Hebrews chapter 9.
In the eighth chapter of the book of Hebrews, he makes mention of the prophecy in Jeremiah where God said that in those days He was going to make a new covenant with the people, not like the old covenant which was written on the tables of stone. He was going to write His law on the fleshly tablets of their hearts. Now, in the declaration that God is going to make this new covenant, it means that the first covenant would be set aside in order that He might establish the new covenant.
When Jesus took the emblems of Passover, He said, "This cup is a new covenant in my blood which is shed for the remission of sins" (Matthew 26:28). So, the old covenant had the remission of sins through the offering of sacrifices by the priests and on the Day of Atonement by the high priest. But God has established a new covenant, not written on the tables of stone, but God writes His law right on the fleshly tablets of our hearts. So the first covenant has been set aside that God might inaugurate this new covenant through Jesus Christ.
So going on still in chapter 9, carrying over the thought of chapter 8, he is still talking about this new covenant relationship that we have with God and contrasting it with that first covenant that was under the law. Remember the covenant under the law, God said, “And if they will do them, they shall live by them.” The first covenant of the law was, “If you will obey Me and all of these statutes, then I will be your God.” And the first covenant was established on man's obedience and man's faithfulness. The new covenant is established on God's faithfulness, the work that God has wrought for us through Jesus Christ. The old covenant failed, not because it was not good, not because it did not declare the truth, but it failed because man was weak and did not live by it. The new covenant is established forever, because it is the covenant that is predicated upon God's faithfulness, and surely God is faithful.
Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary (9:1).
So in that first covenant God established with Moses, he was to build the tabernacle, and they were to have sacrifices offered within the tabernacle, and there was to be the worship of God there within the tabernacle by the priests.
For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the showbread; which is called the sanctuary [or often called the holy place in the Old Testament] (9:2).
So, first of all, in this tabernacle, this tent that was made, it was forty-five feet long, and thirty feet wide, and fifteen feet tall, sort of a box-shaped tent, not a pitched tent like we usually think of, more box-shaped, fifteen feet from the corners tall and forty-five feet long and thirty feet wide.
Now, the inner part of the tent was divided into two sections. As you first entered into the tent from the veil that faced towards the east, the first thing that you would come upon in this room, it was thirty feet long and fifteen feet wide, over on your right-hand side would be a table, the table of showbread. On the table were twelve loaves of bread. One loaf representing each of the tribes of Israel.
Before you, and in front of the veil that went into the next room in the tent, there was the altar of incense where the priest would come and offer the incense, which was representative of the prayers of the people. He would offer them unto God.
On the left-hand side, as you came in the veil of the first tent, or the first room within the tent, there was this lamp stand with seven branches out of it. It was lit. There were little cups of oil and they would put the wicks in the oil and it was the light in this portion of the tent. These things are all representative of things that are in heaven. So in the menorah, or the lamp stand, with seven cups coming out of the one branch, you have the symbol of the seven-fold or complete working of the Holy Spirit. You have, of course, the altar of incense. So he talks here that in the first part of it the candlestick, the table with the showbread, which is called the sanctuary or the holy place.
Now after then you went into the second veil, it was called [the Holy of Holies, or translated here] the holiest of all; it had a golden censer, and the ark of the covenant that was overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant (9:3-4);
This Ark of the Covenant surely would be an interesting artifact to find. I don’t know if I’d want to touch it if I found it. But within it they preserved a jar of the manna that God fed their fathers with in the wilderness. They also preserved Aaron's rod that budded, whereby God affirmed Aaron's family to be the high priestly family, the Aaronic order established. Then also (and this is what I would absolutely love to see) the two tables of stone upon which God put the Ten Commandments. Oh, wouldn’t that be an exciting thing to behold? And so this was in the Ark of the Covenant, and it was the basis of the covenant of God with the nation; their obedience to the law and to the priesthood service under Aaron the High Priest.
Over this were the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercy seat (9:5);
Now again, these are all a model of what the throne of God in heaven is like, surrounded by the cherubims.
And he said,
we cannot speak at this particular time about these things. Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God (9:5-6).
Daily the priests would go into this first part of the tent. Once a week they would change the loaves of bread on the table of showbread. Daily they would change and fill the oil in the cups and trim the wicks, and so forth, because God wanted that this light should burn before Him continually. Then they would come and offer the prayers of the people, these little golden bowls that they would have incense in. And when they had lit the fires and all for the sacrifices outside, they would take live coals, or burning coals out of the fire, put them in these little bowls of incense. And then they would go in, and these little bowls were on chains and they would go in and they would swing this incense before the altar there. It was a symbol of the prayers of the people ascending before God. And this they did daily.
There were a certain number of sacrifices and types of sacrifices that had to be offered every day. And then, of course, during the day the hundreds of people that would come with their various types of sacrifices to offer unto God. So the priest was kept busy all day long in these offerings unto the Lord, as well as the regular times of prayer when he would go before the Lord and all.
You remember in the gospel of Luke, it tells how that the father of John the Baptist, Zacharias, was a priest after the course of Abia. It was his duty at this particular time to offer the prayers and the incense before the altar of the Lord. Usually the priest would serve one month out of the year. They had a good thing going. Then the rest of the year they would go back to their homes and be with their families. While Zacharias was offering the incense before the altar of the Lord, Gabriel appeared unto him and informed him that his wife, Elizabeth, in her old age, was to bear a son. He was to be the forerunner of the Messiah.
So you can read a little bit about the service of God there within this holy place which was outside of the Holy of Holies.
But into the second [that is the holiest of all, or the Holy of Holies] went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people (9:7):
The Holy of Holies where man met God was off limits to everyone except the high priest. He went in there only one day a year, the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. Which happened to be yesterday. However, with no tabernacle or no temple, they have changed Yom Kippur from the Day of Atonement to the Day of Reflection. But the high priest would go in only this one day and he would go in twice in the one day.
He would, first of all, have to bathe. And then he would offer an ox for his own sins as a sacrifice for his sins, and he would go into the Holy of Holies with the blood of the ox that he had sacrificed for his own sins. And he was to sprinkle, then, the blood on the mercy seat in a special order. Seven times in front of the mercy seat and put it on the corner and all, and there was a regular routine. The sixteenth chapter of Leviticus tells about the Day of Atonement and the things that the high priest had to do on that day. Having offered, then, the blood of the ox for his own sins, he would go back outside, bathe, change clothes, and then they would take two goats and they would cast lots on the two goats. The one upon which the lot fell was to be slain and offered before God for the sins of the nation. The other goat was to be led by one of the priests out into the wilderness area and turned loose.
They would confess the sins of the nation on these two goats. The one would then be slain and the high priest, for the second time, would go into the Holy of Holies and he would offer, then, for the sins of the nation on this one day the first goat upon which the lot had fallen. The other goat being led into the wilderness having the sins confessed upon it, led into the wilderness turned loose to run free. To get lost, really. The idea is the sacrifice for sins, the putting away of sins by the sacrifice. But then, actually, the separation from our sins, the goat being turned loose and disappearing into the wilderness. God has put away our sins and they’re not to be remembered again. And so the two goats, the one being slain, and the other being turned loose into the wilderness.
“Now into the second, the Holy of Holies, went the high priest alone once every year and not without blood which he offered first for himself and then the second time for the sins of the people.”
The Holy Spirit was thus signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was still standing (9:8):
As long as the tabernacle was there and standing, the approach to God directly by man was impossible. This bore witness to the fact that man just could not come directly to God. There was this heavy veil that separated man from God.
It is significant that when Jesus was crucified, we read that this veil in the temple was torn from the top to the bottom. God ripped the thing. Had man ripped it, it would have been from the bottom to the top. But God ripped the veil at the death of Jesus Christ, signifying that the way into the presence of God is now available for all man. You and I can come now into the presence of God through Jesus Christ, this glorious sacrifice for our sins. And we can enter ourselves right into the very presence of God through His work on our behalf. And so as long as the first tabernacle stood, the Holy Spirit was signifying that the way into the holiest, into the very presence of God, was not yet manifested or open to man.
Which was a figure [that is the tabernacle] for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; Which stood only in meats and drinks, and in divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of [the change] the reformation [that is that was wrought by Jesus Christ]. But Christ being come a high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us (9:9-12).
The contrast is the high priest had to go in every year to offer first the offerings for his own sin, and then to offer for the sins of the people. And every year he had to do this. But Jesus once went into not the tabernacle made with hands, but entered into heaven itself, of which the earthly tabernacle was just a model. He entered into heaven itself and not with the blood of goats or of calves, but with His own blood He entered into that presence of God, having obtained eternal redemption for us. And so with His own blood He was then both the sacrifice and the sacrificer. He was both the offering and the one who offered.
Now you would bring your offering to the priest, he would offer it for you. Jesus became both; the offering itself, and the one who offered the offering unto God in entering into the presence of God with His own blood, and thus, redeemed man.
For if the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean, would sanctify it to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (9:13-14).
As he points out the weakness of the sacrifices made by the priests is that they could not really give us a clear conscience. They were a reminder of our sins. And the fact that they had to do it every year made us constantly conscious of our guilt. But Jesus Christ has now purified our consciences in that He has once and for all entered in to make an atonement for us with His blood, thus having offered Himself without spot.
When they brought a lamb to God, God wouldn't accept the castoffs. Here is an old cow. It’s about ready to die. Let’s see if we can get some good out of it. Let’s give it to God. It is tragic, really, that so many times man wants to give the castoffs to God. “I can’t use it anymore. I might as well give it to God. It’s no good around here.”
I read of a farmer one time who came in to breakfast and announced to his wife that their cow had twin calves. He said, “I’m so excited about it. I want to give one to the Lord and keep one for myself.” She said, ”Oh, I think that is a great idea.” And so as the calves were growing up he kept announcing that when they were old enough to sell one belonged to God and one belonged to him. She said, “Well, which one’s the Lord’s?” He said, “It doesn’t make any difference. One is the Lord’s and one’s mine.” So he would never put the finger on one of them being the Lord’s and one his. They just both were the same. But one morning he came in and said, “Terrible thing happened--God’s calf died.”
God wouldn’t accept the castoffs. He said when you offer a lamb it has to be without spot. Now a spot was an inherent defect in the lamb. It also had to be without blemish. A blemish was an acquired defect. The lamb born with spots was a genetic thing. A lamb with blemishes that was the result of an encounter with a wolf, or falling down a cliff or some getting caught and blemished. The lamb that was offered had to be both without the inherent defects and without acquired defects; without spot and blemish. Peter said, "For we are redeemed not with corruptible things, such as silver and gold, from our empty manner of life, but with the precious blood of Jesus Christ, who was a lamb without spot and without blemish" (I Peter 1:18-19). It can really only be said of Jesus that He was without spot. He was born without the sinful nature. He had no inherent sin in Him. It is an interesting thing that they have discovered that the gene factors that make up the blood in a child come basically from the father. Therefore, the gene factors creating the blood in Jesus Christ, coming from the Father, came directly from God and was not spotted by the inherent defectiveness in man. Jesus not only was born pure, but He remained pure. He was without blemish. And so He only could qualify as a sacrificial lamb. You see, you could never qualify as a sacrificial lamb before God. We were born with spots, but even if we weren’t, we have acquired blemishes, and thus, we would not be fit to be a sacrifice for sin. But Jesus, without spot or blemish, offered Himself to God that He might cleanse your conscience from the dead works that you might serve the living God.
Now there are people who are still trying to please God with their works. They are still seeking to offer God the works of their hands. Unfortunately, that is exactly what the Jews are doing today. Yesterday, the Day of Atonement, there were no sacrifices for sins. There were no offerings. There were no lambs that were slain. There were no goats or bulls. But what they did was sit in their homes and reflect upon their lives and upon all of their good works. And they reflected also on their evil connivings. But as they reflected, they prayed that God would accept their good works and overlook their evil. And as long as their good works could overbalance their evil, they felt comfortable. Of course, many of them were racing around this past week trying to do a lot of good works so that it would be a comfortable day for them yesterday. Jesus Christ has purged us from these dead works that we might serve the living God.
And for this cause he is the mediator of the new covenant (9:15),
Now the high priest was the one who was the mediator in the Old Covenant, but Jesus is the mediator of the new covenant.
that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance (9:15).
So Christ has become the mediator. “This cup is the new covenant in my blood shed for the remission of sins,” the New Testament. That by His death He has made the redemption for our transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, under the law. That we who have been called then might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. Now back in verse 12, we had eternal redemption, and now the eternal inheritance for those who are eternally redeemed. How glorious it is, this eternal inheritance. Peter said, "Thanks be unto God who has caused us to be born again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. To an inheritance that is incorruptible, undefiled, and fades not away that is reserved in heaven for you. Who are kept by the power of God through faith" (I Peter 1:3-5). So this eternal inheritance that is ours in Christ.
Paul the apostle prayed for the Ephesians that they might know what is the hope of their calling. If you only knew the glories that God has in store for you in His eternal kingdom as you are the heirs of this eternal inheritance.
Now where a testament is [or where there is a will], there must of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth (9:16-17).
So a person who makes out a will, the will does not come into force until they die. They’ve made out their last will and testament. This is what I want done with my things after I’m gone. But that will does not come into effect, it does not have any force until after the person who has made it is dead. Then it comes into force. Jesus established the covenant, but by His death the covenant came into force, so that we are now in that glorious covenant. Christ having died, the covenant now comes in force. It is something that we now benefit from because of the death of Christ.
Now neither the first covenant was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and he sprinkled both the book and all the people, saying, This is the blood of the testament which God has enjoined unto you. Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged [or cleansed] with blood; and without the shedding of blood is no remission (9:18-22).
What an important declaration! When Moses established the whole thing, he killed the blood, and he killed the goats. He mixed it with water the blood, sprinkled the people, and he sprinkled the book, and he sprinkled the whole place to set it apart. “This is God's testament.” It is now enforced, and enforced by the blood that has been shed, a blood covenant. It was through the blood that everything was cleansed. The Bible speaks about the blood of Jesus Christ cleansing us from all sin. So these things, the testament then being enforced, the shedding of blood, it now comes in force. He said, “For without the shedding of blood there is no remission.” That is, no remission of sins.
That is where I have great difficulty with the very devout Jews of the present day. I have no doubt or question of their sincerity. I believe that they do love God and I believe that they are very sincere in their worship of God. However, I cannot agree that by their works they can atone for their sins. That is totally against the Scripture. So as I view it, they have one great problem. And that’s the great problem that plagues all men, the problem of sin. What do I do about my guilt? If there is no temple, if there are no sacrifices, if there is no shedding of blood, then how are their sins remitted? Or how can they be remitted if without the shedding of blood there is no remission? So that, to me, is the great problem that every Jew would have to face, because they are not keeping God's first covenant that He established with them. Of course, they reject the second covenant, but they’re not keeping the first. Thus, having set aside the law of God, they teach the traditions of men for doctrine, just as they were doing in Jesus’ day. He said, “And you teach for doctrine the traditions of man,” and the traditions of man is that your good works should atone for your evil. Just be better than you are evil, gooder than you are bad, and you'll be all right. But that is not what the Scripture says. God established the ways by which their sins could be covered, and it was through the offerings.
I think it's extremely significant that there have been no offerings for almost 2,000 years. Since shortly after the death of Christ, they ceased and have not begun again. They will apparently begin again in that seven-year period after the church has been taken out and God begins to work again with Israel. It would appear that their offerings and sacrifices will begin again, for the antichrist is going to come in the middle of that seven-year period and cause the daily oblations and sacrifices to cease. So they will establish a place of worship, and they will institute sacrifices again during that final seven-year cycle, which God has yet to accomplish on the nation of Israel. But right now they do not have a basis, scripturally, for the putting away of their sins.
It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these (9:23).
In other words, this pattern down here, this model, it was important that it be cleansed in this manner; purified. But the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than that of calves or goats or lambs.
For Christ did not enter into the holy places that were made with hands (9:24),
He didn’t enter into temple, into the Holy of Holies there.
for these are only figures [or models] of the true; but he entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us (9:24):
Our great High Priest there in presence of God representing us.
Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entered into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation (9:25-28). And so Jesus came and He offered Himself as a sacrifice and then He entered into heaven itself that He might appear before God for us. His sacrifice was complete. That is why it only needed to happen once; once and for all. And so it’s been appointed unto man once to die after that the judgment; so Christ once offered to bear our sins.
For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very substance of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect (10:1).
Now notice the law was only a shadow of the good things to come. The value of the studying of Leviticus and the studying of the law, to the Christian, is that it foreshadows the work of Jesus Christ, the offering of Jesus Christ, and the high priestly nature of Jesus Christ. The shadow, it’s not the substance. Paul tells us this in Colossians, chapter 2, where Christ through His death blotted out the handwriting and the ordinances that were against us, nailing them to His cross and triumphing over them in it. Therefore, don’t let any man judge you in respect of meat, or drink, or new moons, or holy days or sabbath days, for these were all a shadow of things to come, but the substance is Christ.
So Christ standing here in this point in history. His shadow was cast over the past history. The shadow of Christ is there in the law and in the sacrifices. You can see that they foreshadow Him, but they were only the shadow. Jesus is the substance that casts the shadow. And so there is a real substance in Jesus. These things were only foreshadowing His coming. Once He came they were no longer necessary, no longer necessary to have the shadows, for we now have the substance in Jesus.
For if they could have been perfect sacrifices that had put away the sins then would they not have ceased to be offered? (10:2).
In other words, they would have done it once in Moses’ day and that would have been it. They wouldn't have to offer animals every day. They wouldn’t have to offer animals once a year in the Holy of Holies. It would have been sufficient had they been able to perfect man.
“Then would they not have ceased to be offered?”
Because the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins (10:2).
Now this was under the old covenant, and had it been effective, once being cleansed, they should have no more conscience of sins. Showing that it did not bring that to them under the old covenant, however, the glorious thing is that in this new covenant through Jesus Christ, once being purged, we really should not have any more consciousness of sins. There is this purging. It’s complete, the cleansing in the blood of Jesus Christ is complete, and the blood of Jesus Christ God's Son cleanses. In the Greek, it is present perfect tense. It is continually cleansing us from all sins. What a glorious thing, that continual cleansing by Jesus Christ.
But in those sacrifices there was a reminder again made for sins every year (10:3).
Every year when the priest would go in, you'd be reminded again of your guilt and of your sin.
For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins (10:4).
It is impossible that they could actually take away your sins. They made what they called the kophar for sins. In the Hebrew, kophar, which is translated atonement. It is probably a bad translation. It should be translated covered. It made a covering for their sins, but it did not put their sins away. It only covered their sins.
Wherefore, when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me (10:5):
Now this is a quotation from Psalm 46. However, the latter part of the quotation, “a body thou hast prepared me,” is not as your King James reads, but this was translated from the Septuagint version.
The Septuagint version of the Scriptures was a Hebrew to Greek translation of the Old Testament that was made by seventy scholars two hundred years before the birth of Christ. After the Babylonian captivity, the Hebrew language was almost dead. It was only known by the biblical scholars. They were the only ones that used the Hebrew language. The Jews, themselves, usually spoke the Koine or they spoke Greek, but Hebrew was only for biblical scholars. They felt that the people should have the Bible in a language they could understand, and so they translated the Old Testament Scriptures into Greek. It is called the Septuagint. So whenever you read of the Septuagint version, that is what it is, a translation by seventy scholars of the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek two hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ.
This quotation, as do others in the New Testament, come from the Septuagint version, and interestingly enough, “Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not,” or you don’t care for, “but you have prepared a body for me.”
That is, Jesus, when He came into the world, God prepared a body for Him. In order that in this body, He might become the perfect, complete sacrifice for man.
In burnt offerings [the Lord said in Psalms] and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God (10:6-7).
So, this is declared of Jesus Christ. He declared, “I have come. In the volume of the book it is written of Me.” The Old Testament is all about Jesus Christ. He is all the way through, interwoven in all of the types, in all of the shadows, in all of the books. It is one continuous story in the preparing of the hearts of man for the coming of the Messiah. The prophecies, the hopes, all prefigured there in the Old Testament.
He speaks here of the burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin. There were five offerings that were made in the Old Testament. They were necessary to bring man into fellowship with God. It is the purpose of God that man should fellowship with Him. God’s purpose is that man should know Him, that he should fellowship with Him and that he might cooperate with God in the accomplishing of God’s purposes here on the earth.
Now sin creates a breach between man and God. Sin separates man from God. Sinful man cannot be one with a holy God.
Paul, writing to the Corinthians, who lived in that city that was so debauched, that the word Corinthian became a synonym for a totally debauched person. Every night a thousand priestesses would come into the city of Corinth from the Acropolis above Corinth, the temple there of Aphrodite. These priestesses in the temple of Aphrodite were prostitutes. And a thousand of them, a thousand streetwalkers in the city every night. And so Paul warned the Corinthian believers concerning having a relations with a harlot. He said, “Don’t you realize that if you have relationships with a harlot you become one with her? And if you are one with Christ then you are making Christ a partaker and bringing Him as one with a harlot.” He said, “You can’t do that. What fellowship hath light with darkness? Christ with Belial and all.” He is warning against these things. You are to be one with God and if you then go out and sin you are making God a partner in your sin. That can't be. Sinful man cannot have fellowship with a holy God. So before fellowship can be experienced, sin has to be put away.
In the first covenant there were two of the offerings that dealt with sin. The first was the sin offering, which is sins general. The second was the trespass offering where I had deliberately trespassed against the law of God. That took a different type of a sacrifice. But they had to be taken care of before I could have fellowship with God. But once I had made the sin and trespass offerings, then I could bring the burnt offerings.
You notice the burnt offering here, and then the sin offerings. The burnt offerings were offerings of consecration where I would consecrate my life to God. This was the burnt offering, and it was symbolic of just consecrating my life to God. Then there was the meal offering, which was the consecration of my service to God as I brought the grain that I had cultivated and grown. And they baked it into bread and offered it unto God.
Finally, I could offer the peace offering, which was communion. I could now be made one with God. My sins have been put away. My trespasses have been put away. I’ve consecrated my life and my service to God, and now I come into oneness with God and I offer the peace offering. And I sit down and eat with God the peace offering. I give Him His portion to eat, the best part of it, being a gracious host, and I then partake of the rest and we eat together. And as we are both nourished by the same lamb, then I become a part of God and God becomes a part of me, and I have this fellowship.
So God was tired. He would not accept anymore of these sacrifices.
Offering and burnt offerings and the offering for sin thou wouldst not, neither did you have pleasure therein; those things that were offered by the law. Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he might establish the second (10:8-9).
The first covenant that God established with man is over. You cannot come to God by the first covenant.
There are always those who want to come to God on their terms. Hey, you're not calling the shots! You're in no position to call the shots. "God, I'll do this for You if You’ll do this, this and this." You're trying to bargain with God or come to God on your terms, and it can't be done. The only way you can come to God is as a guilty sinner and cast yourself upon His mercy and grace and just ask for mercy and grace. You've got to come on His terms, and His terms are that you come through Jesus Christ.
The Old Covenant is disannulled; it's passed away. It is no longer effective. In establishing of the new covenant, He has put away the first. So, taketh away the first that He might establish the second
By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all (10:10).
So, we have been sanctified through the body of Jesus Christ. I am made righteous through Jesus Christ. I am accepted in Jesus Christ. All that I have in my relationship with God today must and does come through Jesus Christ. He is my peace. He is my righteousness. He is my sin offering. He is my sin offerer. He is everything. He is my mediator. Jesus is everything to me. Without Him I have nothing. I have no access to God. I am alienated from God. I am hopelessly and helplessly lost apart from Jesus Christ.
Every priest stands daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins (10:11):
So they’re busy. They are kept busy all day long offering one sin offering after another; one meal offering after another as the various people came in. But it is…he’s pointing out these offerings cannot take away sins.
But this man [Jesus Christ], after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God (10:12);
It's complete. He doesn't have to do it every day. He doesn't have to be crucified over and over. The death of Christ is sufficient once and for all.
From henceforth [or from now on] just waiting until his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he has perfected for ever them that are sanctified (10:13-14).
Isn't that glorious? By His one offering we have been perfected forever. Thank God!
Whereof the Holy Ghost also is witness to us: for after he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their hearts, and their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more (10:15-17).
David cried out, "Oh how happy is the man whose transgressions are forgiven. Oh how happy is the man whose sins are covered. Oh how happy is the man to whom God does not impute iniquity." All I can say to that is, “Amen!” How happy is the man whose sins and iniquities, God said, I will remember no more.
Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin (10:18).
Where you've already had the remission once and for all, perfected in Christ, there is no need for any further offering for sin.
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the Holy of Holies by the blood of Jesus (10:19),
I can enter in where He entered in, right in to the presence of the Father. Coming to the Father through the blood of Jesus Christ, I can enter into the Holy of Holies. I can come into the presence of God through Him. The door is open. Jesus Christ has made the way whereby we can come into the presence of God and fellowship with Him.
And so, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,”
By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having a high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart full of assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised (10:20-23);
Notice now this new covenant: hold fast, hang on, don't worry, because God is faithful who made the promises. This new covenant is predicated upon the promises of God, and God is faithful who has made these promises to you. So hold fast this profession of faith. We have a great high priest.
The danger was these Jews who had received Jesus, returning back to Judaism, taking a lamb, dragging a lamb to the priest again to make a sin offering for them. That was their danger.
Don't underestimate how deeply rooted traditions are, especially among the Jewish people, and even to the present day. Even non-believing Jews keep Sabbath; eat kosher. It is so deeply a part of their tradition that they guard it fiercely. And I know many, many Jews that would become Christians, but they are afraid they would no longer be a Jew. They don't understand that to become a Christian is to become a completed Jew. For Jesus was the Messiah that God had promised in their Scriptures. And they need not fear to cease being a Jew by becoming a Christian. In fact, they’d probably become a better Jew than they ever were. And yet, their rabbis have determined that to be a Jew and a Christian are mutually exclusive; you cannot be both. But they are trying to protect their national identity and they fight fiercely. For it is deeply, deeply ingrained.
So the time of the writing of the Hebrews, those who had made a profession of Christ, some of them sort going back. So the encouragement is to hold fast the profession; don't waiver. And again, pointing not to our faithfulness, but the faithfulness of God. He who has promised is faithful.
And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works (10:24):
And so that’s as we’re together exhorting each other for a greater love and good works.
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching (10:25).
Consider each other to provoke each other to love, to good works, and then not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, in order that we might receive exhortation. Actually, he is saying we should gather together all the more as we see the day of the Lord approaching. So I don’t know how we can do any more than we are every night of the week around here and during the day, but anyhow…That’s the purpose of gathering and assembling ourselves together is for mutual encouragement, the strengthening of each other, the exhorting of each other.
For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins (10:26),
This is talking to the Jew who is wavering in his faith in Jesus Christ and who is seeking to go back to the priest with a sin offering. There is no further sacrifice. The lamb will do nothing. For the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is complete. It is once and for all. And there is no further sacrifice that can be offered, of a goat or a lamb or a calf or anything else. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ is complete. There remains no other sacrifice for your sins. You can’t go back to the old system.
[All that remains is] the certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries (10:27).
Now, this judgment and fiery indignation is going to take place, much of it, during the Great Tribulation. Notice it is going to devour God’s adversaries.
He that despised Moses' law [that is, the first covenant that has been set aside] died without mercy under two or three witnesses (10:28): Very severe punishment, capital punishment for those who despised the first covenant that God established through Moses.
Of how much worse punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant [this new covenant], wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and has done despite to the Spirit of grace? (10:29)
So the three things: he‘s trodden under foot the Son of God, counted the blood of Christ as nothing, and has done despite to the Spirit of grace.
For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will repay, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall in the hands of the living God (10:30-31).
Now two things can be done concerning your sins. One, by your coming to Jesus Christ, they can be totally and completely washed away. Totally forgiven through Him, accepting this new covenant that God has established, your sins are completely put away. If that does not take place, then the second thing that will happen concerning your sins is that you will stand before God and be judged, and your sins will condemn you.
Years ago, I was told the story of a wonderful prince, the heir to the kingdom, who had married a wife who proved to be undeserving of him and of his love. During a time of rebellion, she went out and lived in open adultery with the leader of the rebellion. When the rebellion was subdued, the princess was brought to justice and the court decreed that she should die in the tiger’s pit. Outside of the city, in a clearing in the forest, a pit had been dug. In the pit was a post, and those victims, who were so executed, were tied to the post. And during the night the tigers, drawn by the scent of human flesh, would come and devour the victims. The day of execution came and she was led into the woods and tied securely to the post there in the bottom of the pit and was left to her fate.
As it grew darker, she heard the crunching of gravel above her head. Looking up, she saw silhouetted in the evening sky not the form of a tiger, but of a man, who vaulted down into the pit. She recognized him to be the prince, her husband that she had betrayed. She turned on him in anger saying, "What have you done? Have you come to mock me because of the fate that I have?" He said, "No, I have come to prove to you how much I've always loved you. You've never understood that." With that, he waited silently in the pit until again there was crunching at the top of the pit. And now a tiger, drawn by the scent of human flesh, circling the pit, and then the fast footsteps as it approached and leaped into the pit. But instead of leaping upon the princess, it met the unsheathed sword of the prince. There in the darkness a fierce battle ensued, until finally the princess could hear the death throes as the last bit of life was leaving, and then just the dripping of blood.
As it became daylight, the men from the city came to take the remains of the princess and bury them. To their astonishment, they found that the princess was in good shape, still tied in the center of the pit. But over in the corner, and almost drowned in his own blood, was their beloved prince, and next to him a tiger that had been killed.
They lifted him out of the pit and carried him back to town and called the best physicians in the kingdom. For three days he hovered between life and death. Every hour a bulletin went out throughout the kingdom telling of the condition of the prince as he fought the battle for life. Finally, on the third day the news went out that the prince has passed the crisis and would live. All within the kingdom rejoiced.
In the meantime, the princess had again been incarcerated because the court’s judgment had not been executed. Again, she was brought to trial and now the verdict was to be given. All the people of the kingdom gathered in the great arena to hear the verdict against the princess. As the crier stepped forth, he said, "Hear ye, hear ye, the decision of the supreme council." Then turning to the princess he said, "Over on your right there is a door, and behind that door there stands your husband, the prince, the one that you betrayed. Over on your left is another door, behind which are several tigers. If by five o'clock this evening you do not go to the door on your right and enter that door declaring to all within the kingdom that from now on you will be a faithful and devoted wife, then the door on your left will be opened and the death which he almost died to save you from will come upon you, and this time without any hope of escape. And the story ended, which door?
But as you see the story, you realize that we are the guilty princess, and that we rebelled against the Lord, who loved us so much that He came to prove His love by dying in our place. Now there are two doors, two things that can be done for your sins. Totally forgiven by your commitment of your life to Jesus Christ, or if you fail, then the death from which He died to save you will come and there will be no hope of any escape. "For how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?" So really, you have to put the ending on the story yourself. Which door? You are the one that puts the ending on the story.
“It’s a fearful thing to fall in the hands of a living God.”
But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions (10:32);
Remember what you went through in the beginning of your faith.
Partly, while you were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, while you became companions of them that were so used (10:33).
“Your identification with Christianity really cost you a lot,” and it did. It cost many of them their families. They were completely ostracized. Actually, the families would hold funerals for them. They were dead. They would not even recognize them on the street as existing. “Remember the things that you endured because of your faith in Jesus Christ.”
For you had compassion of me and in my bonds, and you took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that you have in heaven a better and an enduring substance (10:34).
A lot of them had their possessions taken away, but they didn't care. They knew they had possessions that no man could take away, the enduring substance in heaven.
Cast not away therefore your confidence, which has great recompence of reward. For you have need of patience, and after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry (10:35-37).
So again, as so often in the New Testament, the exhortation of patience as we wait for the coming of Jesus Christ. James has said, “Have patience brethren; establish your souls for the Lord is waiting for the complete fruit of harvest” (James 5:7). Have patience; He has a few more yet to save. Give them a chance too. Establish yourselves, for the Lord is waiting for the full fruit of harvest. Peter said, "God is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness. He is faithful to us-ward, he is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9).
So the reason why God is waiting and delaying the coming of Jesus Christ is to give opportunity for others to come on into the kingdom. But He that shall come will come and will not tarry. The day of the Lord will come. The Lord has waited, but the days of waiting are almost over. But have patience brethren, that after you've done the will of God you might receive the promise. The Lord is going to come again.
Now the just shall live by faith: and if any man draw back, [God said] my soul shall have no pleasure in them. But we are not of those who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul (10:38-39).
The writer here declares his confidence in them. We are not those that draw back. We are those that believe to the salvation of our souls.
Now the just shall live by faith, and as we go into chapter 11, we’re going to get the hallmark of faith, the hall of fame for those who believe. And that is the hall of fame that I want to appear in. You can have Cooper’s Town and everything else. I want to be listed in that hall of fame, those who believe in the promises God. And we’ll get an interesting listing of these men of faith as we move on into chapter 11, the glorious chapter on faith. And now may the Lord be with you, watch over and keep you in His love as you walk in faith in Him. May you be blessed of the Lord and strengthened in every good work for the glory of Jesus Christ. God bless you. In Jesus’ name.