or godless person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright, (17) For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears. (12) Who strengthens me, when I am weak in my hands, and my knees, God of course. I need to drink this into my spirit, my soul, and intellect, because God’s wisdom is greater. I have to trust in God for whatever he would have me do. He not only helps me spiritually, the physical side comes in as well, both compliments each other. I have to keep before me in my intellect the words Joshua addressed Israel with, which will keep for eternity.( Jos.1:9) “ Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (13) My walk before God should be such, that those of my brothers, and sisters who are wavering in the faith, will draw courage from it, and seek God’s face in the time of difficulty. (14) I have to pursue peace with all people, where at all possible, because I cannot compromise my walk with God for men. I am in the world, but not of the world. However; the world is a system opposed to God, and the enemy will use a number of politicians of whatever government is in power to dilute, and water down, with whatever means at their disposal our faith in God, of course this is nothing new, it has been the case since God brought the world into being. But I must stand up for what I believe with the help of God the Holy Spirit in defense of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. (15) Now according to this paragraph of the passage in question, it is possible to fall from the favour of God, and never be readmitted to the kingdom. On this very crucial matter concerning my faith in God, the Apostle Paul adds his considerable influence, and weight behind what the author writes here in his Second Letter to the saints at Corinth. (2.Cor.6:1.) (“We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.”) Bitterness is not of God, it is an attitude of selfish self centred thinking of getting something for me, at the cost of hurting others, starting with being jealous of what others have. But more dangerous to my soul and spirit is a deliberate turning away from God, which arises from a rank disobedience towards him, caused by bitterness towards others. I have to watch over my brothers and sisters to make sure that this does not happen, and they with me, because it effects the whole of Christian
fellowship.(16, 17.) These last two verses of the passage describe Esau as someone who knew of God, but did not know him personally. He lived for the present, and whatever he could get now. He was a godless man with no eye for the things of eternity. Is it possible to know God, but not know him? Regrettably the answer must be yes, if I am to believe what the passage has already said. I need to qualify this for my own understanding, I believe the best way forward is to always ask myself, who occupies my heart, is it the risen Christ or me? When I ponder over spiritual concerns Christ comes shining through.
Study Forty Two God in his glory Heb.12:18-24 (18) For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, (19) and the sound of the trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. (20) (For they could not endure what was commanded: “And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow.” (21) And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.”) (22) But you have come to mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, (23) to the festal gathering and the church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, (24) to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. (18) An extraordinary illustration of great vividness is given by the author to his readers, the Christian Jews of the first century A.D. He uses graphic language to describe the total awesomeness of God, and what he can do. If only I could have grasped the sheer magnitude of the greatness and awesomeness of God while still a sinner, yet to be saved by his grace, I would have been absolutely terrified beyond my imagination, for this particular reason, I would be more humble towards him, but not because of craven fear, but because of the fact of who he is God over all. I need to appreciate God, because of who he continues to be the great I Am I Am. He is God eternally with no beginning, and no end, far beyond the understanding of my finite intellect, and so it should be, let me praise his wonderful name. I need to love, adore, serve, and please him in all that he would ask me to do, because he loved me first, continuing to love me. Perhaps this is what this godly author envisaged, while he wrote this letter to his brethren, to make them take stock of their spiritual neediness? None of them had arrived spiritually, and I certainly have not, and as soon as I think like that I will slip from the path God has marked out for me. I believe the Apostle Paul instructs me in one of his
letters, to work out my salvation with fear and trembling as he does to all of the saints. The mountain depicted here is a great rock of holiness, chosen by God to descend upon, for that reason no human could touch it. God has separated the mountain from the rest of the earth for his use, and his holiness covers the mountain. When I talk about the holiness of God, what is meant by that description is that he is morally and ethically pure, and upright, for that reason he is unable to look at the sins of mankind, and if they looked upon him the fire that he is would totally consume them. But this is the old covenant built upon the lawgiver Moses, before the first advent of Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, those who reject the mercy, and the love God offers to them through his Son Jesus Christ, will have to face this terrifying destiny that is before them. He also makes reference to a fire that continuously burned without going out. Nobody can touch the flames of a fire without being burned, precisely the author’s point. He is thinking of an episode in the life of Moses taken from the book of Deuteronomy. (Dt.4:11.) “Then you came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire to the midst of heaven, with darkness, cloud, and thick darkness.” My Lord is even in the darkness, and even thicker darkness. Whether it is in the brightest day or the thickest darkness of the night, he is there in the midst of it. I know because I have seen him there, God is everywhere, but it is only with the eyes of faith that I am able to see him. (19) The author continues with his theme on the covenant built upon the law of the Old Testament. I notice how he contrasts the new covenant with the old distinguishing the attitude of God’s people towards him, but I believe there is something of a positive note that I can learn from this. Not only could they not look upon God, because of his moral purity, they could not even listen to him speak, understandable why nobody could look upon God, his righteous fire would consume them, but not to be able to hear what he says? To be able to understand the context of what the author writes of here, I have pondered over the passage of the Old Testament, which is found in the book of Exodus. There are two specific verses that I believe need to be highlighted in the passage. (Ex.20:19.20.) Then they said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” (20) And Moses said to the people, “Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.” I am struck with the duplicity of the people, and Moses awareness of it. They will listen to Moses, but he knew from past experiences with them, they sometimes did not, the other point Moses would be acutely aware of, is that they wanted God to continue being remote towards them, with that being established, they would have no direct accountability towards him regarding what they said, would say, and thought, and their actions, but Moses reply to them depicts how absolutely mistaken they are, and would be in the future. I am accountable towards God, for how I act, and think, but the difference between them, me, and the Jewish Christians, to whom this godly author writes, is that we are covered in the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. But the positiveness of this Old Testament passage is in the description of the fear Moses held towards God, not in terror of him, but a reverence towards him, because of the fact that he is God. I need to have that instilled into me through his Spirit continually in me. I must guard against familiarity with God, through the help of God, the Holy Spirit, he is the third person of the trinity. (20) Continuing with his vein of thought, the author brings before me the vividness of God’s holiness, as seen in the illustration from the Book of Exodus, which belongs to the
Old Testament. The holiness of God could not be contaminated by the touch of the human hand or any other part of the human body, a fact that can be seen in what would happen to any beast that touched the mountain, that God had descended upon, it would have to be stoned to death. God is a holy righteous person, who although loves mankind cannot look upon their sin, because of his righteousness, and because he is a living fire, any human being, who looked upon him, would be consumed with his fiery flame. (21) No wonder the testimony of Moses remark, in seeing the drama of God, unfold before him, upon the mountain in his fiery fire, was to say, (“I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.”) No human being upon earth could stop feeling exactly the same(22) A stark contrast between the covenants established by the law of the Old Testament, and the covenant of grace, founded by the blood that was shed by Jesus Christ, my risen Lord establishing the New Testament. One brought fear, and separation, the other tremendous freedom, and blessings with a solid hope for eternity, praise God the Father, God the Son, who is the Lord Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit. It is because of the shed blood of Christ, that these Jewish Christian saints have come to Mount Zion, and me in similar manner, not only me, it includes the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The church belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ, he is the head of the church, which is the body, and I belong to his body, as a member of that body, similarly all my brothers and sisters are also members of the body, which is the church of Christ. The very same can be said of these Christian Jews to whom the author writes. The author dramatically shifts his thoughts from earth to the Spiritual Kingdom, which they now have become part of, although still on earth. I can see that in the language of the verse, “but you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God,” The Jewish believers are already in the kingdom, but are still on earth, “you have come to, and to…” There is no mistake, like them, when I accepted Jesus Christ by faith, it was then, through that transaction I became part of God’s Kingdom. Yet to be fully integrated into the Kingdom, this will only occur at Christ’s Second Coming. However; this is true of all believers of their spirit, while journeying through earth in the physical body, their spirit is in heaven, while still in the physical body. What is it that they have come to? They have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, that been said, it certainly cannot be upon the earth. Mount Zion is the heavenly Jerusalem, the author’s thoughts are elevated to what is happening in the heavenly, Spiritual Kingdom, Here he sees the reality of what is to come, and what has already happened. But the problem is being able to accept what has already happened to my spirit within .Why is that? I believe the problem is in believing or slow to believe, that this has already occurred in my spirit. Sad to say, I am not the only one, there are many like me. What then is the antidote? To ask God the Holy Spirit to increase my faith to accept, and believe what this godly author is writing of in this passage. He the Holy Spirit can only act upon the instructions that God and his Son give to him. I have accepted this with my grey cells, but that is not enough, I have to accept it into my spirit, and heart and only God can give me the understanding of it. I must lean on his understanding, which I try to do. My understanding of the human mind is that it was darkened, when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, while in the Garden of Eden. God has given me the capacity to think, how I use it is a fundamental question, do I use it for my own self gratification, which was the case with Adam and Eve or listen to what the Spirit of God would say to me, and act upon it, in obedience to every word spoken. The
challenge is to listen to the wisdom of God, brought by his Spirit to me, and act upon it every day, and night, continuing to read his word, listening, and applying the interpretation that his Spirit would bring. Since the fall of mankind, the grey cells of the brain, became totally flawed, that is why the academics, and the intellectuals, who do not know God, rationalize the supernatural into what mere mortals do, and think, regardless of how brilliant they are in their chosen career, and profession, whether in academia, politics, and business, at the end of it all it fails, because God is not in it. These Jewish believers are no different, because they were not listening to what God‘s Spirit was trying to say to them, and they were acting upon what they knew from the Old Testament law, which was now cold, and dead, without realizing that through their faith, their spirits were already in heaven, as well as being upon earth, while in their physical bodies. I believe the way a head, is how I respond to what God has to say to me, through the person of the blessed Holy Spirit, and act appropriately, only he can renew the grey cells of my brain into those of Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, to become more like him, while I am still living here on earth. The hardest thing to change is the grey cells of my brain, from that source comes rebellion, and rank disobedience, but the Spirit of God is burning this dross off, renewing my mind into the mind of Christ. How long that takes is up to me, the quicker the better. In light of this the spirit understands quicker than the brain. Hallelujah, and Amen! The importance of this for me is to acknowledge, that what the text speaks of is true, in regard to my spirit, even although my grey cells may take a little longer to catch up! While I continue living in my physical body, my spirit is in the heavenly city of Jerusalem, the city of the living God, along with an innumerable company of angels, although I am not aware of it, in my conscience, the same spirit is still here in my physical body on earth. Nevertheless; it is a present reality for me, and all believers everywhere. (23) I believe the general assembly is the men and women of God, from the Old Testament gathered together in heaven around the one triune God, with his angels, a company of such that cannot be numbered, with them are the church of the firstborn, those who have went into heaven before me. James the author of the Letter bearing that name, and who was the physical brother of Jesus, had this to say, on the subject: (Jm.1:18.) “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.” It is because of God’s will, that he has chosen me to be one of his firstfruits, with the many firstfruits that are his. The word of truth is God’s Son, Jesus Christ, my Lord. God the Father brought me forth into life through him. The same is true of these Jewish Christians. They like the believers before them or disciples have been registered to God in heaven as I have, and many of my brethren. I note that the author describes God as the Judge of all. This includes the ungodly too. (Ps.50:6.) “Let the heavens declare His righteousness, For God Himself is Judge“. Selah The evidence of what I have said, previously is found at the end of verse 23, “…to the spirits of just men made perfect,” Now while I am on the earth in my physical body, my spirit has not been perfected yet, that will not happen until I go to be with the Lord, the spirits of these just men have already been perfected, pointing to the fact that they are already in heaven. Praise God! Paul in his letter to the believers in Philippi reinforces this point in a negative fashion. (Phil.3:12.) “ Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” The
challenge Paul makes is the same of the author of the letter to the Hebrews, to the Hebrew Christians, who are wavering in their faith of the Lord, to make their faith strong with the help of God the Holy Spirit, and press on. The same holds good for me, and Christians of every age. Let the Spirit of God guide and help. A closing note on our spirits within us, there is in a sense only partial finished business, while our spirits remains in us, they are being perfected by the Holy Spirit, but there is a sense in which part of our spirits are in the heavenly realm. (24) Once and for all the covenant under the law has died in the dust, because without the intervention of God the Holy Spirit I cannot keep the law. However, Jesus Christ is the Mediator of the new covenant, replacing the old covenant under the law. Because of his life, public ministry, death upon the cross, and resurrection, being raised on the third day by God his Father, he has made a new covenant with his people. Christ said, he would send the comforter, after his resurrection, and after forty days on earth, he was received into heaven by God the Father. It was on the day of Pentecost that he sent his Spirit to all of his people, also known as the Comforter. Seeing that my Lord established this new covenant, he is also the Mediator of it. Earlier on in chapter eight of Hebrews, and at verse six, the author said to them, in regard to the risen glorified Christ, being the Mediator of the new covenant, these words: “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.” This has been established through his shed blood that has been sprinkled upon me, and my brothers, and sisters, who are in Christ, far superior than the blood of animals, sacrificed to God in the Old Testament, establishing a better covenant for all who believe, and follow Him, much better than the blood that was spilled from Abel, when murdered by Cain in the book of Genesis which can be found in the Old Testament.
Study Forty Three Listen and obey the heavenly voice. Heb.12:25-29 (25) See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, (26) whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised saying, “ Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” (27) Now this, “ Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things that cannot be shaken will remain. (28) Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. (29) For our God is a consuming fire.
(25) The need of spiritual maturity, is even greater, than in the time, the author wrote this book or letter to the Hebrew Christians. He makes a contrast between now, and then, drawing on the incident that occurred on Mount Sinai recorded on the pages of the Old Testament. What was the instruction given by the Lord on Mount Sinai to Moses, in regard to those who openly defied him? That they should be put to death. (Nm.15:30.) “But the person who does anything defiantly, whether he is native born or a stranger, that one blasphemes reproach on the LORD, and he shall be put to death from among his people.” A premeditated act of defiance, and of rank disobedience towards God in keeping his law would end in a violent death. God hates sin, and wrong doing, particularly if it is with intent, there is only one outcome, a physical death that will include the person’s spirit being lost to God, forever. The severity of the punishment for those who have a fuller revelation in Christ will be even greater. I need to keep my eyes focused all of the time upon my Lord, and Saviour, Jesus Christ. This instruction is also true for all of those who know and love the Lord. (26) Still continuing with the incident that had occurred upon Mount Sinai, God’s voice shook the earth, but now he promises to shake not only the earth, heaven is also included The ramifications of this will be felt at some future date, especially for those who do not know God, in particular, Jesus Christ his Son, as Lord, and Saviour.Haggai the prophet in the book of the Old Testament, bearing his name, predicts of this. (Hg.2:6,7.) “ For thus says the Lord of Hosts: “ Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea, and dry land; (7) and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the desire of all nations, and I will fill this house with glory,” says the Lord of Hosts.” However; the Kingdom of God will never be shaken. The shaken of all nations, relates to the fact that God will deal with all that is evil, before he ushers in the new, which is still to come. A warning of what will happen ,if we do not live a life that is pleasing to God, deserting him completely in this life, and passing from it, or if we are still alive, when the prediction or prophecy is realized. (27) Isaiah along with his contemporary Haggai saw that day, and he also prophesied of it. ( Isa.34:4,) “ All the host of heaven shall be dissolved, And the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll; All their host shall fall down As the leaf falls from the vine, And as fruit falling from a fig tree.” The host of heaven are all the stars of the universe which will be effected by a cataclysmic occurrence resulting in them being dissolved by tremendous heat. I note that the things that will be shaken are those things that the Lord has made. Again my reference point is the prophet Isaiah. ( Isa.54:10.) “ For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed,” When you have a volcanic eruption on an island in the sea, sometimes that island disappears beneath the waves, but this is a disappearance of the greatest magnitude, that has never been seen before or will be after, the whole of the heavens, and the earth will be dissolved with everything in, and on it, who do not know the Lord. But for those who know, and love the Lord, he gives them a tremendous promise for before, and after this cataclysmic occurrence, which will occur at a future date, words that come through the mouth of the very same prophet, Isaiah. ( Isa.65:17.) “ For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come upon the heart.” I believe we must continue our walk in our most holy faith, looking to the author, and finisher of that faith, which is none other than our great, and glorified Lord, the risen, and exalted Christ, who is the Son of God.
(28) This is the acid test of my faith, to serve God in a manner that pleases him, despite the difficulties, and trying circumstances that the enemy brings against me. But I cannot do this on my own, I need his grace to enable me to do it. The key is found in the second, and third clause of the paragraph of the verse, “let us have grace, by which we serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” Nobody can do anything that God would choose them for, unless they carried the grace of God, within their hearts, and their spirit. It comes from the New Testament Greek word, charis, pronounced as khar-ece, which is translated into our English language as grace. But the Greek definition of it means much more than just giving thanks to God. In its broadest terms the meaning expresses the unmerited favour God bestows upon a sinner, who receives his Son, Jesus Christ, as Lord ,and Saviour. The difficulty is the giving over of self to the Lord, when you think you have attained this fruit of the Spirit, God allows the Devil to use someone who does not know him( God )to provoke you. It happens, but that is life, and we need God to help us to overcome, whatever problem that besets us. To walk consistently with God is a very difficult challenge, but not impossible, when we allow his Spirit to help us. I know God is our heavenly Father, and we can call him, Abba, Father, but it must never distract our attention to the fact that he is God, worthy of our reverence, and godly fear. The author in the last chapter of this book indicates what God expects of us. ( Heb,13:15-16.) “ Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips confessing thanks to His name.”(16) “ But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” (29) Now this really enforces the responsibility upon me, why I have to accept the Lord’s commission to take his good news, known as the Gospel of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ to all of the nations of this world, with serious intent, because those who do not know the Lord will be consumed with his holy fire. This is also reinforced on the pages of the book of Exodus in the Old Testament. ( Ex.24:17.) “ The sight of the glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire on top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel.” God does not want anyone to be consumed by his righteous, and holy fire, but that is the choice, that is set before all of the children of men, he would rather they accepted his love, and mercy, by accepting his Son, Jesus Christ to be their Lord, voluntarily.
Study Forty Four The concluding directions in morality Heb.13: 1-6 (1) Let brotherly love continue.(2) Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. (3) Remember the prisoners as if chained with them- those who are mistreated - since you yourselves are in the body also. (4) Marriage is honorable among all; and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. (5) Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you
have. For He Himself has said, “ I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (6) So we may boldly say: “ The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (1) “ Let brotherly love continue.” I believe, we who are the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ need to show his love to one another, in the manner of how he loves us, with brotherly love. To love one another with the love Christ deposits into our hearts, energized with the help of God the Holy Spirit. It is totally impossible to forgive one another continually without the Spirit of God to enable us to do it. When I allow the Spirit of God to control me, I am then able to love my brethren, forgiving them for their weaknesses against me, the very same holds good for them, regarding my own weaknesses. Submitting self to the Lord is never an easy thing to do, but with his grace it can be done. When you, and I show the love of Christ to one another, with his help, through his Spirit, the body is united in him. The great apostle Paul in his letter to the saints in Rome, adds his considerable weight to this moral instruction. ( Rom.12:9;) “ Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;” The life of the apostle Paul in many ways typified the life of his master, and Lord, the risen glorified Christ. Let us seek to serve the living Christ, just as the apostle Paul had done. (2) The outward signs of my walk with the Lord in this life is to entertain, which broadly speaking means, I have to show hospitality by doing good works for the strangers whom I meet. Jesus spoke on this in the gospel of Matthew, which then was written down by the Apostle. ( Matt.25:35,) “for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;” I do this for the glory of God not seeking the praise of men. It is by doing these things many godly people have shown hospitality to angels without ever being aware of it. The evidence of angels being present amongst humanity is found in the Book of Genesis of the Old Testament. (Gen.19:1-3.) Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground. (2) And he said, “ Here now, my lords, please turn in to your servant’s house and spend the night, and wash your feet, then you may rise early and go on your way.” And they said, “ No, but we will spend the night in the open square.” (3) But he insisted strongly; so they turned in to him and entered his house. Then he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. Lot was aware of who the strangers were, but many of God’s people who have given hospitality to such were not. (3) Not as far as I know, nobody today has been imprisoned, because of their faith in Christ in the United Kingdom, but that could change with the present political climate. We need to pray against it. However, this is not the case in some of the countries belonging to other parts of the world. Many of my brothers and sisters in Christ who belong to strict Arabic states of the Middle East have been forced into captivity, because of the extremities of some groups, if not all of those belonging to the Islamic Religion, not only them, but others too. At the time of writing, this godly author was imprisoned, because of his belief in God, which certainly was not the Roman Emperor, who thought he was god. I could be imprisoned for my faith in the one triune God, but as always I need to rely on the Holy Spirit to help me overcome all that Satan would throw at me. I need to remember my
brothers and sisters who have been thrown into prison for their faith in Jesus Christ in countries all over the world. The writer coins the phrase, “ Remember the prisoners as if chained with them..” Why? Because as brothers and sisters in Christ we are all members of his body, which is his church visible, invisible, universal, and worldwide. (4) Marriage is looked upon by God as a onetime act of betrothal between a man and woman for life. The problem in our society of today, is that most of the population do not believe in God, with that being the case, not many get married. But for the believer and disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ the world’s values are not open to them. The word undefiled means exactly that, no mistresses or sexual relationships outside of the man or woman you have already married. When this kind of temptation is brought against us we need to resist it with the help of the Holy Spirit. (5) Covetousness is not of God, far from it, that is why our lives should not show any kind of this type of corruption. I am to be content with what I have, that being the case I must not be envious of others. God already knows my need, and he will supply it. Because God has already said, “ I will never leave you nor forsake you.” The very same idea is reiterated on the pages of the Old Testament. ( Deut.31:6.) “ Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” (6) There is no doubt in my mind from the previous verse that I can declare from my mouth and tongue the fact that the Lord is my helper. That being the case I have not to be frightened of man. (Ps.27:1) The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear. The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?” No0body!
Study Forty Five. The directions of Christian orders in conclusion. Heb.13: 7-17. (7) Remember those who lead over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. (8) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (9) Do not be carried away with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.(10) We have an alter from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. (11) For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp.(12) Therefore Jesus also, that He might set apart the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. (13) Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. (14) For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.(15) Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. (16) But do not forget to
do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. (17) Obey those who lead over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give an account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you. (7) I do not, for one minute believe, that you can follow blindly, someone who is a Christian leader, unless there are certain characteristics that can be seen in their lives. That they have spoken the word of God to us individually, and collectively, one of the many characteristics, and more, whose faith in Christ can be an example to follow, who have been obedient, and faithful to God right up to the point of death, and beyond. Those who continue to live lives dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ in their obedience towards him, showing his love to their brethren, and the lost, doing good works, sharing what they have sacrificially, which is pleasing to God. (8) Jesus Christ the Son of God is immutable, his person, and character can never be changed. What he is in his divine nature, one who is God, and in his human nature, one who is man can never be changed. Jesus Christ, our risen glorified Lord is, and will be the same forever, that is why we can place our trust in him. It was while Jesus was on earth, that he, verbally spoke, declaring to the Jews that he was, and is God. John the Apostle recorded for posterity in his narrative of the gospel these words of Jesus our Lord. (Jn.8:58.) Jesus said to them. “ Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I Am,” (9) You and I have not to be carried away under the sound of strange doctrines, we must ascertain where they have come from, but the fact that they are many doctrines ,and not one, show them to be false. The great Apostle Paul alluded to this in his first letter to Timothy: ( 1.Tim.4:1,) Now the Spirit explicitly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,” Truth is never plural always singular. Again I turn to the Apostle John for his comments on this strand of thought, and we will notice he adds his considerable weight of spiritual expertise on the matter, especially in his second letter of the New Testament. (2.Jn.9.)Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. My faith, or my belief must come from my heart, cf, Rom.10:10 “ For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (10) The alter that the author speaks of here is the cross of Christ. Those who continue to believe in the old rituals of the covenant of the law will never be included in the saving work of Christ’s death, and resurrection.(11,12.) It was on the day of Atonement that the blood of animals was carried into the Holy of holies, and they were burned outside the camp, dealing with the sins of the people. But Jesus replaced the blood of animals with his own blood, so that he may separate his people to himself, suffered his own death outside the gate of the city. There is no mortal who can step into heaven without Christ. (13)When we confess Jesus Christ as Lord, you and I will be insulted, and reviled, such as he was with even worse than that, which may follow. Therefore; this is what it means to feel his reproach. It can also mean separation from friends who do not know Christ Simon Peter one of the very first of Christ’s Apostles had this to say on the issue.
(1.Pet.4:14.) “ If you are insulted or reviled for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” (14) The departure from the things that tie me to this earthly life brings me access to the city which will continue forever, a city of which I am part of now although I am still living upon the earth.(15) When I received salvation from the Lord it was in order that he would ,and will glorify himself through me upon the earth. This is the goal of all who have bowed to the Lordship of the risen exalted Christ living lives in obedience towards him.(16) Another exhortation to live lives of doing good works, this characterizes the fruit of the Spirit, seen in each individual believer, according to how much they submit to the influence of God the Holy Spirit. Paul the apostle often spoke of this: ( Rom.12:13,) “…distributing to the needs of the saints, pursuing to hospitality.” When I commit myself to such sacrifices God is well pleased with what I do, similarly with the rest of his saints. The Apostle Paul was the benefactor of such sacrificial offerings, cf. Phil.4:14. “ Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress.”(17) I have to be obedient to those God has put in authority over me in my local church, but not in blind obedience. Only according to the instructions of sound doctrine. and what I see of the risen Christ in their lives. Similarly, as an evangelist, pastor, and church planter, the same instructions apply to me. I have to do things God’s way as led by the Spirit. These are the guiding principles: (1) Discernment is of the greatest importance, knowing that I am being guided by God’s Spirit, and not some other false spirit. Cf. I.Jn.4;1. “ Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (2) Like all of my brethren, who know Christ, as Lord. I am personally accountable to him for my words ,and actions in this life. ( Rom.14:12.) “ So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.” (3) Each of us have to in mutual agreement submit ourselves to God, and then each other, cf Rom.12:10; “ Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;” Gal.5;13. “ For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (4) But as leaders of Christ’s church we must not use our position to lord it over the Chief Shepherd’s flock, but be seen as servants of him, giving to them, what he gives to us, for them, and us, showing in exemplary fashion the love of Christ in it’s many wonderful facets. Cf. Rom. 12:6-8. (6) “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; (7) or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches ,in teaching; (8) he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.” When my brethren, and I do all of these things, we are being led by the Spirit of God, hallelujah, and Amen!
Study Forty Six The necessity of a prayer life. Heb.13:18-19
(18) “Pray for us, for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably.(19) But I specially urge you to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner.” (18) Without prayer I am less effective for God. This is my vital communications link to God. I talk to him through prayer, and he answers, either in his audible voice or meets my petitions, and requests, and also to converse with him, listening to what he has to say to me. I believe the Apostle Paul makes a very important contribution to this vital subject, illustrating the point, that this is the only way to grow into full spiritual maturity, transforming us into the perfect mind of Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit from within, we can read of this from his letter to the saints at Ephesus.( Ephs.6:18,19.) “..praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints –(19) and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel.” But the author of the book of Hebrews also challenges me on two points, one to have a good conscience and the second point, to live honorably. I believe this is a challenge that all Christ’s people must pick up. (19) The author gives his credentials, and authority in stating that prayer does work. I have to understand the concept of believing prayer, and I have already seen the results of that in my life, and more to come. Praise the God, and Father of my Lord Jesus Christ!
Study Forty Seven Benediction with final conclusions Heb.13:20-25. (20) Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, (21) make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in us what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (22) And I appeal to you, brethren, bear with the word of exhortation, for I have written to you in few words. (23) Know that our brother Timothy has been set free, with whom I shall see you if he comes shortly. (24) Greet all those who rule over you, and all the saints. Those from Italy greet you. (25) Grace be with you all. Amen. (20) He is in his nature, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God of peace, the very reason why he sent his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ to earth, to become a man. The Apostle Paul in his letter to the saints in Rome gives a more detailed account of what this means to every born again individual person of our risen Lord, Jesus Christ. (Rom.5:1, 2 ;) “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord
Jesus Christ, (2) through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” In the next part of the clause of the verse the magnanimity of the mercy of God the Father towards the sinner shines through, “…who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead,” Not only did he send his Son our Lord Jesus Christ to earth, he also sent him to be murdered, and put to death upon a cross for those who would be his, and then brought him up from the dead on our behalf. I believe we too often bask in the great wealth of the rewards which that brings us who know him, glossing over what it cost him, and God his Father, to accomplish this for us. The righteousness of God our Father, and his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ was imputed to us who believe in his Son that through his death, we received this benefit, and of being raised from the dead by his Father, cf. Rom.4:24: “…but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead,” Jesus Christ the Lord of glory is also our great Shepherd, because we are his sheep, cf.1.Pet.2:25. “For you were like sheep going astray, but now have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” I notice how often God takes the initiative time and time again to manifest his love to mankind. The whole of this letter speaks of it, not just this letter, including the whole of the Bible. He does not want anyone born into this world to perish. All they have to do is respond to his love by accepting Jesus Christ his Son as their Lord, and Saviour. Because of the blood Christ shed for you and me, that, which being perfect, seeing that it came from the perfect man Jesus Christ, he through his blood for those who believe, and follow him have an everlasting covenant between him, our Lord Jesus Christ, and God our Father. (21) I had said, above that it is God who takes the initiative, we can see that from this verse, but this time, he is the one, through his Spirit in each of us, making us perfect by softening our hearts into doing good works according to his will, working in us the out working of our faith, which is well pleasing to him, because it makes our faith visible to the world at large, through our Lord Jesus Christ, who abides in us, to bring glory to him forever. There is no better simplification of this, than, to read the Apostle Paul’s very important instruction to all of us led by the Spirit of God, cf.Phil.2:13. “…for it is God that works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” (22) The author appeals to them, to take the advice he has given to them, through his letter to them, good advice that we all need to take, in order to keep our faith intact. (23) Was Timothy imprisoned, it would seem so, because the author informs his readers that he had been set free, and hoped that he would see them shortly with him. The New Testament does not provide any evidence of this occurrence, but the author said, it did, and therefore it must have happened, because we accept the validity of God’s word being true. (24) He concludes by instructing all the brethren at large, the Christian church, to welcome those who oversee them. Not only them, including all of Christ’s people. “Those from Italy greet you,” is simply a welcome from the Christian church in Italy to the Church of Christ visible, and invisible, universal, worldwide. (25) He then ends by pronouncing a benediction on the whole church of God. A benediction we all continue to receive from God, let us rise to the challenge, and serve him by doing what pleases him by being obedient to our risen Lord, his Son, Jesus Christ.
Disciples of Christ – how much do we desire, to know Him?
Studies on the book of Hebrews
By Raymond McGough
© Disciples of Jesus Ministry 2012