Having shown the similarity between Jesus and Melchizedek, the writer continues to demonstrate the superiority of the Lord’s priesthood, calling Him the High Priest of a New Covenant.
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All right, this study in the Book of Hebrews will be in chapter 8, and we’re going to just jump into the middle of something—the middle of a thought here, and so I want to just give you a quick review of what we left off with in chapter 7.
The writer had begun to show the weakness of the Levitical priesthood when it was compared to that of Melchizedek. We talked all last time about how much more powerful a priesthood is the one that comes from Melchizedek compared to the Levitical priesthood.
You know, Levitical priests were sinners themselves and had to keep offering sacrifices day after day and year after year. And then they would die and another one would take their place and the same thing would start all over again. And what the writer was trying to convince us of last week, or last time, was that we need a high priest who isn’t a sinner and who only needs to offer one sacrifice, and who lives forever and can save us forever.
That was kind of where we left off last time and so we’ll begin chapter 8:1 and it says:
Now the main 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 a mere human being.
As we get into the chapter here tonight, we’re going to see that first the tabernacle and then the temple on Earth are copies of the things in Heaven. And the Levitical priesthood is a copy of the priesthood of Melchizedek that the Lord brings us. The sacrifices were a copy of the sacrifice the Lord would make and everything in the whole system is a model, or a shadow, or a type, of something else that’s bigger and more powerful and better.
And so, when we talk about this tonight we’re going to compare—or continue our comparison, I should say, because we started this last time —we’ll continue our comparison of these two priesthoods and continue to show the strength of the new one. And the sufficiency, I should say, of the new one as compared to the old.
Now, verse 3:
Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one
And of course “this one” is the one from Melchizedek who is represented here by the Lord.
it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law.
And again, last time we spoke about the fact that the priests all come from the tribe of Levi, but Jesus was of the tribe of Judah. He’s a king. The kings all came from Judah, the priests all came from Levi and there was no mixing of the two. But we showed how when the Lord comes back the two will be made one, and He will be both a king and a priest.
And so, in His First Coming, He of course, came in the form of man from the tribe of Judah, so He was not eligible to be a priest. You notice He never went into the temple while He was here on Earth. He never went into the temple because only priests went into the temple. Everybody else was around the temple, could visit the temple, could be in the vicinity of the temple but, as we’ll see, only the priests went into the temple. And it said these priests, that was their job would be to offer these gifts and things that were prescribed by the Law.
Verse 5 says:
They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”
Now, that’s a quote from Exodus 25:40. This was a commandment from God to Moses saying, “You’ve seen the real thing now. Make sure you build the model exactly like it. Make it be an exact replica of what you’ve been shown.” And so, while it was an exact replica it was still just a copy on Earth of the original in Heaven.
Verse 6 says:
But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.
The promises of the New Covenant are better than the promises of the Old.
For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant,
Talking about the Old Covenant, the Sinaitic it’s called, because it was given on Mount Sinai.
For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people and said:
“The days are coming, declares the Lord,
when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they did not remain faithful to my covenant,
and I turned away from them,
declares the Lord.
This is the covenant I will establish with the people 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 they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘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.”
Okay, now this is a quote from Jeremiah 31:31-34 and this is of course, the promise in the Old Covenant of the New Covenant. This is where we get the word New Covenant.
It doesn’t come out of the New Testament; it’s not a New Testament idea. It’s not God’s Plan B for Humanity. It came out of the Old Covenant. It always was intended. And so, He’s going to make this covenant with whom? With Israel.
Now, we are already beneficiaries of this New Covenant. But He’s not talking about us here. He is talking about the fact that He will make this Covenant with Israel. And so, they will be partakers if you will, of this New Covenant. But I want you to understand that even when they are, it’s still a little bit different than the way the Church has experienced the New Covenant.
One of the ongoing, never ending questions I get from people as they begin to study the Bible more and more is this issue of, why does Israel need a temple?
And of course, because a temple, you see, is associated with the Old Covenant. In the New Covenant, we don’t have a temple, right? What happened there? We are the temple. We are the temple. What was physical in the Old Testament has become spiritual in the New. What was external in the Old Covenant has become internal in the New.
But then you read Ezekiel chapters 40 through 48, and it talks about Israel in the Millennium and guess what they’ve got? They got a temple again. And as they did in the Old Covenant, they will continue to do in the New.
In the Old Covenant, they sacrificed animals as a shadow, a model, as we’ll see here, of the coming Messiah. But in the Millennium they will, again sacrifice animals, this time as a memorial to the Messiah.
But you read chapters 40 through 48 of Ezekiel and it looks more like something out of the Old Covenant than out of the Millennium. And a lot of Christians can’t understand that. And even here, as we read this book, we’re going to read tonight about how the Old Covenant has become obsolete and is going to disappear.
Well, it’s going to disappear for the Church—it did disappear for the Church. And that’s who is being written to here. These people have Jewish backgrounds; they were all Jews at one time, remember? This book was written just a few years after the cross, probably around 35 A.D. Just a few years. It was probably one of the first books written for the so-called New Testament. It was written to the believers, who at that time were all Jewish. The Gentiles didn’t come into the Church for about twenty years after the cross. The first believers were all Jewish. Many of them had been priests of this Old Covenant.
And we’ve gone on and on about the fact that they lived this life. The Old Covenant is a lifestyle in which they had been immersed all their lives. And now, all of a sudden, they are being told it is no more. It’s changed now. It’s obsolete. And not only that, but we’re going to see here, if people continue to practice the Old Covenant ways, they are really rejecting the New Covenant. They’re practicing the shadow and in the process, rejecting the reality.
It was a very difficult thing for them. They didn’t know where they belonged. They didn’t know how to live. They didn’t know what to do. It’s kind of like the way we look at the Millennium.
We scratch our heads and we wonder, “Why are they doing these things? I thought that was all over.” And so, they had this perception, only with them it was a lifestyle that they were being told they had to change.
And so, even when they practice the New Covenant in the Millennium, it won’t be exactly like it’s been with the Church. I want you to understand, the Church is not the replacement of the Old Covenant. The Church is kind of a right turn along the path. We’re off in another direction here. And, at the Millennium, it’s going to come back to where it was. We are not the latest and greatest version of this, and we are not the ones who are normal in all this, understand?
We are a departure from the norm. The Church is different from any other group that ever was or ever will be. No group before us was like us and no group after us will be like us. We are unique in all of humankind. And the blessings that we received in this version of the New Covenant will never be repeated in any other dispensation, no matter how many there are to come. The blessings that the Church has received, the system of worship, and the relationship that we enjoy and take for granted will never ever be repeated.
In fact, what does Paul say in Ephesians 2? He said, “In ages yet to come the Church will remain as the example of the incomparable riches of God’s grace.” It’s amazing, isn’t it? And then he goes on to say, “We’re His; the Church is God’s workmanship,” it says in the English, but it doesn’t quite convey the idea. The Church is God’s work of art, His masterpiece. And whenever, no matter how many ages lie before us, whenever somebody mentions the word grace, they are going to point to us, and say, “That’s what that meant!”
We take it so for granted because we don’t know anything different. And we think that we’re just the modernization of religion, you know, in God’s view. First He started off with the, the Old Covenant and then He began to see that wasn’t going to work, so He came up with a new one. We’re not the new and improved version, folks, of the Old Covenant, we are a complete and total departure. I guess I’m pounding this pretty hard and you probably already understand this. But I run into so many people who don’t—just don’t get it. They don’t see how different we are, how unique we are, and how blessed we are. Because you see it’s all we know, it’s all we have. And so, everybody thinks their perception is reality, but it really is just their perception. I mean, the Jewish people have a completely different perception; they have a completely different reality. Both before the Church and after the Church this will be the case.
If there’s any time, if you could have picked any time, in the history to be born and live, you picked the right one. [laughing] And of the two thousand years of the Church, the last hundred or so are the best, so you picked the right part of that. So you are winners in every respect here [laughs] and it can’t be any other way.
All of this, all of human history, has been pointing to this. All right. But the Lord is going to offer this New Covenant—in fact He did offer it and He is going to continue and offer it again. That quote from Jeremiah 31:31-34 is all about the New Covenant, and remember once again it’s in the Old Testament.
Now here’s what I meant by what I was saying here in this verse 13 of chapter 8.
By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.
Well, yes, it will disappear. It did disappear, for the duration of the Church Age. But when the Millennium comes—now, once again, the Church will be different. We’re not going to be living on Earth with all these other people during the Millennium, you understand that. We’re still going to be held apart. We’re still going to be maintained separate and we still will enjoy blessings that the people on Earth don’t receive. Even during the Millennium, which is supposed to be the fulfilment of God’s entire plan for man, we’re still going to receive blessings that others will not receive. We will never die again. But on the Earth, there will be death in the Millennium. Where we live there will never be any sin again. But on Earth, there will be sin. We will never have to be reminded of what Jesus has done for us. But on Earth, people will need that reminder.
There will never be a rebellion against God in the Church again. But on Earth, after one thousand years of in-person rule by the Lord, the people will rebel and there will be another. At the end of the Millennium, there’ll be another rebellion on Earth again where people rise up against God and His people, the Jewish people, once again.
The cycle will keep repeating. But for us, it’s over. For us, the blessings are a constant in our life; they’re not the abnormality, they’re the normal part of life. And so, that will be the case no matter how many ages lie before us.
People ask me a lot of times, “What’s life going to be like on Earth in the Millennium?” And my answer to them is this: What did the Jews know of Church life before the Church? Nothing, there was no New Testament. The Bible consisted of what we call the Old Testament. There was no information about the Church. There was no description of it. There was no outline or set of policies or owner’s manual, if you will, for the Church.
The New Testament wasn’t complete until about a hundred years after the cross. It wasn’t begun, for all practical purposes, until twenty or thirty years after the cross. The first twenty years they had really no written stuff. As they say the Book of Hebrews was written to the Jews but Paul, he didn’t start writing until the early 50’s. The Gospels were written between the 50’s and the 90’s. Revelation was written in ‘95. It was probably the latest book written. And so, between about 50 A.D. and 90 A.D. the New Testament was put together and that’s when the Church received our instruction and direction on how to live. The Old Testament people didn’t know anything about that, didn’t know it was coming. Same is true of us relative to the Millennium. We don’t know anything about that. We don’t know what life’s going to be like then. For all we know, people will be raised up to write a Third Testament for the Millennial life that will be way different from either the Old or New; containing some of each, but not like either. And for all we know, Bibles will get thicker then. [laughing] because they’ll have an Old and a New and a Still Newer.
But, you see, we can’t answer the questions about how life is going to be then. We don’t know what life is going to be like for us in the New Jerusalem. It doesn’t give us any detail about that. We don’t know what life is going to be like for believers on Earth in the Millennium. No detail about that. The little bit of detail all concerns Israel. And so, we know from that that it’s going to be focused on Israel again, just like it was in the Old Testament. But things are going to change, and they are going to change in big and dramatic ways, and they’re going to change very suddenly.
You know, for us—one day we’re going to be walking around like nothing’s happening, the next instant we’re going to be somewhere else in some other dimension and we’re going to be different. We won’t learn to be different. We won’t have had any training on being different. We will simply be different. [laughing] “Hallelujah!” That’s right.
And so, these things are not—how should I put this. I’m not trying to disparage anything or anyone. But these changes are not evolutionary. These changes are dramatic and instantaneous. So, we’ve got what we have. They, the Jewish people, had what they had. The New Testament is very difficult for them to understand, just like the Old Testament is very difficult for us. And, I’m telling you, the future is going to be that way again. And so, that’s the way things are.
And so, when he says here, the New Covenant has made the Old one, the first one, obsolete, he means that for those people who had this Jewish background, their place in the Church requires a different set of behaviors than it did in the life before.
All right. Now we’re down to chapter 9. This one is somewhat longer. Chapter 8 was quite a short one. Let’s make sure we didn’t skip over anything. Looks like we did pretty good.
So, chapter 9:
Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand and the table with its consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place.
The tabernacle, and the temple after it, consisted of two rooms. One room was twice as long as it was wide. And so, if it were 30-feet wide it would be 60-feet long. The temple was different dimensions than the tabernacle was but the two rooms—the outer room called the Holy Place was twice as deep, let’s say, as it was wide. The second room behind it was the Holy of Holies, and it was a cube. It was the same height and width and length. So, if it was 20, then it was 20-by-20. Okay. So, in the outer room (the Holy Place, they called it) were these pieces of furniture.
A lampstand. A lampstand was the seven-branched oil lamp it’s called in the King James. The seven-branched candlestick, but it was really an oil burning lamp. It was made of solid gold and it burned olive oil and there was one central post with six branches. You’ve all seen pictures of this, right? So, it’s a seven-branched lampstand. Big. It was the only source of light in the entire temple. There were no windows in the temple, so it was the only source of light.
So, there was that, and then there was a table and the consecrated bread. There was a table on which the Jewish people put a loaf of special bread. It was a special recipe with frankincense and other things baked into it. And there was one loaf for each of the twelve tribes and that sat on the table. So, the table and the bread were kind of one piece. It’s called in the Old Testament often the Table of Showbread because the bread was called Showbread. These were in the Holy Place.
Now, there’s controversy here in this next one because in some interpretations of all this it appears that there was a little entrance hall just outside the entrance the Holy of Holies and other people say, “No it was just inside the entrance.” Here he places it inside. But you can find differences of opinion on that, so I just want to warn you about that.
Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.
I’m going to ignore that instruction [laughing] and give you just, at least enough detail so you understand.
There was a golden altar on which incense was burned and this incense, like most incense, produced smoke. And the purpose of the smoke in reality was to help hide the priest from the direct vision of God. Because, anybody who looks at God is immediately incinerated. And so, the smoke kept the priest alive while he was in there. Symbolically, this is referred to as the prayers of the saints. This incense is symbolically referred to as the prayers of the saints that go up to God.
Okay, so that altar of incense on the time when the priest had to go into the Holy of Holies, that altar of incense, he took some coals from the major altar outside, he brought them in, he mixed some incense with them and he sat them in this altar and it smoked.
And the gold covered Ark of the Covenant, this was a little box a little smaller than a coffin, let’s say, and it was made of wood. Covered in sheets of gold. It wasn’t just painted gold or had gold flakes in it. Sheets of gold were hammered until they were very thin and they were wrapped around the wood so that all surfaces of the wood were hidden. The wood just gave the gold form and substance. And this was the Ark of the Covenant.
The Ark of the Covenant contained a golden jar, a sample of the manna that the Israelites had eaten. You remember, the manna was always supposed to last only one day except on the Sabbath when it would last for two and if you tried to keep it, it would rot. Well, there was one portion to which that didn’t apply and that was the one portion that they kept in the Ark of the Covenant as a witness, a testimony, that God provided for them in the wilderness.
The next item in the Ark was a rod made out of almond wood that had been Aaron’s rod, his staff that he used to walk with. And when one particular time the Israelites had questioned Aaron’s right to the position of High Priest, the Lord had said to Aaron, “Put your rod out in front of the people.” And when he did, he laid it down and the rod began to sprout almond tree leaves and the trees budded. And so, this is called, Aaron’s rod that budded (or blossomed) and it was placed in the Ark of the Covenant again alongside the golden jar of manna. These were testimonies to the legitimacy of these things, and in fact, the Ark of the Covenant was from time to time spoken of as the Ark of the Testimony.
And then the other item in the Ark was the two stone tablets of the Law. The tablets on which the Ten Commandments had been written and these were placed in the Ark as a memory of the time that Moses received the Law from the Lord.
These three items then, were kept in the Ark as evidence that this was real; all this was real. That God had really come down to the mountaintop, He had really spoken with Moses. He had really provided for the Israelites in the wilderness. He had really authenticated the so-called Aaronic Priesthood which, later on came to be known as the Levitical Priesthood. And these were things that were kept in the Ark as a memorial to all this.
Then on top of the Ark there was a golden cover called the Atonement Cover. It was always viewed as a separate piece of furniture even though it was part of the Ark itself. And it was the solid gold cover that was placed on top of the Ark and formed the seat of the throne above which the presence of God hovered during the time of the tabernacle and the first temple.
And on top of that, at each end, was a representation in solid gold of a cherub with its wings outspread and so that, in the back their wings touched across the width of the Ark. And they formed sort of the back of a chair and the cherubs themselves formed the sides. And so, it looked like a throne. And, in fact, it was God’s throne. When He lived in the temple, that was His throne.
Now, of course, God is not a tangible God so He didn’t sit there like you and I would. God is actually a spirit, and actually what they call the Shekinah Glory, the Presence of God, hovered there over the Atonement Cover.
A little later on we’re going to see that this is very critical to the Yom Kippur observance, the ceremony there, because there is something that happens there between God and the Atonement Cover and the other items in the Ark of the Covenant. The two I haven’t told you about are the two stone tablets of the Law, the Ten Commandments. The second version; you know the first copy was broken. Moses went back up and got another version and brought it down and that they kept in the Ark and they had that for many years.
I should tell you that all this stuff disappeared at the time just before the Babylonian Captivity, and hasn’t been seen since. All during the second temple period when the high priest went into the Holy of Holies for the Yom Kippur ceremony, there was no Ark of the Covenant in there. There was no mercy seat. There was no furniture inside there. There was just the altar of incense, and nothing else.
By rights, the priest should have come running out in alarm saying, “Look! Somebody’s stolen this! It’s gone!” But they made a decision early on, that they would pretend they were still there. And so, all during the second temple period (four hundred years, I think) all during that period the Holy of Holies was empty. You didn’t ever find God in the second temple. He was never there. They kept up the ceremony anyway. And as you can see by reading accounts of Yom Kippur, you can see that this wasn’t just a fantasy. God made His Presence known to them even though He wasn’t physically located within the Holy of Holies.
And there are all kinds of things you can read about in history of how they knew that was true. Did you know, for example, that when they offered sacrifices on the altar outside, it was not in the temple—outside the entrance to the temple—and when they offered sacrifices there, it didn’t matter what the weather was, didn’t matter how strong the wind was blowing or from what direction, the smoke from the sacrifices on the altar always ascended exactly straight up until they went out of sight into the sky? And so, it was an indication that the altar (smoke) was going straight to God and the sacrifice was acceptable from that standpoint.
In the Yom Kippur ceremony itself there was a part where they brought two goats to the high priest. One of these goats was a peace offering, and the other one was called the scapegoat. The high priest symbolically transferred the sins of the nation onto the head of this goat. There was a crimson ribbon tied from one of the goat’s horns to the door, the main door of the temple. After the high priest had transferred the sins of the people onto the goat, the goat was led away into the wilderness, an appointed place was, just prior to New Testament times, was pushed off a cliff to its death. If you read the Yom Kippur ceremony in the Old Testament you won’t see evidence of this. You’ll see he was led off into the wilderness and then let go. But somewhere along the way they started pushing him off this cliff and he would die.
As the scapegoat was being taken from the temple for his journey off into the wilderness, they would snip the ribbon so that a part of it was left hanging on to the door to the temple and another part was left hanging on the goat’s horn. The goat went out so many Sabbath days’ journey. The priest could only walk so far, he could only walk one thousand paces. So he would go one thousand paces and he’d hand him off to another guy who got there before the Sabbath started so he wouldn’t have to walk the one thousand paces too and he would take him the next one thousand and there would be another guy who got there before the Sabbath. They’d take him out, four or five of these people would take him out into the wilderness and the last one pushed him off the cliff.
At the moment, the goat died the ribbon on the temple door turned from red to white, which was a fulfillment of Isaiah 1:3 that says:
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
And so, there was evidence that God was with them, that He was there. This wasn’t just a four hundred year long game of Let’s Pretend. In other words, He was there. It’s just that the Ark of the Covenant hasn’t been seen since before the Babylonian captivity and there people spend all their lives looking for it. And other people spend all their lives saying they’ve found it. But nobody has found it.
As far as we know, nobody knows (although many people claim to know) nobody has been willing or able or whatever it is to say, “Here it is, I’ll show you.” So, the Ark of the Covenant is among the missing. I don’t know if they’ll ever find it. And it doesn’t really matter because as you read about Ezekiel’s temple in the Millennium, there is no Ark of the Covenant in that temple. So, it never shows up again on Earth. So, Indiana Jones and all the others who went searching for it, it’s not in a basement or underneath the Smithsonian and it’s not in any of the other places people say it is, either. So, it doesn’t matter. That was for then. So, this is one of the ways in which things have changed.
So, in the second temple it was never there and the ceremony and the worship and the forgiveness kept going. So, this is what he’s talking about here; these are the things that he’s talking about. Now this would have been review, you understand, for all these people, because they would have been part of this. Many of them would have been priests who had served in the temple on various occasions and would know all this, and they would also have known that it wasn’t really there. But the writer is going on as if it was.
Now the other things I want you to see is, there’s no mention of chairs anywhere, is there? There were no chairs in the temple. And it’s very simple; the reason for no chairs is the work was never done. They never rested in there. When they went in there, they did their work and their work consumed all their time. There was no smoke break, there was no nothing. They didn’t sit down, they didn’t stop. There was no rest there. And that signifies the fact that in that religion, in that observation of their worship of God, there was no rest. It was continuous, it was ongoing. It was every day. There were hundreds of things you had do and remember and be careful of. ‘Do this’ and ‘don’t do that’ and there was never any rest in this.
And as we saw back in Hebrews 4, the writer astonished all of them by saying, “Once you’re saved, you rest. Your work is done. For the rest of your life, it’s done. You rest.” This was a foreign concept, you know. Rest and religion didn’t fit in the same sentence. But now all of a sudden, they became a critical part of the observance.
Now, if we don’t rest it can mean that we don’t really believe. Because, if you’re still working to keep, or to maintain, or to enhance, or whatever, your salvation, you’re still working to do that, that means you don’t believe the work was done. You don’t believe Jesus finished the job. You think He only started it and now it’s up to you to complete it.
And see, that’s contrary to Christian thinking. We don’t work for salvation. In fact, we can’t work for it. There is nothing we can do to earn it. It can only be given to us and we can only receive it. And once we’ve received it, we have it forever and we rest for the rest of our lives. This is what’s called in Hebrews 4, The Sabbath Rest. If you weren’t here for that session, there are copies up and you can review it.
Okay, so here it is now we’re down to verse 6. It says:
When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.
Now, this is the day each year—today is the day or the coming, you know the Hebrew day starts at sunset, so tomorrow—what we think of as tomorrow—the day is the day that they do this. Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
It’s the day when the high priest went before God and on their behalf atoned for the sins of the people. And when he made these two sacrifices, the peace offering and the scapegoat offering, the combination of those two sacrifices absolved the people of their sins. Not for the future, by the way, but only for the past. The best that the Law could do for people was to make them current with God. It’s like if you haven’t made payments for a year and somebody comes along and makes a year’s worth of payments, they make you current. But next month you have a payment due again, right? And that’s a rough analogy of the way the system worked. It was always retroactive. It always worked for the past. It didn’t do anything for the future. And by a day or so afterwards they were all steeped in sin again. Because they were a lot like us.
But he’s talking about this place and he’s talking about the fact that only once a year could this happen. And only the high priest could go into that room.
There was an incredible amount of ceremonial preparation. He took seven baths that day. Every time. And he’d change his clothes seven times. And he had to go in first in very plain clothing on his own behalf and offer a sacrifice for himself, for his own sins. He could not begin to represent the people before God until he had first taken care of his own sins. And then came the sins of his family. He was responsible for those. And when he had taken care of that, he went out and changed clothes again, he took another bath, he put on his high priest regalia and he came back again, this time for the people. And then they brought these goats to him. And we’ve been through the ceremony of the two goats. And, during the day, all day long this was going on. This ceremony to atone for their sins went on.
Now, during this 24-hour period which just began, they neither ate nor drank anything. It was an absolute, complete, total fast of everything—no food, no liquid of any kind at all. Try that some day. [laughing] They ate very heavily just before sundown, and they were encouraged to do so, to help them get through this 24-hour fast. It was a fast of everything. No work, no entertainment, nothing other than contemplating their position before God. And understanding as best they could, how desperately they needed this atonement for their sins. And so, it went on for 24-hours, this ceremony.
The high priest was not permitted to sleep that night. He had to stay up all night doing his various things in preparation for the morning. So, he went without sleep for the 24-hours in addition to being without food and drink. And so, this was a huge deal; this was the one day of the year when they were permitted to speak the name of God. The one day out of the year. They spoke it ten times and that was all they were allowed for an entire year. Speaking God’s name otherwise was punishable by death. It was a violation of the commandment but on that day, they spoke His name ten times in thanks for having their sins atoned for.
You see, when the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. this ceremony could no longer be conducted. And they did various things to adapt and still there is a Yom Kippur ceremony in synagogues all over the world tonight and tomorrow. Tonight, is a special Yom Kippur Sabbath. And tomorrow the most observant Jews will be in the synagogue all day until sunset in this atonement ceremony. But one thing they don’t do is the thing that I’ve discussed with you about atoning for sin. They have no atonement. Now, they’ve developed substitutes. But there is no Biblical atonement for their sins; without a temple, there can’t be one. And so, they are kind of stuck in this spot. But he’s talking about here, the time of the temple.
By the way, after a couple of hundred years, not having the one day out of the year when they could speak God’s name, and never being able to write it, ever—they lost it! The name of God hasn’t been spoken on Earth for 1,700 years. And today, no one alive knows His name. No matter what some groups tell you about what God’s name is, no one alive knows the name of God.
We know He has four initials. And two of those we don’t agree on. Some people think His initials are JHVH, and from that they took an E from Elohim and an A from Adonai and they made the name, Jehovah. And they say that’s God’s name. Well, it’s not. This is an invention of man to handle a situation in the Old Testament where every place in the Old Testament where you see the Lord’s name all in caps, the word LORD all in capitalized, in the Hebrew, that would be the four initials. It’s called the Tetragrammaton which is Greek for four initials. But in the Hebrew, those four initials stand for God’s name—they aren’t His name, they are four initials.
Now, when Moses said, “What shall I tell them Your name is?”
He said, “Tell them ‘I am that I am.’”
This is called The Becoming in the literal language, The Becoming One or, The Eternal One. And that’s a name they use for God—The Eternal One.
Most Jews use the Hebrew word Hashem which means The Name. And when you hear them refer to God as Hashem, they are saying in Hebrew, THE NAME and it’s capitalized.
Somewhere along the way we came to understand that the four initials are probably more like YHWH rather than JHVH and that was where Yahweh came from; but that is not His name, either. That’s just another way to say the four initials. And it’s closer to the way the four initials are pronounced in Hebrew, “Yod-Hay-Wah-Hay” and so that’s all that is. But I want you to know, don’t let anybody ever tell you they know God’s name because no one alive on Earth today knows God’s name. We know the Name of Jesus and that’s the name by which God desires to be known during our time.
Remember in Philippians 2:11 says that at the name of Jesus (He made that name the name above all names including His own) that at the Name of Jesus, every knee should bow, every tongue confess that He is Lord to the glory of God the Father. And so, the name of Jesus has become the name above all names for our time.
So, this Yom Kippur ceremony was a big, big deal. It was one of the times when every able-bodied Jew was required to be in Jerusalem. The population of the city expanded tremendously as Jews from all over the known world at the time would come; from Africa and from Asia and from everywhere would come to be there on this day.
Okay, so first he took care of his own sins (this is verse 7) and then he offered sins for the people and he placed them on the head of the scapegoat. The scapegoat, as you know, was sent out into the wilderness, he was pushed off the cliff, he died, the ribbon on the temple turned from red to white and this is how the people knew their sins had been atoned for and they all got on their faces and they spoke the name of God, thanking Him for forgiving them for their sins. And they were now okay with God. There’s no evidence that God ever failed to grant atonement on that Yom Kippur day. So, it was always a successful operation.
Okay, so verse 8 now says:
The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning. This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. 1They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings—external regulations applying until the time of the new order.
And so what he’s saying is even that ceremony, even that great Day of Atonement, was insufficient to absolve the people of their sins; it only set them aside. And these offerings that they made which consisted of meat (lambs, and goats, and bulls, and calves) and grain and wine, that’s what he says is ceremonial food and drink because much of the offering was consumed by the priests after the ceremony. And the high priest washing himself seven times and changing his garments and going through all this—external regulations that only applied, they were only valid until the time of the new order. And that of course, was the time of Jesus.
Now you can see—I told you I’d show you some places in which this Yom Kippur ceremony was relevant to us because Jesus played several parts in this Yom Kippur ceremony; several of the components of the ceremony were really symbolic of Him.
For instance, the peace offering, the first goat of the sacrifice. What does Ephesians 2 say? That He is our Peace. In Colossians 1:19 and 20 it says God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Jesus so that by His death He could reconcile Himself and bring peace to His creation. And so, Jesus was the peace offering of the Yom Kippur.
When He went to the cross, Colossians 2:14 says He took all of our sins with Him. And so, all of our sins were placed upon Him. He was the scapegoat, fulfilling the role of the scapegoat in the Yom Kippur ceremony.
And as we go along through here, we’ll see other things too. But first of all, think of those two things. His sacrifice brought you peace with God. He took upon Himself all of our sins and gave us in their place all of His righteousness. That’s quite an exchange when you think about it. But that’s another symbolic part of the Yom Kippur ceremony where He is making atonement for us. Now, you’ll see that there are ways in which the ceremony was very much like what we have in the New Covenant but as we said at the beginning, the New Covenant is also different. It’s bigger, It’s better, and we’ll see that too, as we go along here.
Okay, verse 11 now:
But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation.
So now we get the glimpse of another role, if you will, or part of the Yom Kippur ceremony that belongs to Jesus and that is He is also the High Priest.
He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.
When the high priest brought the blood of the goats and the calves into the Holy of Holies and sprinkled them on the mercy seat, he was doing something that only had temporary effect. He was a sinful man offering insufficient blood in a copy of the altar. Three things there that limit him: He was himself a sinner, the blood he brought in was not sufficient, and the place he brought it was only a copy. Other than that, everything was fine. [laughing]
The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean.
See, they only made them clean on the outside. For outward appearances, in other words.
How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
So now we know that He is not only the priest, but He is also the sacrifice. And so, the whole thing has got His name all over it, doesn’t it, when you stop to think about it? And that’s why it’s important for us to know these Jewish feasts because they have so much of what we would call the rest of the story.
You see, when you look at it from the Old Testament perspective you get the outward appearance. When you look at it from the New Testament perspective you get the inner parts, you get the spiritual parts of it that complement the physical parts and make the whole thing make sense. If this wasn’t God, and if this wasn’t our salvation that’s at risk, this kind of ceremony that went on at Yom Kippur would be nothing more meaningful or elaborate than any of the pagan ceremonies that went on in those days, and in some places still in ours.
If you take Him out of it, then it’s not worth anything, you see. But when you put Him into it, it becomes everything.
And it becomes symbolic of the essence, if you will, of the New Covenant. So, learning these things is not just something that some kooks do for entertainment. This is something that really is central to our understanding of who God is and what He has done and how we have benefited.
And so, verse 15 says:
For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—
How long is this inheritance good for? It’s eternal, it says here, okay.
now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
These people he’s writing to had, every year, all their lives since they were old enough to be accountable, come to Jerusalem and been through the ceremony and had their sins atoned for; the temple was still standing during all their lifetimes, every year they were there and they saw it on and on and on. And now he is saying that Jesus is the mediator of a New Covenant and His covenant doesn’t just set their sins aside, it has purchased for them an eternal inheritance—an eternal inheritance.
Not just the year past, but forward forever. Nothing could ever take it from them, and nothing could ever disturb or cancel or modify. We talked about this, didn’t we, in our last thing. He’s a permanent priest, it says in Hebrews 7:24 and therefore, He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him because He always lives to intercede for them.
He saves them to the uttermost. It’s unchangeable and it’s non-transferable. Once you’ve got it, it’s good forever. You can’t ever get rid of it. It can’t be taken from you. You can’t give it away. It lasts forever and it’s non-transferable.
Now, verse 16 says:
In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living.
Contrary to what our children think, we have to die before they get it, right? [laughing]
This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood. When Moses had proclaimed every command of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. He said, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.” In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
When I first heard about this, I was astonished. I mean, the expense and the care and the detail involved in creating this tabernacle was immeasurable! And when they got it all done—it’s all white and beautiful and it’s all got this gold and silver stuff around it, and it all got these colors, purple and red in with the white, and what do they do? They go and splatter blood all over all of it! And you know what blood does to a white shirt? I mean, it doesn’t come out. It’s there forever. And that was the idea; the blood is what made it clean. It’s not the white that made it clean—it was the blood sprinkled on it that made it clean. It set all of it apart.
Now, some of you may be wondering where did Moses get a scroll? I mean, there were no scrolls back then, were there? There were no books of the Bible. I mean, he’s sprinkling this and if you go back with me to Exodus 24, we can see all this in greater detail because this is the chapter where all this is explained where this guy drew his information from. We go back to Exodus 24. You’ll see a little bit more detail here.
Let’s start reading at 24, verse 1:
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. You are to worship at a distance,
Speaking to the seventy.
You are to worship at a distance, but Moses alone is to approach the Lord; the others must not come near. And the people may not come up with him.”
When Moses went and told the people all the Lord’s words and laws, they responded with one voice, “Everything the Lord has said we will do.”
So you see, they agreed to this Covenant at that point. The reason the seventy elders were there was to, as it says somewhere in here, they ate the covenant meal, which is in a sense, saying that they confirmed the covenant. When the two parties shared the covenant meal, it is part of the ceremony to confirm that the covenant existed between them. This covenant meal, by the way, was usually bread and wine.
And so, it says the people said, “Everything the Lord has said we will do.” So, they confirmed it. Now verse 4 says:
Moses then wrote down everything the Lord had said.
And so, Moses immediately wrote these things down. Now, what did he write down? Well, it turns out that he wrote down the particular—the specific reference is being made to everything from Exodus 20, where we start with the Ten Commandments up through 23 and about verse 19.
And so, all of this—and you’ll find instructions all through it from all—these three chapters have instructions where you’ll see the Lord giving them the Ten Commandments and then He’s giving them other laws and things to look at. There are laws of justice and mercy, the three annual festivals where their presence was required are outlined here even though Jerusalem wasn’t even a Jewish city yet and wouldn’t be for several hundred years. He’s going to remind them that He’s going to make a place and they are to be there and appear before Him all these times and these rules and things. And this was called, The Covenant, or The Book of the Covenant, or sometimes, The Book of the Covenant of the Law. Let me see how it’s referred to here.
In Exodus 24:7, this translation says it’s called The Book of the Covenant. And so, these are the laws that Moses got from the mountain, from God. He wrote them down and he brought them and when it says, “He sprinkled the blood on the scroll” in Hebrews, that’s what he is talking about. That scroll is the scroll that Moses wrote of the Law that God had given him.
All right. So, then it says:
without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
We’re back in Hebrews now. What the writer here is saying is—by the way, the words will and covenant in this passage (in verse 16 it says will and in verse 18 it says covenant) they are the same word. A will and testament is a covenant. It’s an agreement, you understand, between parties. And there are people who make it and there are people who benefit from it.
Okay. So, in the case of a will, it’s not valid until the person whose last will and testament it is has died, then it comes into effect. And that is what he is saying. It takes blood. It takes the shedding of blood to make a covenant valid. And that’s what he’s saying here.
Now we’re down to verse 23:
It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
So, the blood of the animals was sufficient to set apart these copies of things. But when it came to the real thing, those animals, their blood was not sufficient. It took something better than that.
And in verse 24 it says:
For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world.
He’s going to make this point in the next chapter more clearly, but I’ll give you a sneak peek here. He said, “If the blood of these sacrificial animals had been sufficient there would have been no need for another covenant. Eventually,” he is saying, “they could have repeated the ceremony enough times so that everybody was covered.”
If you went to the ceremony and you were covered, eventually everybody would have been to the ceremony at least once and would have been covered and there would have been no need for anything else. But no, it didn’t work that way. Everybody had to be redone every year. But the Lord’s sacrifice is not like that. If it was, He would have to die every year for the people.
But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.
He’s appeared once for all. Now, what does that phrase once for all mean? We know what once means, right? He appeared one time. But who is covered under the word all? Everybody; everybody from when to when? Okay, from the first man to the last. Once for all.
You see, the interesting thing is, (I don’t know if you’ve thought about this before) but when Jesus went to the cross, He died for the sins of mankind. A lot of people don’t accept it, they didn’t receive it, so they don’t get the benefit from it, but He died for their sins too. If they’ve rejected it, that’s on them.
You see, as bad as it would be to stand there at the end of the age and have to admit that you never accepted the Lord’s death on your behalf and therefore, He’s not your Lord and He’s not your Savior and so He’s justified in sending you to Hell, as bad as that would be, add to that this: the knowledge that all you had to do was receive it. Because the pardon was there in your name all along. He bought it and He paid for it. Just like He did for everybody else. You never picked it up. And now there’s eternal consequence coming to you for that, that you can’t change because it’s too late.
Many people will have to realize on the Day of Judgment that they could have avoided it. They could have been saved had they only read the Book. Because, if you read the Book, you’re going to believe; there’s no mystery. There’s no mysticism involved in belief, you know. It doesn’t take any stretch of the imagination. It doesn’t take any kind of special talent or ability. You read the Book, you’ll come away a believer. Because it’s too darn logical. It’s too darn apparent. It’s too darn obvious. I mean, God has gone to such extremes to prove to you that He is who he says He is, and that He’s done what He says He did. He’s gone to such extremes you can’t avoid believing it. Unless you don’t read it. That’s why, in many places, the same word for unbelief is disobedience in the New Testament. Because that’s the way He feels about it. He says, “Look. I’ve done so many things and for so many years and I’ve made myself so obvious, that you who say you don’t believe are really just being disobedient. You’re just refusing to believe. That’s all it is.”
And He’s correct.
And so, once for all time, for every person, for all that person’s life and for all the people who have ever lived. Okay? For every person, for all the person’s life and for every person who has ever lived. That’s once for all time. It’s once for all time for you. He died one time for all the sins of your life. It’s once for all time for mankind! He died once for all men. Either way, is accurate.
But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
So here, verse 27 is often used as a rebuttal to reincarnation, however that’s phrased. There are lots of religions that believe in a series of lives. Some call it reincarnation, others call it eternal progression. There are many ways in which you can say it, but it all comes out the same. It’s a series of lives destined to bring you to perfection. And, according to the Bible, that isn’t the way it works. According to the Bible we all have one life. At the end of that life, we die and then we face judgment. And that judgment consists of one question and I’ll tell you the question, so you’ll be able to study up. [laughing]
The question is this: What have you done about My Son?
That’s the question. What have you done? Have you accepted this or not? Have you believed or not? Have you picked up the pardon we put here for you or not?
That’s the question. That’s the only question. And if you answer that question right, nothing else matters. And if you don’t answer that question right, nothing else matters. Because that’s the question. That’s the final exam. Now you know the question. There’s no progression. There’s no second chance. There’s no lives coming. You only get this one.
And so, for the believer, this also is different. And especially for the Church Age believer. This is different than it is in other senses. Because the judgment we face is not a judgment that concerns our salvation. That’s already settled.
The believer will never be called to account for his sins in a way that will determine his destiny. Because our destiny was determined at the moment we believed. Ephesians 1:13 and 14 says, you were included in Christ when you first believed the Gospel of your salvation.
So, you heard the Gospel and you believed it then you were included in Christ. And in that instant God did two things for you. He marked you with a seal, His Holy Spirit. And He guaranteed your inheritance. You heard and believed; He marked and guaranteed.
And so, after the Church is taken away, we will come to the Lord and face a judgment. It’s called the Bema Seat, in Greek. It was the judges’ stand, the Bema Seat in the ancient Olympics was the judges’ stand where the awards were given; the people who had won the race, first, second, and third, came to the Bema Seat for their award. That’s the judgment we face. We go stand before the Judge to receive the award that’s due us. If we have works to our benefit that are satisfactory, we receive reward. If we don’t, we don’t.
But, as 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 says where this is all explained, we’ll still be saved. Even if all the works of our life are burned up, we’ll still be saved. “As one escaping through the flames.”
So, the judgment has nothing to do with our salvation. So even in that sense, for us it’s different than it is for the rest of the world. And it’s even different than you’re thinking because in 2 Corinthians 5:10 Paul said we’re going to be held accountable for the things we’ve done, both good and bad. And you say, “Oh my goodness, that seems to conflict with this Bema Seat Judgment thing you just spoke about. How can we be judged for good and bad?” Well, you have to know what good and bad are. And for that, you turn to John 15.
Let’s do that because John 15 is a very much misunderstood idea. Let’s turn to John 15 and we can see if we can make sense out of it in the few minutes we have.
Okay, the alarming verse here is the first one, right? Where He says in John 15:1:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
Okay. Then you go down to (that was the first 2) to verse 3:
You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.
So, you don’t have to worry about the pruning, in other words.
Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
And so, verse 5:
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like
Underline that word—like.
a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
Okay, so that’s the idea. He’s the vine, we’re the branches. He says, remain in Him and you’ll bear much fruit. Okay. If you are going to remain in Him, this means that you are already are in Him. Right? You can’t remain some place where you haven’t been. So, the first thing you understand is, by remaining, He’s talking to people who are. He says, “Stay here. Don’t go away. Stay here.”
That’s the first thing to understand. The second thing to understand is that, salvation is not a fruit bearing event. Salvation benefits only the person being saved. It makes family happy in many cases but there is no fruit from being saved. Fruit is what comes afterwards. When you bear fruit, then that has to come after you’re saved. So, this is not a salvation passage. This is about what happens after you are saved.
And then He says, “The only thing that’s going to matter after you’re saved are the things you’ve done at My bidding and in My strength.” Now you know what ‘good’ is. Good are the things that we do at His bidding and in His strength. Do you understand this? Am I—okay.
‘Bad’ are the things that we do outside of His will, in our own strength. It doesn’t matter what the outcome is. It doesn’t matter what the benefit is. It’s only good if it’s done at His bidding and in His strength. And it’s bad if it’s done outside of His will, in your strength. Do you understand that? And it doesn’t matter how many people benefit from it. It is bad. And that work is like the branches that the gardener cuts off and burns in the fire. It’s of no value in the Kingdom.
It doesn’t say we are the branches that are cut off and burned in the fire, does it? It says the work we do is like the branches that are in the fire. What branches does the gardener burn? The branches that are of no value to him.
And so, this passage is about our work. And it’s about the work that we perform for the Kingdom after we’re saved. You understand that? People will teach that this chapter denies the concept of eternal security. But it’s not about salvation at all. It’s about the fruit we bear. The work we do. The things that accrue to us. The things that we’ll be rewarded for when we come to the judgment stand after the Rapture.
Now, if we can only get to the judgment stand after the Rapture, it is too late to be thrown out, isn’t it? I mean, it’s kind of a moot point, I mean, we’re already there. And so, our work is defined as good or bad, based on whether it’s His bidding in His strength. That’s ‘good’ work. Any work done at His bidding and in His strength regardless of the outcome, that’s bearing good fruit.
Work that we do in our strength, outside of His will regardless of the benefit or outcome, is bad, and it’s of no value to the Kingdom.
Now, is that clear to you? Okay. Then you understand. This judgment—we’re all going to die, and then we’re going to face judgment. And at the judgment, they’re not going to ask us,
“What have you done with my Son?” because He already knows. Everybody at the judgment we go to is a believer.
Okay, what’s left then?
The work. What have we done? What fruit have we born? What good work do we have to our credit? And we’re going to discover that the only good work to our credit is the work that He has asked us to do where He got all the credit. That’s good work. That’s deserving of reward.
The bad work is stuff we went off on our own and did, trying to make a big fuss or make a big splash, or get a lot of recognition, or try to add to or make ourselves more valuable. All that stuff is going to be burned up in the fire. Some of the things we’re proudest of doing in our life are going to be burned in the fire because we’re going to discover that it was us who made it up, who decided to do it. and it was our strength that made it work. Got that? That’s the judgment. That’s the only judgment you’ll ever face. I’m assuming you’re believers in here.
All right, so at the end of Hebrews then, he’s saying this, that we get one lifetime. One life. The bottom line is there’s really only one thing we’re required to do with that life and that’s pick up the pardon. I mean, that’s the only thing we’re really, really, bottom-line required to do. That’s the minimum requirement for our life; accept the pardon that was paid for you at the cross. Receive it. Accept it.
Now, if you’ve done that, and only if you’ve done that, there’s an option for other things. And that’s work that He calls you to do and that you can do in His strength. Because of your willingness to participate, you’ll receive a reward. And that’s all there is. That’s your life. But you only get one, you see.
This puts a whole different slant on life for those poor people who lived their entire life immersed in outward religious work, thinking that it was getting them somewhere. And, what did Jesus say to the people in Matthew 5? He turned to the professional Law keepers, the ones who devoted their lives to the most minute detail of the Law, the Pharisees, and He says, “Unless your righteousness exceeds theirs, you’re never going to get into the Kingdom.” Because, you see, they were doing in their own strength things that they made up to try to earn their righteousness. And He said, “That’s not the way this plan works.”
All right. That’s the end of chapter 9. It’s a good place for us to stop for this time and it’s an appropriate place for us to stop, too. Because we don’t have enough nerve to get into chapter 10 tonight! [laughing[ That’s opening up a can of worms that nobody wants to deal with! But in our next meeting we will deal with Hebrews 10, and once again you’ll see that the common understanding of this is wrong. It’s not only wrong on its face but it’s wrong in that it contradicts everything else in Scripture. And so, we have to unravel that and have a good look at it. And so, next time it will be chapter 10. For now, let’s have a closing prayer and then I can take some questions if you have some.