James – Chapter 2

Verse 1 – My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality.

Verse 2 – For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes,

Verse 3 – and you pay attention to the one wearing fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or “Sit here at my footstool,”

Verse 4 – have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?

James is drawing attention to playing favoritism because of appearance. I’ve been in churches like that. The wealthy can financially help a church, but the poor suffer need. When we show partiality because of someone’s status, we disgrace the Lord of glory.

Verse 5 – Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?

This verse does not mean that the poor automatically go to heaven and the rich go to hell. James is telling us that the poor are more likely to listen and believe the gospel because of a humble state of mind. Have you ever tried to convince a wealthy person their need for Christ? It’s hard! I have and they see no need for a Savior, because their money buys everything they need or want. If they are never in any kind of lack, they see no need to trust in the One which can supply all things pertaining to life.

Verse 6 – But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts?

This might be referring to something in their conduct which existed particularly back then. Those to whom James was speaking were Christians, and most likely poor.

Verse 7 – Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?

That noble name is Jesus Christ. Blaspheme means that the wealthy were speaking against Christ or directly through their actions toward the members of the assembly.

Verse 8 – If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well;

Verse 9 – but if you show partiality you commit sin, and are convicted by law as transgressors.

Attitudes among Christians should be based on the royal law which says love your neighbor as yourself. We are to treat all people the same, whether rich or poor, the way we want to be treated. We don’t favor those that can return favors or can do something for us better than the ones which can do nothing for us.

Verse 10 – For whoever shall keep the whole law and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.

Simply put: There is no one who can keep all of God’s law perfectly. There was only One who did and that was Jesus. However, that is no excuse to not try. That is why we all need Christ. He paid for our sin of breaking the law because we couldn’t keep it. But if you live strictly by the law, and refuse God’s Son, you will be required to keep all the law. That is, you choose to go it your own way based only on your works and not by what Christ has done for you.

Verse 11 – For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.

Verse 12 – So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty.

As Christians we are saved by God’s gift of grace through faith in Jesus Christ – the law of liberty. But as Christians we are required to obey Christ. God’s grace does not cancel our duty to obey Him.

Verse 13 – For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy trumps over judgment.

When we withhold forgiveness from others after having received it for ourselves, we show that we don’t understand or appreciate God’s mercy toward us.

Verse 14 – What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?

Can a faith that does not express itself in good works be a saving faith? No.

Verse 15 – If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food,

Verse 16 – and one says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?

Faith that does not produce good works is dead! It does no good to tell a person that is hungry that you wish them well, or hope everything works out, all the while we sit there with a refrigerator full of food. Faith has to have the evidence of good works.

Howe many times did Jesus feed the multitudes before He taught? Our influence on the lost is useless if we never produce any fruit from our faith!

Verse 17 – Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works is dead.

This action we take to care for those in need is no different from the faith we express when we pray. There is usually something that God will tell us to do in order to put that faith in motion. We don’t just sit back and wait for things to happen on their own. “Put legs on them prayers!”

Verse 18 – But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

While it is true that our good deeds can never earn salvation, true faith always results in a changed life and good deeds. True faith involves a commitment of our whole self in God.

Verse 19 – You believer that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe – and tremble!

However, demons do not intend to obey Christ. As Christians we receive, love, and obey our Savior. Big difference.

Verse 20 – But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?

Verse 21 – Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?

Verse 22 – Do you see that faith was working together with his works and by works faith was made perfect?

Active obedience demonstrates that our faith is genuine.

Verse 23 – And the Scripture was fulfilled which says. “Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God.

Abraham’s act showed that his faith was genuine, and that the declaration that he believed in God was true; for what could do more to confirm that than a readiness to offer his own son at the command of God?

Verse 24 – You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

It must be a faith that produces good works, and whose existence will be shown to others by those good works.

Verse 25 – Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?

Remember Rahab from Joshua, chapter 2? When Joshua sent spies into Jericho, she hid them and helped them escape without detection. In doing this she demonstrated faith in God’s purpose for Israel. As a result, she and her family were saved when the city was destroyed.

Verse 26 – For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

So, now do you understand how our Christian faith works? A lot of Christians are never taught this. If good works do not follow faith, that faith is useless!

 

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James – Chapter 1

Introduction: Since there were several “James” in the New Testament, it is not known for certain which “James” wrote this book. However, we can eliminate James, Jesus intimate disciple, because of his martyrdom by A.D. 44. Tradition points to the James that was Jesus brother. He became a devoted leader in the church in Jerusalem.

Throughout this entire epistle, James stresses that, “Faith without works is dead.” True faith must manifest itself in works of faith. Verbal faith is not enough, mental faith is insufficient. Faith must inspire action on our part. Faith must produce; it must be visible. My aunt used to say, “Put some legs on that prayer!”

Faith endures trials. Trials come and go, but a strong faith will face them head-on and develop endurance. Faith understands temptations. It will not allow us to slide into sin. Faith obeys the Word. It will not merely hear and not do. Faith produces doers. Faith demonstrates obedience and controls the tongue. Faith will produce submission to God. It provides us with the ability to resist the devil and draw near to God. Faith also stifles complaining.

Chapter 1

Verse 1 – James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings.

This letter is written to the Jewish Christians scattered abroad throughout Rome, Alexander, Cyprus, cities in Greece and Asia Minor.

Verse 2 – My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,

Verse 3 – knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.

This does not mean that we are to be “happy” because of a trial. It simply means not to consider it as punishment, a curse, or a calamity. Our outlook, when facing trials, is to be positive. Our trials can be opportunities to learn. Tough times can teach us perseverance. Not always finding the quickest way out, will cause patience while going through.

Verse 4 – But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Don’t let your patience be hindered by murmurings, complaining, or rebellion. When we do these things, we are in opposition to the will of God. Trials will develop our character to its fullest, complete.

Verse 5 – If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

By wisdom, James is talking about the ability to make wise decisions in difficult times. Wisdom means practical discernment. It begins with respect to God, leads to right living and an increasing ability to tell right from wrong.

Verse 6 – But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.

Verse 7 – For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord:

When we as Christians, go to the Lord in prayer, we must have confidence that God will answer according to His will. There is an expectation. We know He hears us! When He hears what we ask, He knows what is best for our lives. It may not happen the way we think, but He will work it out. Doubt has to go out the window. A person can hope for favor from God only as they put their confidence in Him. He sees the heart and He sees the motive behind the supplication. When we approach the throne of grace with the belief that it will be done, it will be done!

Verse 8 – he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Here is what I see a lot of times from a Christian that is waiting on an answer from God about a particular situation. They say they have prayed. Then to anyone who will listen, they complain about the situation. They will repeat it over and over and then finish up with, “Yeh, I know God’s in control.”

Poppy-cock! That person is controlling their situation with their mouth! You can’t believe that God will do it when you pray, and then destroy everything with your mouth. That is double-minded and they won’t receive anything.

Verse 9 – Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation,

Verse 10 – but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away.

Verse 11 – For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.

To me, in these verses, we are to assume the “lowly man” that is poor in material wealth and the rich man who is without God, will one day lose all he values because of death. This is not to  say we are never to acquire material things. However, I think the main point here is, no matter what state we live in, wealth or a desire to be rich, will amount to nothing in the end.

Some have the mindset that it’s a sin to be wealthy. They think God wants us all to be poo. That’s not true. If you are continually in lack, how are you ever going to help someone else? Rich or poor is a matter of the heart. If your heart is right before God, good works will come from what He has blessed you with.

Verse 12 – Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been proved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

God’s crown of life is not glory and honor here on earth, but the reward is eternal life – living with God forever. The way to win in this life, is to remain faithful to the One who saved us, even when temptation comes.

The Source of Temptations

Verse 13 – Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.

Temptation comes from evil desires inside us, not from God. It begins with an evil thought and becomes sin when we dwell on those thoughts and then allow it to manifest into an action. We have to learn to stop that thought before it ever takes life. We know it’s wrong when we think about it.

Verse 14 – But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.

Verse 15 – Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

People are tempted by many things and in all kinds of different areas. Temptations usually come by some desire for something or someone we do not possess. It is a lust, strong desire, knowing it would not be in one’s best interest to obtain it!

However, when that desire or lust, takes hold and is conceived, it gives way to sin and the penalty for sin is death.

Temptations come from the devil in areas that he knows we are weak. Sometimes that temptation is not so obvious. That is why it’s so important to know God’s will for our lives and His principles.

Verse 16 – Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.

Verse 17 – Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

God’s nature is unchanging and His promises are secure. The sense here is: God is the author of all good. Everything that is good, including the perfect gifts He gives, are all from Him. Darkness surrounds evil and light surrounds good. Choose good!

Verse 18 – Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.

The idea is, the fact that we are “begotten to be His children and can be solely traced to His will. He purposed it, and it was done. We owe the beginning of our spiritual life to God.

Faith Obeys the Word

Verse 19 – Therefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;

Verse 20 – for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

When others talk to you, do they feel as though what they are saying has any value to you, or do you dominate the conversation and don’t let them get a word in?

When someone gets angry because of a disappointment or a hurt from another, anger doesn’t produce anything good. Wrath and anger will never produce anything but regret. Righteousness will produce peace which pleases God.

I’ve said it before, but will say it again; Anger will fester and then turn into rage and then can turn into revenge or vengeance – an action, which then become s sin!

Verse 21 – Therefore, lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

The word filthiness is applied here to mean evil conduct considered as disgusting or offensive, loathsome. Receive meekness – have an open mind and heart to instruction of the truth – Word of God. God’s Word has the power to save our soul!

Verse 22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

Does what you believe line up with your actions?

Verse 23 – For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror;

Verse 24 – for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.

Verse 25 – But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

Plain and simple – Obey God and be blessed in all you do.

Verse 26 – If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.

We can do all the right actions that make us look religious, but if our speech doesn’t line up, the evidence we showed in works, is useless.

Verse 27 – Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this; to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself un-spotted from the world.

In the first century, orphans and widows had very little means of economic support. Unless a family member took them in, they would have to beg on the streets. By caring for these people, the church put God’s Word into practice.

We are not to be influenced or adapt the world’s way of thinking. Just because our government makes something a law, does not mean we as Christians have to agree with it, especially when it contradicts His word! The world system is based on money, power, and pleasure. True faith means nothing if we are contaminated with such values.

 

 

 

Hebrews – Chapter 13

Verse 1 – Let brotherly love continue.

True love among Christians will be shown with kindness, hospitality, empathy, and contentment.

Verse 2 – Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.

In the Old Testament people entertained angels without knowing they were angels. Abraham (Genesis 18:1), Gideon, (Judges 6:11), Manoah, Samson’s mother (Judges 13:2).

Verse 3 – Remember the prisoners as if chained with them, and those who are mistreated, since you yourselves are in the body also.

There were many who were in prison and chained for “righteousness sake.” Christians are to sympathize with those who are suffering.

Verse 4 – Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicator’s and adulterers God will judge.

Not only the person that is married and has sex with another is guilty of adultery, but the person, whether married or not, that has sex with a married person, commits adultery. All sex outside of marriage is fornication and unless a person repents and stops, are in danger of God’s wrath.

Verse 5 – Let your conduct be without covetousness, and be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

We as Christians, should be content with what God has provided for us, not always complaining about what we lack. When we complain, we might as well be saying that God can’t provide for us. Because He says He will never leave or forsake us, this reassures that He knows our needs and will provide.

Verse 6 – So we may boldly say: “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear, what can man do unto me?”

In times where we scarcely know how we are going to make it, we put our trust in Him. When God is on our side, what is there to fear?

Verse 7 – Remember those who rule over you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct.

The word rule used here, means guides, leaders, or directors. Teachers, remembering their counsel and instructions.

Verse 8 – Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Verse 9 – Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profiled those who have been occupied with them.

Apparently some were teaching that keeping the Old Testament ceremonial laws and rituals, such as not eating certain foods, was important to salvation. But these laws were useless for conquering a person’s evil thoughts and desires. These laws could influence, but could not change the heart.

Verse 10 – We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat.

A part of the meat offered in sacrifice among the Jews became the property of the priests and Levites, and they had by the Law, a right to this support. But the apostle here says there is a higher and more valuable sacrifice of which they have no right to partake while they remain in the service of the tabernacle or temple, that is, while they remain Jews. They couldn’t continue in the old sacrifices, ceremonies, and rituals, and take part in the sacrifice of the Redeemer. That was a privilege to Christians who accepted that one time sacrifice.

Verse 11 – For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest, for sin, are burned outside the camp.

Verse 12 – Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate.

Verse 13 – Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach.

He’s telling the Jews not to go back to the old sacrifices after they have become a Christian. Follow that one true sacrifice that Jesus made outside of Jerusalem.

Verse 14 – For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.

We do not regard this earth as our final home. The writer tells the Hebrew Christians, that their permanent home is heaven.

Verse 15 – Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruits of our lips, giving thanks to His name.

The Jews had approached God by the blood of the sacrifice and by their high priest. Now they could approach God through the one and only sacrifice, Jesus Christ our High Priest, and worship Him with our lips, singing praises to His name.

Verse 16 – But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Too many times we are only focused on our wants, our needs. The apostle reminds them to “Share!” Share with what you have , share liberally, with those in need, take special pains to not forget. It is our duty. And in so doing God is pleased.

Verse 17 – Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account.

Leaders of a church are to help Christians mature. Cooperating followers ease the burden of their leaders. And those leaders will give an account of how they conducted themselves to the followers.

Verse 18 – Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorable.

Verse 19 – But I especially urge you to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner. (That sure sounds like the apostle Paul writing this, even if the scholars can’t agree.)

Verse 20 – Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,

Verse 21 – make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Verse 22 – And I appeal to you, brethren bear with the word of exhortation, for I have written to you in my words.

Verse 23 – Know that our brother Timothy has been set free with whom I shall see you if he comes shortly.

Verse 24 – Greet all those who rule over you, and all the saints. Those from Italy greet you.

Verse 25 – Grace be with you all. Amen.

The Book of Hebrews calls all Christians to maturity. It was addressed to first-century Jews, but it applies to all Christians of any age and background. I sure wish we could hear more preaching of this book in the churches today!

 

 

 

Hebrews – Chapter 12

Example of Christs’ Endurance

Verse 1 – Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witness, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

Verse 2 – looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The apostle is telling Christians to remove anything that would hinder or obstruct their focus on Christ. Too many compromises; too many get tangled in things of this world; and far too many allow people in their lives that pull them away from their faith.

Because Jesus is the source and perfecter of the Christian faith, we are to keep our eyes on Him. Just as Jesus endured the cross and despised the shame in order to attain the joy of rejoining the Father on His throne, so should we continue in our faith as if running a race.

Verse 3 – For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Him, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.

No opposition of sinners ever turned Christ from the original plan; no argument or expression of scorn, ever caused Him for a moment to deviate from His course.

Then there’s the warning: There is a danger of being hardened and wearied by opposition which will come in trials. Trials are just what “trial” means – trials of our faith, but keep your focus on the Savior.

Verse 4 – You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.

These readers of Hebrews were facing difficult times of persecution, but none of them had died yet for their faith, but soon, many would.

Verse 5 – And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him:

Verse 6 – for whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.”

Trials are designed to get our attention, showing that they are necessary for training into a mature Christian. The same goes for chastening, it is proof of the Father’s love for us.

We are not to despise chastening as if it is a small matter or trivial. This verse pertains to “training up a child.” The idea here is that, God will and does correct bad behavior with calamities in order to bring us back to Him. He will not suffer them to wander away un-rebuked and unchecked.

We know when we are straying, so we also know if we don’t correct our behavior on our own, God will step in. Just as a parent will correct bad attitudes and behavior, God corrects us, but still loves us. Always keep in mind, “God is a good God,” and He doesn’t do things in our lives out of cruelness, God is love.

What kind of child would you rather be around, one who is disciplined, or one which is not? Which kind of Christian would you rather be around, one who is disciplined and in self-control or one who does as they please at other’s expense?

Verse 7 – If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?

God will deal with His own in a loving manner.

Verse 8 – But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.

If you never meet with anything that is connected to correction like subduing your temper, straying off, or your attitude, then you are illegitimate – not His.

Verse 9 – Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?

Verse 10 – For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.

There is a contrast in the dealings of earthly parents with those of God. One of the circumstances is that, the corrections of earthly parents had a much less important object than those of God. They related to “this life”  – a life so brief that it may be said to continue but a “few days.” So, we should be much more willing to submit to our heavenly Father’s discipline which is designed to extend benefits throughout eternity.

Verse 11 – Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but grievous; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

There are several responses a Christian can have when chastened: (1) we can accept it but are in self-pity, thinking we don’t deserve it; (2) we can get angry and resentful toward God, or (3) we can accept it and change, knowing it came from a loving Father.

Verse 12 – Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees,

Verse 13 – and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.

“Hands which hang down” – maybe from weariness and exhaustion. Make a new effort to bear trials that come by drawing on Christ’s strength.

“Make straight paths for your feet” – upright, removing obstacles out of your way, so that we don’t stumble or fall.

“But rather be healed” – whatever is defective in our lives, we should endeavor to restore, rather than keep doing harm which will increase the pain. Whatever is feeble in our faith and hope; whatever evil tendency there is in our lives and in our hearts, we should endeavor to strengthen and amend, lest it become worse, and we entirely fall!

Verse 14 – Pursue peace with all men, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:

Verse 15 – looking diligently lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up and cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;

Sin blocks our vision of God and His goodness, so if we want to see God in our lives, renounce sin and obey God.

Bitterness is a root that will sometimes be caused by a great disappointment or a hurt. If we continue to let it grow, it becomes resentment and a grudge. Bitterness brings with it jealousy, dissension, and immortality. I think bitterness is one of the hardest things for people to admit they have. However, others know they are bitter by what comes out of their mouth about the subject or the person.

Verse 16 – lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.

Verse 17 – For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.

Even repentance and forgiveness do not always eliminate sin’s consequences. We have to consider and evaluate the long-range effects of our decisions and actions.

Verse 18 – For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest,

Verse 19 – and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, and so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore.

Verse 20 – (For they could not endure what was commanded: “And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or thrust through with an arrow.”

Verse 21 – And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said,”I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.”)

The apostle is telling the contrast between them approaching Mount Sinai and Mount Zion. The people could not ever touch Mount Sinai. They waited for Moses to speak what God had spoken. Man nor beast could touch it without being put to death.

Verse 22 – But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels,

Verse 23 – to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect,

Verse 24 – to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.

The apostle addresses all who are Christians, under the new dispensation. We come to Mount Zion in the revelation through the gospel. The approach to God was opened through the blood of Jesus Christ.

“To the general assembly and church of the firstborn”: Those who were firstborn had special privileges. The writer is talking about the patriarchs, prophets, and martyrs, all are now united with the church.

The blood of Jesus speaks better things more than Abel did. Abel’s offering was a “type.” The object here is to compare the Redeemer with Able, not in the sense that the blood shed in either case calls for vengeance, but that salvation by blood is more clearly revealed in the Christian plan than in ancient history.

Verse 25 – See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven,

Verse 26 – whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised saying, “Yet once more I shake not only shake the earth, but also heaven.”

Do not turn away from Him who has addressed you in the new dispensation, and called you to obey and serve Him. God speaks by every message of mercy, by every invitation, by every tender appeal. He speaks by the Holy Spirit, and by all His calls and warnings in the gospel. If they  who heard God under the old dispensation rejected Him, how greater the punishment under Christ?

Verse 27 – Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.

Verse 28 – Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.

Verse 29 – For our God is a consuming fire.

Eventually this world will crumble, and only God’s kingdom will last. Those who follow Christ are part of this unshakable kingdom and they will withstand the shaking. Our faith in Christ is a “for sure” solid foundation.

“God is a consuming fire,” means, only that which is connected to God through Jesus Christ will last!

 

 

 

Hebrews – Chapter 11

Faith

Verse 1 – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Eternal life depends on the existence and exercise of faith. Faith gives reality or substance of things hoped for. Faith is substantial enough to generate confidence. This is on inner conviction, not based on visible matters and beyond this world is a better resurrection.

Verse 2 – For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.

Verse 3 – By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

The “faith” here is confidence in the truth of the divine declarations in regard to creation. Our knowledge on the subject is a matter of faith in the divine testimony – God said so.

Abel

Verse 4 – By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.

People have speculated for years why God accepted Able’s offering and not Cain’s. The one was offered in faith and the other was not. Cain offered fruit from the land, which in itself is proper. Both the brothers selected what they had reared with their own hands – sheep and fruit.

The apostle, writing, knew by divine will, that Able offered his offering by faith and that God would accept it. By offering a blood sacrifice, Able showed a more attachment to God and faith in the great Redeemer, promised immediately after the fall (Genesis 3:15).

Enoch

Verse 5 – By faith Enoch was translated so that he did not see death, “and was not found because God had translated him”; for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

Verse 6 – But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

God will not settle for mere acknowledgment of His existence, even the demons believe that much. He wants a personal dynamic relationship with us, one that will transform us. God cannot be pleased with the person who has no confidence in Him; who doubts the truth of His declarations and promises; who does not believer that His ways are right; or that He has all authority. We cannot come to Him if we don’t believe in His very existence. We do not see Him, but must believe He is. We believe, then draw near and then realize we are in the presence of the all-seeing Jehovah!

Noah

Verse 7 – By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

Because God had told Noah of the flood that was coming, Noah prepared and built an ark as instructed by God, for a hundred and twenty years , believing what God had said. And Noah became heir of righteousness – he became possessed of that righteousness.

Noah was faithful to work and wait for the flood, because God said it was going to happen. So, why can’t we as Christians wait? However long it takes, for our prayers to be answered, we wait. We all give up too soon!

Abraham

Verse 8 – By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would afterward receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.

This required extraordinary strength to leave his own country and go to a distant land of strangers. Would we do the same? Some do.

Verse 9 – By faith he sojourned in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise;

This was the land of Canaan that had been promised to him. In all respects he lived there as if he had no special right in the soil; as if he never expected to own it; as if he was in a country wholly owned by others. To all intent, he was a stranger.

Yet, he seems to have lived in the confidence and quiet expectation that he land would at some period come into his possession of his posterity.

Verse 10 – for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

Verse 11 – By faith Sarah, herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.

If ever in serious doubt that our God can do the impossible, go back and read the story of Abraham, being 100 and Sarah 90 years old and conceiving a child. That story alone should boost our confidence in the God that loves us!

Verse 12 – Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude – innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.

The entire Jewish people sprang from one man, and that, as the reward of his strong faith he was made the father and founder of the Jewish nation.

Verse 13 – These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

Verse 14 – For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.

Verse 15 – And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return.

The same is true today, there is nothing stopping Christians to returning back into the world and their old life-style. There are plenty of opportunities to do so, but truly born-again believers strive to move in another direction – following Jesus Christ. It’s our choice. Abraham could have went back to familiar land, but he believed God and chose not to go back.

Verse 16 – But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.

This earth is not our permanent home. There is a city being prepared for those who love and trust in the Savior and one day we will be in that new city – The New Jerusalem!

Verse 17 – By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promise offered up his only begotten son,

Verse 18 – of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,”

Verse 19 – accounting that God was able to raise him up even from the dead from which he also received him in a figurative sense.

Not only did it take a strong amount of faith to believe God when He promised Abraham and Sarah a son in their ripe old age, but Abraham’s faith was tested again when God commanded him to sacrifice his only son. Abraham knew that God was able to raise Isaac fro the dead.

Abraham remembered the covenant and the promise that God made: from this one son, Isaac, an entire nation would come, so how was this going to happen if Isaac was dead? We are to base our faith on the promise from God no matter what it looks like now! Our faith in something will not line up with what we “See!” If you can see it, then it’s not faith.

Isaac

Verse 20 – By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.

A blessing was pronounced on each, of a very different nature, but Isaac had no doubt that both would be fulfilled.

Jacob

Verse 21 – By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of his sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.

By faith he blessed Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, and by faith he reverently bowed before God in the belief that when he died his remains would be conveyed to the promise land.

Joseph

Verse 22 – By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones.

Moses

Verse 23 – By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the kings’ command.

Even Moses’ parents trusted God to protect their son’s life. They believed their child was destined for some important work for the Lord, so they disregarded the king’s command.

Verse 24 – By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,

Verse 25 – choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,

Verse 26 – esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.

Verse 27 – By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.

Verse 28 – By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them.

Verse 29 – By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned.

Moses was one of Israel’s greatest prophets and lawgivers. He gave up wealth, comfort, status, and achievement, to cling to the long-range benefits of God’s kingdom.

These things we enjoy now while on earth are only temporary. We, as Christians, have an eternity with the King of Kings – a much better life!

Joshua

Verse 30 – By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days.

Those walls did not fall by any natural causes. Those walls fell by confidence and faith in God.

Rahab

Verse 31 – By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she received the spies with peace.

When Joshua sent spies to Jericho to see how fortified the city was, they met Rahab who was a prostitute and a Gentile. She showed her faith in God when she helped the spies escape, knowing when they came back to destroy the city, her and her family would be spared. And they were!

If you think God can’t use whom He chooses to accomplish His purpose, look no further than Rahab. After Jericho was captured, Rahab and her family were spared and she married Salmon of the tribe of Judah and was the mother of Boaz. She also is mentioned in the genealogy in Matthew as the ancestor of Jesus.

Verse 32 – And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthan, also of David and Samuel and the prophets;

Verse 33 – who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,

Verse 34 – quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to  flight the armies of the aliens.

Verse 35 – Women received their dead raised to life again. And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.

We too can be victorious over our enemies, with faith in Christ, resting on the promise of a sure resurrection with Christ for all eternity.

Verse 36 – Still others had trials of mocking and scourging, yes, and of chains and imprisonment.

Verse 37 – They were stoned, they were sawed in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented –

Verse 38 – of whom  the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.

Verse 39 – And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise,

Verse 40 – God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart form us.

As I’ve read the Old Testament stories of all that were mentioned here, I realize in my own life that if my God was able to do what He did for many of these, then He must be able to do the same for me! Why is it that we think our problems are so much bigger than these, and that God is not able? It’s because many don’t know the God of the Bible. God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever! He will accomplish His will and use anyone He chooses, and always glorify His Son! Please believe that God does the impossible for those whose hearts and minds are turned towards Him! Amen.

 

 

 

 

Hebrews – Chapter 10

Verse 1 – For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.

Verse 2 – For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purged, would have had no more consciousness of sins.

Verse 3 – But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.

When the people gathered to offer sacrifices on the Day of Atonement, they were reminded of their sins, and undoubtedly felt guilty all over again. This practice was only a shadow of the good things to come.

If these sacrifices had removed their sins and freed their consciousness of all guilt, then they wouldn’t have had to continue with them. The very fact that they did this year after year showed that their conscience had no peace.

Verse 4 – For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.

So why did they do it? First of all because, God commanded it; second, it was a shadow and pointed to the coming Messiah, which pointed to the once and for all perfect sacrifice made by Him.

Verse 5 – Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me.

Verse 6 – In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure.

Verse 7 – Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come – in the volume of the book it is written of Me  – to do Your will, O God.’ ”

(Verse 5) Since it was impossible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sin, Christs’ coming into the world was a better sacrifice. The Messiah came to render obedience of the highest order, even to such an extent that He was willing to lay down His own life. (Verse 6) The idea is that God had no pleasure in the sacrifices compared to obedience. (Verse 7) “In the volume of the book,” is the five books of Moses in a scroll. Referring to the time would come through the Messiah to take the place of those sacrifices, and by His obedience unto death would accomplish what they could not do.

Verse 8 – Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law),

Verse 9 – Then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second.

Verse 10 – By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Setting aside the first system in order to establish a far better, meant doing away with the sacrifices contained in the ceremonial law. It did not mean doing away with God’s moral law, the Ten Commandments. As we, as Christians, can fulfill the ceremonial law by receiving Christ living in us.

Verse 11 – And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.

Verse 12 – But this Man after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God,

Verse 13 – from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.

Christs’ work is contrasted with the work of the priest. The priests’ work was never finished. Christs’ work and sacrifice (dying in our place) is finished, therefore He is seated! Christs’ sacrifice effectively cleansed us from all unrighteousness.

Verse 14 – For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

Verse 15 – And the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before,

Verse 16 – “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts and in their minds I will write them: (Jeremiah 31:33, 34)

verse 17 – Then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds, I will remember no more.”

Verse 18 – Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

Our sin cannot be paid for by us. This is where many Christians disagree. Christ paid the penalty in full for the world’s sin, past present and future. However, one has to believe in Him, and receive Him, as our Redeemer and Savior, in order for our sins to be forgiven. There is no more offering, no more sacrifice, and certainly, no more penalty for sin to the Christian, Jesus paid this  penalty with His death, in full!

Some don’t realize that even their future sin is forgiven and paid for. We better hope it is, because all of our sin was future when He died. We weren’t even born yet when He died for us, so all of our sin was future!”

Are we perfect? Only in our spirits, not our conduct and behavior, as of yet. This attitude of forgiveness does not mean that we live anyway we choose because we are forgiven . If a person is truly born-again, they don’t have a desire to sin anymore. When we do mess-up though, we can admit it to ourselves and another if you hurt them, and then try, through the power that lives in us, not to do it again.

Hold Fast he Confession of Faith

Verse 19 – Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,

Verse 20 – by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,

Verse 21 – and having a High Priest over the house of God,

Verse 22 – let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies wash with pure water.

When Jesus died on that cross, the veil that divided the Holiest of Holies was torn, done away with, because Jesus became our High Priest, making it possible, through His blood that was shed, to walk in the presence of God. Christians now, can go boldly before the throne of grace, without fear. Christ’s blood gave us access to our heavenly Father.

“Full assurance of faith” – unwavering confidence, such a fullness of faith in God which leaves no room for doubt.

“Sprinkled from an evil conscience” – by the blood of Jesus and His sacrifice, gives every believer a clean conscience of guilt, it gives us peace. Being baptized with water is the symbol of holiness – pure water.

Verse 23 – Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

The apostle encourages Christians to hold fast to their faith, even in trials, or by the arguments of others. Because God is faithful, we in turn are faithful to Christ.

Verse 24 – And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,

Verse 25 – not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Fourth Warning: Danger of Drawing Back

Verse 26 – For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sin,

Verse 27 – but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.

The point is that there is no other acceptable sacrifice for sin than the death of Christ on the cross. If someone deliberately rejects the sacrifice of Christ after clearly understanding the gospel teaching about it, then there is no way for that person to be saved, because God has not provided any other Name under heaven by which we can be saved (Acts 4:12).

Verse 28 – Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.

This does not mean in all cases the offender against the Law of Moses died without mercy, but only those offenses that were punishable by death.

Verse 29 – Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing,and insulted the Spirit of grace?

He who renounces Christianity ought to be regarded as deserving a much more severe punishment than the person who apostatized from the Jewish religion. There are some who have denounced Christianity for another religion and their punishment will be severe. That is trampling the Son of God underfoot by despising the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Are we Christians narrow-minded about what is acceptable to God? Yes! The gospel, the true gospel, is the only way to Jesus Christ. Not by works; not by ceremonies; not by rituals; and certainly not by any other Name! All other religions are false. Ephesians 2:8 – For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.

Verse 30 – For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. and again, “The LORD will judge His people.”

This is quoted from Deuteronomy 32:35 and Romans 12:19. It is quoted to show we do not avenge ourselves. It is God who will give punishment to whom it is due.

Then from Deuteronomy 32:36, He will judge them when they deserve it and correct His own children when they need it. This truth was abundantly clear in the history of the Israelites; and the same great principle would be applied should any sincere Christian apostatize from their faith.

Verse 31 – It is a fearful things to fall into the hands of the living God.

For the purpose of punishment – which is the idea here – fear. God is strictly just, and will inflict the punishment which ought to be inflicted.

Verse 32 – But recall the former days in which after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings;

Verse 33 – partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated;

Verse 34 – for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven.

For the scholars not to know who wrote this book, it sure sounds like it was the Apostle Paul. He says because “You had compassion on me in my chains,: that was Paul.

These Christians, had went through many trials and persecutions, as some do today. The apostle reminds us, those trials are not our focus, Christ is. There are rewards for those who endure to the end.

Verse 35 – Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.

Verse 36 – For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:

Verse 37 – “For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry.

Verse 38 – Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.”

Verse 39 – But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.

The apostle encourages us all not to disregard our confidence in God, even when trials seem to become unbearable. We have to look to our eternal future when hardships come, because our trials are but a little while. Jesus is coming for us.

Hebrews – Chapter 9

Old Covenant’s Sanctuary

Verse 1 – Then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary.

Verse 2 – For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary;

Verse 3 – and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All,

The tabernacle, like the temple afterward (the wilderness tent), was divided into two parts, by the veil, one of which was called the “holy place,” and the other “the Holy of Holies.”

The lampstand – it was made of pure gold, and had seven branches, there on each side and one in the center. This was to shed light on the altar of incense, the table of showbread, and generally on the furniture of the holy place.

The table – the table on which the showbread was placed. This table was made of shittim-wood, and overlaid with gold.

The showbread – this bread consisted of twelve loaves, placed on the table, every Sabbath. The Hebrews affirmed that they were square loaves, having the four sides covered with leaves of gold. The number twelve was selected with reference to the twelve tribes of Israel. They were made without leaven (yeast); were renewed each Sabbath, when the old loaves were taken away to be eaten by the priests only.

The Holiest of All – the room behind the veil was also called the Most Holy place, or the Holy of Holies. It was called this because of the divine presence – the “Shekinah” – dwelt there between the Cherubim.

Verse 4 – which had the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant;

Verse 5 – and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy-seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.

There were two cherubim on the ark, placed on the lid in such a manner that their faces looked inward toward each other, and downward towards the mercy-seat. They stretched out their wings “on high” and covered the mercy-seat, or the lid of the ark.

The mercy-seat was to be where God was seated, and from this place He was to dispense mercy to the guilty, when the blood of the atonement was sprinkled there. This was undoubtedly designed to be a symbol of His dispensing mercy to people in virtue of the blood which the Savior shed as the great sacrifice for guilt (Hebrews 9:13-14).

Old Covenant’s Sacrifice

Verse 6 – Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services.

Verse 7 – But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance;

The holy place was entered every day to make morning and evening sacrifices, but only the high priest entered the Holy of Holies once a year.

Verse 8 – the Holy Spirit indicating this that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing.

The whole arrangement in the service of the tabernacle is represented as having been under the direction of the Holy Spirit. The way to heaven was not open or fully understood as of yet – “not yet made manifest.” That way has now been opened by the Redeemer to heaven, and by the assurance that all who will may come in His name.

“While the first tabernacle was yet standing” – while the first system stood and the appointed services were held, until it was superseded by a more perfect system.

Verse 9 – It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience –

Verse 10 – concerned only with foods and drinks, various washing’s, and fleshly ordinances, imposed until the time of reformation.

Even when the outward ceremonial rites, offerings, and sacrifices were made, it did not free the conscience from guilt. They could not fully do what the conscience needed for peace with God. Nothing would do but the blood of the Redeemer.

New Covenant’s Sanctuary

Verse 11 – But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands that is, not of this creation.

Now that the Messiah has come, a more perfect system is introduced by which the conscience may be made free from guilt.

Verse 12 – Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

Verse 13 – For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh,

Verse 14 – how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

If the blood of animals had any effect at all, even in removing ceremonial pollution’s, how much more is it reasonable to suppose maybe effected by the blood of the Son of God?

Verse 15 – And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

People in the Old Testament were saved through Christ’s sacrifice also, even though that sacrifice had not happened yet. Then, there was no more need for the animal sacrifices.

Verse 16 – For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

It’s talking here of a “Last will and testament.” The will only goes into effect after the person dies.

Verse 17 – For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.

Verse 18 – Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood.

Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins (Hebrews 9:22).

Verse 19 – For when Moses had spoken every precept to all people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,

Verse 20 – saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.”

Verse 21 – Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry.

Verse 22 – And according to the law almost all things are purged with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.

Yes, there were also some things purified by water, but almost everything in the tabernacle and temple were consecrated by blood.

There is no greater symbol of life than blood, blood keeps us alive. Jesus shed His blood to give us life, so that we wouldn’t have to spend eternity separated form Him. He gave His life to pay our penalty for our sins. After Christ rose from the grave, He claimed victory over sin and death.

Verse 23 – Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

I don’t think any of us fully understand how the things in the temple on earth that was a copy and symbol of the heavenly things.

Verse 24 – For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;

Verse 25 – not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another –

Verse 26 – He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at ht end of the ages, He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

We are still living in the “end of the ages,” and will continue to do so until Christ’s return.

Verse 27 – And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,

Verse 28 – so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time apart from sin for salvation.

Christ died only once and made the atonement for sins and so we can expect to die only once. The same thing with judgment – only once, not to be repeated.

However, there is a second death for all those who do not have their names written in the “Book of Life!