The Aaron Papers www.the-aaron-papers.net
(RASV – 1901)
Note: Read only the underlined
passages for an overview of Hebrews-
“1 God, having of old time spoken unto the fathers
in the prophets by divers portions and in divers manners, 2has at the
end of these days spoken unto us in his
Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the
worlds. 3Who being the brilliance of his glory, and the very image of
his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had
made purification of sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.
4And having become by so much
better than the angels, as he has inherited a more excellent name than they. 5For
unto which of the angels has he said at any time, You are my Son, This day have
I begotten you? And again, I will be to him a Father, And he shall be to me
a Son? 6And again, when he brought the firstborn into the world he
said, And let all the angels of God worship him. 7And of the angels
he said, Who makes his angels spirits, And his ministers a flame a fire: 8But
of the Son he said, Your throne, O
God, is for ever and ever; And the sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of
your kingdom. 9You have loved righteousness, and hated iniquity;
Therefore God, your God, has anointed you With the oil of gladness above your
fellows. 10And, You, Lord, in the beginning did lay the foundation
of the earth, And the heavens are the works of your hands: 11They
shall perish; but you continue: And they all shall wax old as does a garment; 12And
as a mantle shall you roll them up, As a garment, and they shall be changed: But
you are the same, And your years shall not fail. 13But of which of
the angels has he said at any time, Sit on my right hand, Till I make your
enemies the footstool of your feet? 14Are they not all
ministering spirits, sent forth to do service for the sake of them that shall
2 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest
heed to the things that were heard, unless by chance we drift away from them. 2For if the word spoken through angels
proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just
recompense of reward; 3how shall we escape, if we neglect so great
a salvation? Which having at the first been spoken through the Lord, was
confirmed unto us by them that heard; 4God also bearing witness
with them, both by signs and wonders, and by manifold powers, and by gifts of
the Holy Spirit, according to his own will.
5For not unto angels did he
subject the world to come, whereof we speak. 6But one has somewhere
testified, saying, What is man, that you are mindful of him? Or the son of man,
that you did visit him? 7You made him a little lower than the
angels; You crowned him with glory and honor, And did set him over the works of
your hands: 8You did put all things in subjection under his feet. For
in that he subjected all things unto him, he left nothing that is not subject to
him. But now we see that all things are not yet subjected to him. 9But
we behold him who has been made a little lower than the angels, even
Jesus, because of the suffering of death—crowned with glory and honor: That by
the grace of God he should taste of death for every man.
10For it became him, for whom
are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to be made the author of their salvation
perfect through sufferings. 11For both he that sanctifies and they
that are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call
them brethren, 12saying, I will declare your name unto my brethren,
In the midst of the congregation will I sing your praise. 13And again, I
will put my trust in him. And again, Behold, I and the children whom God has
14Since then the children are
sharers in flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner partook of the same;
that through death he might bring to nothing him that had the power of death,
that is, the devil; 15and might deliver all them who through fear of
death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
truly not to angels does he give help, but he gives help to the
seed of Abraham. 17Wherefore it behooved him in all things to be
made like unto his brethren, that he might become a merciful and faithful high
priest in things pertaining to God, ***
to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18For in that he
himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.
3 Wherefore, holy brethren, *** partakers of a
heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ
Jesus; 2who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also was
Moses in all his house. 3For he has been counted worthy of more glory
than Moses, by so much as he that built the house has more honor than the house.
4For every house is built by some one; but he that built all things
is God. 5And Moses indeed was faithful in all his house as a servant,
for a testimony of those things which were afterward to be spoken; 6but
Christ as a son over his house; whose house are we, if we hold fast our
boldness and the glorying of our hope firm unto the end.
7Wherefore, even as the Holy
Spirit said, Today if you shall hear his voice, 8Harden not your
hearts, as in the provocation, Like
as in the day of the trial in the wilderness, 9Where your fathers
tried me by proving me, And saw my works forty years. 10Wherefore I was
displeased with this generation, And said, They do always err in their heart: ***
But they did not know my ways; 11As I sware in my wrath, They
shall not enter into my rest.
12Take heed, brethren, unless by
chance there shall be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling
away from the living God: 13but exhort one another day by day, so
long as it is called Today; unless any one of you be hardened by the
deceitfulness of sin: 14for we are become partakers of Christ, if we
hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end: 15while
it is said, Today if you shall hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. 16For
who, when they heard, did provoke? No, did not all they that came out of Egypt
by Moses? 17And with whom was he displeased forty years? Was it not
with them that sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18And to
whom did he sware that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that
were disobedient? 19And we see that they were not able to enter in
because of unbelief.
4 Let us fear therefore, unless by chance, a
promise being left of entering into his rest, any one of you should seem to have
come short of it. 2For indeed we have had good tidings preached
unto us, even as also they: but *** the
word of hearing did not profit them, because it was not united by faith with
them that heard. 3For we who have believed do enter into that
rest; even as he has said, As I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my
rest: *** although the works were
finished from the foundation of the world. 4For he has said
somewhere of the seventh day on this
way, And God rested on the seventh day from all his works; 5and in
this place again, They shall not enter
into my rest. 6Seeing therefore it remains that some should enter
thereinto, and they to whom the good tidings were before preached failed to
enter in because of disobedience. 7He again defines a certain day,
Today, saying in David so long a time afterward (even as has been said before),
Today if you shall hear his voice, Harden not your hearts.
8For if Joshua had given them
rest, he would not have spoken afterward of another day. 9There
remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10For he that
is entered into his rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from
Then Here in verse eleven, we are again reminded of the many problems that were
experienced by our visible example—Israel. (Ref.Heb.3:19; Rom.11:20, 23 and
32) But at the very same time, we must also remember that Israel’s experiences
that have been recorded in the Scriptures, are all recorded principally for our
benefit and admonition. (Ref.1Cor.10:1-11)
us therefore give diligence to enter into that rest, that no man fall after the
same example of disobedience. 12For the word of God is living, and
active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing
of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts
and intents of the heart. 13And there is no creature that is not
manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and laid open before the eyes of
him with whom we have to do.
14Having then a great high
priest, who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold
fast our confession. 15For we have not a high priest that cannot be
touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but one that has been in all points
tempted like as we are, yet without
sin. 16Let us therefore draw near with boldness unto the throne of
grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace to help us
in time of need.”
These first four chapters of Hebrews have given us the foundational principles
for this dispensation of grace. At the very first, it gave the details that are
involved in the propitiatory work of Jesus. And then secondly, it goes on to
tell us that it was through His obedient suffering, even unto death, that He has
become our great High Priest who has passed through the heavens. Then the
apostle here in Hebrews, very much like the books of Romans and Galatians before,
spends a considerable amount of time on developing the transitional distinction
between the natural and the supernatural. That is, that the visible and the
invisible are of distinctively different offices. The visible is primarily
reflecting the natural and earthly, and the invisible is primarily reflecting
the supernatural and heavenly. But then we find that there are some elements of
God’s dispositions that are common to them both. God now sets out to explain
this marked distinction between the visible and the invisible: Which is that
evident distinction between the natural and the supernatural.
“5 1For every high priest, being taken from among men, is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: 2who can bear gently with the ignorant and erring: The same infirmity he himself is also compassed with, 3and by reason thereof is bound. So as for the people to offer for sins, so also for himself. 4And no man takes the honor unto himself, but when he is called of God, even as was Aaron. 5So Christ also glorified not himself to be made a high priest, but he that spoke unto him, You are my Son, This day have I begotten you: 6as he said also in another place, You are a priest for ever After the order of Melchizedek. 7Who in the days of his flesh, having offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and having been heard for his godly fear, 8though he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered; 9and having been made perfect, he became unto all them that obey him the author of eternal salvation; 10named of God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.”
aaron— We must now carefully consider the priesthood that is to come through the order of Melchizedek. First, we are told that Jesus, according to the prophets (Ref.Ps.110:4), has been appointed the high priest of this special priestly order. But then secondly, we must also understand that this special priesthood must include more than just the high priest alone. Priesthood by definition has many members. Now the New Testament Church as a whole, has erroneously concluded that the entire institutional Church, in order to be considered legitimate, must belong part and parcel of this high priestly line. Yes, it is true that the ELECT priestly line (Ref.1Pe.2:9; Rev.1:6, 5:10 and 20:4—6) is wholly formed and participating members within this very special Melchizedekian group, but what about all of the rest of God’s peoples? What about the descendants of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them? (Ref.Isa.65:23 and 66:22) What about those who are identified as the people of the saints? (Ref.Dan.7:27) What about those who fear His name? (Ref.Rev.11:18) What about all of the institutional peoples of God who are legally bound to His Abrahamic Covenant of Grace? (Ref.Gen.17:1—27; Rom.11:26; Ezek.34:1—31, 36:1—38, and 37:15—28)
“11Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to interpret, seeing you have become dull of hearing. 12For when by reason of the time you ought to be teachers, you have need again that some one teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of solid food. 13For every one that partakes of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness; for he is a babe. 14But solid food is for full—grown men, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
aaron— This last statement pertains to the failure of many to grow in the grace of God and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Their evident failure to move on in the sanctification process. It would seem that they were unable to move on from the comfort of their justification: They were refusing to grow—up.
“6 1Therefore leaving the doctrine of the first principles of Christ, let us press on unto perfection; not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2of the teaching of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of the resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3And this will we do, if God permit.
4For as touching those who were once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5and tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the age to come, 6and then fell away, it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. 7For the land which has drunk the rain that comes often upon it, and has brought forth herbs, meet for them for whose sake it is also tilled, receives blessing from God: 8but if it bears thorns and thistles, it is rejected and near unto a curse; whose end is to be burned.”
aaron— This portion of Scripture has been very troubling throughout the entire history of the Christian Church. But this trouble that they are having, would appear to spring out from their superficial definition of this passage. What does "and then fell away" specifically mean? The meaning here is surely much deeper than simply one’s back—sliding or falling into some sinful condition. It would have to go much further, such as one who would proudly flaunt their sinful ways in the face of God. This one that "fell away" would have had to have had a complete change of mind. That is, they would no longer believe in the God of Abraham or in Abraham's Seed—Christ. (Gal.3:16)
“9But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, the things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak: 10for God is not unrighteous to forget your work and the love which you showed toward his name, in that you ministered unto the saints, and still do minister.”
aaron— Exactly who are these that continue on ministering to the saints? What the apostle is essentially doing here, is exhorting the institutional corporate peoples of God to keep on—keeping on:
“11And we desire that each one of you may show the same diligence unto the fullness of hope even to the end: 12that you be not sluggish, but imitators of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. 13For when *** God made promise to Abraham, since he could swear by none greater, he swore by himself, 14saying, Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you. 15And thus, having patiently endured, he obtained the promise. 16For men swear by the greater: and in every dispute of theirs the oath is the final confirmation. 17Wherein God, being minded to show more abundantly unto the heirs of the promise the immutability of his counsel, interposed with an oath; 18that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have a strong encouragement, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us: 19which we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and entering into that which is within the veil; 20where, as a forerunner, Jesus entered for us, having become a high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.”
aaron— We must consider that the New Testament Church has defined the institutional peoples of God in a very restrictive way. That is, they have defined the whole population of God’s peoples in almost a singular way. It is their opinion that the only people who legitimately belong to the New Testament Church, are those who can claim membership within what they have loosely interpreted as the true Church. But in this New Testament description of this Melchizedekian order, we are being introduced principally to God’s special invisible priestly line. The institutional peoples of God are evident throughout the entire Bible, but the special identity of the invisible elect priesthood of God requires considerable explanation and even more mental dexterity on the part of the hearer:
“7 1For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2to whom also Abraham divided a tenth part of all. (Being first, by interpretation, King of righteousness, and then also King of Salem, which is King of peace; 3without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like unto the Son of God), abides a priest continually. 4Now consider how great this man was, unto whom Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth out of the chief spoils.”
aaron— The important thing for us to see here, is the supernatural character of this Melchizedek—king of Salem. We must believe that Abraham was actually face to face with a theophany of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“5And they indeed of the sons of Levi that receive the priest’s office have commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though these have come out of the loins of Abraham:”
aaron— Two important points are given here in verse five. First, we have conformation for the practice of the giving of tithes in support of God’s work. Secondly, the Levitical priesthood was also God’s natural visible example of something supernatural and invisible.
“6but he whose genealogy is not counted from them has taken tithes of Abraham, and has blessed him that has the promises. 7But without any dispute the less is blessed of the better. 8And here men that die receive tithes; but there one, of whom it is witnessed that he lives.”
aaron— Here again, God is pointing out an important distinction between the natural Levitical priesthood—the temporal visible priesthood, and the supernatural Melchizedekian priesthood—that is the eternal invisible priesthood.
“9And, so to say, through Abraham even Levi, who receives tithes, has paid tithes; 10for he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchizedek met him.
11Now if there was perfection through the Levitical priesthood (for under it have the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should arise after the order of Melchizedek, and not be reckoned after the order of Aaron? 12For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity also a change of the law.”
aaron— Two separate and distinct priesthoods are in view: First, the visible order of Aaron. Second, the invisible order of Melchizedek.
“13For he of whom these things are said belongs to another tribe, from which no man has given attendance at the altar. 14For it is evident that our Lord has sprung out of Judah; as to which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priests. 15And what we say is yet more abundantly evident, if after the likeness of Melchizedek there arises another priest, 16who has been made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life: 17for it is witnessed of him, You are a priest for ever After the order of Melchizedek.”
aaron— This is precisely that which the law was designed to reveal. That is, God gave us these visible physical dispositions in order that we might comprehend His invisible supernatural dispositions. This revelation is one of the principal purposes behind this dispensation of the New Covenant—The revelation of the eternal hidden things of God.
“18For there is an annulling of a foregoing commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness 19(for the law made nothing perfect), and a bringing in thereupon of a better hope, through which we draw near unto God.”
aaron— Read this passage thus: yes, an annulment of the preceding command comes about because of its weakness and unprofitableness. For we all know that the law itself perfected nothing. But what the law served was the bringing in of a better hope, through which we (the Nations) are now able to draw near to God. Yet, here again, we can best understand this complicated riddle through the concept of God’s visible dispositions in distinction to God’s invisible dispositions. Once again, one of the primary reasons for the New Testament dispensation, is the manifestation and the explanation of God’s invisible supernatural dispositions. But special care must be given to the above statement concerning the law:
"18For there is an annulling of a foregoing commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness 19(for the law made nothing perfect)," that we not go beyond the meaning that God has assigned here in this passage. Remember what is stated in Rom.3:31 Do we then make the law void through faith? Certainly not! But on the contrary, we establish the law. So there is a balance that must be found between these two extremes concerning the Law. Only Christ’s propitiation has the power to convey perfection.
“20And inasmuch as it is not without the taking of an oath 21(for they indeed have been made priests without an oath; but he with an oath by him that said of him, The Lord sware and will not repent himself, You are a priest for ever); 22by so much also has Jesus become the surety of a better covenant. 23And they indeed have been made priests many in number, because that by death they are hindered from continuing: 24but he, because he abides for ever, has his priesthood unchangeable. 25Wherefore also he is able to save to the uttermost them that draw near unto God through him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them. 26For such a high priest was fitting for us, holy, guileless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; 27who needs not daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people: for this he did once for all, when he offered up himself. 28For the law appointed men high priests, having infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was after the law, appointed a Son, perfected for evermore.”
aaron— Here we see an evident contrasting being made between the finite and the infinite: A contrasting between the characteristics of the visible Levitical priesthood and the characteristics of the invisible Melchizedekian priesthood. And we also learn that the presence of the Melchizedekian priesthood was wholly incumbent upon the offering of the perfect sacrifice—the true Passover Lamb—The Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. A holy priesthood that has a present eternal characteristic that continues on even now in both the visible dimension (Jn.5:25; 11:25; Rev.1:6; 5:10) and the invisible dimension (Rev.20:4, 6).
“8 1Now in the things which we are saying the chief point is this: We have such a high priest, who sat down on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, 2a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man.”
aaron— This is the main point of our whole discussion. It involves the revelation and explanation of the invisible heavenly things of God:
“3For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is necessary that this high priest also have somewhat to offer. 4But now if he (Jesus) were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, seeing there are those who offer the gifts according to the law; 5who serve that which is a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. Even as Moses is warned of God when he is about to make the tabernacle: for, See, said he, that you make all things according to the pattern that was showed you in the mount.”
aaron— It would seem that the earthly copy of the heavenly things could continue on even now—to be that same earthly representation. This is seen first in the fact that Jesus’ supernatural office is never to be seen as an earthly office. For "if he (Jesus) were on earth, he would not be a priest at all". So we are once again forced to consider the character of the visible things of God along with the character of the invisible things of God. And then absolutely understanding that these two characteristics are of distinctively different offices, yet coexistent in time and space. That is, the earthly office represents the visible characteristic of God’s dispositions: Which we understand here from the book of Hebrews in one case as the Levitical priesthood. And then the revelation in another case of the supernatural or heavenly office that would represent the invisible characteristics of God’s dispositions: Which we can now understand as the supernatural Melchizedekian priesthood. Then it is here that Jesus’ High Priestly office is represented within this latter group.
“6But now has he obtained a ministry the more excellent, by so much as he is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted upon better promises.”
aaron— It is extremely important that we thoroughly understand this better covenant. That is, this covenant is actually better, because God has now taken complete control of everything. Man’s actions have absolutely no participatory value towards its successful completion. Because of Christ's complete atonement, this is surely the clear revelation of God’s boundless grace.
“7For if that first covenant had been faultless, then would no place have been sought for a second. 8For finding fault with them, he said, Behold, the days come, said the Lord, That I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; 9Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers In the day that I took them by the hand to lead them forth out of the land of Egypt; For they continued not in my covenant, And I regarded them not, said the Lord.”
aaron— As we try to understand God’s meaning here in these complicated passages, we must never overlook God’s common practice of recapitulation. The fault of "the first covenant" was in the fact that it was designed principally to reveal a perfect Creator to an imperfect creation. That is, the real fault that existed under the law, was the predisposition of God’s whole creation. Consequently, without the perfect sacrifice and the effecting of God’s boundless grace, creation would have had no hope at all.
“10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, said the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, And on their heart also will I write them: And I will be to them a God, And they shall be to me a people: 11And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, And every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: For all shall know me, From the least to the greatest of them. 12For I will be merciful to their iniquities, And their sins will I remember no more. 13In that he said, A new covenant he has made the first old. But that which is growing old and becoming aged is near unto vanishing away.”
aaron— This passage is referring first, to the sacrificial law that was given to Moses in the wilderness. And then secondly, it speaks about the new and perfect sacrifice, which is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world—our Lord Jesus Christ. Which is clearly defining the Covenant of Bondage—the Circumcision of the Flesh Covenant, in distinction to the Covenant of Grace—the Covenant of Promise. But then in addition to that simple comparison, we must also recognize the two defined characteristics that are being given to God’s covenants through the analogy of the first covenant and then of the second covenant. The first covenant must be defined as simply the visible covenant of the flesh: That we have identified as the Circumcision of the Flesh Covenant. (Ref.Gen.17:1—14, 20, and 23—27) Then by using our 20/20 New Testament hindsight, the second covenant must be defined as the invisible Covenant of Promise. (Ref.Gen.17:15—19, and 21) We also see that this same analogy is being made in Gal.4:22—31: Where we must pay particular and careful attention to verses 22—26. Here also, the apostle Paul describes these same two covenants. That is, by the analogy of the two mothers pictured here as representing these visible and invisible characteristics of Abraham's Covenants with God. First, we have Hagar pictured as representing the visible physical characteristics of God’s Covenant of Bondage, and then Sarah is pictured as representing the invisible supernatural characteristics of God’s Covenant of Promise. And then secondly, we find that these same distinguishing principles are also confirmed through the analogy of these two cities. That is, the visible character of the earthly Jerusalem that is in bondage with her children, and the invisible character of the heavenly Jerusalem that is free. This one Covenant of Grace—the Abrahamic Covenant, that contains both the visible characteristics and the invisible characteristics of God’s dispositions, is a most difficult area of theology to fully understand or explain.
“9 1Now even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service, and its sanctuary, a sanctuary of this world. 2For there was a tabernacle prepared, the first, wherein were the candlestick, and the table, and the showbread; which is called the Holy place. 3And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holy of holies; 4having a golden altar of incense, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was a golden pot holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; 5and above it cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy—seat; of which things we cannot now specifically speak. 6Now these things having been thus prepared, the priests go in continually into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the services; 7but into the second the high priest alone, once in the year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:
8the Holy Spirit this signifying, that the way into the holy place has not yet been made manifest, while the first tabernacle is yet standing; 9which is a figure for the time present; according to which are offered both gifts and sacrifices that cannot, as touching the conscience, make the worshipper perfect, 10being only (with meats and drinks and divers washings) carnal ordinances, imposed until a time of reformation.
11But Christ having become a high priest of the good things to come, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation, 12nor yet through the blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood, entered in once for all into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption. 13For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling them that have been defiled, sanctify unto the cleanness of the flesh: 14how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish unto God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
aaron It is the necessary transition in God’s reconciliation that is being conveyed once again here in these passages: Which is most easily understood as observing the transitional focus from God’s visible dispositions to God’s invisible dispositions. But at the very same time, we must not loose sight of the efficacy that God had instilled within the visible sacrifices—"13For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling them that have been defiled, sanctify unto the cleanness of the flesh". Then the efficacy of Christ's sacrifice for sin—past, present, and future, is much more thorough—cleansing even the conscience.
“15And for this cause he is the mediator of a new covenant, that a death having taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant (visible Israel—Ref.Rom.3:24—26), they that have been called (those from the Nations) may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. 16For where a testament is, there must of necessity be the death of him that made it. 17For a testament is of force where there has been death: for it does never avail while he that made it lives. 18Wherefore even the first covenant has not been dedicated without blood. 19For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses unto all the people according to the law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20saying, This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded to you—ward. 21Moreover the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry he sprinkled in like manner with the blood. 22And according to the law, I may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and apart from the shedding of blood there is no remission.
23It was necessary therefore that the copies of the things in the heavens should be cleansed with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24For Christ entered not into a holy place made with hands, like in pattern to the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear before the face of God for us: 25nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest enters into the holy place year by year with blood not his own; 26else must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once at the end of the ages has he been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27And inasmuch as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this comes judgment; 28so Christ also, having been once offered to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time, apart from sin, to them that wait for him, unto salvation.” 1Pe.1:3-13
aaron— It will almost suffice if we repeat these things once again: These passages are manifesting and explaining the transition from a focus on God’s visible dispositions—"the copies of the things in the heavens", to a focus on God’s invisible dispositions— "the heavenly things themselves". And then also explaining more of the in—depth details of God’s invisible dispositions to our understanding. Then verse 28 is pointing to the next chronological event that we are to look forward to—the return of Christ when He will gather up His elect priesthood into the clouds of glory. (1Thes.4:16, 17; 1Cor.15:23, 24)
“10 1For the law having a shadow of the good things to come, not the very image of the things, can never with the same sacrifices year by year, which they offer continually, make perfect them that draw near. 2Else would they not have ceased to be offered? Because the worshippers, having been once cleansed, would have had no more consciousness of sins. 3But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance made of sins year by year. 4For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins. 5Wherefore when he comes into the world, he said, Sacrifice and offering you would not, But a body did you prepare for me; 6In whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you had no pleasure:
7Then I said, Lo, I am come (In the roll of the book it is written of me) To do your will, O God. 8Saying above, Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you would not, neither had pleasure therein (which are offered according to the law), 9then has he said, Lo, I am come to do your will. He takes away the first, that he may establish the second. 10And by this we will have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
aaron— This is again making reference to the first covenant that is generally represented by the Mosaic Law, and then to the second covenant that is generally represented by the fullness of God’s Everlasting Covenant of Grace—that is fully facilitated through the propitiatory work of Jesus. And yet again, we must also remember that God’s Law and God’s Grace are always functionally coexistent within God’s Universal Reconciliation. When we read—“For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins”, we should understand this saying from its broadest perspective. Throughout the entire Old Testament period, the efficacy of their sins being forgiven through the sacrifices offered by the priests and the high priest was always contingent on the atonement that comes through Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection:
“11And every priest indeed stands day by day ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12but he, when he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13henceforth expecting till his enemies be made the footstool of his feet. 14For by one offering he has perfected forever them that are sanctified. 15And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after he has said, 16This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, said the Lord: I will put my laws on their heart, and upon their mind also will I write them; then said he, 17And their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. 18Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.”
aaron— This is the very same covenant that God promised through the prophet Jeremiah in Jer.31:31—34: A perfect covenant that contained the entire sum of God’s grace. Which is essentially the very same covenant that God first made with Abraham in Gen.17:1—27. It is completely based on God's boundless grace through Christ’s one eternal sacrifice upon the cross.
“19Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20by the way which he dedicated for us, a new and living way, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21and having a great priest over the house of God; 22let us draw near with a true heart in fullness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience: and having our body washed with pure water, 23let us hold fast the confession of our hope that it waver not; for he is faithful that promised: 24and let us consider one another to incite all unto love and good works; 25not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as you see the day drawing near. 26For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more a sacrifice for sins, 27but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and a fierceness of fire which shall devour the adversaries.”
aaron— "if we sin willfully" results in "a certain fearful expectation of judgment". Some have concluded that the expected judgment that is mentioned here, is a judgment that results in a sentence of eternal damnation. That conclusion would seem to fly in the face of God’s matchless grace along with His secure promises. That is, it would seem to be taking salvation out of God’s hands and placing it wholly on the shoulders of man. (Ref.Rom.7:5-25)
“28A man that has set at nought Moses law dies without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses: 29of how much sorer punishment, think you, shall he be judged worthy, who has trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing, and has done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30For we know him that said, Vengeance belongs unto me, I will recompense. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.”
aaron— The question that must be asked here is this—Can one who is "sanctified" become unsanctified? Again, if that were the case, man would be in total control of his own destiny. But now if we understand God’s matchless grace properly, that scenario could not even be a possibility. Nevertheless, we must understand that there are grievous consequences for the peoples of God whenever they decide to turn their backs on God and go their own way. The story of the prodigal son would be a good example of these potential consequences.
“31It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. 32But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after you were enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings; 33partly, being made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, becoming partakers with them that were so used. 34For you both had compassion on them that were in bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of you possessions, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and an abiding one. 35Cast not away therefore your boldness, which has great recompense of reward. 36For you have need of patience, that, having done the will of God, you may receive the promise. 37For yet a very little while, He that comes shall come, and shall not tarry. 38But my righteous one shall live by faith: And if he shrink back, my soul has no pleasure in him. 39But we are not of them that shrink back unto perdition; but of them that have faith unto the saving of the soul.”
“11 1Now faith is substance of things hoped for, an evidence of things not seen. 2For therein the elders had witness borne to them. 3By faith we understand that the worlds have been framed by the word of God, so that what is seen has not been made out of things which appear.
4By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he had witness borne to him that he was righteous, God bearing witness in respect of his gifts: and through it he being dead yet spoke.
5By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God translated him: for he has had witness borne to him that before his translation he had been well—pleasing unto God: 6And without faith it is impossible to be well—pleasing unto him; for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him.
7By faith Noah, being warned of God concerning things not as yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; through which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
8By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed to go out unto a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.
9By faith he became a sojourner in the land of promise, as in a land not his own, dwelling in tents, with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 10for he looked for the city which has the foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
11By faith even Sarah herself received power to conceive seed when she was past age, since she counted him faithful who had promised: 12wherefore also there sprang of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of heaven in multitude, and as the sand, which is by the sea—shore, innumerable.
13These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14For they that say such things make it manifest that they are seeking after a country of their own. 15And if indeed they had been mindful of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God; for he has prepared for them a city.
17By faith Abraham, being tried, offered up Isaac: yes, he that had gladly received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; 18even he to whom it was said, In Isaac shall your seed be called: 19accounting that God is able to raise up, even from the dead; from whence he did also in a figure receive him back.
20By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even concerning things to come.
21By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.
22By faith Joseph, when his end was near, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.
23By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months by his parents, because they saw he was a goodly child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment.
24By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; 25choosing rather to share ill treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26accounting the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt: for he looked unto the recompense of reward.
27By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
28By faith he kept the Passover, and the sprinkling of the blood, that the destroyer of the firstborn should not touch them.
29By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians trying to do the same, were swallowed up.
30By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they had been compassed about for seven days.
31By faith Rahab the harlot perished not with them that were disobedient, having received the spies with peace.
32And what more shall I say? For the time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah; of David and Samuel and the prophets: 33who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, waxed mighty in war, turned to flight armies of aliens. 35Women received their dead by a resurrection: and others were tortured, not accepting their deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: 36and others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37they were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were slain with the sword: they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, ill—treated 38(of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves, and the holes of the earth. 39And these all, having had witness borne to them through their faith, received not the promise, 40God having provided some better thing concerning us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.”
aaron— This eleventh chapter of Hebrews is extremely important for our understanding concerning the means by which God is now revealing and dispensing His grace. We can see by these passages, that faith is always the active ingredient that is absolutely essential for any understanding of God’s Universal Reconciliation or any understanding of Abraham’s Covenants with God. It is only through this God given faith and understanding that we are presently able to cautiously enter into the invisible realm of the supernatural. But we must also understand this important fact: That this present revelation and explanation of faith, is just one of the many things that God is accomplishing within this Second or New Covenant—the common Christian era. It will also be helpful for us, if we include this passage from Gal.3:23—"But before faith came, we were kept inward—under the Law." And then understanding, that this important passage has full application even for today. Along with the Old Testament peoples of God, there are many individuals within the Christian Church that would seem to be deficient in faith even now, if not altogether destitute. Those who are, in many instances, legally bound—up by the Law. One might judge that they are still under the rigors of the schoolmaster. (Ref.Gal.3:24; Heb.13:9)
“12 1Therefore let us also, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
aaron— Now if Jesus is "the author and perfecter of our faith", what space is there left here for anyone to claim any credit for themselves?
“3For consider him that has endured such contradictions of sinners against himself, that you not become weary, fainting in your souls. 4You have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin: 5and you have forgotten the exhortation which reasons with you as with sons, My son, regard not lightly the chastening of the Lord, Nor faint when you are reproved of him; 6For whom the Lord loves he chastens, And scourges every son whom he receives. 7It is for chastening that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father chastens not? 8But if you are without chastening, whereof all have been made partakers, then are you bastards, and not sons. 9Furthermore, we had the fathers of our flesh to chasten us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed good to them; but he for our profit, that we may be partakers of his holiness.
11All chastening seems for the present to be not joyous but grievous; yet afterward it yields peaceable fruit unto them that have been exercised thereby, even the fruit of righteousness.
12Wherefore lift up the hands that hang down, and the palsied knees; 13and make straight paths for your feet, that that which is lame be not put out of the way, but rather be healed.
14Follow after peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no man shall see the Lord:
15looking carefully unless there be any man that falls short of the grace of God; unless any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby the many be defiled; 16Unless there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one mess of meat sold his own birthright. 17For you know that even when he afterward desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected; for he found no place for a change of mind in his father, though he sought is diligently with tears.”
“18For you are not come unto a mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, and unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, 19and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that no word more should be spoken unto them; 20for they could not endure that which was commanded, If even a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned; 21and so fearful was the appearance, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:”
aaron— Verses 18—21 represents another clear example of those things that are earthly and visible. We are constrained again and again by the Scriptures, to accept this principle example of God’s visible dispositions.
“22but you are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable hosts of angels, 23to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24and to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better than that of Abel.”
aaron— Then verses 22—24 represent a clear example of those things that are heavenly and invisible. And then here again, we are forced to accept these words as principle examples of God’s invisible dispositions.
“25See that you refuse not him that speaks. For if they escaped not when they refused him that warned them on earth, much more shall we not escape who turn away from him that warns from heaven: 26whose voice then shook the earth: but now he has promised, saying, Yet once more will I make to tremble not the earth only, but also the heaven. 27And this word, Yet once more, signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that have been made, that those things which are not shaken may remain. 28Wherefore, receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us have grace, whereby we may offer service well—pleasing to God with reverence and awe: 29for our God is a consuming fire.”
“13 1Let brotherly love continue.
2Forget not to show love unto strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
3Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; them that are ill—treated, as being yourselves also in the body.
4Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the bed be undefiled: for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
5Be free from the love of money; be content with such things as you have: for He himself has said, I will in no way fail you, neither will I in any way forsake you. 6So that with good courage we say, The Lord is my helper; I will not fear: What shall man do unto me?
7Remember them that have the rule over you, men that spoke unto you the word of God; and considering the issue of their life, imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever.
9Be not carried away by divers and strange teachings: for it is good that the heart be established by grace; not by meats, wherein they that occupied themselves were not profited.
10We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat that serve the tabernacle. 11For the bodies of those beasts whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned without the camp. 12Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people through his own blood, suffered without the gate. 13Let us therefore go forth unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
14For we have not here an abiding city, but we seek after the city which is to come.
15Through him then let us offer up a sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips which make confession to his name.
16But do not forget to do good and to communicate: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
17Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit to them: for they watch in behalf of your souls, as they that shall give account; that they may do this with joy, and not with grief: for this is unprofitable for you.
18Pray for us: for we are persuaded that we have a good conscience, desiring to live honorably in all things. 19And I exhort you the more exceedingly to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner.
20Now the God of peace, who brought again from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep with the blood of an eternal covenant, even our Lord Jesus, 21make you perfect in every good thing to do his will, working in us that which is well—pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.22But I exhort you, brethren, bear with the word of exhortation, for I have written unto you in few words. 23Know that our brother Timothy has been set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you. 24Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you. 25Grace be with you all. Amen.
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|All text copyright © 2005 aaron. All rights reserved. Photos, unless otherwise credited, are the property of the auth, all rights reserved. Originally posted February 24, 2004. Revised: February 20, 2009.|