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Hebrews Chapters 8-10: "We Have Been Sanctified" Through the Better Sacrifice, Part 4
by Karl Kemp
12/21/2014 / Bible Studies
I'll continue to quote from what Andrew Murray said under Heb. 8:10 here in Part 4.
" 'This is the covenant I will make, saith the Lord.' And God hath given His own Son with an oath to be of that covenant a surety! And of that covenant He, the High Priest upon the throne is the Mediator! Oh, what think you? Will God fail in the very thing the covenant was devised to provide? Will He disappoint us in the one thing in which, as it deals with our experience, the new covenant is better than the old? In the one thing His heart and our heart longs for, to serve Him in righteousness and holiness all the days of our life, - is this one thing the very thing we are not to realize? God forbid. He hath said - 'This is the covenant I will make'; and He will do it.
Let us look up to the Mediator of the covenant, our High Priest upon the throne in the heavens. When He was with His disciples on earth, the law was not yet put into their hearts. How often they failed in humility and love and boldness. But when He sat down upon the throne, He sent down the Holy Spirit from heaven in their hearts, and all was new. They were full of humility and love and great boldness. The law of God was in their hearts as the power of a life that knew, and loved, and did His will. Christ dwelt in their hearts by faith. The power of the endless life from the throne of God had taken possession of them. Oh, let us not doubt. Let us plead God's promise, 'I will make a covenant.' Let us trust God's Son, the surety of the covenant, and receive God's Spirit [Let us receive and cooperate, by faith, with all the work the Spirit is sent to do in us, and through us, as we walk by the Spirit on a continuous basis, which we are commanded to do (cf. Gal. 5:16).] - we shall be brought into the covenant, and into the sanctuary together, and have grace to continue to abide continually" (pages 213, 214).
I'll also quote most of a paragraph that Murray has under Heb. 8:10, 11 (page 281): "There are not a few who know indeed what the greatness of God's pardoning love is, who yet never reach out to claim, as equally sure, the greatness of His sanctifying grace. The necessity of daily sinning, the impossibility of living for one day without actual transgression is such a deeply-rooted conviction, and there is such confidence that God's word teaches it, that the mind cannot for a moment enter into what the word has said of the radical difference between the old covenant and the new in this respect. The confounding the freedom from any sinful tendency [[We need to know that born-again Christians have a "sinful tendency" (cf., e.g., Gal. 5:16; 19-21) - this is a point Murray is making here; the old man has not been annihilated; that is why we are required to walk by the Holy Spirit, by faith, on a continuous basis (cf. Gal. 5:16). We also need to know that being tempted to sin isn't sin, but if we yield to sinful desires, for example, it becomes sin.]] and freedom in the power of Christ's indwelling from actual sinning, even with the sinful tendency still remaining, is so universal, that every attempt to press home the promise of the law written in the heart, in its contrast to the Old Testament life, is regarded as dangerous. The wonderful promise is leveled down to the ordinary experience of the ordinary Christian life. No wonder then that the crowning promise, 'They shall not every man teach his brother, Know the Lord' [Jer. 31:34], with its direct teaching [enablement, etc.] of the Holy Spirit, and its direct fellowship with God through the Spirit, is neither valued nor claimed, and the entrance through the rent veil into the Holiest of All and the presence of God postponed to another world."]] (11) AND THEY SHALL NOT TEACH EVERYONE HIS FELLOW CITIZEN, AND EVERYONE HIS BROTHER, SAYING, 'KNOW THE LORD,' FOR ALL WILL KNOW ME, FROM THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST OF THEM. [[All born-again Christians have the privilege to know God though the indwelling Spirit and the Word of God; we literally have access to Him in Christ Jesus and by the Holy Spirit. After we are glorified, we will know Him on a much deeper level (cf., e.g., 1 Cor. 13:12); we will even be reigning with Him (cf., e.g., Rev. 22:5).]] (12) FOR I WILL BE MERCIFUL TO THEIR INIQUITIES, AND I WILL REMEMBER THEM NO MORE.' [[Total forgiveness for our past sins is a super-important part of the gospel. We will also be forgiven for any sins we commit after becoming Christians when we repent, but we must put the emphasis on what the writer of Hebrews said in verse 10, which is the heartbeat of the new covenant. God hates sin, and He paid an infinite price in the incarnation and sacrifice of His Son to give us the victory over sin (all sin) and Satan's kingdom of darkness.]] (13) When He said, 'A new covenant,' He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear." [[The old covenant, which was established on the Mosaic Law, was terminated with the sacrifice of the Lamb of God; the Law (and the old covenant) was nailed to the cross (cf. Col. 2:14). However, God is not done with Israel: For one thing, the time will come when the (remnant of) the nation will repent and submit to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah, and be saved with new-covenant salvation (cf., e.g., Zech. 12:10-14 with most of Zechariah chapters 12-14 [these chapters are discussed in my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture," which is available on my website and at amazon.com]; Matt. 23:37-39; and Rom. 11:25-32). The temple was destroyed by the Romans in AD 70. I agree with the widespread viewpoint that Hebrews was written before the destruction of the temple.]]
Hebrews Chapter 9
"Now even the first covenant had regulations of divine worship and the earthly sanctuary. (2) For there was a tabernacle prepared, the outer [literally "first"] one, in which were the lampstand [Ex. 25:31-40] and the table [Ex. 25:23-29] and the sacred bread [Ex. 25:30; Lev. 24:5-9; Matt. 12:3, 4]; this is called the holy place. (3) Behind the second veil [Ex. 26:31-33; 40:3. This is the veil (not the actual veil that existed in the later temple of Jesus' day) that was torn in two from the top to the bottom when Jesus died (Matt. 27:51; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:45). His death opened the way, beyond the second veil, into heaven (the presence of God) for all believers.] there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies [Ex. 26:33], (4) having a golden altar of incense [[Ex. 30:1-10; 37:25-29. It is clear that the golden altar of incense was located in the "holy place," not in the "Holy of Holies." If it had been located in the "Holy of Holies," the high priests (Ex. 30:7, 8) or later, the priests (Luke 1:8, 9), would not have had access to the altar to offer incense on it every day (Ex. 30:1-7). Apparently the writer of Hebrews said it this way because the incense altar was closely associated with the presence of God and the ark of the covenant with the mercy seat and the golden cherubim at the ends of the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies. 1 Kings 6:22 shows that the incense altar was closely associated with the Holy of Holies. The NIV translates "the altar that belongs to the inner sanctuary." The Hebrew could be translated "the altar for the inner sanctuary." The NASB translates, "the altar which was by the inner sanctuary" in 1 Kings 6:22.
The incense was clearly being offered before God. I'll quote Ex. 30:6 and 8, "You shall put this altar in front of the veil that is near the ark of the testimony, in front of the mercy seat that is over the ark of the testimony, where I will meet with you. (8) When Aaron [the first high priest] trims the lamps at twilight, he shall burn incense. There shall be perpetual incense before the LORD [Yahweh] throughout your generations." Exodus 30:6 and 40:5 show that the altar of incense was closely associated with the ark of the covenant in the Holy of Holies and the presence of God.]] and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold [Ex. 25:10-16; 37:1-5], in which was a golden jar holding the manna [Ex. 16:31-36; this passage does not say that the golden jar was put into the ark, but that it was placed before the ark; so too for "Aaron's rod which budded"], and Aaron's rod which budded [Num. 17:1-11], and the tables of the covenant [Ex. 25:16; 31:18; 32:15, 16; Deut. 9:9-17; 10:1-5]; (5) and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat [Ex. 25:17-32; Lev. 16:2, 13-15; 1 Kings 8:6, 7]; but of these things we cannot now speak in detail. (6) Now when these things have been so prepared, the priests are continually entering the outer [first] tabernacle [the "holy place"] performing the divine worship, (7) but into the second [the "Holy of Holies"], only the high priest enters once a year [on the Day of Atonement], not without taking blood, which he offers for himself [the blood of a bull (see Lev. 16:6, 11-19, 27, 28; I'll quote Lev. 16:6: "Then Aaron shall offer the bull for the sin-offering which is for himself, that he may make atonement for himself and his household."] and [the blood of a goat (Lev. 16:15-19, 27, 28)] for the sins of the people committed in ignorance. [[(This double bracket goes on for three paragraphs.) Above, at the end of the lengthy discussion under Heb. 8:7, under the heading "Were the Believers Forgiven Through the Sacrificial Offerings Under the Old Covenant?" we discussed deliberate, intentional, rebellious, defiant sins (sinning with a high hand) and unintentional sins, "the sins of the people committed in ignorance." As I mentioned, there were no sacrificial offerings under the old covenant to take away the deliberate, defiant sins. But as I also mentioned, this did not mean that a person could not be forgiven by God, as King David, for example, was forgiven, after his sins involving Bathsheba and Uriah, her husband.
I mentioned that I would comment on unintentional sins ("sins of the people committed in ignorance") here under Heb. 9:7. Many sins committed under the old covenant were totally unintentional. For example, if a person was in the tent of a dead person, even though they didn't realize that a dead person was in the tent, they became unclean, and if they went to the tabernacle in that unclean state they committed a serious sin (see Num. 19:14). However, it is clear that many sins that could be atoned for by sacrificial offerings were not always fully unintentional or "committed in ignorance." Leviticus 6:1-7 provide several clear examples of serious sins that were far from being unintentional that could be forgiven through making restitution and guilt offerings. Those sins were not in the category of being defiant, rebellious, with a high hand against God; God knows the heart, and He is the One who forgives, or doesn't forgive. I'll quote LEVITICUS 6:1-7: "Then the LORD [Yahweh] spoke to Moses, saying, (2) 'When a person sins and acts unfaithfully against the LORD [Yahweh], and deceives his companion in regard to a deposit or a security entrusted to him, or through robbery, of if he has extorted from his companion, (3) or has found what was lost and lied about it and swore falsely, so that he sins in regard to anyone of the things a man may do; (4) then it shall be, when he sins and becomes guilty, that he shall restore what he took by robbery or what he got by extortion, or the deposit entrusted to him or the lost thing which he found, (5) or anything about which he swore falsely; he shall make restitution for it in full and add to it one-fifth more. He shall give it to the one to whom it belongs on the day he presents his guilt offering. (6) Then he shall bring to the priest his guilt offering to the LORD [Yahweh], a ram without defect from the flock, according to your valuation, for a guilt offering, (7) and the priest shall make atonement for him before the LORD [Yahweh], and he will be forgiven for any one of the things which he may have done to incur guilt.' "
I'll quote what F. Delitzsch said regarding the meaning of the Greek noun "agnoemata," which was translated "sins committed in ignorance" in Heb. 9:7 ("Epistle to the Hebrews" [Klock and Klock, originally published in 1871], pages 64, 65): "is a general term for all such offences as are not committed with a high hand, in open defiance of the divine law, but through human infirmity, or with a half consciousness only of their moral turpitude, and for such as, when recognized, are truly repented of."]] (8) The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way into the holy place [see under the following verse] has not yet been disclosed [or, manifested] while the outer tabernacle [literally "the first tabernacle"; in verse 2 "the first [tabernacle]" is the outer compartment and in verse 6 "the first tabernacle" is the outer compartment] is still standing (9), which is a symbol for the present time. [[The exact meaning of these words, including verse 8, is not easy, and the interpretations differ in some details, but I believe the overall meaning is rather clear. For one thing, it seems clear that by the words "the holy place" in verse 8 (words that were used to refer to the first, outer compartment in the tabernacle in verses 2 and 6) the writer is referring to the second, inner compartment, the Holy of Holies, and probably also to heaven (see the discussion that follows). (The presence of God was there in the Holy of Holies, but His presence was/is in heaven in a much fuller sense.) The NIV rightly translates "the Most Holy Place" in verse 8 (instead of "the holy place"; the NIV also used these words in verse 3 to refer to the Holy of Holies, but the Greek is different in verse 3. (In verse 3 the word "hagion" [which means "of holies"] was added to the word "hagia.") "The holy place" ("ta hagia"; "ta" means "the") is used in Heb. 9:12 of heaven. In 9:24 we read that "Christ did not enter a holy place ["hagia"] made with hands [referring to the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle], a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us." And in Heb. 9:25 "the holy place" ("ta hagia") refers to the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle. The second, inner compartment, the Holy of Holies, is called "the holy place" in Lev. 16:2, 3, 16, 17, 20, 23, and 27. (One last detail for those interested: "the holy place" in verse 8 is the equivalent of "ta hagia," but because of the grammatical structure of the sentence these words are used in a different case, the genitive case.)
It seems that the writer of Hebrews is making the point that like the first compartment in the tabernacle and the second veil at the entrance to the Holy of Holies blocked the way into the Holy of Holies (which was inaccessible to the worshippers, being accessible only to the high priest for a few minutes a year on the Day of Atonement; the worshippers, unlike the priests, were not permitted to enter the first compartment either), the way into the presence of God in heaven is clearly blocked by the existence of the old covenant with its tabernacle, animal sacrifices, etc. The old covenant had to be set aside to open the way for the new covenant established on the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God (cf. John 14:6).]] Accordingly [literally "according to which"] both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience [[The old covenant with its gifts and sacrifices could not solve the sin/spiritual death/Satan problem. "The law made nothing perfect" (Heb. 7:19). "For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near" (Heb. 10:1). "Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood [which wasn't the case as the writer of Hebrews makes perfectly clear]...." Hebrews 10:2 shows that the old-covenant sacrifices could not cleanse the worshippers so they would have no more "consciousness of sins" in that they could not solve the sin/spiritual death/Satan problem. The Greek noun ("suneidesis") translated "consciousness" in Heb. 10:2 is the noun translated "conscience" here in Heb. 9:9 and in 9:14. Hebrew 10:14 says, "For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified," and Heb. 11:40 speaks of being "made perfect" through new-covenant salvation. We have been called and enabled to have, and to walk in, a relative perfection, which includes being forgiven, being born again, walking in an abiding state of the truth, righteousness, and holiness of God, and having access to Him. This relative perfection, which includes walking in an abiding state of holiness, is the ideal to which we have been called, and the New Testament does not present this as an unrealistic ideal. We must aim at this target! God's grace is sufficient!
I'll quote Heb. 11:40, "because God had provided something better for us [the new-covenant believers, Christians], so that apart from us they [the believers from the days of the Old Testament, who are spoken of throughout Hebrews chapter 11] would not be made perfect." As I mentioned, this (relative) perfection includes total forgiveness, the new birth, the authority and enabling grace to be sanctified (to live in an abiding state of holiness and righteousness), and to have access to God in heaven (as His born-again people). These super-important things were not provided under the old covenant, but they were promised in the Old Testament (see Jer. 31:31-34, for example).
The writer of Hebrews frequently shows that what the old covenant could not do, the new covenant accomplishes. Hebrews 9:14 speaks of "cleansing the conscience from dead works to serve the living God." Hebrews 10:21, 22 say, "since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water." I'll also quote Heb. 13:18, "Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things [by the grace of God in Christ]."
To be "perfect in conscience" we must be forgiven (totally forgiven, and know it); be born again through the indwelling Spirit of life; be sanctified through the law having been written on our hearts and know that we are committed in our hearts (in faith) to live in the truth, righteousness, and holiness of God with the victory over all sin and demons by the grace of God in Christ. This does not mean that we cannot be tempted to sin or that we cannot sin (but that as we walk by the Spirit of God, by faith, on a continuous basis, in accordance with God's Word, which we are called, enabled, and required to do) we will be living in the truth, righteousness, and holiness of God, with the victory over all sin. We also know that if we should slip into sin, we will be forgiven and restored when we sincerely repent. The new covenant provides the ability for believers to know God (person to Person and Person to person) and have access to Him, being His born-again children, which includes the Spirit of God literally dwelling in us in a very full (new covenant) dimension as God's born-again children.
I'll quote a paragraph that Gareth Lee Cockerill has under Heb. 9:9b, 10 ("Epistle to the Hebrews" [Eerdmans, 2012], page 386): "It is essential that the modern reader grasp the intrinsic relationship between lack of cleansing and the inability to enter God's heavenly presence. Only those who have been forgiven and cleansed from sin SO THAT THEY NOW LIVE IN FAITHFUL OBEDIENCE [my emphasis] are able to enjoy such communion with our holy God. The pastor [writer] uses this description of inadequate sacrifices to prepare his hearers for what he will say about Christ's all-sufficient sacrifice in vv. 11-15. By his obedient sacrifice Christ can 'cleanse' the conscience (9:14) from the impurity of sin and write God's laws on his people's hearts as promised in the New Covenant (10:15-18 [and 8:6-13]). As believers we come through him to God's 'throne' in order to find grace for living this life of faithfulness (4:14-16; 10:19-25)."]], (10) since they relate only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation. [Those external things could never solve the sin problem in the spiritual/Spiritual dimension.] (11) But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come [[Compare. Heb. 10:1. "The good things to come" refer to new-covenant salvation, which could not begin in the full sense until the Lord Jesus had been crucified, resurrected, and returned to heaven and received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, and then poured out the Spirit in the new-covenant dimension, starting on the Day of Pentecost.]], He entered [I would skip these two words ("He entered") that the NASB added in italics.] through [[or, "with," "in connection with." However we translate this Greek preposition ("dia" with the genitive case), the idea seems to be that Christ's High Priestly ministry was associated with "the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say not of this creation," in heaven, at the Father's right hand, not with the earthly tabernacle. I'll quote Heb. 8:2: "[Christ] a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man." A. T. Robertson ("Word Pictures in the New Testament," Vol. 5 [Broadman Press, 1932], page 398) says regarding the use of "dia" here, "Probably the instrumental use of dia...as accompaniment...." He gives 2 Cor. 2:4 as one example of this use of dia: "For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with [dia] many tears...." I'll also quote the view preferred by Zane C. Hodges ("Bible Knowledge Commentary" New Testament [Victor Books, 1983], page 801), which is essentially the same as Robertson's: "...instead of 'through' the word [dia] can be translated 'in connection with' and the total statement means that Christ's high priesthood is linked with 'the greater and more perfect tabernacle' rather than the 'earthly' one previously described (vv. 1-5)."]] the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation [[The High Priestly ministry of the Lord Jesus was not associated with the earthly tabernacle, nor (as verse 12 goes on to say) with the sacrificial offerings associated with the Levitical high priest's ministry in the earthly tabernacle when he entered the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement.]]; (12) and not through the blood of goats and calves [["young bull" (Greek noun "moschos"); note that verse 13 has "bull" (Greek noun "tauros"); Lev. 16:11 (and several verses that follow in that chapter) show that the high priest entered the Holy of Holies with/through the blood of a bull on the Day of Atonement and then with/through the blood of a goat; he entered with/through the blood; he could not have entered without the blood]], but through His own blood, He entered the holy place [[Greek "ta hagia," referring to heaven (the heavenly counterpart to the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle/temple). The sacrificial blood of the Lamb of God was poured out in His all-important atoning death. His blood/His atoning death (which was offered before, and accepted by, God the Father) prepared the way (it opened the door) for His all-important resurrection and His all-important ascension to the Father's right hand in heaven, where He ministers as our Great High Priest, with the authority to save those who submit to the gospel in faith.
Jesus did not take His physical blood into heaven. Regarding the idea that He ascended to heaven on the day of His resurrection for a short visit (to offer a container of His literal blood in heaven), see under John 20:17 (in my paper on John chapters 18-20) and the cross-reference cited there that is in my paper on John chapters 13-17. Both papers are available on my internet site (karlkempteachingministries.com).]] once for all [[His one Sacrifice was totally effective and does not need to be, and will not be, repeated. The Levitical high priest had to enter the Holy of Holies every year, because the sin, spiritual death, Satan problem could not be solved under the old covenant. The deliberate, defiant sins committed with high hand were not forgiven; spiritual death continued to reign; the people continued in bondage to sin; and the way into God's presence was not yet opened.]], having obtained eternal redemption [[Compare Heb. 5:9; 9:15. I'll quote John 5:24 and then 1 John 5:13, "Truly [amen], truly [amen], I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment [condemnation], but has passed out of death into life"; "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life." Our having redemption and life in the eternal (heavenly) dimension is one of the most important ways to picture what Christianity is all about. We were spiritually dead in bondage to sin and under the influence of evil spirits (cf., e.g., Eph. 2:1-3), but we have been redeemed out of that pitiful state and transferred to the eternal kingdom of God through the blood of the Lamb of God. The word "redeem" was often used in the ancient world of buying slaves to set them free. We were slaves of sin in the kingdom of spiritual death (cf., e.g., Rom. 6:6, 14, 17, 20; 8:2).]]. (13) For if the blood of goats and bulls [and the other animals that were sacrificed under the old covenant; the blood of a bull and of a goat were taken into the Holy of Holies every year on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus chapter 16).] and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh [[Forgiveness for the sins of believers that were not deliberate, defiant, and committed with a high hand was provided under the old covenant, and the old-covenant sacrifices could sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh. For one thing, the ashes of a sacrificed unblemished red heifer removed the defilement that came through contact with physical death (see Numbers chapter 19).]],
We will continue this verse-by-verse study of Hebrews chapters 8-10 with Heb. 9:14, which is another very important verse that shows that new-covenant salvation puts the emphasis on Christians being enabled to walk in the righteousness and holiness of God with the victory over sin (in the ideal case with the victory over all sin).
Copyright by Karl Kemp
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