A Study in Hebrews
Chapter 9:11-Chapter 10:18
Continued from Part One…
Verses 5-10 read this way:
Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, Then I said, Behold, I have come—in the volume of the book it is written of Me—To do Your will, O God.’ Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin you did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Once the perfect had been provided, no longer was the imperfect accepted by Almighty God. After all, it cost the Father the highest price that could possibly be paid. I have heard it said this way, “God bankrupted Heaven in order to set mankind free.” How can anyone hope to satisfy the demands of a Holy God if his holy sacrifice is rejected? It is impossible by any other means.
I cannot highlight this one fact enough. The whole system of covering man’s sins through the Old Testament sacrifices, although instructed by God when He gave Moses the Old Testament law, is made totally irrelevant because God Himself replaced the whole shadow system with the genuine provision, paid for in total by Almighty God Himself. This means that any attempt to hang onto the old when the new has been provided, is of no use or value to God. He is the One who makes the ultimate eternal decisions as to how man is to have a legitimate relationship with Him. Let’s expand a bit on this…
Who would it be that would do anything and everything in his power to blind the eyes of man so that he could be brought to eternal destruction? Who would hate the human race this much? Would this not be the fallen Lucifer, the devil? Absolutely! Was it not this fallen being that appeared to Eve in the Garden of Eden and questioned God’s own words to her by asking her, “Did God really say…??” The devil, appearing to Eve (not in the form of a dust-crawling, fear inspiring dirty snake as most think, but rather as a magnificent, strikingly beautiful upright walking serpent) knew exactly how to twist God’s words in a way that she herself questioned God’s words and His motivation for saying them to her. Jesus called the devil the “father of lies” for a good reason. The reason this is so important to understand is this: From the very beginning, the enemy of our souls has done everything he could to keep us from the real Truth. The truth of creation, the truth of the real identity of God, the truth of mankind’s fall, the truth of God’s provision for mankind’s fall, the truth of sin, the truth of Salvation, the truth of man’s real destiny, the truth of the identity of Jesus Christ, the truth of what really happened at the cross of Calvary, the truth of God’s Heaven, and so much more! Man has been lied to throughout his history, but God has always provided him the Truth. From the very beginning, man has always been given the choice, “Choose you this day whom you will serve, God, or the fallen one.” Now that we are at the precipice of the end of the age, the battle between good and evil is being brought to a climax.
From the beginning, God has shown man that he cannot earn God’s favor, God’s forgiveness, certainly not eternal paradise, by any human religious works. It has always taken God’s intervention into the affairs of man to make an acceptable relationship available–a relationship based on right-standing with God.
For the first two millennia of man’s history, God dealt with man through his conscience. Then God brought about the age of the law. God’s law given through the prophet Moses showed man how destitute he really was and how much he is dependent on God through His grace to make provision for man that he could not provide for himself. The law of Moses temporarily provided that.
God then initiated the next part of His eternal plan for mankind; this time by stepping into the shell of a man, wearing a man’s sandals and becoming the Son of Man. But, at the same time, He was the Son of God, because it could only be God that could save man from eternal death. God did not have a son through the natural process of normal relations with the virgin Mary. God used Mary’s womb as a vehicle to bring the Messiah into the world. Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus. God entered the womb of Mary by instrumentation of the Spirit of God, thereby bypassing the genetic fallen nature that every human being had been born with since the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden. Joseph and Mary had many other children by the natural means. These in effect became the half-brothers of Jesus of Nazareth. Two of the New Testament books were written by Jude and James, two of Jesus’ half brothers. The life, death, and resurrection of this one Man, the God-Man, is the permanent, one and only provision acceptable by the Almighty to bring man into a right-relationship with Him. There is no other. This is why this study in Hebrews is so essential.
One of the “Truths” mentioned above has to do with the identity of the Messiah. Satan, the father of lies, has tried for millennia to distort the identity of who Jesus really was. He does not care if Jesus is recognized as a great prophet. He doesn’t care if He is seen as “a” son of God. He is more than happy to have Jesus recognized as a great teacher, social reformer, antagonist, religious reformer, even a great man martyred. Jesus was all of these things and more. The one identity that the devil cannot afford to have man see is that He was God in the flesh, coming to pay the debt of man’s sin and total spiritual bankruptcy when it comes to his relationship with God. When man comes to recognize Jesus as the Eternal God, Creator and sustainer of the entire universe, then Satan’s lies and his plans for man’s eternal destruction collapse.
Jesus Christ is known as the “Word of God.” The first chapter of the Gospel of John, written by the beloved apostle, made these Incredible statements:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. John 1:1-3
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John (John the Baptist) bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom i said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me for He was before me. And His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:14-17
…I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. John 1:26-27
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ John 1:29-30
A full study on the true identity of Jesus Christ the Messiah is not feasible in this study on Hebrews because it is so voluminous, but it must be recognized and accepted that this man, Jesus, truly was and is, and always will be the Son of God, God in the flesh. I will add just a little more Scriptural backing before moving on. This passage in the first chapter of Colossians is more lengthy but I have included it because it gives the full story of salvation through Jesus Christ.
…giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister. Colossians 1:9-23
Our world is full of varied religious belief systems. One of the basic tenants of the Christian faith that separates true Christianity from every other belief system more than anything else has to do with the identity of Jesus, the Nazarene. Some believe that He was a great teacher, others say that He was one of the world’s great prophets. The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that He was the archangel Michael before His life on earth and now again after His resurrection. Mormons believe that He is the spirit brother of Lucifer. The Bahi faith does not believe that divinity was ever represented in any one person, believing that Jesus was just one of a long line of great teachers and prophets. The Way Ministries International teaches that Jesus was a perfect human, having been born of perfect seed planted within the womb of Mary, but not with the same attributes of God. Islam teaches that Jesus (Isa) is one of the most beloved prophets of God but that He is not divine, nor is He the Son of God…certainly not God in the flesh. According to the Qu’ran, Jesus was just one of a very long line of Allah’s prophets, with Jesus being an inferior prophet to Muhammad because Muhammad was given a more complete revelation. Even Judaism, which God has set aside as the “chosen nation,” rejects Jesus as the Messiah. Jews, for the most part, are still looking for their Messiah, one that they think will fulfill what the Hebrew Scriptures say about the Messiah and one they think will more fully fulfill the Old Testament prophecies regarding the coming Messiah.
Christianity teaches that there is one God but He expresses Himself in three persons, God the Father, God the Son (Word), and God the Holy Spirit, all co-equal, co-eternal, all three persons being All Powerful, All Knowing, and All Present everywhere. When the Scribes and Pharisees were choking on the fact that Jesus said He had known Abraham in his day, He answered them by saying, “Before Abraham was, I am.” He was telling them that before Abraham was ever born, He was The Eternal God.
Now we know why God takes it as an insult when we insist on finding another way for salvation, side-stepping God’s perfect sacrificial provision, the spotless Lamb of God. Verses 9-10 of chapter 10 says that He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
This puts anyone who teaches that Jesus Christ is not who God proclaimed Him to be, is putting cross-hairs on himself. God will not be contradicted, nor will He be corrected by any man, no matter if he is priest, prophet, or any other kind of world leader. God’s Word is the conclusion of the matter. God does not allow debate on the Truth.
Going on in chapter 10, we read:
And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till his enemies are made his footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them, then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin. Verses 11-18
One thing that the old sacrificial system could never do is to perfect the one whose sins were being covered. As soon as atonement was made, the stains of sin began to appear again, making it necessary to go through the entire process again and again. No one bringing their sacrificial animals to the temple priests even expected to be perfected. It was not possible! Verse 11 reminds us that the repeated sacrifices could never take away sins.
Verse 12 however then adds, “But this Man…” Here the writer of the book of Hebrews makes a sharp contrast between the repeated never-ending sacrifices of the past and the sacrifice of this Man, who offered one sacrifice for sins FOREVER! No more need for sacrifices year after year after year! It was finished!…..just as Jesus had proclaimed before he expired on the cross. The potency of that precious, royal, unfathomably powerful BLOOD was more than enough to reach all the way back in time to wipe out even the “covered” sins of the Old Testament saints, and all the way forward in time to remove every hint and tinge of the stain of sin from every single person who will ask for forgiveness of that Man! Praise God, sin and death have been defeated… forever!
The last part of the verse then says that Jesus, after completing the task, sat down at the right hand of God. Verse 13 adds that He is now waiting until all those that choose to be His enemies are defeated and made His footstool.
Many who struggle with the concept of the Trinity of the Godhead have a difficulty with verse 12 where the Bible tells us that Jesus sat down at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. This is especially hard for those that have been raised under the teachings of Islam. Islam’s prophet, Muhammad, was right when he said there is only one God. That is absolutely true and is one of the basic non-negotiable doctrines of the Christian faith. But, this one God, someone that is so far above anything or anyone that our small limited minds can even conceive, does express Himself in three distinct persons, as explained above. God was able to oversee the entire one-time sacrifice for the sins of the world by God the Father overseeing the whole process while God the Son, the Word, allowed Himself to be murdered on the cross at Calvary, all the while being empowered to complete the course by God the Holy Spirit. It is a bit mind-bending, but absolutely true.
I would like to interject a short Psalm from the Old Testament at this point because it shows the three distinct personages of God and ties it to verse 13 where the writer to the Hebrews states that Jesus is now waiting until His enemies are made His footstool. Here is how the Psalm reads and I will insert which personage of the Godhead is speaking in each portion of the Psalm.
The Psalm starts with the third person of the Godhead, The Holy Spirit speaking in verses 1-5::
“Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, ‘Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.’ He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure;”
The Father, the first person of the Godhead, then speaks next in verse 6:
“Yet I have set My King on my holy hill of Zion.”
Then in verse 7, the Son, the second person of the Godhead, (the Word), speaks:
“I will declare the decree; The LORD has said to Me,” ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten you.’”
In verses 8 and 9 the Father speaks again:
“Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession, You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
The Holy Spirit then finishes out the Psalm in verses 10-12, saying:
“Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.”
I will not go into an explanation of this Psalm at this time but suffice it to say that there are numerous other passages in the Scriptures that make clear that there are three Almighty Persons represented in the Godhead. One God, but expressed in three distinct Personages.
Now, back to verse 13: “from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.” This very quote from the Old Testament book of Psalms is used 25 times throughout Scripture! Yet, the reason the Jewish people found it most difficult to accept Jesus as the Messiah, the One being described in this very quote, is because they were waiting for a Messiah who would free them from their bondage to the Roman Empire. They understood, at least partially, the Old Testament prophecies describing the Messiah coming as a KING. What they did not understand is that He first had to come as a suffering Messiah in order to pay the necessary price for the sins of the world as the Lamb of God. For the most part, the Jewish people still don’t see that, but their eyes will soon be opened and they will recognize Him. Here is God’s promise given through the prophet Zechariah:
And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for him as one mourns for his only’ son, and grieve for him as one grieves for a firstborn. Zechariah 12:10
In conclusion of this study, let’s take a good look at what is being said in the last four verses of this section of the study, verses 14-18.
Verse 14:”For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.”
It has been made abundantly clear in this study that God provided the one and final offering needed to eradicate sin. Then the writer of the this epistle says that God by doing this, “perfects” the ones being forgiven. When God eradicates sin, He makes us “perfect” in His sight! This means that it is HIS perfection that I am immersed in! Does this mean that I do not need to put effort into my Christian life anymore because of God’s provision? Absolutely not! There are many Scriptures that teach us to put our every effort into living out the life that He has intended for His people. But, His provision of perfection allows Him to see us as the perfected finished product!! Praise God!
Then the verse goes on to say that this perfection that God provides for His own, is FOREVER! His work in us continues to sanctify us day after day, while He sees the finished product! Our God is so good to us!
Verse 15-16: “But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, ‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds. I will write them.’”
Our human nature is a fallen nature, as is the world around us. Not only that, we face a supernatural enemy that hates us more than we can even fathom…especially true believers and followers of Jesus Christ. Our old nature rises up within us continually, one way or another. And, the devil and his minions see to it that God’s people are tempted, tested, and attacked in order to trip us up and cause to fail, if possible. God’s covenant with us in this passage however is that He will put His laws into our hearts. In fact, He says He will write them on our minds! This is why it is so important to read, study, and meditate on the Word of God. God will use it to reprogram our way of thinking! God is that faithful to us and He always keeps His word!
In the epistle to the Ephesian Church, the Apostle Paul is speaking to husbands and wives in chapter 5. As he is doing so, he is making a comparison between the marriage of a man and a woman to the relationship Messiah Jesus has with His Church, which He calls the Bride of Christ. Here is what he says in verses 25-27:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
What “word” is the Apostle Paul speaking of? The Word of God–the Bible. As we read it, study it, meditate and pray over it, we are washed by it. God’s Word changes how we think, how we act, how we react, and how we live! So, let’s make sure we take a spiritual bath every day! The world around us is filthy and is in total rebellion to the KING of the Ages, but He is coming back very, very soon to take His own out of here before He judges this wicked and rebellious planet. I am looking forward to that day!
Verses 17-18: “then He adds, ‘Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.’ Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.”
God promises that our sins are removed forever, never to be remembered again! Our sins are as far from the mind of God as the east is from the west. The Final Sacrifice is a provision made by the LORD God, and a man is a fool if he rejects it! The stumbling block for many is that they cannot bring themselves to a point of humility; bending the knee before Him and asking for mercy. Without that, a man is lost for eternity!
God is a God of love, but He is also a God of justice. It is God that gives man a choice, and that choice is for eternity. He says, “Choose you today whom you are going to serve.” Those that choose to ask Him to be the Lord of their lives will live in eternal bliss and in the glory of His Creator. But, the one that chooses to go his or her own way, will have God honor their choice as well…a choice of eternal separation from God in the abode of the damned. The Holy Spirit made this promise to those that accept His grace:
“…as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in his name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13
God is good!
Forever in His Service,