Category: Hebrews

The shadow of Reality!

Scripture reading for November 8th: Hebrews 9:1-10

The first covenant had an earthly tabernacle designed according to the pattern that Moses had received from God on the mountain.  This tabernacle had two rooms.  The outer room had a lamp stand, a table with twelve loaves of bread.  This room was called the Holy Place and the priests would go in there regularly to keep the lamps burning, change the loaves of bread.  The second room, the Most Holy Place, was behind the curtain and it contained the Ark of the Covenant made of pure gold overlay and guarded by two golden cherubim with wings outstretched.  The ark contained the tablets of stone with the ten commandments on them, a jar of manna from the Israelites wilderness journey, and Aaron’s rod that budded and produced fruit.  In front of this Ark was a small golden altar of incense.  (Hebrews 9:1-5)

The writer of Hebrews did not want to discuss the articles he had just listed.  As we think about the Ark and its contents, we are reminded of Jesus Christ.  The lid of the Ark was called the ‘mercy seat’ where the glory of God dwelt.  This ark was made of common Acacia wood, overlain with gold.  Jesus had the appearance of a normal human, but was really the royal Son of God who was King of Kings.  He was the One who came to fulfill the law written on the tablets of stone, perfectly obeying the Father.  He was going to give His own body as the true ‘bread from heaven’ as an offering for sin.  His body would be dead and in a grave but God the Father would resurrect Him as His chosen authority to be ruler and High Priest forever!  Jesus would offer His sinless blood on the real Mercy Seat in heaven once, for all!

The priests of Israel could enter the first room to minister daily, but only the High Priest could enter the Most Holy Place once a year on the Day of Atonement.  He must bring sacrifices for his sins and for those committed in ignorance by the people.  As Jesus breathed His last breath, the curtain blocking the Most Holy Place to ripped apart!  Now reality is ours in the new covenant!  We have access to the Most Holy Place through the torn body and blood of Jesus !

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Blessings of a New Covenant!

Scripture reading for November 7th: Hebrews 8:1-13

The old covenant was the law of Moses.  The old covenant was mediated by the Levitical priesthood and required sacrifices of the blood of animals for breaking the law of God.  The Old Testament Scriptures told of the temporary nature of this old covenant and spoke of a new covenant that God was going to make in the last days.

“The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a High Priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man.” (Hebrews 8:1-2)  But when Jesus Christ rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, He went to serve in the true tabernacle.  The earthly temple was only copy and shadow of what was real in heaven.  (Hebrews 8:5-6)  Moses was instructed to make everything according to the pattern give him by God on Mt. Sinai.

The old covenant was obsolete and passing away and the new covenant that God had spoken about through the prophets was now established for the new High Priest!  “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord.  I will put My laws in their minds and write them 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.  For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Jeremiah 31:33-34), (Hebrews 8:10-12)

This covenant brought a personal relationship with God to each person.  Instead of tablets of stone, God would write His law on their hearts and minds.  Sins would be totally forgiven and the record wiped clean.  This new covenant is far superior to the old covenant and the High Priest is out of this world!

The real value of the new covenant is in enjoying it now.  Have you gone to Jesus Christ and humbly asked Him to forgive you of your sins?  Will you let Him wipe your record clean and then give you power to live with His law on your heart and in your mind?  Today is the right day!

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Jesus is able to save completely!

Scripture reading for November 6th: Hebrews 7:18-28

Do you ever wonder if you are really saved?  Do you sometimes think that maybe you are not quite saved, but are missing something?  Feelings can play tricks on us.  We are mortal and our flesh has insecurities and our enemy loves to make accusations.  The writer of Hebrews wants to reassure the believers of the completeness of their salvation!

God appointed Jesus to be a priest forever by using an oath.  “And it was not without an oath!  Others became priests without any oath, but He became a priest with an oath when God said to Him:  “The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind: ‘You are a priest forever.'” (Hebrews 7:20-21)  When Jesus became a priest, He was superior to the Levitical priesthood and had a better covenant as well.

“Not there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, He has a permanent priesthood.  Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.” (Hebrews 7:23-25)  There is no more need for another priest!  This Jesus will always be there any time we have a need.  We can call on Him and know He will pray and has already sacrificed His body and blood on our behalf!

“Such a High Priest meets our need–One who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.  Unlike other priests, He does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for His own sins, and then for the sins of the people.  He sacrificed for their sins once for all when He offered Himself.” (Hebrews 7:26-27)  Jesus is set apart from sinners like us.  He is completely holy and pure.  He was sinless and is now exalted above the heavens.  He has already offered the perfect sacrifice and has been made perfect.

We are so blessed to have this wonderful High Priest!  We don’t need another and never will.  He faithfully intercedes for us and will come back to receive us to Himself.  We can be assured of complete salvation:  forgiveness of our sins now, power to live a holy life, and a glorified body enabling us to live in God’s presence forever!  That’s something to boast about and shout joyfully to the One who paid it all!

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The power of an indestructible life!

Scripture reading for November 5th: Hebrews 7:1-17

Almost everyone has a desire to live forever.  That was God’s original intention when He  made man in His image and likeness, but sin cut short man’s life.  God has given us a record of a man who was a priest of God Most High named Melchizedek.  This man has no record of his birth or his death, appearing to be eternal. No one knows for sure who this man was or where he came from.

Melchizedek appeared before Abraham to bless him, and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything he had!  (Genesis 14:18-20)  He was a priest before their was a Levitical priesthood.  In fact, the Levitical priesthood was in the loins of Abraham when he paid homage to Melchizedek by giving him the tithe!  The writer of Hebrews shows that this proves Melchizedek’s priesthood to be superior to the Levitical priesthood.  (Hebrews 7:7-9)

Jesus Christ descended from the tribe of Judah, not Levi.  Because of this, Jesus normally could not have been appointed as a priest.  But God declared: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” (Psalm 110:4, Hebrews 7:17)   Jesus was declared a priest after the order of Melchizedek because He really was eternal!  He was before time began and now lives forever.  The order of Melchizedek uniquely fits the Son of God!

Death always stopped the Levitical priests from their work of sacrifice and intercession.  They were unable to finish the needed work.  The law and animal sacrifices could never make anyone perfect.  Sacrifices needed to be made continually for the people and the priests.  The law could only reveal sin, but never deliver anyone from it’s power. The fear of death hung over all men because eternity was in man’s heart.  He knew deep inside that sin would bring judgment and punishment.

But Jesus Christ came under the law and perfectly obeyed it’s precepts.  He died to give the perfect sacrifice for man’s sins–His own body and blood!  He offered them once–for all!  He tasted death for all men and was buried in a tomb.  The third day, He arose in a glorified body.  He showed His body to the disciples.  He was now alive forever and would be a Priest in the order of Melchizedek!

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The Anchor of Hope!

Scripture reading for November 4th: Hebrews 6:1-20

The writer of Hebrews says some very difficult things to these Hebrew believers who are struggling with faith and some desiring to return to Judaism.  He encouraged them to move forward in their faith and understanding of Christ.  They needed to grow to maturity and not become stunted in their growth.

“It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace.” (Hebrews 6:4-6)  These words are very difficult to hear.  This gives a very stern warning to those who had made a commitment to Christ and been saved and experienced the gift of the Holy Spirit.   This statement speaks of falling away from the truths of Salvation as a very dangerous thing to do.  When someone who is enlightened and aware of truth chooses to turn away from that truth, darkness overtakes their souls and it becomes impossible for them to be brought back!  What they are doing in turning away is likened to crucifying Jesus again by our actions of rejection.   Doing this after making a commitment is dangerous and fatal to faith.

But hope for these Christians is sure.  They must hold tightly to the Gospel.  “We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make you hope sure.  We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” (Hebrews 6:11-12)   Drift is always away from God but faith and patience applied to every-day living will bring results.  Laziness is a spiritual sin to be avoided!

The hope of eternal life has been promised by God on an oath.  God is a truth-teller.  “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.  It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf.  He has become a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek!” (Hebrews 6:19-20)  Jesus Christ is our anchor of hope and He will keep us as we trust Him.

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The Source of Eternal Salvation

Scripture reading for November 3rd: Hebrews 5:1-14

Nothing in this life lasts forever.  The law of entropy is at work.  Brand new automobiles soon wear out or break down.  Technology that is cutting edge today is obsolete tomorrow.  Our bodies that are young and vibrant are soon old and weak!  But God has given us something that will last forever:  eternal salvation!

“And He says of Him, “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”  “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission.  Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from what He suffered and, once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him and was designated by God to be High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 5:6-10)

In order to become the source of eternal salvation, Jesus Christ humbled Himself in complete obedience to the will of the Father and became a man.  God loved the world and man whom He had made in His image and likeness.  (john 3:16) He wanted all men to be saved so He designated His Son, Jesus Christ as a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

Melchizedek was a priest who met Abraham after he defeated the king of Sodom.  He was a king of Salem and a priest of the Most High God.  As a priest, He had no recorded genealogy.  There was no record of his birth or of his death.  This priest stands out in history because of this as a type of priest without beginning or ending.  His was an eternal priesthood.  Abraham honored Him by giving a tenth (tithe) of the spoils.  (Genesis 14:18-20)

Jesus Christ was designated by God to be a priest forever after this eternal order of Melchizedek.  He earned this right through total submission and obedience to His Father.  He offered up prayers and petitions with crying and tears while offering His body and then His life-blood for lost sinners.  He was raised up after three days to become our High Priest and the source of eternal salvation!  He ever lives to intercede for those He saved!  He is King of Kings and will rule in Salem (Jerusalem)!  He blesses the children of Abraham through faith!

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Entering His Rest!

Scripture reading for November 2nd: Hebrews 4:1-16

“Therefore, since the promise of entering His rest still stands, let us be  careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.  For we also have had the Gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.  Now we who have believed enter that rest. .” (Hebrews 4:1-3a)

Faith in Jesus Christ for complete salvation brings us into what the writer of Hebrews says is ‘His rest’.   Jesus Christ finished our salvation when He cried from the cross, “It is finished!” (John 19:30)   However, even this act was completed in God’s mind before the creation of the world. (Hebrews 4:3b)   God rested along with creation on the seventh day, which God set aside as a day of rest.  (Genesis 2:1-3)  Man’s first full day on earth was to be this day of rest.  Man was to rest in God’s finished provision and to worship and enjoy God’s fellowship as a child with a loving Father!

However, sin entered and man was lured into a dependency on his own abilities to know good and evil.  He gave into Satan’s temptation to try and become like God in his own effort.  The consequences were deadly!  Man died because sin separated him from the relationship of rest in God’s complete provision.   There is truly no rest for those outside of God’s grace.  Eternal weeping and gnashing of teeth is the fate of those dying in their sins! (Revelation 20:15)

God set apart a nation of people through Abraham who He could use as an example of those who would follow Him by faith back into the rest.  Moses was leading this nation out of slavery in Egypt, but the people would not listen to God’s command to possess the promised land.  They did not mix faith with the word of God!  (Hebrews 4:2)  God swore that they would never enter His rest because of their unbelief!  (Psalm 95:11)

But ‘Today’ the promise of rest in Jesus Christ is open to all men.  “Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.” (Hebrews 4:11)  What a joy it is to rest in the hope of eternal life!  Let’s lay hold by faith and enter in today!

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Sin’s deceitfulness

Scripture reading for November 1st: Hebrews 3:1-19

“Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.  He was faithful to the One who appointed Him, just as Moses was faithful in all of God’s house.  … Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, testifying to what would be said in the future.  But Christ is faithful as a Son over God’s house.” (Hebrews 3:1-2, 5-6a)

Jesus is the focus of all true believers.  When we put our faith in Jesus Christ to save us, we are adopted into God’s family and become ‘holy brothers’ with Jesus, the Son of God.  (Romans 8:14-15)  (Galatians 3:26)  Jesus was appointed by His Father to the roles He obediently assumed.  The Son of God was obedient and faithful to His calling.  In fixing our thoughts on Jesus, we can grow in our worship and understanding of who He is and who we are in Him!

The writer to the Hebrews was contrasting Jesus with Moses.  Moses, being picked by God, was faithful to lead God’s people out of slavery and through the desert for forty years. This journey should not have taken forty years.  The sin of unbelief caused the people to turn back and die in the desert!  Jesus Christ was and is God’s Son, holding a position of greater honor than Moses!  Jesus is leading us to Father’s house!

“So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert,. . See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.  But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.  We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at the first.” (Hebrews 3:7, 12-14)  The Hebrews had not listened to God speaking through Moses during the Exodus.  They had let their flesh turn their hearts back to Egypt and this kept them from entering the promised land.  The sin was failure to trust God to bring them into their land!  Jesus promises to take us in–Today!   We must continue to pay close attention and follow Him to Glory!

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Jesus, our faithful High Priest!

Scripture reading for October 31st: Hebrews 2:1-18

“We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” (Hebrews 2:1)   The writer of Hebrews is addressing those Jews who have suffered great persecution and are being tempted to return to their old ways of Judaism.   God spoke in the past to the nation of Israel through the prophets, but now He is speaking to this generation and during these last days to us all through His Son.  If we don’t listen carefully and hear the truth of what He is saying, we will surely drift away into darkness!

“How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?  This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard Him.  God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to His will.” (Hebrews 2:3-4)  We can learn about this salvation by listening to the Lord and those who actually heard Him in person.  God is also speaking now confirming their word with signs, miracles and spiritual gifts.  God will hold us accountable for what we have heard and seen.

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because He suffered death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.” (Hebrews 2:9)  Jesus created the world and all that the universe contained.  God sent Him to become a man and share in man’s suffering and death.  Because of Jesus’ perfect obedience, He tasted death for all men and was raised in glory.  He delivered us from our fear of death by taking our punishment for sin.   He is our brother and calls us who trust in Him ‘brothers’.

“For this reason He had to be made like His brothers in every way that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God and that He might make atonement for the sins of the people.” (Hebrews 2:17)  Jesus’ death destroyed the devil’s power to hold men in fear!  Now Jesus has offered His blood as our faithful High Priest  to atone for our sins.  He is a man who has suffered and can intercede for us.  We must not drift away from these truths!

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Christ Jesus, God’s final word!

Scripture reading for October 30th: Hebrews 1:1-14

We serve a living God!  This great God and Father of us all is a God who speaks to His people.  The Bible is the story of God’s speaking to man to reveal His plan of redemption through His Son, Jesus Christ.  The unnamed writer of Hebrews wrote to Jewish Christians who were going through intense persecution.  Some of them were tempted to return to their past religion.   The writer of Hebrews encourages them and us today to listen to God’s final Word!

“In  the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe.  The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word.  After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” (Hebrews 1:1-3)

God had spoken to His people many times in the past.  The Holy Scriptures contained the records of God’s communication with Moses, Noah, Abraham and the  many prophets.  But God’s final word came in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ.  God appointed Jesus as heir of all things, having made the universe and all it contained through His powerful word.   Jesus Christ now upholds all things by His word and is the exact representation of God the Father.  It is through Jesus Christ that we have purification of our sins.  Jesus is now seated at God’s right hand in Heaven and is our mediator with God on our behalf.

The Jews understood and reverenced angels.  Hebrews declared that Jesus was superior to angels in many ways.  (Hebrews 1:4-14)  His name was above all other names.  Jesus was declared the Son of God and  His Father declared that all angels should worship Him.  The Father declared His Son was  ‘God’ and gave Him a throne and kingdom lasting forever.  His Son would be eternal and would outlast the creation He made.  The angels were only ministering spirits, sent to serve the heirs of salvation.

Have you listened to God’s final Word from heaven?  Do you want to know what God is like?   Listen to Jesus and observe His life and teaching!  He is worthy of our worship!

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