Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Hebrews Chapter 8 of the Jimmy Swaggart Bible Commentary


HEBREWS CHAPTER 8:

(1) “NOW OF THE THINGS WHICH WE HAVE SPOKEN THIS IS THE SUM: WE HAVE SUCH AN HIGH PRIEST, WHO IS SET ON THE RIGHT HAND OF THE THRONE OF THE MAJESTY IN THE HEAVENS;” The composition is: 1. The first phrase should have been trans­lated, “Now of the things which we have spo­ken, the following is the sum.”
2. We have a High Priest Who has met every requirement and supplied every need of the human race.
3. The very fact that He has sat down at the Right Hand of the Throne of God, proclaims the fact, that His Work is a Finished Work.
THE SUM
The phrase, “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum,” refers to what Paul will now give as it regards the meaning of all this. The two Priests having been contrasted in the prior Chapter, the two Covenants, the two Sanctuaries, the two Mediators, the two Ministers, and the Better Promises and their foundation are now set out, and the superi­ority of those founded upon the Messiah as High Priest declared (Williams). In this Chapter Paul uses several very important expressions to establish the excel­lence of Christ’s Ministry over that of the Earthly priesthood of Israel. He says: 1. Christ as High Priest “is set on the Right Hand of the Throne of the Majesty in the Heavens.”
2. Our High Priest is “a Minister of the Sanctuary, and of the True Tabernacle.”
3. Our High Priest “is the Mediator of a Better Covenant.”
4. The Covenant that He mediates is based on “Better Promises.”
In contrast, Paul points out that the earthly Priesthood of the Aaronic order, with its sacrifices and holy places is only “the ex­ample and shadow of heavenly things.” Christ’s Ministry as Priest is more excellent because He fulfilled all the types in Himself (Fjordbak). SUCH AN HIGH PRIEST
The phrase, “We have such an High Priest, Who is set on the Right Hand of the Throne of the Majesty in the Heavens,” is said in this manner, not merely to prove His present place and position, but rather what it all means. The points below will explain at least some of what it means: 1. The very fact that Christ is now seated in the Heavens at the Right Hand of God, proves that His Work is a Finished Work, which means that nothing will ever have to be added. This means that we are to look totally and completely to Him and more spe­cifically, what He has done, for all that we need. This is so very, very important. This means the sinner cannot save Him­self, but he can be saved by looking to Christ and what Christ did at the Cross on his be­half. That is exactly what the Lord was talk­ing about, when He told Moses to make a replica of a serpent out of copper, and to put it on a pole. He then said, that this pole was to be lifted up high for all to see. And all who had been bitten by serpents, if they would only look, they would live (Num. 21:9). Jesus in addressing the Born-Again experience, told Nicodemus the same thing, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: “That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have Eternal Life” (Jn. 3:14­15). It is the same for Christians: The Believer cannot be victorious, can­not be holy, cannot be righteous, cannot be Christlike, or in fact, receive anything from the Lord, except in one way, and that is by trusting in what Jesus did at the Cross on his behalf. The Christian can no more make himself holy, than the sinner can save him­self. When we look exclusively to the Sacri­fice of Christ, the Holy Spirit, Who works exclusively within the parameters of this great Sacrifice, can then work mightily on our behalf (Rom. 8:1-2, 11). 2. Christ is the High Priest, not by virtue of appointment or by succession as was the Aaronic Priesthood, but rather because of what He did on the Cross as it regards the Redemption of mankind. He has purchased the right to be High Priest of all humanity, due to the price He paid, which was His Shed Blood, which was shed incidentally on be­half of fallen humanity. This atoned for all sin, past, present, and future, which broke the back of Satan, and which satisfied the Righteousness of a thrice Holy God.
3. The very words “sat down” involve a contrast to the continued and ever incom­plete services of the Priests of old, who “stood before God” continually, in His earthly Sanc­tuary, because their work was never com­plete. The Work of Christ is total and com­plete, hence Him having “sat down.”

4. Christ, “Who is set on the Right Hand of the Throne of the Majesty in the Heav­ens,” proclaims the fact of the most elevated position in Heaven. Again, He earned this, which means, it was not given to Him, sim­ply because He was and is the Son of God. This is the place and position of the highest honor in all the universe.
In fact, this is the very reason that we as Believers can approach the very Throne of God, and even do so “boldly,” that we may “obtain Mercy, and find Grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).
5. Our Faith in Christ, and what He did at the Cross, places us literally “in Christ,” which also means that He “hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in Heav­enly Places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6). But we must never forget, that as He occupies this position totally and completely because of what He did at the Cross, and we’re speak­ing of the Redemption of humanity, we as well occupy this position of victory and bless­ing, totally and completely because of our Faith in what He did at the Cross on our be­half. This exalted position is not attained at all by any type of works on our part. In fact, if we attempt to present such to God, it will be instantly rejected. Paul plainly said, “So then they that are in the flesh (trying to earn their way by the self-will of works) cannot please God” (Rom. 8:8).
6. As well, Christ occupies this position not only because of what He has done, but as well to perform a service for all Saints, which is to continually make intercession for us (Heb. 7:25).
7. His position is an eternal position, which further testifies to the completeness of His Work as it regards the Redemption of the human race, at least those who will be­lieve (Jn. 3:16).
8. Jesus Christ is portrayed here in both a Priestly and Kingly manner. He is specifi­cally called “an High Priest,” but He is seated “on the Right Hand of the Throne of the Maj­esty in the Heavens,” which also gives Him a Kingly position. Because of His Victory on the Cross, He is Lord of all things. He is Sov­ereign, with all power and authority given to Him, which speaks of a King (Mat. 28:18). As Paul said, “We have such an High Priest.”
9. The Jewish High Priest each year on the Great Day of Atonement, passed through the Veil, and that with a sacrifice of blood, then presented it before God. He stood be­fore the Mercy Seat with holy awe and, upon offering the blood, he immediately withdrew from God’s Presence.
But Christ, after He had offered His Sac­rifice to God, a Sacrifice incidentally of Him­self, He entered into the Heavenly Sanctu­ary itself, not to stand before the Throne, but to sit at God’s Right Hand, which speaks greatly so of the superiority of His Sacrifice in relationship to the animal sacrifices.
10. He sits at the Right Hand of the Fa­ther, because He has been invited to sit there, and because God has accepted His Perfect, spotless, pure, Righteousness, which He ef­fected by His spotless, pure Life and the keep­ing of all the Law. As well, in His Perfection, He atoned for all sin by dying on the Cross, which paid the penalty of sin, a penalty inci­dentally, demanded by God.
Incidentally, how can anyone claim that the penalty is too high, considering that God paid it Himself?
11. The fact that this Throne is “in the Heavens,” means this is where the authority resides. At the same time, it means that it does not reside in earthly, Religious Denomi­nations, or particular Churches, or Preach­ers of any nature, or any human being for that matter. So that means that the Pope is dead wrong in claiming such authority, which goes the same for any and all human beings.
THE CROSS
The point I have already attempted to make innumerable times in this Volume, and in fact will continue to do so, is that Christ occupies this exalted position, not because of Who He is, nearly as much as because of What He has done, and we speak of the Cross. This must ever be paramount in the heart and life of the Believer. This must be the thinking of our minds, our spirits, and in fact, all that we are. It is impossible for one to make too much of the Cross. Actually, the Cross is the very centrality of the Gospel. As it regards the statement we’ve just made, this means that the Cross of Christ is not merely a Doctrine, but in reality is the very Foundation of the Church, which means, that all Doctrine flows from this Foundation. Consequently, if one misunderstands the Cross, or interprets it wrongly, or registers unbelief in any capacity as it regards the great Sacrifice of Christ, every single thing that he or she believes in some way, will be skewed. In fact, that’s the very reason that the mod­ern Church is in the mess that it’s in pres­ently, if you will pardon the crudeness of my expression. The modern Church has attempted to shift the center of gravity as it regards the great Plan of God to other things. Some have tried to make the Holy Spirit the center of grav­ity, which means that He will have nothing to do with such an effort, which leaves the individuals functioning not according to His leading and power, but rather according to the leading and power of “spirits.” And that’s exactly what is happening presently. Others have attempted to shift the center of gravity to the Church, and I speak of Reli­gious Denominations, etc. Others have tried to shift it to Ordinances of the Church, such as “the Lord’s Supper,” or “Water Baptism,” etc. Others have tried to shift the center of gravity to works of all nature, etc. In fact, if the center of Scriptural gravity is placed anywhere other than the Cross of Christ, irrespective of wherever else it might be, it is going to bring ruin and disaster. Everything we have is in the great Sacrifice of Christ. If we forget that for one moment, we not only deceive ourselves, but we also start down a road of spiritual destruction. It cannot be any other way! UNBELIEF
In 1996 when the Lord began to give me this Revelation of the Cross, with the greater thrust given in 1997, and which I might quickly add was given after some five years of intercessory prayer, to be frank, my whole world changed. I now had the answer for which I had so long sought. I now knew what Paul was saying when he gave the following great Truth: “The Law (the Sacrifice of Christ was ac­tually a legal work) of the Spirit (Holy Spirit) of Life (while all life flows from Christ, and because of what He did at the Cross, it is the Holy Spirit Who makes all of this real to us) in Christ Jesus (refers to the Holy Spirit giv­ing the glory to the Son of God for the great Work carried out at the Cross which makes everything possible) hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2). Now I know what it means to “walk after the Spirit,” and as well, by the Grace of God, I now know how to “walk after the Spirit” (Rom. 8:1). My reason for not knowing before was Scriptural ignorance. In other words, even though I knew very well the part the Cross played as it regarded our initial Salvation ex­perience, I had no knowledge whatsoever of the part that it plays in our Sanctification. And furthermore, I didn’t know anyone who did know. As I’ve said over and over again, there has been so little teaching on the Cross of Christ in the last several decades, that the modern Church is almost Cross illiterate. It’s bad enough to have a lack of understanding regarding anything in the Bible, but if we have a misunderstanding concerning the Cross, we are in effect, committing spiritual suicide. At the outset, and I speak of the time the Lord began to give me this Revelation back in 1996, I believed that the reason for all of these problems in the Church was basically due to just simply not knowing, as it had been with me. However, I have changed my thought somewhat since that particular time. I personally believe there is far more unbe­lief involved than anything else. HOW COULD ANYONE WHO CLAIMS TO BE A CHRISTIAN REGISTER UNBELIEF IN THE CROSS? While it is definitely true that the far greater majority of the modern Church little knows or understands the veracity of the Cross, still, most of the reason for this Scriptural igno­rance, I have now come to believe, is because of unbelief. Listen to what the Prophet Hosea said: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowl­edge.” Now read carefully what He said next: “Because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee” (Hos. 4:6). The idea is, Israel not only did not have the knowledge of God, which means they did not know the things they should have known, all of this was because they did not want or desire the Knowledge of God. To be ignorant is one thing; however, to be ignorant because that’s the way one wants to be, is something else altogether. And that’s the state of the far greater majority of the modern Church. It is not only true that they have no knowledge of the Cross, the added Truth is, most don’t want the knowledge. This means they are ignorant of this knowledge, simply because they want to be ignorant of this knowledge. I realize this is a very serious indictment, but sadly I believe it to be true. THE WAYS OF THE WORLD AND THE WAYS OF GOD
Due to the Fall, man has no good in him. This means he is totally depraved, which re­fers to being spiritually dead. Consequently, he cannot produce any type of Righteousness in any form. If man is to have Righteousness, it remains for God to supply that Righteous­ness, which He has done through Christ Jesus, and what Christ did at the Cross. But this is where the great problem resides. The world claims it can save itself by its own machinations, and regrettably, the Church does pretty much the same. And what do we mean by that? When it comes to the world and their claims, that’s fairly understandable by all Be­lievers; however, when it comes to the Church, it gets to be a little more difficult to understand. To sum it up, the Believer, no matter that he is Spirit-filled and possibly even has Gifts of the Spirit, still, there’s absolutely nothing he can do himself, which means by his own strength and ability, etc., that will draw him closer to God, or will effect anything with God whatsoever. He can only receive from God, and that goes for anything, by exhibiting simple Faith in the great Sacrifice of Christ, which then gives the Holy Spirit the latitude to do all of these great and wonderful things, which Jesus paid for at the Cross. But re­grettably, most in the modern Church don’t want to go that way. THE EFFORTS OF THE FLESH
Paul used the word “flesh,” over and over again. He was referring to the very best that man can do by his own strength, ability, and efforts, which means he doesn’t have the help of the Holy Spirit. I think I can say without any fear of exag­geration, that every single Christian who has ever lived, has tried in one way or the other, to effect spirituality by efforts of the flesh, or as Paul put it, “walking after the flesh” (Rom. 8:1). The sadness is, all the time this is being done, and I speak of walking after the flesh, most all Believers think they are “walking after the Spirit.” Let me give you an example: Were I to ask most Christians as to how they know they are right with God, and to give details, most would answer, I think, ac­cording to the following: They would refer to their faithfulness to Church, their giving of money to the Work of the Lord, their prayer life, their witnessing to souls, or their involvement in the Church in whatever type of activities it might provide. In other words, their thinking would go to works or personal efforts. While these things mentioned might very well be very good in their place, the Truth is, they do not earn us anything with God what­soever. If we think we are right with God, or whatever terminology we would like to use, as it regards all of these things, then we are totally misunderstanding the great Plan of God for the human race. But that’s where the greater majority of the modern Church finds itself. That’s sad, but true! Every Believer is what he is in Christ, is close to God, and receives things from the Lord, solely and completely on the basis of the great Sacrifice of Christ, and his Faith in that. That and that alone provides access to God, things from God, and our way with God! The Truth is, we as Believers, rather enjoy depending on these things I’ve mentioned, and many I haven’t mentioned, simply because it gives us a feeling of superiority. It’s some­thing we’ve done, and we love our fair works of the flesh. As Abraham loved Ishmael, we love our works of religion in the same ca­pacity. And as Abraham was loathe to send Ishmael and his Mother away, we are loathe to part with our own efforts of the flesh also. Ishmael was a result of the ingenuity, plan­ning, and efforts of both Abraham and Sarah. To say that this was all to no avail, and worse yet, that it was actually very detrimental and harmful, is very difficult for even Abraham to grasp. But the fact remains, and as stated, that “they who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:8). Please notice, that it didn’t say “cannot please the Lord some of the time,” but just flat out “cannot please the Lord.” There’s only one thing that pleases God: Faith totally and completely placed in Christ and what He did at the Cross on our behalf pleases God, and that alone. Paul said, “By Faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” The Apostle then told us what it was that pleased God. He said, “But without Faith it is impossible to please Him” (Heb. 11:5-6). And remember, when we speak of “Faith,” always and without exception, we are speak­ing of Faith in the great Sacrifice of Christ. FAITH?
The terrible Truth is, most of the Leader­ship of the modern Church, and I think I ex­aggerate not by the use of the word “most,” simply do not believe that the Cross is the answer to all the sinful aberrations of man. They just simply do not believe this to be the case. And that’s why I said that I’ve come to the conclusion, that the problem is unbe­lief more than anything else. Having been in the Ministry now not too much short of one half century, and having seen literally hundreds of thousands brought to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ under this Ministry, and tens of thousands Baptized with the Holy Spirit, I think I have at least some knowledge of this of which I speak. From experience, and from what I now know about the Cross, I know that most Preachers are not truly preaching victory to their con­gregations, simply because they don’t know God’s prescribed order of victory. They pro­pose many and varied things, many which may be good in their own right, but none which will bring victory in the daily walk to the Child of God. And what do we mean by victory? We’re actually speaking of “walking after the Spirit” (Rom. 8:1). Every Believer in the world is either “walking after the Spirit,” or “walking after the flesh.” And if the Believer doesn’t understand the Cross as it refers to our Sanctification experience, then of neces­sity, the only place else to be is “after the flesh.” Whenever Believers have problems of some nature, and I speak of failure of some sort, most pastors don’t have the foggiest idea as to what to tell these people. Deep down in their hearts, they know that what they are telling them, whatever that might be, doesn’t work. I realize that’s a flat out statement, but I know it to be true. Anything other than the Cross simply doesn’t work! And yet, the far, far greater majority of Preachers, even knowing that what they’re doing is not working, will not bother to read these Truths laid out in these Commentar­ies, even though it would be given to them. Some few will, most won’t! Why? The reasons are many and varied. With many, it must come from their particular Denomination or circle, or they simply won’t accept it, no matter how true it is. With others, if they don’t like the messenger, they reject the message. With others it’s self-will and pride. Many preachers are loathe to ad­mit that they are teaching something wrong, and that somebody else might have more light than they do on the subject. But then with most, I am led to believe that it is sheer unbelief. They just simply do not believe that what Jesus did at the Cross avails for the needs of humanity. But in respect to this, we must remember the following: The Holy Spirit through Paul strongly says, “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the Living God” (Heb. 3:12). And remember, when the word “unbelief” is used, it is pointedly speaking of unbelief in the Sacrifice of Christ. In other words, they began to doubt the veracity of the Cross. When Paul mentions “Faith,” without exception, he’s always speaking of Faith in the Cross of Christ. When he mentions “unbelief,” he is doing the same thing. The facts are, if Preachers believe in the Cross, they are going to want to learn every­thing they can about the Cross, and they are going to preach the Cross to their people. It is pure and simple! If they don’t believe it, they have little regard for learning anything about it, and they won’t preach it to their people; consequently, the door remains shut as it regards anything of the Lord. That’s primarily the reason that we can­not have true Revival, until we have a Refor­mation. The thinking of people must be re­formed, and I speak of being reformed as it regards the Finished Work of Christ. (2) “A MINISTER OF THE SANCTUARY, AND OF THE TRUE TABERNACLE, WHICH THE LORD PITCHED, AND NOT MAN.” The exegesis is:
1. Christ, being the Mediator between God and men, represents believing man to God.
2. The Tabernacle and Temple on Earth were temporary, while the True Tabernacle in Heaven is eternal.
3. This building is of the Lord and not man, which refers to the great Plan of God for the human race.
CHRIST, THE PERFECT MINISTER The phrase, “A Minister of the Sanctuary,” tells us what Christ is now doing. “Minister” in the Greek is “leitourgos,” and means “belonging to the people.” It was used of a person in the service of the State who held public office. Here as Paul uses the word, it speaks both of Priestly service to God, and of service to man (Wuest). “Sanctuary” in the Greek is “ton hagion,” and means “holy places, the Heavenly Sanctuary.” This phrase is strange but yet beautiful. It speaks of Christ in His capacity as a Servant, which is striking, as it immediately follows the reference to His High Place in Heaven. As a Servant, what does He do?
He is there to serve all Believers, and does so by making intercession for us, and does so constantly (Heb. 7:25). This gives us an exceedingly blessed Truth: The Lord Jesus Christ is not only glorified, exalted, and dignified as our High Priest, He is also our Minister in the Sanctuary. Under the Old Covenant everything centered around the High Priest’s Ministry in the Tabernacle. When the Priest failed, the people had no other approach to God. Everything centers around our High Priest under the New Covenant also, but our High Priest can never fail His people. He has “a more excellent Ministry” in the True Taber­nacle the Lord has prepared, instead of the one prepared by Moses.
RELATIONSHIP
The problem of establishing a dwelling place with man is of supreme importance to God. The communion of God and man was broken by the terrible tragedy of the Fall that took place in the Garden of Eden. The rela­tionship and fellowship between God and man were interrupted. There came a day when sin intervened, disrupting that peace­ful and sweet fellowship Adam had known with God. Since that time God has sought to reestablish a relationship with man and reconcile man to Himself. Sin will always have the effect of separat­ing man from God. Sin in fact, would have separated man from God eternally unless a remedy could be found to avert its effect and penalty. Man chose to disobey God, and it was necessary for man to suffer the disastrous re­sults of his disobedience. But thanks be unto the Lord, God has provided a perfect remedy for sin by the Perfect Sacrifice of Jesus Christ. From the time of the Fall in Genesis to the New Jerusalem scene in the Book of Rev­elation we find the God of all patience solv­ing the problem of making a new dwelling place with man. It was not and is not an easy task, for, unless God brought man up to His Holiness and Righteousness, how could a Holy God dwell with sinners? God’s answer to the whole question may be expressed in these words: “. . . The Blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I Jn. 1:7). The answer is found in the Cross of Christ, and the answer is found alone in the Cross of Christ. The Cross is the an­swer of the infinite wisdom of God on behalf of man. It is God’s answer to sin, and God’s response to man’s lost estate. However, the Cross does more than save the sinner. It gives him peace and hope (Col. 1:19-20). The Cross was God’s Way of removing the barrier that stood between man and God. By the Cross men are brought back into fellowship with God. And let it be under­stood, that Faith in Christ and what He did at the Cross is the only way that men can be brought back into fellowship. There is no other way (II Cor. 5:18-19, 21).
RESTORED FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD
The Cross of Christ gives meaning to God’s universe and to His dealings with man. The Cross furnishes a basis of restored fellowship with God on a higher and permanent basis. Through the Cross and the Blood of Jesus, God has satisfied every demand of His Holi­ness. The Preaching of the Cross and the Crucified Saviour are the wisdom and power of God (I Cor. 1:18, 23-25). The centrality of the Cross was vital to both the Old and New Testaments. It was vital be­cause the Cross became a basis for God’s deal­ing with men who lived in Old Testament times before the Sacrifice of Calvary. They were saved then by looking forward to that coming time when Jesus would die on the Cross, which was typified by every single Sac­rifice offered. God established Blood Sacri­fices and ceremonies as types of the work that would be fulfilled in Christ. In fact, Christ and His Cross are in type the Old Testament Tabernacle with its ceremonies and Sacrifices. Actually, even before Christ came He was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, for He is the eternal Sacrifice for sin. He is the only Sacrifice that brings the sinner into fellowship with God (I Pet. 1:18-20). The death of Jesus was more than just an event that took place 2,000 years ago; it was the purpose of God from eternity. Jesus’ death shows God’s infinite wisdom and love in bringing men back into relationship, fel­lowship, and reconciliation with Himself. Before Golgotha, the Cross was in the mind of God, which means that the death of Jesus was in the purpose of God. The Tabernacle of old, speaks of Him in its every shade of color, the minutest thread, the smallest tent stake, in every ceremony, ritual, or vessel. As stated, all men were saved before the Cross by looking forward to that event, of which all of these things were types and symbols, and especially the Sacrifices. Men are saved presently, by simply looking back to what Jesus did and exhibiting Faith in that Finished Work (Eph. 2:8-9). But it must always be remembered: The Cross is the centrality of the Gospel, the centrality of all that God is doing and has done for man, the centrality of the great Plan of God. If we misunderstand that, then we misunderstand the Gospel, which will bring upon ourselves great difficulties and problems.
WHY IS INTERCESSION BY CHRIST NOW NECESSARY ON BEHALF OF THE SAINTS? It is necessary simply because Christians unfortunately, still sin. We don’t have to sin, we shouldn’t sin, and in fact, the Word of God emphatically tells us not to sin (I Jn. 2:1), but then it says, “And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous: “And He is the Propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (I Jn. 2:1-2). The moment a Believer sins, he is in­structed to immediately “confess his sins to the Lord, knowing that He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I Jn. 1:9). The Presence of Christ at the Right Hand of the Father, automatically guarantees that such will be carried out, for the very Presence of Christ is our intercession. As previously stated in other commentary, Christ does not have to do something at this time. It has al­ready been done. His very Presence guaran­tees all that we need, and provides all inter­cession. In fact, if He had to do anything else, that would mean that His Work was unfin­ished, which of course is erroneous. The great Work of Christ at the Cross is a “Finished Work,” hence, Him being “sat down on the Right Hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:3).
WHAT IS THE MOST OFT COMMITTED SIN AMONG CHRISTIANS?
The answer will come as a surprise to most. First of all, it’s not particular acts of sin as we would think, that being more than anything else, a result of “the sin.” The most oft committed sin among Chris­tians is the sin of placing our Faith and confidence in something else other than the Cross. In fact, that is the sin that opens the door to all type of acts of sin. The only way the Christian can be safe, and remain safe, which means to have perpetual and constant victory, is for the Christian to keep his Faith in the Cross of Christ, understanding that it was there that all victory was won, which then gives the Holy Spirit the latitude to work within our hearts and lives, bringing about the Christlikeness which is His purpose (Rom. 8:1-2, 11). If I remember correctly, I have already stated the following in this Commentary; how­ever, due to its great significance, and to stir your pure minds, please allow me to deal with it again. Years ago in reading behind a particular English Preacher, incidentally, long since with the Lord, he said something which startled me. I knew he was right, because the Spirit bore witness with my spirit; however, I actu­ally didn’t understand what he said, even though I knew it was right and as well, ex­tremely important. He said, “Christians need to repent of their good just as much as they need to repent of their bad!” Now all of us can well understand the ne­cessity of repentance as it regards acts which we know are sinful and wicked; however, re­penting of our good as well, is not so easily understood. What did he mean? Since the Lord has opened up to me the meaning of the Cross, it becomes very obvi­ous as to what he was saying. When he spoke of repenting of the “good,” he was meaning repenting of these good things which we do, and our dependence on them, whatever they might be, to make us holy and righteous before God. In other words, if we are depending on anything, no matter how good it may seem to us, other than the Cross of Christ, we are committing sin, and a grievous sin at that. Let me em­phasize again, the things which we are do­ing, may be very, very good in their own right, and I speak of things such as faithful Church attendance, the giving of money to the Work of the Lord, prayer, fasting, witnessing to souls, etc.; however, those things should be a result of our walk with God, and never as a cause of our walk with God. God will not honor Faith placed in these things, but only Faith placed in the Cross of Christ. As I said some pages back, were you to ask most Believers as to what constituted their close walk with God, most would immedi­ately begin to enumerate things I’ve just men­tioned. But the Truth is, none of that draws us closer to God, such being accomplished only by our Faith in the Finished Work of Christ. Does the Reader understand what I’m saying? Let me show you how this erroneous way is engrained in our hearts and lives. A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
One of my close associates the other day was telling how that his six-year-old son re­sponded to the following question: “Joseph, what do you think it means to be ‘in Christ’?” Now please remember, this little fellow is only six years old. He immediately began to enumerate the good things he was doing, and the bad things he wasn’t doing. Unfortunately, that was not only the response of this child, but is the re­sponse of most of Christendom as well! Again I state, the most oft repeated sin in Christendom is the sin of placing our Faith in the wrong object.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN BELIEVERS PLACE THEIR FAITH IN THINGS OTHER THAN THE CROSS?
The Believer has then placed himself in serious jeopardy. Let the following be un­derstood: Every single thing that we receive from God is done by and through the Purpose, Office, Ministry, and Person of the Holy Spirit. In other words, it doesn’t really matter that you are saved, thereby a new creation in Christ Jesus, Baptized with the Holy Spirit, with some of you even having Gifts of the Spirit operative within your lives, which means you are being used of God; still, if your Faith is not in the Cross of Christ, irrespective of the things mentioned, you will still walk in spiri­tual failure. And it doesn’t really matter who you are, whether the Pastor of the largest Church in the world, or someone who just got saved yesterday. Faith in the Cross of Christ is the only means of victory in the heart and life of the Believer (Rom. 8:1-2, 11). Unfortunately, many Spirit-filled Believers, and I speak of those who believe in the Bap­tism with the Holy Spirit, with the evidence of speaking with other Tongues, believe that victory is automatic within their lives. Noth­ing could be further from the Truth. In fact, there are millions of Christians who are truly Spirit-filled, but are not walking in victory at all. What is wrong?
The mere fact of the Baptism with the Holy Spirit, although extremely important, does not really guarantee a victorious walk before God. To be sure, the potential is there, and greatly so, but the work of the Spirit is never automatic. Were it automatic, no Spirit-filled Believer would ever fail, and all would be instantly mature; however, we know that none of that is correct, so what is the problem?
ALL THE WORK OF THE SPIRIT IS PREDICATED ON THE CROSS
Even though the Holy Spirit did great and mighty things in Old Testament Times, His perpetual abiding in the hearts and lives of Believers awaited the Cross (Jn. 14:17). Due to the fact that the blood of bulls and goats couldn’t take away sin, the sin debt still attached itself to all of humanity in Old Tes­tament Times, even the great champions of Faith. As well, due to this, when the Saints of Old Testament Times died, they did not go to Heaven, but rather were taken captive by Satan down into Paradise (Lk. Chpt. 16). To be sure, Satan couldn’t get them over into the burning side of the Pit, that place being separated from Paradise by a great gulf; still, the Evil One no doubt, hoped to ultimately do exactly that. When Jesus died on the Cross, thereby sat­isfying the terrible sin debt owed by man to God, He then went down into Paradise and rescued these captives, for that’s exactly what they were (Eph. 4:8-10), and then took them with Him to Heaven. Now when Saints die (since the Cross), they instantly go to be with Christ (Phil. 1:23). This means that every single thing that the Holy Spirit does within the heart and life of the Believer, is predicated on what Christ did at the Cross. In response to the Words of Christ, “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink,” John said, “But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that be­lieve on Him should receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified” (Jn. 7:37-39). Of course we now know that the Holy Spirit has been given, and because Jesus has been glorified. But let the Reader understand, that Jesus being glorified, was all as a result of the Cross and His Resurrection. It refers to the fact that God accepted the Sacrifice, which was actually the Shed Blood of Christ. When the believing sinner exhibits Faith in Christ and what He did at the Cross, the Holy Spirit can then perfect the work of Re­generation within his heart, and actually come in to abide forever. It is called the “born again” experience (Jn. 3:3). To which we’ve already addressed our­selves, the Believer should then ask the Lord to baptize him with the Holy Spirit, which the Lord has promised that He will do (Lk. 11:13). The Baptism with the Holy Spirit signi­fies a surrender of the Believer to God as it regards the Will of God. As we’ve also stated, the Baptism with the Holy Spirit is always accompanied by the speaking with other Tongues as the Spirit of God gives the utter­ance (Acts 2:4). After this experience, which is always sub­sequent to Salvation, the Believer is to ever understand, that he must continue his Faith in the Cross of Christ, which is always de­manded by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:2). If the Believer does this, and continues to do this, which then gives latitude to the Spirit to work, to be sure, He will do great and mighty things within the heart and life of the Believer. He doesn’t demand much of us, but He definitely does demand that we un­derstand that everything we have from the Lord always and without exception, comes through the great Sacrifice of Christ. He will function on that basis and that basis alone! Thereby, when Christians move their Faith from the Cross of Christ to something else the Holy Spirit simply will not work, because to do so would literally be breaking the Law of God, which He will never do (Rom. 8:2). And again to be sure, when we place our Faith in anything other than the Cross, we defi­nitely break the Law of God as well, which means that God is very displeased with us (Rom. 8:8).
THE TRUE TABERNACLE
The phrase, “And of the True Tabernacle,” actually refers to the true dwelling place of God. Paul uses the term “True Tabernacle,” be­cause the Christian Jews would have known exactly that of which he spoke. Their minds would have gone to the Tabernacle con­structed by Moses in the wilderness, where God dwelt between the Mercy Seat and the Cherubim. That of necessity, was a tempo­rary dwelling place for God among men, which should have been obvious, awaiting the time when Jesus would go to the Cross, thereby making it possible for God to liter­ally dwell in the hearts and lives of all Be­lievers, which He now does. Let not the Reader think that by Paul us­ing the term “True Tabernacle” that he is actually speaking of some type of building. While there no doubt are many buildings in Heaven, this is not what Paul means here. In fact, the word “true” in this case, does not mean that which is false or counterfeit, but rather refers in contrast to that which is a mere copy or representation of the heavenly, which in fact was the Tabernacle of Moses. The genuine is in Heaven, hence Paul using the word “true.” Actually, John in his vision of the New Jerusalem said, “And I saw no Temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the Temple of it” (Rev. 21:22). As well, after all vestige of sin has been removed from the universe, and Satan and all his cohorts have been locked away in the Lake of Fire, where they will remain forever and forever, and there is no more disobedi­ence to God, John tells us that the New Jerusa­lem is going to come down from God out of Heaven, and dwell with men. He said: “Behold, the Tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God” (Rev. 21:3). The idea is this: Before the Cross, God was with men; since the Cross, God is in men; in that coming glad day, He will be both with men and in men.
THE PLAN OF GOD
The phrase, “Which the Lord pitched, and not man,” refers to the fact that Moses pitched the earthly Tabernacle, but God formed the True Tabernacle. And yet, even the one pitched by Moses, was done so under the strict guidelines of the Lord, actually with every single feature about the Tabernacle designed totally and com­pletely by the Lord, and not by Moses, or any other man. But yet, it was imperfect and, therefore, temporary.
WHY WAS THE TABERNACLE OF OLD IMPERFECT?
It was very obvious as to its imperfection, by the very fact that the Priests who offici­ated within its confines, never were able to finish their work. Due to the fact that the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sins, they had to keep offering more and more sacrifices. This within itself, plus all the other accoutrements of the Tabernacle and the Temple as well, which would come about 500 years after the Tabernacle, were all tempo­rary. In fact, and even as we’ve already stated, every single thing about the Tabernacle and Temple portrayed Christ in some way, signi­fying that He Alone could truly cleanse from all sin (Jn. 1:29). These very words, “Which the Lord pitched, and not man,” presents a glaring reminder, that man is unable, even believing man, to effect anything within his heart and life that pertains to God. Everything that man receives from God is of God totally and completely, which means it’s not of man at all, which means that it can only be received by Faith. The moment we attempt to earn something from God, or to secure such by merit, we for­feit the Grace of God, which leaves us in a serious predicament as should be obvious. Everything and without fail that God gives to man as it regards Salvation, or anything else, is all of God in totality, and not at all of man (Gal. 2:21). And the manner and the way that God gives all these things to men is through the Cross of Christ, i.e., “the great Sacrifice of Christ.” God cannot look at man in any way except through the Shed Blood of Christ, and man cannot approach God in any manner except through the Shed Blood of Christ. So, if anyone holds anything up other than the Cross, as a way of Salvation, or a way of Victory, or a way of acceptance with God, such a way is obviously false. And it’s a way as well, which the Judgment of God must ulti­mately fall upon. That’s why the present position of the mod­ern Church is so precarious. The Church probably knows and understands less about the Cross presently than it ever has in its his­tory, or at least since the Reformation. That’s quite a statement, but I believe it to be true. Satan has been very successful in the last few decades, at shifting the object of Faith from the Cross to other things. In fact, I personally believe that the so-called modern Faith message has been the greatest vehicle at moving Faith from the Cross, although it has not been the only means. Modernistic psychology has cut a wide swath as well! However, the undergirding factor in all of this is unbelief — and I speak of unbelief as it regards the Cross. The Church has de­parted from the Cross, primarily because of unbelief. It simply doesn’t believe that what Jesus did there, is the answer to the ills of the world. While it may pay lip service to the great Sacrifice of Christ, its direction proves that its Faith is placed in other things. For the Church to have the moving and operation of the Holy Spirit once again, it must and without fail, come back to the Cross of Christ. There is no other way! (Phil. 3:18-19). (3) “FOR EVERY HIGH PRIEST IS OR­DAINED TO OFFER GIFTS AND SACRI­FICES: WHEREFORE IT IS OF NECESSITY THAT THIS MAN HAVE SOMEWHAT ALSO TO OFFER.” The exegesis is:
1. The purpose of the High Priest is to offer Gifts and Sacrifices.
2. Christ offered Himself, which was the one Perfect Sacrifice, which constituted all Gifts, which met all the needs of man.
3. His One Gift is far superior to the many gifts and sacrifices of the Priests of old. The very fact of their plurality states that they were insufficient. The very fact of the One Sacrifice of Christ, states that it was and is all-sufficient.
PRIESTS OF OLD
The phrase, “For every High Priest is or­dained to offer gifts and sacrifices,” portrayed these men as the mediators between God and men. As stated, the very fact that they had to continue to offer sacrifices, states the in­effectiveness of the old system. Due to the fact that the blood of bulls and goats could never take away sins, but actually only serve as a stopgap measure, it was obvious that something else was required. As is blatantly and overly obvious in this Epistle to the Hebrews, Paul keeps placing the Priesthood of Christ over against the old Levitical order. He does, so that the Chris­tian Jews, and all others for that matter, might see the overwhelming supremacy of Christ. In fact, the Priesthood of Christ was so overwhelming, which the Holy Spirit helped Paul to adequately portray, that it was and is impossible for anyone, at least if they will be honest, not to see the vast difference. And yet I’m afraid, the problem continues! While the modern Church is not trying to go back to the Levitical system, as some of the Christian Jews of old, and for the simple reason that it no longer exists; still, the de­fection is just as serious. As Satan ever sought to diminish Christ in the eyes of those to whom Paul addressed, he still seeks to do the same presently. As a result, millions put the Church in the place of Christ. Or a De­nomination! Or their own good works! In fact, in the latter half of the Twentieth Cen­tury, millions placed Faith itself on a pedes­tal. Some may wonder as to how such could be done? If it’s not Faith in the Cross, which keeps Christ supreme, and the Faith of which I speak definitely wasn’t in the Cross, then it becomes sin. Anything that puts Christ in an inferior position, even as the Catholics do the Church and Mary, it becomes a gross sin. Satan doesn’t care how much we worship, or how religious we might be, if Christ is not properly addressed. In fact, he will help us to be very religious and to worship accordingly, providing it’s in the wrong direction. And to sum it up, we must note the following: If the Christ we serve is not the Crucified One, with all emphasis placed upon His great Sacrifice, understanding that all Salvation and all Blessings, come from His great Finished Work, then the Christ we are serving is la­beled by Paul as “another Jesus” (II Cor. 11:4). The Truth is, and as stated, millions serve their Church, attempting to equate the Church and Christ as one and the same. They aren’t!
TO PROVE THE POINT
I personally believe that the Revelation which the Lord began to give me in 1996 was meant to be far more than for me alone. I believe, and firmly so, that He intends for this Message to be heralded to the entirety of the Church, and I speak of the Church world­wide. To be sure, the Message which we pro­claim is not by any means new; actually, it is the very foundation of the Faith, but a foun­dation, from which the modern Church has sorely drifted. The Lord is giving us the means to propa­gate this Message on a nationwide, and even a worldwide basis. It should be clearly un­derstood, that He has done this, and is doing this, for purpose. He means for the Church to come back to the Cross. But the Church has a problem in all of this. If the Message doesn’t come from its own source, i.e., “its Denomination or circle of fellowship,” will it accept the Message? The Truth is, most won’t; however, the searching heart, of which there definitely are some, will hear, believe, and receive. Where does that leave the others?
When light is rejected, light is then with­drawn, which means that the apostasy deep­ens. Jesus addressed this by saying: “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seek­ing rest, and findeth none. “Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. “Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than him­self, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first” (Mat. 12:43-45).
THE SACRIFICE OF CHRIST
The phrase, “Wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer,” speaks of the offering of Himself. We now see in Christ a High Priest Who through His Own inherent right has taken a place which no Levitical Priest could ever take. Instead of merely being permitted to enter once a year into the Holy of Holies, and that only for a few moments, not daring to sit down in the Presence of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, as the ascended Man, has entered into the Heavenly Sanctuary and is seated there on the Right Hand of the Throne of the Maj­esty in the Heavens. There He ministers in the Holiest in that glorious Tabernacle of which the earthly tent was but a type. How important it is for us to realize that we are represented before God by a Man in the glory, for though we no longer know Christ after the flesh, yet He has gone up to Heaven as the Representative Man to appear in the Presence of God on our behalf. The earthly High Priest of old was ap­pointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. By gifts we understand to be those offerings which were the expression of the grateful, adoring hearts of the people of Israel. The Sacrifices, on the other hand, had to do di­rectly with making expiation for sin. Our Lord did the latter when He offered up Himself on the Cross. But now that He is ministering in the Heavenly Sanctuary, it is of course necessary that He have something to offer. He presents before God our prayers and praises. Our heartfelt worship ascends to the Father by Him, and because of what He did at the Cross which makes it possible for us to approach God, which we do, by evi­dencing Faith in the great Sacrifice of Christ.
PERFECTION
We may often be discouraged as we real­ize something of the imperfections even of our highest and best efforts to glorify God. Like William Cowper, we may exclaim: “Sin twines itself about my thoughts, “And slides into my prayers.” But it is blessed to know that nothing reaches God that is not perfect. Our Great High Priest takes out of our prayers and praises everything that is unholy or of the flesh, everything that is contrary to the na­ture of the God we adore. Then to what is left, He adds His Own infinite perfections and thus presents all to the Father on our behalf. Oh how I sense the Presence of God, even as I dictate these words. How so imperfect we are, but yet, how Perfect He is. And be­cause He is Perfect, He somehow takes our imperfections, and places them in His Per­fection, with nothing left that is not perfect. How so much we must look to Him! How so much we must understand, as the Priests of old, took a Censer into the Holy Place, filled with perfume placed over blazing coals from the Brazen Altar, which was a type of Calvary, filling the air in that place with a beautiful fragrance, all typical of our prayers and praises; likewise, when Christ finishes with our humble efforts, that which remains comes up into the nostrils of God as a sweet and adoring fragrance. The example of the Priests of old tells us that God cannot accept any prayer, petition, or praises, unless it comes by the way of the Cross. In fact, when “Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He commanded them not, there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD” (Lev. 10:1-2). The fire that these two Priests took and placed in their Censers was not fire from the Brazen Altar, but some other ignition alto­gether, which God could never accept. The Brazen Altar stood for the Cross, was symbolic of the Cross. This means that these Priests could not approach Him by any means other than the Cross of Christ, for that’s what it all meant. Should that not be a powerful lesson for us presently?
THE CROSS, AND THE HIGH PRIESTLY ROLE OF CHRIST
Christ is High Priest, and will be so for­ever, because of what He did at the Cross on our behalf. This means that we must come to Him, and do so at all times, with the understanding that such is made possible totally and completely by His great Sacri­fice of Himself. Only with that understand­ing, and our Faith lodged in that Finished Work, can He take our prayers and praises and thereby turn them into a holy fragrance before God the Father. But the sadness is, most Christians little understand this of which we say, thereby approaching God on the basis of things other than the Sacrifice of Christ, which God can never honor. Let us never forget, that there is only one thing which pleases God, and that is His only Son, and the great Sacrifice He made of Him­self on the Cross. That alone pleases Him; that alone satisfies Him; that alone gives Him pleasure! Consequently, when we place our Faith in Christ regarding His Finished Work, always understanding that this is the basis by which we can approach God, and in fact, the only basis by which we can approach God, this and this alone pleases God (Mat. 3:17). (4) “FOR IF HE WERE ON EARTH, HE SHOULD NOT BE A PRIEST, SEEING THAT THERE ARE PRIESTS THAT OFFER GIFTS ACCORDING TO THE LAW:” The structure is: 1. Christ could not be a Priest on Earth after the Levitical order, inasmuch as that order was after the Law.
2. The Priesthood of Christ of necessity must transcend the Law, because it must be superior, which the Law could never do.
3. In fact, even though His Priesthood was made possible on Earth by His Sacrifice, its administration is carried forth in Heaven, even before the Throne of God.
CHRIST, NO EARTHLY PRIEST! The phrase, “For if He were on Earth, He should not be a Priest,” refers to the fact that He was not of the Levitical Order, and due to His Sacrifice of Himself, no more earthly Priests are now needed. In fact, the very idea of a Priest presently, is in effect saying that what Christ did on the Cross is not sufficient and needs something added, which is an in­sult of the worst sort toward God. If one is to notice, the name “Priest” is never once given to Ministers of the Gospel in the New Testament. They are called Min­isters, Ambassadors, Pastors, Bishops, Over­seers, etc., but never “Priests.” Nor should they be so called in the Church. In fact, the name “Priest” as applied to Christian Ministers, has been derived from the Catholic Church. They hold that the Priest does offer as a Sacrifice the real Body and Blood of Christ in the Mass, and holding this, the name “Priest” is given to the Minister who does it consistently. It is not indeed right or Scriptural — for the whole doctrine on which it is based is absurd and false — but because of that doctrine they have the order of Priests. Thank God, due to what Christ did at the Cross, the order or office of “Priest” is no longer necessary. In fact, it is not only no longer necessary, it is abominable to hold to such, seeing that Christ Alone is Priest, and because no other is needed. The only manner in which it could be held that an earthly Priest is necessary, is the idea that the Sacrifice of Christ was insufficient. And in essence, this is exactly what the Catho­lic Church does. But in a strict sense of the word, when we place anything ahead of Christ, whether intentional or otherwise, in other words, placing Faith in something other than Christ, or equating things with Christ such as the Church, etc., we are in effect doing the same identical thing as the Catholics. The great sin of the Church is “not holding the Head” (Col. 2:19). Christ is the “Head” of the Church, and is so by virtue of what He did at the Cross on our behalf. The idea is, if we’re not under­standing Christ in that capacity, and I speak of “Jesus Christ and Him Crucified,” as be­ing the basis and foundation of all Doctrine, then we aren’t properly “holding the Head!”
THE LAW
The phrase, “Seeing that there are Priests that offer gifts according to the Law,” tells us several things: 1. Christ, as stated, was not of the Leviti­cal Order, so could not be a Priest on Earth.
2. The Law was temporary; therefore, it could not furnish a perfect Priesthood.
3. The very fact that it had to offer con­tinued sacrifices, proved its imperfection.
4. The One Sacrifice of Christ, which was the offering of Himself on the Cross, satis­fied all the types of the Old Covenant and abolished all its offerings for sin. Conse­quently, they are no longer needed!
5. If Christ came back to Earth, which He will soon do, He will not again offer a Sacri­fice for sin. Even though He will continue to serve as High Priest, and in fact will do so
forever, His High Priesthood is based totally and entirely on His One Sacrifice of Himself on the Cross, which will never again have to be repeated. In fact, animal sacrifices will once again be offered in the coming King­dom Age; however, they will not be for sin but rather as a memorial of what was typi­fied before the First Coming of Christ. Such sacrifices were never to take away sins and they will never do so in the future; but it is inter­esting to note that such a program will be carried on in the presence of all coming gen­erations throughout eternity, to demonstrate to all what Christ had to go through in or­der that man might be saved (Ezek. 43:18­27; 45:13-25; 46:11-15). (5) “WHO SERVE UNTO THE EXAMPLE AND SHADOW OF HEAVENLY THINGS, AS MOSES WAS ADMONISHED OF GOD WHEN HE WAS ABOUT TO MAKE THE TABERNACLE: FOR, SEE, SAITH HE, THAT THOU MAKE ALL THINGS AC­CORDING TO THE PATTERN SHEWED TO THEE IN THE MOUNT.” The composition is: 1. All the Old Testament rituals and cer­emonies were but examples and shadows of the reality which can be found only in Christ.
2. All that which God gave to Moses, as grand and glorious as it was, were only rep­licas of the real, which were in Heaven.
3. Consequently, Moses was dogmatically instructed that he was not to deviate from the pattern given by God.
TYPES AND SHADOWS
The phrase, “Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things,” refers to a suggestive replica, which in fact, had no sub­stance within itself. It had no independent existence. These things were merely proof of the fact that there was reality back of it all. This means that the earthly Priests served in a Sanctuary which they valued highly; however, they were to never forget, that all of this was a mere copy and shadow of what was in Heaven. While the Old Covenant was but a shadow of heavenly things, Christ is the eternal substance! When we study the Jewish ritual of the Mosaic Law, and read these words as given by Paul as it concerns “examples” and “shadows,” we are not to think in our minds that Heaven is a place of sacrifices, with Altars, Tables, and Arks, etc. None of that exists in Heaven. It all has its meaning in Christ! He is the Sacrifice; He is the Brazen Altar; He is the Bra­zen Laver; He is the Table of Shewbread; He is the Golden Lampstand; He is the Altar of In­cense; He is the Ark of the Covenant; He is the Mercy Seat. In fact, He is the Taber­nacle, even as He is the Temple. As well, He is every nail, every cord, every peg, the gold, the silver, the precious stones, the Veil, the foundation stones, the walls, the roof, the pillars. He is everything! Actually, it is to Him to Whom the Cherubim point and praise! It is Christ! It is the Lord Christ! It is the Lord Jesus Christ! He is the “King of kings and Lord of lords!” When one day we pass through the portals of that place called “Glory,” and we look upon His Face, we will then see the Sacrifice, the Tabernacle, and the Temple! We will see the Intercession, for He is the Intercession. We will see Eternal Life, for He is Eternal Life! Oh, Saint of God, why would you want to trade Him, the Creator of all the ages, for mere “examples” and “shadows”?
THE TABERNACLE
The phrase, “As Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the Tab­ernacle,” proclaims the fact that this was but a poor replica of the reality Who is Christ. Again we emphasize, that John said as it regards his vision of the New Jerusalem, “And I saw no Temple therein, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the Temple of it” (Rev. 21:22).
THE PATTERN
The phrase, “For, see, saith He, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the Mount,” means that this pattern was not to be deviated from in the slightest. It also means, that all of this was all of God and none of man, which refers to the fact, that Salvation is all of God and none of man. This was why God was so particular in regard to all its details. There was no room for human ingenuity or for Moses’ own thoughts. All must be as ordered of God, for He Alone knew the Son and the work He was to accomplish. The allusion here is to a pattern such as an architect or sculptor uses; a drawing or figure made in wood or clay, after which the work is to be modeled. The idea is, that some such drawing or model was exhibited to Moses by God on Mount Sinai, so that he might have an exact idea of the Tabernacle which was to be made. In fact, a similar drawing or model of the Temple was given to David which he would give to Solomon, who would in fact construct the Temple (I Chron. 28:11-12). However, we are not to suppose that there was, in the case of the pattern shown to Moses, any miniature model of wood or stone actu­ally created and exhibited; but that the form of the Tabernacle was exhibited to Moses, possibly in a vision, or it was so vividly im­pressed on his mind that he would have a distinct view of the edifice which was to be constructed.
A TYPE OR SYMBOL
A type in the Old Testament is a person or thing in the Bible which God designed to rep­resent or prefigure some person, thing, or event that would appear in the future. Actu­ally in some way all of these things prefig­ured Christ. It is also interesting to note the use of sym­bols throughout the Bible; for instance, the use of numbers represents certain Truths. The number “seven” is used to signify Divine Perfection in contrast to human imperfec­tion, which is represented by “six.” (Six falls short of seven by one; man has fallen short of God’s glory.) There were seven men in the Bible who lived to be over 900 years of age. We also find seven “Blessed’s” in the Book of Revelation (Rev. 1:3; 14:13; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14). The number “seven” is used often in the Book of Revelation. It is as if God has placed His signature upon the Book. There are seven candlesticks (Rev. 1:13­20), seven stars (Rev. 1:16, 20), seven Let­ters to the Churches in Asia (Rev. Chpts. 2­3), seven spirits (sevenfold Spirit of the Lord) (Rev. 4:5), seven seals (Rev. Chpt. 5), seven Angels appearing before the Throne (Rev. Chpt. 8), seven trumpets (Rev. Chpt. 8), seven thunders (Rev. Chpt. 10), and seven vials of judgment (Rev. Chpt. 15).
An interesting study may be made also of the number “eight.” This is the number of new beginnings, or of Resurrection. Jesus arose from the dead on the eighth day (the first day of the week). As well, eight persons were saved from the flood in the Ark. Noah was the eighth man after Adam, and as such, was a fitting person for God to use in the new beginning after the waters of the flood subsided. There are eight cases recorded in the Bible of persons being restored to life (I Ki. 17:17­24; II Ki. 4:8-37; 13:20-21; Mk. Chpt. 5; Lk. 7:11-18; Jn. Chpt. 11; Acts 9:36-43; 20:7-12). There is an abundance of types and sym­bols in the Old Testament and even some in the New. However, one of the most precious types of all concerns the High priestly Min­istry of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is easy to see why the Lord cautioned Moses to follow the pattern he had been given. Each detail had to be exact, just as God had given it. There is a practical appli­cation of this for every Christian. We should exercise the utmost care and diligence to ascertain the revealed Mind of God. We should seek that which He requires from us in our worship and service to Him. It was not Moses who drew up the blueprint for the Tabernacle. Moses did not draw plans or submit them to the people for their ap­proval. It was not left to Moses or to Israel to decide; God gave the pattern. And the pattern to be sure, was given in every detail carefully — the color of the cur­tains, the type of tent pins to use, the number of boards, the size and shape of the articles of furniture — nothing was left to the imagi­nation of man. This was to be God’s dwell­ing place, it had to please Him and meet all His requirements. As stated, this shows us that Salvation and Victory are all of God and none of man. Con­sequently, to have what He has promised and in fact, has given, we must follow His instruc­tions very carefully and never try to insert additions or glosses of our own.
JESUS IS NOW THE PATTERN
Whereas the Tabernacle and Temple in Old Testament Times were then the pattern, Christ is now our Pattern and our Example; we only need to follow in His steps. He is high, He is holy, He is undefiled, and He is unstained. As Christians we must follow His example very carefully, even as He left for us in His Word. When construction is begun on a building, the builder must be very careful to follow the plans. If he deviates from the blue­prints, somewhere later he will find himself in trouble. The plan must be followed if the goal of completion is to be reached. The Word of God provides the only set of blueprints that will bring us to maturity and perfection. In other words, the pattern is found in the Word of God. This means that the Bible is our Book of instructions. In it we see Jesus, our Pattern. In it the Voice of the Holy Spirit speaks to us and directs our paths. The Spirit becomes our Teacher to show us the Way of Christ. God has a pattern, a design for our lives. Whenever we veer from this plan, God will discipline us so that we might follow through to completion His Will. To be frank, we do not like the school of discipline; sometimes we even despise it. It seems easier to walk in our own ways, but we soon find out, that the only way in which our lives will fit together perfectly is in God’s Perfect Plan.
GRACE AND LAW
The Holy Spirit plainly told us through Paul, “Ye are not under the Law, but under Grace” (Rom. 6:14). So what am I saying? In a sense, the Law was the pattern in Old Testament Times, which was much more in­volved, much more complicated, and which demanded an exact performance of man, which man in fact, in no way could do. In the New Testament, the pattern is Christ, Who Alone provides Grace. So, how do we follow this pattern according to New Testament guidelines? As difficult as the pattern of Law was, simple is the pattern of Christ Who gives Grace. That which was extremely compli­cated, has become extremely simple and easy. In this Book of Hebrews, Paul is actually speaking of the “victorious, overcoming, Christian life.” Salvation and the Baptism with the Holy Spirit have already come to these Saints. If they can in fact walk in over­coming victory, the idea of forsaking Christ in favor of Judaism will be totally and com­pletely forgotten. It is the same presently: If the Believer can understand God’s pre­scribed order of Victory, and follow it minutely, which is actually His Pattern, results will be guaranteed. So what is the Believer to do? As stated, the Pattern is very simple: EVERYTHING COMES THROUGH THE CROSS
This is step number one. The Believer, even as we’ve already stated in past commen­tary, is to understand that every single thing he needs, the answer to every question, the solution to every problem, are all found, and in totality, in what Christ did at the Cross. The Believer must settle that in his mind that this, the Cross, is the Source of all Blessings (Rom. 6:3-5, 11, 14).
OUR FAITH
The second step is that we place our Faith in the Cross of Christ, and leave our Faith in the Cross of Christ. God’s means of dealing with the human race is through the vehicle of Faith; however, it is to always be under­stood, and without exception, that it is to ever be Faith in the Cross of Christ. It was there that Jesus paid it all, and it is there in which we must place our Faith (Eph. Chpt. 1).
THE HOLY SPIRIT
The third and final step to all of this is, the Work and Ministry of the Holy Spirit. He Alone can guarantee all the benefits of the Cross. And considering, again as we’ve al­ready stated, that He works exclusively within the parameters of the Finished Work of Christ, it remains only that we exhibit Faith in that Finished Work (Rom. 8:1-2, 11). The Holy Spirit doesn’t demand much of us; however, He does demand this of which I have said (Rom. 8:1-2, 11). As stated, this pattern of Grace is very, very simple, actually leaving no room for excuse on our part. So that being the case, why is it so diffi­cult for Believers to follow this pattern? I suppose it’s the same reason that Israel had such a difficult time following the pat­tern of the Law. Even though that was much more difficult than the pattern of Grace, still, the problem is the same. And what is that problem? It’s the problem of taking God’s blueprint which He has laid down, and then changing it to something else which we think we want or desire. While we always do it in a very re­ligious manner, and even load it down with Scriptures, still, the end result is, that we have changed God’s pattern, which He can never condone. To be sure, in such a case, we will always reap the bitter fruit of such action. If we go God’s Way, we reap very positive re­sults; otherwise, the picture is not pretty! (6) “BUT NOW HATH HE OBTAINED A MORE EXCELLENT MINISTRY, BY HOW MUCH ALSO HE IS THE MEDIATOR OF A BETTER COVENANT, WHICH WAS ESTAB­LISHED UPON BETTER PROMISES.” The composition is: 1. This is a pivot Scripture in the Book of Hebrews.
2. The Priesthood of Christ is far supe­rior to the Priesthood of Aaron.
3. The Covenant under Christ is far bet­ter than the Aaronic Covenant.
4. The New Covenant is established on better Promises.
A MORE EXCELLENT MINISTRY
The phrase, “But now hath He obtained a more excellent Ministry,” closes the first ma­jor argument. The Epistle to the Hebrews was written to prove the following proposition: The New Testament in Jesus’ Blood is su­perior and takes the place of the First Testa­ment in animal blood. Paul has proved this to be true on the basis of pure logic and the Old Testament Scriptures. Using the logical argument that a supe­rior workman turns out a superior prod­uct, he has shown that Messiah, the Founder of the New Testament is better than the founders of the First Testament, who were the Prophets, Angels, Moses, Joshua, and Aaron. Therefore, the Testament He brought in is superior to and takes the place of theirs (Wuest). The words “more excellent Ministry” re­fer primarily to the more excellent Ministry which Christ has than that of the Aaronic Priests, which he has amply proved. “Ministry” in the Greek is “Leitourgia,” and means “service.”
The blood of bulls and goats could never take away sin, but the one Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, has taken away every sin, past, present, and future, at least for those who will believe (Jn. 3:16). Consequently, the guilt of sin is removed, which it never was under the Old Covenant, and as well, the terrible sin debt has been paid also, which it never was under the Old Covenant. Reconcilia­tion between man and God is now afforded, which it was not under the Old Covenant, which means that Justification by Faith as was promised to Abraham, is now a fact. And then, the culmination of all this is the new dimension of the Holy Spirit afforded by the Finished Work of Christ, which among other things, guarantees the Baptism with the Spirit, as well as His abiding forever in the hearts and lives of Believers, which could not at all be done under the Old Covenant (Jn. 14:16-17). The Covenant of old depended upon man’s ability to carry out its requirements. God in effect said, “If you will do thus and so, I will do certain things.” Thus, the promise of bless­ing rested upon man’s ability to claim that Blessing on the ground of his obedience to the Law. The trouble was, no man ever could obtain the Promises on that basis. And so our Lord Jesus took upon Himself the curse of the broken Law, was made a curse for us, became the great Sin-Offering, and now has become the Mediator of a Better Cov­enant, in which all the Promises on God’s part and man receives every blessing as pure Grace.
A BETTER COVENANT
The phrase, “By how much also He is the Mediator of a Better Covenant,” proclaims the fact that Christ officiates between God and man according to the arrangements of the New Covenant. “Better Covenant” denotes a disposition, arrangement, or ordering of things; and, in the Scriptures, it is employed to describe the arrangement which God has made to secure the maintenance of His worship on Earth, and the Salvation of men. This is a Better Covenant in many ways, inasmuch as it relates mainly to the heart; to the pardon of sin; to a spiritual, and holy life. The former related more to external rites and observances, and was destined to vanish away.
THE BIBLICAL CONCEPT OF COVENANT
The notion of a Covenant is unfamiliar to­day. But the concept of Covenant is utterly basic to our understanding of Scripture. In Old Testament Times this complex con­cept was the foundation of social order and social relations, and it was particularly the foun­dation for an understanding of humanity’s re­lationship with God.
THE BIBLICAL CONCEPT
The concept of Covenant is not found ex­clusively in the Bible. Other cultures in early Biblical times used the Covenant concept as a basis for a wide range of interpersonal and social relationships. Between one nation and another, a Covenant was a treaty (Gen. 14:13; 31:44-55). Among individuals, a Covenant expressed a pledge of friendship (I Sam. 18:3; 20:8; 23:18) or served as a business contract. When a ruler and his subjects were the parties to a Covenant, such a Covenant served as a na­tional constitution and spelled out the respon­sibilities of the ruler and the ruled (II Sam. 3:21; 5:3; I Chron. 11:3). It should not be surprising that in a world in which Covenant was such a fundamental idea, God would se­lect the concept of Covenant to clarify the relationship that He sought to establish with His people. A Biblical Covenant is a clear statement of God’s purposes and intentions expressed in terms that bind God by solemn oath to perform what He has promised.
OLD TESTAMENT ROOTS
The nature of the Biblical Covenant as a statement of God’s intentions is seen in each of the four major Covenants (Abrahamic, Davidic, Mosaic, New). In each of these Cov­enants, God states what He will do. In three of the four, the purposes announced will be accomplished at history’s end. Consequently, one might say these are eschatological (Endtime Covenants). In the other Covenant (the Mosaic, or Law Covenant), God’s purpose is essentially con­ditional. He states the Blessings He will give when the people of Israel obey and the disas­ters that will come when they disobey. The nature of the Biblical Covenant as something in which God binds Himself by solemn oath is seen in the rituals followed in making the Covenants. In Old Testament times a Covenant was “cut,” perhaps referring to the fact that the most binding Covenants were enacted in a ceremony that involved the offering of a sacrifice. Genesis, Chapter 15 describes how God followed this cultural form, passing between the halves of Sacrifi­cial animals as Abraham lay in a deep sleep. In this way God bound Himself to keep the Promises made to Abraham.
PROMISE
The Mosaic Covenant followed another binding pattern, that of a treaty made be­tween a ruler and his subjects. The written Law served as the Constitution of the nation thus formed. The use of these culturally binding forms to express relationship into which God en­tered with human beings provided a founda­tion for the Believer in that God has made a full commitment to His Word. He bound Himself to Israel by solemn oaths. The nature of the Biblical Covenant as promised is stressed in the New Testament by the Apostle Paul (Rom. 4:13-17; Gal. 3:15­18). The Promises that God makes are not dependent on human reaction to them: He will do what He has promised. We see something of this sense of binding commitment in Israel’s response to the Gibeonites, who had tricked them into a po­litical Covenant (“treaty”). Despite the de­ceit of the Gibeonites, the Covenant once made was not set aside, and the people of Is­rael kept their promise to help when the Gibeonites were attacked (Josh. Chpt. 10). Throughout history, Israel’s own repeated sins often brought God’s discipline on the nation. But even the sternest warnings were tempered with restatements of the Promises that one day God would act to fulfill the Cov­enant Promises given to Abraham and the Patriarchs. This pattern in sacred history cannot be explained if the Biblical Covenants are conditioned on human behavior. As Paul writes in Romans after reviewing Israel’s history of unfaithfulness: “As far as election is concerned, they (Is­rael) are loved on account of the Patriarchs, for God’s Gifts and His Call are irrevocable” (Rom. 11:28-29). Of course, this speaks of the nation as a whole, which will one day be brought back; however, as it regards individuals, not meet­ing God’s conditions, they were eternally lost. In fact, the condition has always been Faith, whether under Old Testament direc­tives or the New. Admittedly, the results of Faith presently, are far more pronounced, due to the great Work of Christ; neverthe­less, God has always demanded Faith, and still demands Faith. The absence of Faith can for­feit the Promises.
THE NEW TESTAMENT COVENANT
The Greek word for “Covenant” is “diatheke.” It is used over 270 times in the Greek trans­lation of the Old Testament called the “Septuagint.” It is the Greek word for the Hebrew “brit.” Although “diatheke” occurs only 33 times in the New Testament, many other Passages base arguments on different aspects of the Covenant that God established with Abraham and his descendants (Rom. Chpt. 5; Gal. Chpt. 3). One cluster of New Testament uses of “diatheke” is connected with the Lord’s Supper. Other uses are found in Paul’s Epistles and especially in the Book of Hebrews, which we are now studying. From early times the Greeks used “diatheke” in the sense of a will. In contrast to the Greek word “syntheke,” which spelled out terms of a partnership, a “diatheke” per­mitted an individual to dispose of posses­sions any way that person chose. The deci­sion, once expressed in a will, could not be annulled by another party. But the will be­came effective only after the person making it died. Paul, in Hebrews 9:13-20, builds on this aspect of the Old Testament Covenants. He points out that the Old Covenants were con­firmed with blood. Jesus’ death instituted a New Covenant — a Covenant that serves as Jesus’ Own unbreakable will, “The promised eternal inheritance” (Heb. 9:15).
Paul also speaks in Hebrews of the Abrahamic Covenant as an oath. This is un­derstood to be a legally binding guarantee. As Paul said, “Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of His purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, He confirmed it with an oath” (Heb. 6:17). This, combined with Paul’s insistence that “Promise” sums up the essential aspect of the Abrahamic Covenant, gives us strong evidence that the Bible regards a Covenant as a state­ment of God’s purposes and intentions, ex­pressed in terms that bind God, by solemn oath, to perform what He has promised.
THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT
Presumably before God revealed Himself to Abraham, he was a pagan, a worshiper of Nanna, the moon-god, in the city of Ur. God told him: “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household, and go to the land I will show you” (Gen. 12:1). God gave Abraham Promises that were later formally confirmed, with Him working in line with the human custom of making a binding Cov­enant (Gen. 15:1-21). Still later, Abraham was given a sign of that Covenant (Circum­cision) and was told that all his male offspring must as well be circumcised (Gen. 17:1-22). The Call of Abraham is one of Scripture’s theological turning points. Prior to that time, God dealt with the human race as a whole. From that point on, God’s Plan was carried out through the family of Abraham. Through that family, God gave His Biblical Revelation to humanity, and from that family the Sav­iour of all has come. The Covenant Passages in Genesis show a typical interplay between human beings and God as Sovereign Lord. God announces His purposes, which no action of man can thwart. Abraham responds to God’s Revelation with Faith and obedience. Thus, Abraham personally experienced the Blessings that God promised. CIRCUMCISION
The interplay is implicit in Circumcision: “Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people,” God announces. “He has bro­ken My Covenant” (Gen. 17:14). The failure of an individual to respond with Faith and with obedience to the stipu­lations in God’s Covenant removed that Cov­enant-breaking individual from an experience of Covenant Blessings. But the failure of an individual or an entire generation of Israel­ites did nothing to alter God’s commitment to do what He had announced. Human dis­obedience affects human participation in a Covenant but does not release God from His Covenant oath, at least on a general basis, even though that particular individual might drop out. What are the provisions of that initial, Abrahamic Covenant? These are the Prom­ises given to Abraham, most of which will be fulfilled only at history’s end: “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on Earth will be blessed through you” (Gen. 12:2-3). When Abraham arrived in Canaan, God reappeared and added one other clause of Promise, “To your offspring I will give this land” (Gen. 12:7), later confirmed by a Covenant oath (Gen. 15:7-21). The conviction that God spoke to the fore­father Abraham, and that Israel inherited the Covenant Promises through Isaac and Jacob is basic to the Old Testament account. It was also basic to the sense of special identity that has preserved Israel as a separate and dis­tinct race to this day, awaiting the coming fulfillment of the Covenant, which delay has been caused by Israel; nevertheless, it will ultimately be fulfilled, even though great numbers of generations of Israelites and un­told millions of the past and present, will not be a part of the Covenant, and because of unbelief (Heb. 3:11-12).
THE MOSAIC (LAW) COVENANT
Moses led Israel out of Egypt and through the wilderness on their way to the land that God had promised to Abraham so many cen­turies before. But from the beginning, the Israelites proved almost impossible for Moses to manage (Ex., Chpts. 15-17). It was while they were at Sinai that God, the Divine Ruler, established a Constitution for the nation-to-be. That Constitution, the Mosaic Law, follows the pattern of the treaties of the ancient Middle East. The features of such documents are: 1. Preamble: Author identified and His titles given (Ex. 20:1).
2. Historical Prologue: The recounting of the deeds of the ruler on behalf of his people (Ex. 19:4-5).
3. Stipulations: Principles that govern relationships between the parties (Ex. 20:2­7; 21:1-23:19).
4. Blessings and cursings: Announce­ment of results of keeping and of breaking Covenant conditions (Ex. 23:20-33).
5. Oath: Promise given by the people as they accept the Covenant (Ex. 24:1-8). The Book of Deuteronomy also seems to follow the structure provided by such a treaty.
The Law Covenant is detailed. It regu­lates the personal, social, and civil life of Is­rael, and spells out religious obligations. There are a number of things about the Law Covenant that are important for us to understand: GOD
Like The other Biblical Covenants, the Mosaic includes an announcement by God of what He intends to do. As such, Law is an unconditional Covenant.
OBEDIENCE
Unlike the other Biblical Covenants, the Mosaic Law had a particular focus. The other Covenants announce what God will do at history’s end. This Covenant announces how God will respond during history during each generation of Israelites, his response being based on their obedience to the Law. What God intends to do is to bless those generations that keep His Covenant and to discipline severely those generations that failed to do so.
PERSONAL
Unlike the other Biblical Covenants, the Mosaic Covenant was to be confirmed (re­newed) by the people. And by that we mean the following: Each generation had to commit itself to live by the Law given on Sinai (Ex. Chpt. 24; Deut. Chpt. 29; Josh. Chpt. 24). Each new generation had to choose whom it would serve. And even today in the Jewish tradition a twelve-year-old makes his personal choice. When he becomes “bar mitzvah” a “son of the Commandment,” he accepts responsibility to live in accord with the stipulations laid down in the ancient Mosaic code. TEMPORAL
Unlike the other Biblical Covenants, that of the Law was never intended to be perma­nent. Paul argues that Law is not even im­plied in the Abrahamic Covenant, which is different in nature from the Covenant of Law. It was introduced some 430 years after Abraham’s time. It is a performance code and not a gift offered and confirmed by promise. It neither replaces nor modifies the initial Promise (Gal. 3:15-25). And the Old Testa­ment itself contains God’s announcement that there was to come a day when a New Covenant would replace the Covenant of the Mosaic Law. “‘The time is coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the Covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt’” (Jer. 31:31-32). The Mosaic Covenant has been replaced to­day by the New Covenant and is the only Bib­lical Covenant that is not currently in force.
THE DAVIDIC COVENANT
David was Israel’s model king. Under David the tiny land expanded some ten times and became a powerful state and came to occupy most, but not all, of the land that God had promised to Israel under the Abrahamic Covenant. As II Samuel Chapter 7 reports, the Prophet Nathan came to David with a Promise from the Lord: “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before Me; your throne will be established forever” (II Sam. 7:16). This was a commitment made by Israel’s sovereign Lord, Whose words are trustworthy (II Sam. 7:28). David and the Prophets who followed Nathan viewed this Promise as a Covenant. The Psalmist cel­ebrates both Abrahamic and Davidic Cov­enants: “He remembers His Covenant for­ever, the word He commanded, for a thou­sand generations, the Covenant He made with Abraham, the oath He swore to Isaac. He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Is­rael as an everlasting Covenant: “‘To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit’” (Ps. 105:8-11); and “‘I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you established your faithful­ness in Heaven itself.’ You said, ‘I have made a Covenant with My chosen one, I’ve sworn to David My servant, I will establish your line forever and make your throne firm through all generations’” (Ps. 89:2-4). Because of this Covenant Promise, the Jew­ish people of Jesus’ day believed firmly that the Messiah was to be a Davidic ruler who would establish the long-promised kingdom. In fact, the genealogies of Jesus in Matthew and Luke are important to authenticate not only His claim to be truly human but also His descent from David and thus His right to the Promised Throne of the Eternal Kingdom.
THE NEW COVENANT FORETOLD
The Promise of a New Covenant to replace the Mosaic Covenant was made at a critical point in Israel’s history. The Prophet Jeremiah transmitted God’s Promise during a time of national disaster. It was about 1450 B.C. that God’s people received the Mosaic Law. But Israel consis­tently disobeyed and, therefore, experienced the promised disciplines. Finally the North­ern Kingdom, Israel, established at the breakup of David and Solomon’s unified land around 931 B.C., was defeated by the Assyrians; the people were deported in 722 B.C. The Southern Kingdom, Judah, survived. But despite sputtering revivals under a few Godly kings, these people too drifted into idolatry, immorality, and injustice. Jeremiah followed up generations of prophetic warn­ing by announcing that the foretold judgment was to fall on his own generation. Jeremiah’s words came true. Judah was devastated, the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, and a final group of people were carried captive to Babylon (586 B.C.). For the first time since the conquest of the Promised Land (1400 B.C.), God’s people were torn from the land, the place associated with God’s Covenant Promises. One ques­tion must have dominated the thoughts of the frightened captives: Had Israel’s sin at last caused God to withdraw the Promises made to Abraham and David?
THE ANSWERS AS GIVEN BY THE PROPHET JEREMIAH
Jeremiah said: 1. The exile had initiated a “time of trouble for Jacob.” 2. “He will be saved out of it” (Jer. 30:7). However, it should be noted, that this Pas­sage just quoted as well has to do with the coming Great Tribulation when Israel will undergo extreme persecution, actually com­ing close to total destruction. But back to the original meaning, the people who had broken God’s Covenant would be punished, but afterward they would be restored. This is God’s Promise: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with lovingkindness. I will build you up again” (Jer. 31:3-4). Jerusalem would be rebuilt by another generation, and the land would be Israel’s as God had promised (Jer. Chpts. 30-33). “‘Only if the heavens above can be mea­sured and the foundations of the earth be­low be searched out will I reject all the de­scendants of Israel because of all they have done,’ declares the LORD” (Jer. 31:37). Nestled among these words of comfort is this unique and unexpected announcement: “The time is coming when I will make a New Covenant with the House of Israel” (Jer. 31:31). The Law, relying not on promise but on human performance, had been shown to be unable to produce Righteousness. Now God will replace it with a more effective ap­proach. Like the other Promised Covenants, this Covenant states boldly and clearly what God would do: “I will put My Law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and I will re­member their sins no more” (Jer. 31:33-34).
THE NEW COVENANT INSTITUTED
The New Covenant, though prophesied by Jeremiah about 600 years before Christ, was not actually made at that time. The Cov­enant was made, and confirmed, at the Cross. At the Last Supper, the night before the Crucifixion, Jesus explained the symbolism of the Communion Cup. He said: “This is the Blood of the (New) Covenant, which is poured out for many for the for­giveness of sins” (Mat. 26:28; Mk. 14:24; Lk. 22:20; I Cor. 11:25). Just as the other Cov­enants were oath-confirmed, so the New Cov­enant would be made by a Covenant-initiat­ing Sacrifice. But this time the Offerer and the Sacrifice were One, and the Blood that sealed God’s commitment was that of His Own Son. The New Covenant has now been made and confirmed. The Promise of forgiveness is assured. Although only at the Resurrec­tion will we realize the full meaning of what Jesus has done, we can today experience the promised forgiveness and transformation made available in the New Covenant.
THE DIFFERENCE
The difference between the Old and New is striking. The Old Covenant knew a Law that was carved in cold stone. The New Covenant takes the Righteousness that was expressed in Law and supernaturally infuses that Righ­teousness into the very character of the Be­liever. Thus, Hebrews quotes the Old Testa­ment foreview as something that is now, through Christ, our own: “I will put My Laws in their hearts and I will write them on their minds . . . their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more” (Heb. 10:16-17). There is none of the Law’s cold “do this and live” in the New Covenant. Instead we meet again the great “I will” of God, Who promises that He Himself will transform us from within. Paul carefully explains that all of God’s Promises are appropriated by Faith. Today, to us who, like Abraham, are “fully persuaded that God had (has) power to do what He promises” (Rom. 4:21) comes the promised Salvation, and with it comes forgiveness and inner transformation. Such are the benefits of Covenant relationship with the Lord.
HUMAN RESPONSE TO COVENANT
In Romans, Chapter 4 and Galatians, Chap­ter 3, Paul argues that the essence of Covenant is Promise. What can we do to respond to the Promise of God? We can do only one thing. We are to be­lieve the Promise and consider God’s Word trustworthy. We are to consider God’s Word so trustworthy that we step out to act on what He says. It was this Faith that saved Abraham, long before either Circumcision or Law were in­troduced. It is Faith alone — Faith in Jesus, and more particularly, Faith in what Jesus did for us on the Cross, the seal of God’s New Covenant — that saves us today, and in fact has been the manner of salvation for all time. But what is the relationship of Faith to obligations under the Old Covenant, such as Circumcision and Israel’s obligation to keep the Mosaic Law? What is the relation­ship of Faith today in keeping Jesus’ Com­mandments? Scripture argues that it is the nature of true Faith to express itself in action. Those Israelites who heard and believed God’s Covenant Promises to Abraham obeyed and were circumcised. Those who loved God in the age of Law followed the Law’s com­mands willingly; and when they sinned, they offered the required Sacrifices. Under the New Covenant, we who trust Jesus also find our Faith expressing itself in similar loving obedience to Christ, through obedience to Scripture and the Spirit. We are to place our Trust and our Faith totally and completely, in what Jesus did for us at the Cross, which enables the Holy Spirit to properly help us, and because He functions totally and completely within the parameters of the Finished Work of Christ, which will then give us the victory and overcoming life. Faith enables human beings to appropri­ate God’s Promises and experience their ben­efits personally; however, we must always un­derstand, that when we use the word “Faith,” or possibly I should say, when Paul uses the word “Faith,” he is speaking, and without exception, of Faith in the great Sacrifice of Christ, which makes all things possible. But whether or not we believe in God’s Promises, in no way negates the Promises, even though a lack of Faith will definitely ne­gate them on our part; irrespective, the Cov­enant Promises stand for those who will be­lieve them. God will always accomplish his purposes in history and in all who believe. God’s Way has always been Faith. He has never deviated from that particular manner. But again, when we say “Faith,” always and without exception, we’re speaking of Faith in the Finished Work of Christ. It has always been this way, even under Law. The Sacrifices under the Old Testament economy could not really save anything, or atone for sin in any manner, in the sense of removing sin. However, Faith in Who the Sacrifices represented, namely the Lord Jesus Christ, Who was to come at a particular given time, and Who would give His Life as a ran­som for many, actually constituted the Sal­vation process of that time. From the day that man fell in the Garden of Eden, it has always been Faith in Christ, and more par­ticularly the giving of Himself in Sacrifice, which constituted Salvation. Admittedly, the benefits of Salvation under the New Covenant are far more pronounced than under the Old, and because the Cross is now a fact. Before the Cross, men looked forward to a Prophetic Jesus. Now, men look backward to a histori­cal Jesus. (We are indebted to Lawrence O. Richards for much of the material on Covenants.)
BETTER PROMISES
The phrase, “Which was established upon Better Promises,” presents the New Covenant which is explicitly based on the cleansing and forgiveness of all sins, which the Old Cov­enant could not actually do. The Old Cov­enant of Law was a Covenant of types and shad­ows and was abolished when the realities of those shadows appeared: 1. The First Covenant was given by Moses; the Second by Jesus Christ (Mat. 26:28; Jn. 1:17; Gal. 3:19; Heb. 9:15).
2. The first is “the Law of Moses”; the other “the Law of Christ” (Acts 13:39; Gal. 6:2).
3. The first is “the law of sin”; the other is “the Law of Righteousness” (Rom. 7:7­25; 8:1-4; 9:31).
4. The first is the “Law of the flesh”; the other is “the Law of the Spirit” (Rom. 7:5-6; 8:1-4; Gal. 5:16-26).
5. The first is “not of Faith”; the other is “the Law of Faith” (Rom. 3:27; Gal. 3:12).
6. The Old Covenant brought death, be­cause that’s all it could bring, while the New Covenant brings life (Rom. 8:1-4; II Cor. 3:6­18; Gal. 3:21; Heb. 9:15; 10:1-18).
7. The First Covenant demanded Righ­teousness, which man could not supply; the New Covenant gives Righteousness, actually the Righteousness of Christ to all who will simply believe (Lk. 10:28; Rom. 8:1-4; Gal. 3:1-29; 5:1-26).
8. The First Covenant was powerless to save from sin; the New Covenant saves to the uttermost (Heb. 7:11-28; 8:7-13; 9:9­28; 10:1-18).
9. The First Covenant had continuing Sac­rifices; the New Covenant which is based on better Promises, had only one Sacrifice, the Sacrifice of Christ which is eternally suffi­cient (Rom. 6:6-13; Heb. 9:9-14; 10:14).
10. The First Covenant had a sinful media­tor, the High Priest (Gal. 3:19); the New Cov­enant has a sinless Mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ (I Tim. 2:5; Heb. 7:26; I Pet. 2:22).
11. The First Covenant was ratified by animal blood, which was woefully insufficient (Ex. 29:1-8; Heb. 9:16-22); the New Cov­enant is ratified by the Blood of Christ, which is totally sufficient (Mat. 26:28).
12. The First Covenant was based on per­formance, to which no one could subscribe; the New Covenant is based on Grace (Jn. 1:17; Rom. 3:24-31; Gal. 3:10-12; Eph. 2:8-9).
13. The First Covenant could not redeem, while the New Covenant can (Rom. 8:1-4; Gal. 3:10-14; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; Heb. 7:25).
14. The First Covenant was too weak to overcome sin; the New Covenant gives vic­tory over sin (Rom. 6:1-23; 8:1-4; Eph. 2:8­9; I Jn. 5:1-18).
WAS ANYTHING OF THE OLD COVENANT BROUGHT OVER INTO THE NEW?
First of all, Jesus fulfilled all of the Old Covenant in totality, and that speaks of all Ceremonial Laws along with Rituals, which includes the Sacrifices, etc., and as well all the Commandments. The Scripture plainly says, “Having abolished in His flesh (the Cru­cifixion) the enmity (the law of bondage and death), even the law of commandments con­tained in ordinances. Blotting out (making void) the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His Cross . . . Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body (or reality of those things were mere shad­ows) is of Christ” (Eph. 2:15; Col. 2:14-17). So the idea is, every single thing of the Old Law was fulfilled in Christ and done away; however, nine of the ten Commandments were actually reestablished in the New Cov­enant. Let’s see what the Scriptures say: We will place the Old Commandments on the left, which are all found in Exodus Chapter 20, and then immediately following where this is found in the New Testament: 1. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me: (Rom. 5:8; I Cor. Chpt. 13; I Jn. 3:1­4:21).
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image: (Acts Chpt. 15; Rom. 2:22; I Cor. 5:10; 6:9-11; 8:1-10; 10:7, 19-28; II Cor. 6:16; Eph. 5:5; I Jn. 5:21).
3. Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain: (Acts 26:11; Rom. 2:24; Col. 3:8; Titus Chpt. 3).
4. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy: This is not commanded in the New Covenant, of which we will say more mo­mentarily.
5. Honor thy father and thy mother: (Eph. 6:2-3; Col. 3:20; II Tim. 3:2).
6. Thou shalt not kill: (Rom. 13:9; I Pet. 4:15; I Jn. 3:15).
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery: (Rom. 2:22; 13:9; I Cor. 6:9-11; Gal. 5:19­21; Heb. 13:4; etc.).
8. Thou shalt not steal: (Rom. 2:21; 13:9; Eph. 4:28).
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness: (Rom. 13:9).
10. Thou shalt not covet: (Rom. 13:9; I Cor. 5:10-11; 6:9-11; etc.).
WHY WAS THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT, “REMEMBER THE SABBATH” LEFT OUT OF THE NEW COVENANT?
The Old Testament command to “remem­ber the Sabbath,” is not found anywhere in the New Covenant. If the Holy Spirit had wanted it to be a part of the New Covenant it was in His power to command that it be so, even as it was in the Old Covenant. But since the Spirit of God, Who gave the Word, did not require the fourth Commandment to be a part of the New Covenant, and since the New Covenant teaches that men are to be persuaded in their own minds as to what day they want to observe, it is folly to prac­tice that which the Lord does not demand. As well, the old Jewish Sabbath was a par­ticular “sign” and “token” of the Old Cov­enant between God and Israel (Ex. 16:23; 20:8; 31:13-18; Deut. 5:2-3; 29:13-15; I Chron. 16:17; II Chron. 5:10; Ezek. 20:12-20). The Old Covenant was one between God and the nation of Israel and it never was be­tween God and the Gentiles who were not a part of Israel.
HOW DO CHRISTIANS PRESENTLY KEEP THE SABBATH?
Under the Old Covenant, keeping the Sab­bath, along with Circumcision, were the standards of obedience to that Covenant. When Christ came, of which both the Sab­bath and Circumcision were types, follow­ing Him is now the same thing as keeping the Sabbath and engaging in Circumcision. The “Sabbath” represented the “rest” which Believers now have in Christ. In fact, the Sabbath was meant to be a day of rest. Sunday now is a day of worship, or at least it is referred to as such. This was not really the case with the Sabbath of old, it being entirely a day of rest. As such, it was meant to symbolize something, and that something was the “rest” which all find in Christ, once He is accepted as Saviour and Lord. In fact, there is no “rest” outside of Christ. Circumcision, on the other hand, is a type of the Cross. When the little baby boy was circumcised at eight days old, blood was shed, and separation was effected. This typifies the Blood that was shed by Christ at the Cross, which separates believing man from his sins, and which alone can separate believing man from his sins. Inasmuch as Christ has now come, for an individual to attempt to continue to keep the Sabbath, which, incidentally is Satur­day, or to circumcise their little baby boys, at least for any reason other than health rea­sons, is, in effect, a statement saying that Christ did not finish the work, and this sym­bolism needs to continue. In other words, such would be a gross insult to Christ.
THE CROSS OF CHRIST
Christ is the Source of all things, and the Cross is the means by which all things come to us. The Law was meant to be temporal. It was meant in its every circumstance to point to Christ, and in every capacity. So, when Christ came, He fulfilled the Law in every respect, both in the keeping of its pre­cepts, and doing so perfectly, and also in sat­isfying its just claims upon man, because all men had broken the Law. On the Cross of Calvary, Jesus, Paul said, “has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, cursed is every one who hangs on a tree” (Gal. 3:13). That means that Christ satisfied the de­mands of the broken Law, and did so in ev­ery respect. It also means that the Sacrifi­cial System is no more; the Levitical Priest­hood is no more; all the rituals and ceremo­nies, which include the Sabbath and Circum­cision, are all done away with. They are no more! The Cross answered every single ques­tion, met every demand, and satisfied the Righteousness of God in every respect. In effect, when Christians presently try to keep the old Jewish Sabbath of Saturday, they are denying the Cross, which, in effect, means they are denying Christ. Nothing could be more serious than that! It’s cer­tainly not wrong to go to Church on a Sat­urday, or any other day; however, when that becomes an object of faith, even as it does with many, pure and simple, those engaged in such are committing sin by carrying out these things. While the world has ever been trying to invent another god, the Church, sadly and regrettably, has ever been trying to invent another sacrifice. Paul also said: “But this Man, after He had offered one Sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God; “From henceforth expecting till His en­emies be made His footstool. “For by one Offering He has perfected for­ever them who are sanctified” (Heb. 10:12-14). This plainly tells us that the Cross is the basis of our Sanctification, and not the keep­ing of some ritual, such as the Sabbath, etc.
THE OBJECT OF FAITH
In all of this, it is Satan’s desire, in fact, his strong demand, that the Christian switch his Faith from Christ and the Cross to some­thing else. And, to be sure, the Evil One doesn’t really too much care what the some­thing else actually is. He doesn’t care how religious it is, or anything else, just so the object of faith is something other than the Cross. In fact, probably one could say, with­out fear of contradiction, that this is the great sin of the Church – the making of some­thing other than the Cross of Christ the ob­ject of their faith. We could go into detail as to why the Early Church didn’t keep the old Jewish Sabbath, which they most certainly did not. We could talk about how Sunday replaced Saturday. But the main reason for all of this is that which we have discussed. It is that Jesus satisfied all of that in His Life, living, and, above all, His Sacrificial, Atoning, Mediato­rial Death on the Cross of Calvary. As stated, Believers presently keep the Sabbath, which is the only way it can be kept, by placing their Faith exclusively in Christ and what He did at the Cross, all on our behalf, which affords a “rest for the people of God.” Also, as stated, this is what the old Jewish Sab­bath was all about. It was meant to serve as a Type of One Who was to come, and that One was, and is, the Lord Jesus Christ. One cannot truly find spiritual rest in keeping a particular day. It can only be found in Christ. So, this is the real reason that the early Christians gathered for worship on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7; I Cor. 11:17; 16:1-2; Heb. 10:25). It was to honor Christ and what He did for us at the Cross.
IF NINE OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS ARE IN THE NEW COVENANT, AND THEY DEFINITELY ARE, DOESN’T THIS PUT CHRISTIANS BACK INTO THE MODE OF LAW-KEEPING?
No! That is if it’s addressed correctly. Before we state how this should be addressed, please allow the following comments con­cerning Law. In fact, the Christian’s greatest problem is law. There are two reasons for that: 1. First of all, there is something in Chris­tians, even in the best of us, whomever that might be, which likes law. I speak of rules and regulations of any kind. Somehow, the attempt to keep these types of things make us feel holy or righteous, etc.
To prove my point, as I’ve already men­tioned in this Volume, if most Christians were to be asked as to what it means to be “in Christ,” or to be “close to God,” etc., most would think of the things they do, such as faithful Church attendance, etc. That brings us to the next point.
2. The doing of spiritual things makes Christians think that such constitutes “walk­ing after the Spirit,” etc. The Truth is, if we do these things, and depend on that to draw us closer to God, we’ve just entered into Law, whether we realize it or not. And that’s the second point; we engage in law, and we don’t even really know that it is law. While it’s not the Law of Moses, but rather laws we have devised ourselves, or others have devised, it is still law in the eyes of God, which negates the help of the Holy Spirit.
While it is true that nine of the Ten Com­mandments were brought over into the New Covenant, and while it is also true that such are incumbent upon all Believers, in order to address it correctly, we must understand the following: Even though we are under the New Cov­enant which is based on much better prom­ises, still, if we try to keep these Command­ments as we would normally think of doing such, we will not succeed. We must under­stand that these are moral Commandments, and as such, they cannot change. If it was wrong to steal 3,000 years ago, it’s wrong to steal presently. So most definitely, these Commandments, as stated, are incumbent upon all Believers. The following is the way it should be done: JESUS 1. Jesus has already kept all of these Com­mandments. He kept them in totality and in perfection. As well, He did it all on our behalf, simply because we could not do it for ourselves.
2. We as Believers are “in Christ,” and that means that the position of law-keeping has been awarded us, simply because of what Christ did on our behalf. In other words, God looks at me as a keeper of the law in every respect, and because of what Jesus has done on my behalf, and my Faith in that.
3. As a Believer, I am to understand that all that I have in Christ was made possible by what Jesus did on the Cross.
4. Understanding that, my Faith is to rest exclusively in the Finished Work of Christ.
5. When this is done, the Holy Spirit will then help the Believer be exactly what he should be. As we’ve said repeatedly, we must have the help of the Holy Spirit. He Alone can bring about in our lives what is needed. As well, He works exclusively within the pa­rameters of the great Sacrifice of Christ, meaning that He demands that we exhibit Faith at all times in the Cross of Christ.
6. As a Believer, I have a position in Christ, awarded to me because of what Christ did at the Cross on my behalf, and my Faith in that Finished Work.
7. Understanding all of this, I do not worry about keeping any type of Law whatsoever. In fact, even though the Law is very much alive, because of my being in Christ, I am “dead to the Law” (Rom. 7:4). As a Believer, it has no effect on me, because Christ has already kept it in totality, and as well, has suffered its penalty, all on my behalf. Consequently, my Faith in Christ and what He did for me at the Cross, which gives me the help and power of the Holy Spirit, will cause me to live the life I ought to live with all of the Commandments being kept, plus anything else that’s needed. As stated, it’s all done by the Spirit (Rom. 8:11).
8. Whenever the Believer starts trying to keep Commandments or to obey rules and regu­lations of some nature, he at that moment takes himself out from trust in the Cross, which as well stops the help of the Holy Spirit, which then demands failure. Actually, the entirety of the Seventh Chapter of Romans portrays Paul, although saved and baptized with the Holy Spirit, attempting to live the life he ought to live, but not being able to do so. He was trying to do it without Faith in the Cross, which denied the help of the Holy Spirit, which left him in a perilous situ­ation, even as it does all Believers who fol­low that course (Rom. Chpt. 7). However, it must be understood, that Paul at that time didn’t know and understand God’s prescribed order of victory, and neither did anyone else in the world of that day; however, the Holy Spirit explained to the Apostle what the Cross actually means to Believers, which Paul gave us in Romans, Chapters 6 and 8. 9. What do we mean by the “Law” not being dead? As stated, Believers are dead to the Law, but the Law itself is not dead, meaning that it is very active. However, it being active has no effect on me whatsoever, as long as I un­derstand that Christ has already satisfied its demands, and that my being in Him guar­antees me all that He is, which refers to to­tal victory. Consequently, the Law has no effect on such a person. However, if the Believer ever attempts to try to keep law, whether it’s a law of his own making, or whatever, he will find out very quickly that the law is very much alive. The first thing that happens is this:
REBELLION
A. The very idea of the Believer switching his Faith from Christ and what Christ did for us at the Cross, to something else, automati­cally constitutes sin. In fact, the Christian trusting in anything other than the Cross, constitutes the highest form of rebellion. When this happens, the Believer has just put himself under law, simply because there’s no other place to go if one moves his Faith to other things. And please understand, Satan is very subtle in all of this. The “other things” to where we move our Faith, are generally very spiritual things, which makes us think that everything is as it should be; however, to be sure, if it’s Faith in anything other than the Cross, of necessity, and no matter what those things might be, it all must come un­der the Judgment of God. B. The greatest struggle for the Believer is to keep his Faith anchored in the Cross of Christ. The temptation is ever strong for it to be moved elsewhere. And to be sure, Sa­tan does his best work inside the Church. This means that fellow Christians will oftentimes attempt to lure you away, but to do so, is re­bellion against God, which puts the Believer under Law, and which can only bring spiri­tual catastrophe. And regrettably, because of not knowing and understanding the great Truth of the Cross, that’s where most Believ­ers presently are — under Law! And it should be quickly said, if the Believer doesn’t under­stand the Cross, and almost none do, there there’s no place else to go but law. (7) “FOR IF THAT FIRST COVENANT HAD BEEN FAULTLESS, THEN SHOULD NO PLACE HAVE BEEN SOUGHT FOR THE SECOND.” The exposition is: 1. The First Covenant served its purpose, which was to point to the coming Messiah.
2. It could not properly atone for sin, therefore, it was faulty.
3. Jesus Christ in His Substitutionary Atonement was and is the answer to lost hu­manity, and in fact, was ever planned by the Godhead to be the answer (I Pet. 1:18-20).
THE FIRST COVENANT
The phrase, “For if that first Covenant had been faultless,” proclaims the fact that the First Covenant definitely was not faultless. In fact, it was faulty in every manner of its operation: 1. The Priests were human, therefore, faulty. Christ, while becoming human, was also God and, therefore, Perfect.
2. The sacrifices of animal blood could not take away sin. The Sacrifice of Christ took away all sin.
3. The animal sacrifices had to continue to be offered, whereas the Sacrifice of Christ was only once, and because that was all that was necessary.
4. The High Priests of the old system could only bring people to God dimly. By contrast, Jesus opened up the way in totality for humanity to come into the very Holy of Holies (Heb. 4:16). 5. The High Priesthood of the old system was ever changing, because of the mortality of the Priests, while Christ ever liveth (Heb. 7:25). Had that First Covenant been perfect, it would never have been set to one side and a New Covenant brought in. But because of its imperfection on account of the weakness and frailty of the flesh, God had declared long before the Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ into the world that a New Covenant was to be consummated with Israel and Judah.
A FAULTY COVENANT?
Let not the Reader think that Paul is claiming that the First Covenant was faulty as it regarded the design of the Lord. In fact, the Lord has never made anything faulty of imperfect. For what it was designed to do, it was perfect in that respect; however, the idea of this is, that it was not designed to take away sin, or to provide a foundation of Grace on which the believing sinner could stand, and thereby be justified by Faith. The First Covenant did exactly what the Lord designed it to do, and did so admira­bly! It was actually only meant to be a pre­paratory Covenant, and that it was in detail, ever pointing a finger at the Second Cov­enant which was to come.
THE SECOND COVENANT
The phrase, “Then should no place have been sought for the Second,” proclaims the necessity of the New Covenant. The New Covenant, or as Paul refers to it here as the “Second,” was ever in the Mind of God from the very beginning (I Pet. 1:18-20). In essence, the Holy Spirit through the Apostle is saying, that it should be obvious that the First Covenant was inadequate, and in more ways than one. The idea is, how in the world could these Christian Jews, who had in fact, “tasted of the Heavenly Gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit,” even remotely consider forsaking the “Second” for the “First”? (8) “FOR FINDING FAULT WITH THEM, HE SAITH, BEHOLD, THE DAYS COME, SAITH THE LORD, WHEN I WILL MAKE A NEW COVENANT WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AND WITH THE HOUSE OF JUDAH:” The exegesis is: 1. The pronoun “them” refers to the fact that God is speaking here of the Israelites, and not the Covenant itself. The true cause of fail­ure lay in the character of the people, not in the Law, which was holy, righteous, and good.
2. Paul quotes from Jeremiah 31:31-34.
3. The New Covenant was with the Houses of both Israel and Judah, and that because of the Promises.
FAULT
The phrase, “For finding fault with them,” presents a subtle delicacy of language in the insensible shifting from the Covenant to the people. As we’ve already stated, the fault wasn’t actually in the Covenant per se as we would think of such. It was faulty in the sense that it could not take away sin; however, it was never designed in the first place to take away sin. Actually, it could not function in this capacity, due to the fact that the blood of bulls and goats is woefully insufficient. Going back to the phrase, “Finding fault with them,” the First Covenant was actually designed to glaringly portray the fault of the people. It was somewhat like a poultice which pulls corruption to the surface. The fact of the corruption is not the fault of the poultice. The medicine only drew to the surface what was already there; and so it was with the Law. It drew to the surface what was already in the hearts of people, and we speak of the ugliness of sin. However, it had no power to cleanse from sin or to destroy the power of sin. So it was faulty in that respect, but not according to the design of God, but only because it was designed in that fashion. While a pickup truck can definitely haul some things, it definitely cannot haul the giant load that a dump truck can haul. It was not designed to do that; likewise, the Law wasn’t designed by God to redeem hu­manity. But what it was designed to do, it carried out and functioned perfectly.
THE DAY IS COMING
The phrase, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord,” now presents Paul quoting from Jeremiah 31:31-34. It is an astute move. He puts the Jewish recipients of this Letter in the place where they will have to accept the New Testament and the Testimony of their own Prophet to the effect that God would bring in a New Testament, or, if they reject the New Testament, they will be forced to reject their own Prophet. Thus does Paul build his argu­ment upon the Old Testament Scriptures, even as he was very oft to do — the very Word of God his Readers professed to believe (Wuest).
A NEW COVENANT
The phrase, “When I will make a New Covenant with the House of Israel and with the House of Judah,” proclaims the North­ern Kingdom which was Israel, and the South­ern Kingdom, which was Judah. Israel broke apart and was divided during the reign of Rehoboam, the son of Solomon. The North­ern Kingdom consisted of some nine Tribes, and called itself Israel, while the Southern Kingdom consisted of Judah, which was the largest Tribe of all, and Benjamin, as well as Levi. Also, Simeon had its inheritance within the borders of Judah, so would re­main with the Southern Kingdom. This was the beginning of 260 years of di­vision and strife between the two nations of Israel. Wars, bloodshed, and intrigue became the program of a once united and Godly people. God’s plan for a united nation being a bless­ing to all other nations of the Earth had now come to a definite standstill and both King­doms faced ruin and dispersion among the Gentiles, which would ultimately come to pass for both Kingdoms.
ISRAEL, THE CHOSEN CHANNEL
It is important to note that the New Tes­tament is actually not Christianity. This means that the Book of Hebrews is not an argument the purpose of which is to prove that Christianity is superior to Judaism as seen in its Founder, the Lord Jesus Christ. The First Testament (Old Covenant) was a Covenant made with Israel. The New Testa­ment (New Covenant) is also a Covenant made with Israel. In fact, God made no Covenants with the Gentiles. Israel is the chosen chan­nel through which He brings Salvation to the human race. The First Testament consisted of a sys­tem of Sacrifices, symbolic in their import. The New Testament is as well, a Sacrifice, the Lord Jesus at the Cross, actual in its charac­ter, and efficacious (effective) in its merits. The First Testament, one might say, be­gan at Genesis 3:21, and ended at the Cross. The New Testament began at the Cross and is an everlasting one (Heb. 13:20). Christianity refers to the Mystical Body of Christ of which He is the Head. This Body is composed of all who are saved from Pen­tecost to the Rapture. The New Testament actually made Christianity possible. The Saints of the Church Age are saved through the Blood of the Sacrifice which was offered under the New Testament. This is the relationship between the New Testament and Christianity (Wuest). It was intended by God that Israel would be the recipient of the New Covenant and thereby, be a channel through which the en­tirety of the Gentile world could be saved, at least those who would believe, which would actually be a fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12:1-3). Sadly and regrettably, Israel rejected the Covenant and thereby destroyed themselves; however, this in no way negated the Covenant. The door remains open to all, both Jews and Gentiles. Due to the fact that most of the Jews have rejected the Covenant, the Church thereby is made up almost altogether of Gentiles. The idea is, Israel’s rejection of the Cov­enant in no way destroyed the Covenant, even though it did delay the total advent of the Kingdom of Heaven, which Jesus proclaimed in Matthew, Chapter 24. Nevertheless, there will come an hour, when Israel will accept the Covenant in totality, and that hour is not so far off. Then Israel will no longer be divided, thereby one again, and will serve the pur­pose for which God originally intended. This will be in the coming Kingdom Age.
NEW
The word “New,” as in “New Covenant,” establishes the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures, for on that one word occurring once (Jer. 31:31) is based the whole of the argument of this Chapter. God said He would do it some 600 years before Christ, and that’s exactly what He did!
(9) “NOT ACCORDING TO THE COV­ENANT THAT I MADE WITH THEIR FA­THERS IN THE DAY WHEN I TOOK THEM BY THE HAND TO LEAD THEM OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT; BECAUSE THEY CONTINUED NOT IN MY COV­ENANT, AND I REGARDED THEM NOT, SAITH THE LORD.” The structure is:
1. The New Covenant is far different from the Old Covenant in nature and contents.
2. To “take them by the hand” refers to the immaturity of the people.
3. Israel refused to obey the Covenant made by God.
4. Because of disobedience, even willful disobedience, the Lord allowed them to be made captives of heathen nations.
THE NEW COVENANT TOTALLY UNLIKE THE OLD
The phrase, “Not according to the Cov­enant that I made with their fathers,” refers to the Law of Moses, which was given some 50 days after they were delivered from Egypt. The word “Covenant” as used here, means “to place between two.” Thus, a Covenant is something placed between two, an ar­rangement between two parties. Paul uses the same word in Hebrews 9:16­20 where the meaning of the word is that of a testament in the sense of a last will or tes­tament, the legal instrument by which some­thing is bequeathed to someone. Thus, the words “Covenant” or “Testament” refer in this Epistle to one thing, the Act of God providing for the Salvation of the believing sinner through the Blood Atonement offered on Calvary’s Cross by the Lord Jesus. It is a Covenant in the sense that it is an agreement on God’s part that He will give Salvation to the sinner who will receive it by Faith in the High Priest He has appointed. It is a Last Will or Testament in the sense that God bequeaths Salvation to the sinner who will receive it on the terms of the will, Faith in the Blood of Jesus. Christ, the Divine Tes­tator, dies to make the will effective (Wuest). The First Covenant pointed constantly to the New Covenant, which could bring about this great Salvation, which in fact, it (the First Covenant) could not bring about. A MINOR The phrase, “In the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt,” speaks to the immaturity of Israel; consequently, she was treated as a minor. Paul addressed this very thing when he said, “Now I say, that the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; “But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father” (Gal. 4:1-2). As a result, God put the nation under laws and regulations. If Israel behaved itself, it was rewarded, and if it misbehaved, it was punished. Israel was taught by object les­sons as one would teach a child; for instance, the Tabernacle, Priesthood, Offerings, the gorgeous vestments of the High Priest, etc. Under this Covenant, the Believer and Is­rael were declared righteous (Gal. 3:6), that is, if they properly exhibited Faith in Whom the Sacrifices represented, namely, the Lord Jesus Christ. Men have always been saved the same way, and that’s by Faith. Long before the Law, God gave to Abraham the Covenant of Faith (Gen. 15:6). This and this alone was the way of Salvation. However, Israel inverted the process, mak­ing Faith subservient to the Law, instead of the Law subservient to Faith. In other words, they tried to make Salvation out of keeping the Law, which they could not do to begin with; nevertheless, there were some in Israel who evidenced Faith in God, just as the Lord had told Abraham that man must do, and were definitely saved. But regrettably, that number was few! But again we state, under the Old Cov­enant, even for those who evidenced true Faith, the Believer was treated by the Lord as a child, and for many reasons. The Old Cov­enant was very limited in what it could do, which especially centered up in the fact, that even though the Holy Spirit could definitely help all Israelites who evidenced Faith, He could not dwell in them, as He would do after the Cross (Jn. 14:17). The Holy Spirit could not come in to abide forever in Believers before the Cross, because the sin debt had not yet been paid, and was, therefore, still attached to each individual, and would not be paid until the Cross. The blood of bulls and goats simply could not take away this debt (Heb. 10:4). Due to that fact, only so much progres­sion could be made, hence the immaturity of Israel under the Old Covenant.
THE DISOBEDIENCE OF ISRAEL
The phrase, “Because they continued not in My Covenant,” presents the obvious, Is­rael abandoning the Ways of the Lord. When Israel failed to be true to the Cov­enant, God’s solicitude and concern for His chosen people gave place to one of righteous indignation, which attitude culminated with the captivities. How serious was Israel’s de­fection is seen in the words that Delitzsch quotes from Schelling: “The Law appears to be the mere ideal of a religious constitution, as far as Israel was concerned. The Jews for the most part, con­ducted themselves as if it never existed. In practice, they were almost throughout poly­theists (worshippers of many gods). The sub­stance of their national feeling was formed by heathendom: the accidents only (going to the right way by accident) by Revelation. From the queen of Heaven down to the abominations of the Phoenicians, and even Cybele, the Jews passed through every grade of paganism.” Delitzsch adds, “In fact, there is no pe­riod in the history of Israel before the cap­tivity, in which more or less idolatry was not united with the worship of Jehovah, ex­cept the time of David and the first years of Solomon, during which times the influence of Samuel still continued to be felt. And when by the captivity into Babylon, idol-worship was completely eradicated from the people, as far at least as regards that part of Israel which returned, it is well-known that a hypocritical letter-worship (they worshiped the letter of the Law, instead of God Who gave it) got the mastery over them, which was morally very little better.”
CONTINUE
“Continue” in the Greek is “emmeno,” and means, “to persevere, to hold fast, to be true to, abide by.” Jesus said the very same thing in His day to those Jews who believed on Him: “If ye continue in My Word, then are ye My Disciples indeed” (Jn. 8:31). As should be obvious, this one word “con­tinue” shoots down the fallacious theory of “unconditional eternal security.” The idea is, it’s not the one who begins the race, but the one who ends the race. While the Lord will never throw anyone over because of fail­ure, they will in effect throw themselves over, if they fail to continue in the Word of God, which in effect, means to keep believing. In fact, the entirety of this Book of Hebrews deals with this very thing. Paul is writing to Christian Jews, which of course refers to Jews who had accepted Christ as their Lord and their Saviour, but were now very seriously considering abandoning Christ, and going back into ritual worship. The Apostle, on which we have already com­mented, told them that if they did this thing, continuing to repudiate Christ, it would be impossible to “renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to them­selves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame” (Heb. 6:4-6). Actually, there is no way that one can read the Bible, which includes the history of the Jews, as well as the New Covenant to the Church, and honestly continue to believe in the doctrine of unconditional eternal secu­rity. The evidence is so overwhelming oth­erwise, even as we are studying here, that it is irrefutable. The Reader should always re­member the following: If a Biblical Doctrine is correct, it will al­ways fall out to the betterment of one’s char­acter. Otherwise, it will fall out to the detri­ment of one’s character. The doctrine of un­conditional eternal security in no way betters the character of any individual, but in fact, does the very opposite. There are untold mil­lions at present, who claim Salvation, whose lives are ungodly, and actually getting more ungodly by each passing day, with these indi­viduals making no effort to have the situa­tion changed, because they believe the lie of “unconditional eternal security.” As should be obvious, the character of such a person defi­nitely is not improving, with this doctrine at least being partially to blame.
Now that doesn’t mean that everyone who believes in unconditional eternal security falls into such a category, but it does definitely pertain to most, I think!
REJECTION
The phrase, “I regarded them not, saith the Lord,” refers to the fact of Israel rejecting God’s Covenant, so God rejected them. God would reject them as His people, and give new laws better adapted to save men. Instead of regarding and treating them as His friends, which He longingly desired to do, because of their rejection of His Covenant, He would have no alternative but to punish them for their offenses, and visit them with calamities. From this, we also learn that God guides everything as it regards His children. And let not the modern Believer think that just because we’re living in the age of Grace, that the principle of obedience and disobedience no longer holds true. The Truth is, God has always blessed for obedience, and has always rejected Believers in some fashion, because of disobedience. It cannot be otherwise! And what do we exactly mean by “bless­ing” or “rejection”? Blessing covers every aspect of individual needs, be they physical, material, financial, domestical, but above all spiritual. Rejection means that God withholds these blessings. However, we must understand, that “bless­ing” does not mean that one is exempt from all difficulties and problems. The Scripture plainly says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all” (Ps. 34:19). Using Paul as an example, as is known, he suffered severe persecution; however, such defi­nitely was not allowed by God because of fail­ing on Paul’s part or disobedience in any man­ner, but rather for other reasons altogether.
REASONS?
Some Christians have the idea that the Blessings of God refer to a lot of money and no problems. While that certainly may be the case at times, it is not the case most of the time. The greatest blessings of all are Spiritual Blessings, which refers to the Holy Spirit drawing one closer to God. Nothing could be greater than that! But there’s some­thing else we need to look at, continuing to use Paul as an example. As stated, it should be obvious that Paul did not suffer the extreme persecution which he in fact did suffer, because of sin in his life or disobedience of any nature. Knowing that nothing can happen to a Believer but that the Lord causes it or allows it, we know that the Lord allowed the persecution that came Paul’s way. Why? I think Paul himself answered the ques­tion when he said, “Lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the Revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buf­fet me,” and then he says again, “lest I should be exalted above measure” (II Cor. 12:7). Pride is a great problem in all of us, even in the great Paul. Perhaps there are other ways of the Lord combating this problem in some of us, but I think that in most of us, it requires this, at least in some measure, which the Lord allowed regarding Paul. Such per­secution keeps an individual humble, keeps them praying, and keeps them trusting God. That being the case, what I’m about to say, although seldom said, yet I believe to be true.
BLESSINGS?
If in fact, nothing can happen to a Be­liever but that the Lord causes it or allows it, which we know to be true, and if in fact such similar problems come upon us and not because of sin or disobedience, then we must conclude these things as well as “Blessings.” The idea is, anything that will keep us trust­ing the Lord, or will draw us closer to God, can only be construed as Blessing. I realize it’s difficult for us to think of such as “Bless­ings,” but they definitely are! Even if we have sinned or disobeyed the Lord, with the problem continuing long enough that it would require chastisement from the Lord, even acute chastisement, that as well, can be construed as none other than Blessing, and of course, I speak of chastise­ment. No sin or disobedience could ever be looked at as Blessing in any capacity; how­ever, the chastisement from the Lord which brings us back to God, or one might say, back to the right way, is definitely a Blessing. Israel’s situation was somewhat different. The Lord had chastised them in many and var­ied ways, all to no avail. So their rejection of His Covenant was not a momentary lapse, but rather a wholesale turnabout. In other words, they in effect told the Lord that they no longer desired Him, that they rather desired to wor­ship idols. That is when God rejected them. It must be understood, that God will not re­ject any individual until that individual rejects Him. In fact, that’s exactly what was happen­ing to some of the Christian Jews of Paul’s day. They were on the verge of rejecting Christ, and which some of them had already done so. (10) “FOR THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAITH THE LORD; I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR MIND, AND WRITE THEM IN THEIR HEARTS: I WILL BE TO THEM A GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE TO ME A PEOPLE:” The composition is:
1. The Covenant mentioned here is the “New Covenant.”
2. “After those days,” refers to the time of the Old Covenant.
3. Whereas the Old Covenant dealt with externals, the New Covenant deals with the mind and the heart, which is the only man­ner in which a person can actually be changed.
4. Only in this fashion can there be a proper relationship.
THE NEW COVENANT
The phrase, “For this is the Covenant that I will make with the House of Israel,” refers as stated, to the “New Covenant,” under which we presently live, and in fact, which will last forever (Heb. 13:20). The Lord’s Supper which presents the em­blems of the New Covenant was definitely made with the House of Israel, because it was to these people that the promises were given. But as stated, the religious leaders of Israel rejected the Covenant and rejected the Giver of the Covenant, actually crucifying Him. They were so Biblically confused, that they thought by crucifying Him, such would prove to the people of Israel that He was an im­poster; however, they only succeeded in rati­fying the Covenant, which the Crucifixion was meant to do. It was predestined that Christ would go to the Cross, that being the way that the Justice of God would be satisfied and man thereby re­deemed, with all of this planned from before the foundation of the world (I Pet. 1:18-20); nevertheless, God definitely did not coerce the religious leaders of Israel into doing this ter­rible thing, that being by their own volition. Of course, God knowing all things, past, present, and future, knew what they would do. But again, I emphasize that even though it definitely was predestined that Christ would go to the Cross, it was not predestined that Israel would be the ones to put Him there. They did that of their own volition. CHRISTIANS
Every evidence is, that God had always in­tended for the Gospel to go to the entirety of the world, which of course refers to both Jews and Gentiles. He plainly said this through the Revelation given to Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3). And He intended for Israel to be the leading people in World Evangelism. In Truth, even though the nation of Israel re­jected Christ as a whole, it definitely was Jew­ish Apostles and Preachers who helped found the Church, with Christ at its head. As well, the Lord looks at all Believers now, both Jews and Gentiles, as Spiritual Israel. Paul said: “For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: “Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, in Isaac shall thy seed be called.” He then said, “The children of the Prom­ise are counted for the seed,” which refers to all Born-Again Believers, Jews or Gentiles, who have accepted the Lord by Faith, ex­actly as did Abraham (Rom. 9:6-8). The Apostle then said, “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: “But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Rom. 2:28-29). AFTER THE OLD COVENANT
The phrase, “After those days, saith the Lord,” refers to the Old Covenant having run NOTES
its course, which it did at the time of the Cross, with the New Covenant taking its place. At the time that Jeremiah uttered these words (Jer. 31:31-34), the Holy Spirit turned the eyes of the Prophet from the present con­ditions, to the future, but at that time did not locate it with any precision. The re­peated “saith” or “declares the Lord,” keeps before the Reader the Truth that a Divine and not a human act is in mind. At the time the Prophet uttered these words, Judah was in sad shape indeed! The nation was on the very brink of disaster, but despite that fact, would not heed the words of the Prophet, and if anything, they increased their rebellion against God. The Prophet, knowing what was coming, was destitute of spirit. Where will this leave the Work of God? What about the Promises of the coming Messiah? In this terrible time, which in fact did end with total destruction of Judah, with the Temple being totally and completely razed to the ground, with most of the people led away into captivity, the Lord would strike a note of prophetic tones in the heart of Jeremiah, pro­claiming the coming of a glad day. In other words, He was telling the Prophet, that this which He has planned, and we speak of the coming of the Messiah, would not be hin­dered by the terrible state of Judah.
THE NEW COVENANT
The phrase, “I will put My Laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts,” pro­claims in abbreviated detail, the glorious fact of what the New Covenant would do. Three Blessings are contained in this Bet­ter Covenant. They are: 1. Sanctification, which is proclaimed in this Verse: This is done by the Holy Spirit, and can only be done by the Holy Spirit. As a result of the Cross which paid the terrible sin debt, man could now be “Justified by Faith” in practice, as he had been previously in theory. Due to this legal work being car­ried out in the heart and life of all Believers, and because of the great Work of the Cross, the Holy Spirit could now come into the heart and life of the Believer to abide forever, which He couldn’t do before the Cross (Jn. 14:17).
2. The Knowledge of God, as proclaimed in Verse 11: Once again, this can only come about
by the Work of the Holy Spirit in one’s life. I think it can be said without fear of con­tradiction or exaggeration, that the weakest Saint at present, has a greater knowledge of God, even than the Prophets of old as it re­gards the Old Testament. In fact, I think that Jesus addressed this when He said, “Ver­ily I say unto you, among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he” (Mat. 11:11). What did Jesus mean by the word “greater”? He wasn’t meaning greater in the realm of character or even Godliness. He meant greater in the realm of privileges, due to the New Covenant, which John the Baptist or no other Old Testament Saint were privileged to have. While it is true that the Holy Spirit helped them in those times, and while it’s true that God used many of them greatly, even in a far greater way than most New Testament Saints, but as far as their actual knowledge of God was concerned, which demanded relationship, they actually couldn’t have such to the de­gree as New Testament Saints, due to the fact that the Holy Spirit abides within us presently, and does so on a continual basis. That is the basic difference. 3. The removal of the sin debt as men­tioned in Verse 12: While sins were definitely forgiven in Old Testament Times, the sin debt which man owed to God was not removed, because the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sins. This within itself carries a wealth of meaning, which we will address more fully in commentary on Hebrews 10:4. ALL MADE POSSIBLE BY THE CROSS Everything we have in the New Covenant was made possible by the great Sacrifice of Christ. This means, that the very meaning of the New Covenant is the meaning of the Cross, in other words, what the Cross pro­vided for us. That’s the reason we refer to it as the centrality of the Gospel. The Cross is really not a doctrine. It is rather the foundation on which all Doctrine is built, that is if it’s correct Doctrine. Any­thing that’s incorrect or we might say, unscriptural, is that which doesn’t have the Cross as its foundation. Everything that man needed, man within himself was helpless to supply. So if man was to have these things, and we speak of Justification by Faith, and the Baptism with the Holy Spirit, among other things too nu­merous to mention, God would have to pro­vide it for man, which He did at the Cross. Now what we’ve said is very important. Due to the fact that the Cross was in the Mind of God from before the foundation of the world (I Pet. 1:18-20), we know the Cross was the only way this thing could be done, or at least the best way. The Cross tells us how bad the situation with man actually was, and at the same time, how good that God is. Salvation for the sinner comes exclusively through what Christ did at the Cross, and victory for the Saint comes in the same way. Most Christians understand the first part, but they don’t understand the latter. As a re­sult, most Christians live in defeat of one kind or the other. To approach a great subject in a very ab­breviated way, the way to perpetual victory in the Lord, is according to the following: 1. The Believer must ever understand that all things in totality come through the Cross of Christ. This is the Source of all blessings, all help, all strength, and all power (I Cor. 1:18, 23; 2:2).
2. Understanding that, the Believer is to constantly exhibit Faith in that Finished Work. This is very, very important. So im­portant that I must say it again:
The Saint of God must ever have the Cross of Christ as the object of his Faith (Gal. 6:14).
3. When this is done, and continues to be done, the Holy Spirit Who resides in the heart and life of the Saint, will then use His mighty power to guarantee for the Saint all the ben­efits of the Cross (Rom. 8:1-2, 11). The Holy Spirit will not work outside of the parameters of the Finished Work of Christ; consequently, to have His help, which we absolutely must have, He demands that we ever have Faith in the Cross of Christ (Rom. 8:1-2, 11).
RELATIONSHIP
The phrase, “And I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people,” refers to relationship under the New Covenant that was not possible under the Old Covenant. As repeatedly stated, all of this was and is made possible by the Cross of Christ, and one’s Faith in the Cross. This last phrase of Verse 10 is very similar to the old way which said, “I will take you as My Own people, and I will be your God” (Ex. 6:7). So, what is the Holy Spirit through Paul saying differently here in Verse 10, than He said in Exodus? The idea pertains to Revelation. “I will be your God” acquires fuller meaning with every further Revelation of the Character of God. The Life, Death, Resurrection, Ascen­sion, and Exaltation of Jesus mean that God has acted decisively to save a people. The God Who saves people in Christ is the God of His Redeemed in a new and definitive way. When people have been saved at the awful cost of Calvary, they are the people of God in a way never before known, as should be ob­vious, and should be understood. WHAT DO WE MEAN BY “VICTORY” AS IT PERTAINS TO THE CHILD OF GOD?
To answer that question, we would have to go back to the phrase, “I will put My Laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts.” We know as Believers under the New Cov­enant, that we are “dead to the law by the body (Crucifixion) of Christ” (Rom. 7:4). So, what was Paul talking about regarding the “Law” in Verse 10, which is actually the moral Law that’s found in Exodus Chapter 20? To cut straight through to the chase, Jesus has already perfectly kept the Law, as well as taking its terrible penalty, all on our behalf, which fulfills Romans 7:4, as it regards us being “dead to the Law.” It means that it doesn’t have a claim on us anymore, because all claims were satisfied in Christ. However, at the same time, it is in our mind and heart to keep the moral Law, in fact, now more than ever. But it’s how that we keep it which decides whether we walk in victory or not. Every single Christian in the world has vic­tory, because Christ has victory, and we are in Christ; however, all Christians are not walking in victory, even though they do have victory. That may seem like a play on words, but please believe me it’s not! So the great ques­tion, if I have victory, why is it that I’m not walking in victory? Again let’s cut to the chase:
Even though every single Christian has vic­tory, if their Faith is not anchored squarely in the Cross of Christ, understanding that this is the Source of all blessing and victory, then they cannot walk in victory. It’s just that simple! And when we speak of having Faith in the Cross of Christ, this refers to far more than giving a mere nod toward the Cross. One must understand that the Cross of Christ is as we have stated, the very central­ity of the Gospel. In other words, the Holy Spirit has to reveal the great significance of the Cross to each Believer, which He most definitely will do, if the individual exhibits proper Faith in that direction. Again we state, while “walking after the Spirit,” is the way to victory, one’s Faith in the Cross is the victory. The Believer must never allow himself to be maneuvered by Satan into believing that his victory is in not doing certain wrong things. If that is the case, his Faith will be on himself instead of on Christ, which will only make a bad matter worse. My victory is in the Cross of Christ, irrespective of what else might happen. And to be sure, if my Faith remains in the Cross as it should, the lapses and fail­ures will be less and less, and ultimately, “sin will not have dominion over me” (Rom. 6:14). (11) “AND THEY SHALL NOT TEACH EVERY MAN HIS NEIGHBOUR, AND EVERY MAN HIS BROTHER, SAYING, KNOW THE LORD: FOR ALL SHALL KNOW ME, FROM THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST.” The structure is:
1. Under the New Covenant, the Word of God is far more easily understood.
2. The Passage is not meaning that Teach­ers are not needed, but rather not needed in the capacity as under the Old Covenant.
3. The Priesthood and the Scribes were the privileged few under the Old Law, with there being no such distinctions under the New Cov­enant. The Word of God is now open to all.
KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORD
The phrase, “And they shall not teach ev­ery man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, know the Lord,” refers to the constant need of such which prevailed un­der the Old Covenant. Under the Old Cov­enant, none but the educated Scribe could understand the details of the Law. The elabo­rate ritual made it impossible for the private individual to know whether a ram or a pigeon was the appropriate sacrifice for his sin, etc. In fact, a Priest had to be consulted. Under the New Covenant intermediates are abolished. Due to the advent of the Holy Spirit in the hearts and lives of all Believers under the New Covenant, and especially con­sidering the Baptism with the Holy Spirit, the great Teacher actually abides within the heart and life of every Believer. As well, considering the present prolifera­tion of the Word of God, which was not at all accessible under the Old Covenant, except to a privileged few, there is no excuse pres­ently for any Believer not knowing and un­derstanding the Word of God. And yet, so few Believers take advantage of this greatest opportunity afforded mankind. However, let not the Reader think that this Passage means that God-called Teachers aren’t necessary. Such would be a contra­diction of the Word of God (Eph. 4:11). The idea is, that Teachers are not needed pres­ently near the degree they were needed un­der the Old Covenant.
THE HOLY SPIRIT MAKES ALL EQUAL
The phrase, “For all shall know Me, from the least to the greatest,” presents the fact that the Holy Spirit will teach the Word to any and every convert, just as much as He does one who is an Apostle, etc. That was not so under the Old Covenant! Once again this does not negate the value of Teachers of the Word, but only infers that the Holy Spirit is available to all Believers. In fact, one of the greatest works of the Holy Spirit is to help Believers, whomever they might be, to understand the Word (Ps. 119:102, 105, 108; I Cor. 2:9-10). Again, I emphasize the fallacy of every Believer not taking advantage of learning the Word of God, which is the greatest educa­tion one could ever have, and as well, the only Lamp and Light in the world today.
COMING KINGDOM AGE
The total and absolute fulfillment of these Passages, at least as it pertains to Israel, will take place only in the coming Millennium. Under the New Testament, Israel in the Mil­lennium, its individual members cleansed in the fountain filled with blood through the sovereign Grace of God, indwelt by the Holy Spirit Who will both sanctify and teach the individual (Zech. 12:10-13:6), will have no need of any intermediate between the indi­vidual Believer and God. At that time, and for many and varied reasons, the tremendous restrictions Israel experienced under the Old Covenant, will be no more. Equipped with the great Teacher, the Holy Spirit, all, from the least to the greatest among them, shall have a personal, direct relationship to God. While there will be Priests offering Sacri­fices at that time, yet the people will be on a level with the Priests of Israel so far as their understanding of God and His Word is con­cerned. This knowledge of God will be with­out any distinction of age or station in life. As well, the Reader should understand, that Sacrifices then offered, which they defi­nitely shall be (Ezek., Chpts. 40-47), will be carried out only as a memorial. They will not be meant to take away sin, and in fact, never could take away sin. (12) “FOR I WILL BE MERCIFUL TO THEIR UNRIGHTEOUSNESS, AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR INIQUITIES WILL I RE­MEMBER NO MORE.” The exegesis is:
1. Due to the Cross, the Mercy of God is far more available under the New Covenant than it was under the Old.
2. The Cross made it possible for all sin to be taken away, thereby remembered no more.
3. As should be obvious, all of this, plus everything which comes from God, is made possible by the Cross.
MERCY
The phrase, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness,” proclaims unlimited Mercy, but it’s predicated on two things: 1. The Cross made it possible for the Mercy of God to be extended to man in a greater way than ever. In fact, God is no more merciful now than He was under the Old Covenant. The idea is, the Cross made it possible for Mercy to be tendered in unlimited quantities. It is the same with the Grace of God. All are made possible by the Cross. The Believer must understand this, which is really the bedrock of his Faith. To any de­gree that this is not understood, and I speak of the Cross being the Source of all things from God, to that degree the Believer will suffer loss. 2. Mercy is extended only to those who ex­hibit Faith in the Finished Work of Christ. In fact, it cannot be extended to those who con­tinue in rebellion against God, especially those who deny the Finished Work of Christ. God has always required Faith, and there will never be a time that He doesn’t require Faith; how­ever, the Faith which He requires, is always and without exception, Faith in the great Sac­rifice of Christ, which was carried out at great price, and which makes all things possible.
ALL SINS TAKEN AWAY
The phrase, “And their sins and their in­iquities will I remember no more,” refers to the fact, that due to the Cross, such no longer exists. As it refers to the Old Covenant, and due to the fact that the Sacrifice of animals could not actually take away sins (Heb. 10:4), the sin debt still hung over the heads of men. This refers to man’s crimes against God. While unredeemed man doesn’t under­stand that he’s constantly sinning against God, i.e., “committing crimes against God,” this nevertheless is what is happening. God’s Standard of Righteousness was and is the Ten Commandments. Man is constantly break­ing those Commandments, which is the cause of all the problems in the world. And whether man realizes it or not, these crimes are di­rected against God, because it’s God’s Stan­dard as the Creator which has been broken, and in fact, is constantly being broken. The penalty for that is death (Rom. 6:23). And the type of death of which this speaks is spiri­tual death, which happened to Adam and Eve upon their failure in the Garden of Eden. Due to the fact that every human being who would ever live, was in effect in Adam’s loins, this one act by Adam doomed the human race. When a baby is born into the world, it is born in original sin, actually made that way by the failure of the first parent. In this fallen, depraved condition, it can do nothing but come short of the Glory of God. As we’ve previously stated, unredeemed man might conclude that such a condition is not his fault, that is if he thinks about it at all. If he goes far enough in his thinking, he might also conclude that God is not fair in punishing him for something over which he had no control, that is if he believes there is a God. Whatever the conclusions, unre­deemed man being spiritually dead, it is im­possible for him to have any correct thoughts about God or what God does, etc. First of all, God is not unfair in anything He has ever done. In fact, God is love. And by that statement, we mean that He is far more than merely having love, but in fact, is love. Actually, if one wants to know Who God is, and What God is, and How God is, one need only look at Jesus Christ Who was the Per­fect replica of the Father. When Philip said to Christ, “Lord, show us the Father . . . Jesus said unto him, ‘Have I been so long with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father’” (Jn. 14:8-9). So, even though Satan has been very suc­cessful at painting God as some type of venge­ful monster, the Truth is, He is the very op­posite. It is Satan who is the monster.
THE CROSS, GOD’S SOLUTION TO MAN’S DILEMMA
While it is true that man would be eter­nally lost because of his fallen condition, the further Truth is, that God has done some­thing about the situation. In fact, what He has done is of such moment, such power, such magnitude, that it literally defies de­scription. I speak of God becoming man, and then dying on a Cross in order to redeem man, thereby paying a price that is absolutely incomprehensible as it regards the thinking of humanity. The Scripture tells us, that God’s condem­nation against man is not about his fallen condition, over which in fact he had no con­trol, but rather because of his rejection of God’s solution to the dilemma, “Christ and Him Crucified” (I Cor. 2:2). Jesus said, and speaking of the Holy Spirit, “And when He is come, He will reprove (con­vict) the world of sin, and of Righteousness, and of judgment.” He then said, “Of sin, because they be­lieve not on Me” (Jn. 16:8-9). So we know from this, that the accusa­tion against unredeemed man at the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11-15) will not so much be the fact that he is a sinner, but that he has rejected God’s solution to his problem. In other words, he has rejected Jesus Christ, and more particular, has rejected what Christ did for him in order that he might be saved as it refers to the Cross. The great price that Jesus paid at the Cross, which was the giving of Himself in the shedding of His Own Life’s Blood, completely takes away all “sins” and “iniquities,” at least for all who will believe (Jn. 3:16).
HOW DID THE DEATH OF CHRIST TAKE IT ALL AWAY?
When Adam and Eve fell in the Garden of Eden, they forfeited the Life of God. Due to their rebellion, which in effect means they threw in their lot with Satan, the archenemy of God, this terrible crime which actually threatened the entire Creation, placed a bar­rier between God and man. That barrier is sin, which is the cause of all of man’s prob­lems. Now, man who is a physical being, an intellectual being, and a spiritual being, is deprived of the most important part of his being, his spiritual side. God had filled that part before the Fall, which constantly infused man with the Life of God, which in effect, was Eternal Life. With the Life of God now gone, man is spiritually dead, which will ul­timately bring on death of every nature, in­cluding physical death. Considering the magnitude of this crime, which as stated, threatened the entire Cre­ation of God, and which has filled this world with unimaginable sorrow, death, dying, sick­ness, and heartache, man was and is helpless within himself to assuage this terrible di­lemma in which he now finds himself. Once again let us emphasize the fact, that if one wants to know how horrible this crime actually was and is, one need only look at all the sorrow and heartache that fills the world today. This which Adam did has killed every single human being who has ever lived, with the exception of Enoch and Elijah, and those who are alive today, but we are dying. Therefore, if the whole thing was to be sal­vaged, God would have to do it Himself, which means that all Salvation, all Redemption, all and in its entirety, originated with God, and, therefore, comes from God. In other words, man has had absolutely nothing to do with Redemption, as man can have nothing to do with Redemption. So, the moment that man attempts to insert anything into God’s Plan, it destroys that which must be exclusively of the Spirit. And that’s the great crime of the Church! Far too often, it seeks to add some­thing to the Finished Work of Christ, or take away from that Work, or to ignore it altogether, substituting its own brand, which is always abominable in the eyes of God. Polluted man cannot furnish true righteousness in any case. When God came to this world, the Cross was His intended destination. The Cross is that which had to be, at least if man was to be redeemed. The most ignominious and horrifying death, which Crucifixion in those days was, was that which God demanded, and because of the magnitude of the crime. How­ever, there was a catch to all of this: In God becoming man, in which the Holy Spirit through Paul referred to Him as the “Last Adam” (I Cor. 15:45), He would have to face all the powers of darkness, not as God, but rather as a man, “The Man Christ Jesus.” If He failed even one time, then man would be eternally lost. I realize that many Preach­ers claim that Christ could not have sinned; however, for Him to be the Last Adam, which He definitely was, and which was demanded, He definitely had to be subject to failure (I Cor. 15:45). But He didn’t fail! Not in anything! Not at any time! Not in any capacity! He had to go to the Cross as a Perfect Sac­rifice, which means there could be no im­perfection about Him, and certainly there must be no sin of any nature. Consequently, when He died, actually giving Himself, which means that His Death was a Sacrifice and not at all an execution, etc., it was a Perfect Sac­rifice which God could and did accept. In fact, the pouring out of His Life’s Blood was absolutely required, simply because the life of the flesh is in the blood (Lev. 17:11). That’s why Paul said, “But now in Christ Jesus ye (Gentiles) who sometimes were far off are made nigh (can come to God) by the Blood of Christ.” The Apostle then said, “And that He might reconcile both (Jews and Gentiles) unto God in one body by the Cross, having slain the en­mity thereby (tore down the barrier created by sin between God and man)” (Eph. 2:13-16). When we see the Cross, we see the Love of God as nothing else could express that Love. But we also see something else: We see the horror of man’s fallen condi­tion, actually how fallen he really is. Actu­ally, that’s one of the reasons why the world rejects the Cross. It as nothing else shows the world for what it actually is.
THE GREAT SIN OF THE CHURCH
This is at least one of the reasons that the foray of the Church into humanistic psychol­ogy is a sin and crime against God of unprec­edented proportions. This perfidious act says several things: 1. It is a vote of no confidence as it regards the Cross. In other words, the part of the Church which has embraced humanistic psy­chology, which includes almost all, is in ef­fect saying, that the Cross is not sufficient for the ills, aberrations, perversions, and sins of man; consequently, we must turn, they say, to psychology.
2. To cover their tracks, many claim that psychology is a science exactly as medicine. However, psychology is not a science, and in no stretch of the imagination can be con­cluded as such. In fact, it is a religion, the religion of humanism. As such, it not only holds no answers for man, but it actually makes a bad matter worse.
3. Anyone who knows anything at all about psychology, and at the same time knows some­thing about the Bible, knows that the two are opposites. Their directions are totally different, with their teachings being totally contradictory. In other words, it is not pos­sible for a Christian to embrace the Bible and psychology at the same time. As stated, how can such be done, if these two directions are opposites?
This is at least one of the reasons that the Leadership of most so-called Pentecostal Denominations hate Jimmy Swaggart. At least two of these Denominations, the two NOTES
largest, the Assemblies of God and the Church of God, have totally embraced this humanis­tic philosophy, which means, that they have forsaken the Cross. Let me emphasize again, the Words of Christ, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Mat. 6:24). This statement as given by our Lord is crys­tal clear. If one embraces humanistic psychol­ogy which opposes everything the Bible teaches, that simply means that he hates the Cross. The main reason for all of this is the for­saking of the way of the Spirit.
THE WAY OF THE SPIRIT
The Way of the Spirit is the way of the Word of God. As we’ve already stated, Salvation in its totality is all of God and not at all of man. This means that man’s problems, whether the Salvation of the lost, or victory for the Saint, can only come about, by the way of the Spirit. That is the Way of the Cross (Rom. 8:1-2, 11). That alone is the answer for hu­manity, and to be sure, that alone suffices for the ills of humanity. The Cross is the answer for every unsaved human being in the world. It’s the answer for every alcoholic, every drug addict, every gambler, everyone who is in bondage to immorality of any stripe, to the thief, the liar, the cheat, the pervert, etc. Not only is the Cross of Christ the an­swer, it is the only answer, which means there is no other answer. That is the Way of the Spirit (Rom. Chpt. 8). So, when Churches attempt to use the music of the world to attract young people, most definitely they will attract young people, but it won’t be to God. Please let the Reader take careful note of the following.
THE SPIRIT OF GOD OR THE SPIRIT OF THE WORLD
There is no way that the Church can use the spirit of the world, and thereby attract people to Christ. Such thinking pure and simple is of Satan. But that’s exactly what much of the Church is attempting to do. The sad Truth is, the Church has never been in worse spiritual condition than it is presently, since the time of the Reforma­tion. For the most part, it has left the way of the Spirit, and has embraced the ways of the world. Most of the modern Church tells the En­tertainer that they can keep playing in the night clubs, and still be a Christian. As stated, they attempt to attract the youth with the spirit of the world, and they attempt to solve the problems of man with humanistic psychology. Consequently, the Church in its promotion of psychological twelve-step pro­grams, now has such programs for the alco­holics, gamblers, homosexuals, and perver­sions of every nature. They are referred to as “rehabilitation programs,” when in fact, this word is not even found in the Bible.
DELIVERANCE
The Spirit of God, through what Jesus did at the Cross, doesn’t rehabilitate anyone. He delivers them (Gal. 1:4). In fact, the entirety of mankind was delivered some 2,000 years ago through the Price that Jesus paid on the Cross. That’s the reason that He said: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, be­cause He hath anointed Me to . . . preach deliverance to the captives” (Lk. 4:18-19). That deliverance, and in fact, all true de­liverance, comes simply by the individual understanding that Jesus paid it all at the Cross, and our Faith in that Finished Work, gives us the help of the Holy Spirit, which then guarantees the benefits of the Cross, which is freedom from the dominion of all sin (Rom. 6:14). That is the answer for hu­manity, and the only answer for humanity. That’s the reason that Paul said: “For the preaching of the Cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the Power of God” (I Cor. 1:18). The Holy Spirit through him then said, “For after that (after God made foolish the wisdom of the world by the Cross) in the wis­dom of God the world by wisdom knew not God (cannot find God in this manner, which shoots down the efforts of most Churches), it pleased God by the foolishness of preach­ing (preaching the Cross) to save (deliver) them that believe” (I Cor. 1:21). The Apostle then said, “We preach Christ Crucified,” which means, that it’s not enough to merely preach Christ, the Message must be “Christ Crucified” (I Cor. 1:23). Considering all this, the Apostle then said, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him Cru­cified” (I Cor. 2:2). I would ask the Reader, does any of that sound like humanistic psychology? In fact, the Holy Spirit through the Apostle in this First Chapter of I Corinthians, completely denigrates the wisdom of this world, as be­ing incapable of affecting man in a positive sense whatsoever, of which is humanistic psychology (I Cor. 1:19). As I’ve already stated several times in this Volume, I believe the Lord has told me that the Cross is the dividing line between the True Church and the apostate Church. Ac­tually, it has always been the dividing line, but is going to be more pronounced now than ever, and made so by the Holy Spirit. The idea is this: Concerning the Reformation, Martin Luther said, “As one viewed the Cross, so they viewed the Reformation.” It is the same presently. As one presently views the Cross, so such a one will come down either on the side of the True Church or the apostate Church. The crowd will not be large in the True Church, as it has never been large in this ca­pacity. But as Joshua of old, I want to say it loud and clear: “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve . . . but as for me and my house we will serve the LORD” (Josh. 24:15). Paul said:
“For the Law of Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2). This means that the Holy Spirit works exclusively through and by what Jesus did at the Cross, hence the Apostle saying “in Christ Jesus.” John 3:16 tells us that the Cross is the only answer for the unredeemed. Paul tells us here that the only answer for the Christian is as well, the Cross! (13) “IN THAT HE SAITH, A NEW COV­ENANT, HE HATH MADE THE FIRST OLD. NOW THAT WHICH DECAYETH AND WAXETH OLD IS READY TO VAN­ISH AWAY.” The structure is: 1. God gave the Word to the Prophet Jeremiah, that a New Covenant was coming.
2. This prediction clearly proclaims the fact that the First Covenant is coming to an end, which it did at the Cross.
3. The Old Covenant would serve its pur­pose, which it did, and then “vanish away.”
A NEW COVENANT
The phrase, “In that he saith, a New Cov­enant” is derived from Jeremiah 31:31. There were two great differences in the first or “Old” Covenant and the second or “New” Covenant. Those two differences are “the Cross” and “the Holy Spirit.” The Cross did away with all of the animal sacrifices as well as the Levitical Priesthood, which of course, did away with the Temple and all forms of ceremonial or ritualistic worship. In fact, all of those things were symbols of what Christ would actually do at the Cross. While the Holy Spirit was definitely present in the Old Covenant, and did work mightily; still, He was limited in what He could actually do, simply because He could not come into the hearts and lives of Believ­ers to abide permanently, due to the fact that the sin debt still hung over the heads of men, even the stalwarts of the Faith. The blood of bulls and goats couldn’t take away sin, hence the continuing problem. But once the Cross was a fact, which atoned for all sin, thereby taking it away, the Holy Spirit could now come into the hearts and lives of Believers to abide forever (Jn. 14:16). Due to the fact that the Holy Spirit could not abide permanently within the hearts and lives of Believers under the Old Covenant, they were unable to properly live up to the conditions which God required. In other words, irrespective of the fact that they greatly loved the Lord, without the help of the Holy Spirit there was no way they could properly function. But now with the Holy Spirit, and the fact that He resides within our hearts and lives permanently, meaning that we are actually Temples of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 3:16), there is no excuse for us not properly following the Lord.
THE HOLY SPIRIT OR THE SPIRIT OF THIS WORLD
To briefly address the latter first, we know that the Spirit of this world is fostered by “the god of this world” (II Cor. 4:4), who is Satan. Paul also said, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God” (I Cor. 2:12). As is plainly said here, the Spirit of God is given unto us, that we might recognize the spirit of the world and not be led thereby. So, we learn from these Passages, that the Saint of God can be led by either the Holy Spirit or the spirit of this world. Of course, if the Saint is led by the spirit of this world, it won’t be long until there will be spiritual wreckage. And that’s the condition of much of the Church presently. It is being led by the spirit of this world instead of the Holy Spirit. Much of the Church world doesn’t even believe in the Holy Spirit as it refers to the mighty Baptism (Acts 1:4; 2:4). Of conse­quence, they are led by the spirit of this world, because they cannot be led any other way. So let me make a strong statement here: If the Preacher or Church doesn’t believe in the Baptism with the Holy Spirit, with the evidence of speaking with other Tongues, there is no way they can have the leading of the Spirit. So, all people who attend such Churches are basically serving God in name only. The Truth is, most of those Churches and Denominations have only embraced the philosophy of Chris­tianity. That means it is a Christianity with­out Christ, and more particularly, the Christ of the Cross, which leaves it as nothing but mere humanism. They are left with a mere ethic, which is actually no more than the an­cient Law of Moses, with the ethic possibly stat­ing the right way, but offering no power to do the things required. So what am I saying? I’m saying that it’s impossible to know Christ without the Holy Spirit, and if one is properly led by the Spirit, one will be led not only to Christ, but the “Crucified Christ” (I Cor. 1:23). Second, as it regards the Churches and Denominations which claim to believe in the Baptism with the Holy Spirit, as we’ve al­ready stated, most of these Churches whether claiming to be Pentecostal or Charismatic, either ignore the Holy Spirit, or else preach “another Jesus” (II Cor. 11:4). In other words, there are precious few of these particular Churches that are truly led by the Spirit. There are a few, but not many! As well, it is my belief, that if Preachers are going to truly follow the Lord, they’re going to have to separate themselves from most religious Denominations, at least those in the United States and Canada. Most of these Denominations are led by the spirit of the world, and not by the Spirit of God. That’s a blunt statement, but regrettably and sadly, I know it to be true. As we’ve repeatedly stated, there is no way that any Christian can follow humanistic psy­chology, and at the same time be led by the Holy Spirit. The two directions are diametri­cally opposed to each other. But the road of humanistic psychology, which is a denial of the Cross, is a road well traveled by most of the modern Denominations. If any Believer truly desires to be led by the Spirit, which one must be if one is to truly know and follow the Lord, one will find that every single time, the Spirit will lead directly to the Cross of Christ. It is within the parameters of the great Sacrifice of Christ, i.e., “the Cross,” in which the Holy Spirit works (Rom. 8:1-2). So I feel like it is proper to say the following: If one is truly led by the Spirit, one will be led unalterably to the Lord Jesus Christ, and more particularly, to the Christ of the Cross (Jn. 16:7-15). WORSHIP The barometer of any Church or any Be­liever for that matter, is “worship,” and more particularly, the manner in which one wor­ships. All worship is not of God. Untold millions of Catholics as well as millions of Protestants attend Church each and every week, going through rituals and ceremonies which they conclude to be wor­ship, but which isn’t. As well, millions of Pentecostals and Charismatics do the same thing, but in a dif­ferent way. Praise is what we do, while worship is what we are. While all praise is worship, all wor­ship isn’t praise, at least that is vocal. The latter means that our whole being should be one of worship of God, which incorporates everything we do, everything we think, and everything we are. The whole of the life should be worship. Consequently, anything in our lives that cannot be placed in that category, as should be obvious, is very much wrong. All praise and worship must be generated from the spirit of the individual, over which the Holy Spirit controls (Jn. 4:23-24). I personally believe, that it’s virtually im­possible for the Saint to truly worship the Lord, unless the Saint has been Baptized with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4), especially consid­ering all the light that has been given on this subject. In fact, without the Baptism with the Holy Spirit, one is left with little more than form and ceremony, which is no wor­ship at all, at least of God! As well, one can be Baptized with the Holy Spirit, actually speaking in Tongues very of­ten, and still not be led by the Spirit. In fact, that is the awful condition of most modern Charismatics and Pentecostals. To cut to the chase, they are little led by the Spirit, be­cause they haven’t placed their Faith totally and completely in the Cross of Christ, but something else altogether.
MUSIC
One of the greatest barometers of praise and worship is music. If one is to notice, the largest Book in the Bible is the Book of Psalms, which is, as is obvious, a Book of Songs. These were songs given to David and other writers of the Psalms, which are given over to Praise and Worship of the Lord. Con­sidering that this is the largest Book in the Bible, the very fact of such, should say some­thing to us. It tells us two things: 1. The value that God places on praise and worship.
2. How much music and singing consti­tute the barometer of our spirituality. I re­alize that is quite a statement, but I know it to be true. If the Spirit of God is allowed to have His way in our music and singing, He will pretty well be able to have His way in everything else also. At least this much will be true, the people concerned will definitely want and desire the Will of God in all things. Some Churches have the mistaken idea, that a particular style of music constitutes Spirit-led music and singing, i.e., “praise and worship.” In other words, if the music is fast, some constitute that as worship, while with others, if it’s slow, they constitute such as worship. None of that really has anything to do with anything. While style definitely does matter, as the Holy Spirit to be sure, has a particular style by which He functions, a mere copying of the style will not guarantee the flow of the Spirit. And to be sure, Churches that adopt Contemporary Christian Music, which by definition refers to similarity with that of the world, most definitely aren’t being led by the Spirit. But regrettably, that characterizes most of the Church world, which lets us know where they are spiritually. Then others attempt to have what they consider to be correct as far as their regu­lar Services are concerned, but promote the music of the world as it regards the young people in their Churches. They claim that this draws the young people. While it cer­tainly might draw young people, it definitely doesn’t draw them to the Lord. And if we’re not to draw them to the Lord, what is our purpose? As we’ve already stated, the Spirit of God doesn’t use anything that the world has in His Work. To be sure, if anything of this world, and I speak of the spirit of the world, is mixed by man into the Work of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit will have none of that effort. How foolish and even stupid can we be, thinking we can pull so-called Christian rock groups, who do their very best to ape the rock­ers of the world, into our Churches, think­ing that by using these methods we are “win­ning the youth.” A short time ago I was told of a particular Church in our city of Baton Rouge which claims to be Spirit-filled, but which employs rock groups in its youth services, rock groups incidentally, which perform in night clubs during the week, and occasionally in Churches on the weekends. To say that such is an abomination is an understatement, in fact, a gross understatement! Actually, I don’t know if there’s anything in any vocabulary that could properly express the utter, absolute stupidity of such action. Is such a Church led by the Spirit? I think the answer to that ought to be obvious. Ir­respective of their claims, such a Church knows nothing about the Lord, is not preach­ing Christ, but rather another Christ, fostered by another spirit, which presents another gospel (II Cor. 11:4). But I’m afraid, that this which I’ve just stated is more so the norm than not. All these Churches are doing is pushing young people a little closer to Hell. The other day someone sent me a copy of an article that was in a so-called Christian Magazine, promoting a particular Church in California, which had set up a pseudo-night­club for its young people. They “serve drinks over the bar,” which although nonalcoholic, were designed to ape the real thing. Oh yes, they also had a dance floor, etc. As well, this particular Church claims to be Spirit-filled and thereby Spirit-led. To be sure, they are spirit-led, but it’s not by the Holy Spirit, but rather by “spirits.” Once again, this which I’ve just described is far too often the norm. The young people who attend such Churches will not be led to the Lord, but rather the very opposite. Virtually all of them will conclude with wasted lives, wrecked and destroyed, simply because the spiritual leadership of such Churches are leading them wrong. Let the Reader understand, that what we’re talking about here, plays out either into lives gloriously blessed by the Lord Jesus Christ, or totally wrecked and destroyed. There is no in-between. Now again, I think you can see why most of the Churches hate Jimmy Swaggart. I re­gret that; however, my business is not to please people, but rather to please God. And if I am to please Him, I must tell the Truth! For this very reason, most of the Preach­ers in the world have attempted to demon­ize this Evangelist. Most people think it’s because of something that happened many years ago; however, that was only an excuse. While there are certainly exceptions, the majority of the Church world doesn’t like what I preach; consequently, they are afraid of any influence I might have, so they do all they can to wreck and destroy that influence. The Church presently is in the same shape of Israel of old, with the Scripture saying, “And Jesus, when He came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion to­ward them, because they were as sheep not having a Shepherd: and He began to teach them many things” (Mk. 6:34). This means that the loss of millions of souls, as it regards the youth in our Churches, as well as the wreckage of their lives, can be laid at the feet of the modern, religious lead­ership of our time. In other words, the Preachers are to blame!
THE FIRST HAS BEEN MADE OLD
The phrase, “He hath made the first old,” means that the Old Covenant was designed by God to have a particular lifespan. That lifespan ended at the Cross, with the New Covenant brought in. By the very fact, that the Holy Spirit through Jeremiah used the word “new,” He has permanently antiquated the First Covenant. Considering that Jeremiah uttered this Prophecy some 600 years before Christ, gave the people and its religious leaders ample time to properly discern and understand what God was doing. But when the time came that the First Covenant was to be set aside, Israel did not let go easily. Even Christian Jews did not easily let go, which among other things, necessitated the writing of this very Epistle to the Hebrews.
TO VANISH AWAY
The phrase, “Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away,” speaks of the time in which Paul lived. In fact, in the Mind of God, the ancient Law of Moses had already vanished away. Jesus ful­filled all of it with His Coming, His Life, and Ministry, and above all, His Death on the Cross, along with His Resurrection, Ascension, and Exaltation (Rom. 4:24-25; Eph. 2:6). Actu­ally, it started vanishing away long before the Cross, even during the time of Jeremiah. During his day, the Temple in Jerusalem was totally destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, with Israel being taken into captivity. They remained some 70 years in Babylonian captivity, with the latter part of that time be­ing under the Medes and the Persians, who had defeated Babylon. During this time, they had no Temple and no Sacrifices. Upon coming back to Israel at the end of the 70 year dispersion, they eventually re­built their Temple; however, there was no Ark of the Covenant placed in the Holy of Holies, that having been lost. So, even though Sac­rifices could now be carried out once again, the High Priest could not go into the Holy of Holies once a year, on the Great Day of Atone­ment, to offer up blood on the Mercy Seat, because such didn’t exist. This was the same with Herod’s Temple, during the time of Christ. However, by that time, the whole of Judiastic worship, had become so corrupted, that it little resembled anymore the original Law of Moses. As stated, Jesus fulfilled all of the Levitical Law by His Life and Death; con­sequently, soon after the writing of this Let­ter to the Hebrews by Paul, the Temple at Jerusalem was totally destroyed by the Roman Tenth Legion under Titus, and with it the Ministry of the Old Covenant perished forever.
THE TWO COVENANTS
These two Covenants, the Old and the New, were made with Israel. A Covenant, as already explained, is a principle of relation­ship between man on the Earth and God. Such is Israel’s glory as an earthly people. The First Covenant was established with them at Sinai; the Second was established with Christ, which they rejected. So this means, that the Gospel is a Cov­enant, a Revelation of the Salvation of God. The Church enjoys all the fullness of the New Covenant, and much more. The foundation of her Blessings are based upon the founda­tion of the New Covenant. As well, all of this will be fulfilled with Israel in the coming Millennium, when she shall then accept Christ as Lord and Saviour. “Free from the Law! Oh, happy condition!
“Jesus hath bled, and there is remission; “Cursed by the Law and bruised by the Fall,
“Christ hath redeemed us once for all.”

1 comment:

Kevin said...

They found the Ark of the Covenant where Moses placed the 10 Commandments, in a cave under Golgotha.

http://arkofthecovenant2.blogspot.com/