11/23/17 The Tabernacle

“The covenant God made with Moses gave glimpses of what was to come, though the service of the priests in the Tabernacle, and later, in the Temple.  God gave Moses very specific instructions both in the constructing of the Tabernacle and all the articles used in daily worship there, and in what the priests were to do in the Tabernacle.  The first part of the structure, called the sanctuary, housed a table with fresh bread called showbread, and the lampstand, or menorah.  The opening to the sanctuary was covered by a veil, and there was a second veil covering the opening between the sanctuary and the Most Holy Place, the part of the Tabernacle where no one but the High Priest was allowed to go, and only once a year, to offer sacrifices for himself and all the people for their sins.  In this part of the Tabernacle, there was a golden censer in which sweet smelling incense was burned, and the ark of the covenant covered in gold that held the golden pot of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the Law of the covenant.  On the lid of the ark were golden cherubim, hovering over the mercy seat.  We do not have the time to speak of these things in more detail now, but you can read about them in the book of the Exodus from Egypt.”

 

Hebrews 9:1-5, Exodus 28:1-40:38

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11/22/17 The New Supersedes The Old

“If the covenant God made with Moses when He gave him the Law had been perfect, there would have been no need for a new covenant.  But God knew that His people could never keep the Law perfectly, and so, through the prophet Jeremiah, He said, ‘Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah – not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord.  For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord:  I will put My laws in their mid and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.  None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, “Know the Lord,” for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.  For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.’  So when a new covenant comes, it replaces the old.  And since Messiah has come, the time has come for the old covenant to end and the new to be embraced by all of God’s people.”

 

Hebrews 8:7-13, Jeremiah 31:31-34

11/21/17 Shadows of the Real Thing

“All of what I have written to you so far is to introduce this one main point, that this High Priest that I have been describing is ours.  He is at this very moment sitting enthroned at the right hand of God the Father in Heaven.  He is the One in charge of the real Temple in Heaven, caring and interceding for His people in the real sanctuary of God, built by God’s own hand, not the copy here on earth that was built by men.  The purpose of a priest is to offer gifts and sacrifices to God on behalf of God’s people, and High Priest Messiah is not an exception to this, because He offered Himself as the ultimate sacrifice for all, and now He continually offers Himself as a mediator between God and His people.  If Messiah were here on earth, He could not be a priest according to the Law of Moses, because He is not a descendant of Levi.  But the system in place here on earth, where descendants of Levi serve God in a Temple built by human hands, is only a shadowy example of the real system of worship that God has created in Heaven, where Messiah serves as High Priest forever.  When God gave Moses the law, He gave very specific instructions as to how the Tabernacle was to be built and who was to serve in each role.  He said to Moses, ‘See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.’  But Messiah’s High Priesthood is on a whole different level, far better than anything here on earth, just as the new covenant that He came to bring between God and His people is far better than the covenant between God and Moses, built on far better promises from God.”

 

Hebrews 8:1-6, Exodus 25:40

11/20/17 Our Perfect High Priest, Our Perfect Sacrifice

“Furthermore, God swore an oath when He made Messiah our perfect High Priest: ‘The Lord has sworn and will not relent, “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”’  The descendants of Levi obtained their priesthood through their family line, not through an oath made by God.  In swearing this oath, God has become the collateral for the new covenant He made with us through Messiah, and this new covenant is the promise of eternal life with Him in the Kingdom of Heaven for anyone who will put their faith in His Son, Jesus, Messiah, to save them from the penalty for their sins.  This covenant is superior to the Law of Moses, just as Messiah is superior to the priesthood of the descendants of Levi.  Levi’s descendants were all human.  They were all sinful men, fallible, and mortal.  There were many priests of Levi, because no man lives forever.  But Messiah is eternal and perfect, so His priesthood is eternal and perfect, never changing.  Because of this, He is able to perfect every person who puts their faith in Him, and in so doing reconcile each person to God, since His greatest joy is to intercede with God on our behalf.  Through the Law, priests come who are sinful and weak, but through God’s oath, Messiah is made our Great High Priest forever, sinless and perfect, eternal and powerful.  He did not need to offer sacrifices for Himself, as mortal priests must do, but instead was able to offer Himself for us.  Though He came to be one of us, He is still set apart from us, because of His sinlessness and because He is the Son of God.  This makes Him our perfect High Priest.”

 

Hebrews 7:20-28, Psalm 110:4

11/19/17 Why A New Covenant?

“So, then, if the sins of the world could be forgiven and people could be made perfect in God’s sight through the priesthood of the descendants of Levi, under which the Law of Moses was given, why would there be a need for a future priest to come who is outside of Levi’s line, one who is more like Melchizedek than like Moses’ brother Aaron, the first in the line of High Priests under the Law of Moses?  And if the priesthood is changed, then the Law also must be changed, for they are two parts of one system, and one cannot work without the other.  Messiah, the One spoken of here, is not from the tribe of Levi, but from the tribe of Judah, and Moses never said anything about any of Judah’s descendants becoming a priest of God.  But God spoke of Messiah when He said, ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.’  And now Messiah has come.  He lived His entire life without sin, then gave Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world, once for all time and all people.  He was both the priest offering the sacrifice, and the sacrifice itself, and because He lived a sinless life, He had no need to offer a sacrifice for Himself.  Although we have a record of both His birth and His death as a human in Scripture, He existed before the beginning of time and will continue to exist for all eternity, as the Son of God.  He came as Melchizedek did, out of eternal life instead of out of a mortal commandment, offering gifts and blessings to those who surrender their will to God’s.  The Law is incapable of perfecting anything or anyone.  Animal sacrifices can never atone for an entire life of sins.  The purpose of the Law is to show our need for something greater, and that is Messiah, the bringer of the New Covenant, the only One who can reconcile us to God and give us the hope of eternity in Heaven with Him.”

 

Hebrews 7:11-19, Psalm 110:4

11/18/17 Greater Than Abraham

“Think about this for a moment.  This is Abraham we’re talking about.  The patriarch of all who worship the one true God.  The one who was given the special promise directly from God.  The father of Isaac, the grandfather of Jacob, who was given the name Israel, which means ‘he who wrestles with God,’ and forefather of our Messiah.  And yet, Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils of his battle to this man, Melchizedek, just as God commanded the descendants of Levi, who himself was a descendant of Abraham, to receive from the people a tenth of all their goods as an offering to God.  But this man, Melchizedek, received as a priest of God Abraham’s offering of a tenth of the spoils of battle, even though he was not a descendant of Levi or of Abraham.  And again, Abraham, who was given the blessing from God, was also blessed by Melchizedek.  It goes without saying that Melchizedek had to be greater than Abraham.  In the Book of Beginnings, it is recorded that Levi’s descendants received the tithes, because God’s Law states that Levi’s descendants are the ones who are to receive tithes from all the people.  But there is nothing recorded about Melchizedek’s right to receive tithes, Scripture tells us only that he lived and that he did receive them.  And even the descendants of Levi, and Levi himself, paid a tithe to Melchizedek through Abraham, because Abraham was their descendant.”

 

Hebrews 7:4-10

11/17/17 King of Peace & Righteousness

“Let’s go back to Melchizedek.  We don’t know much about him, only what Scripture tells us in the Book of Beginnings.  He was the king of Salem and a priest of God during Abraham’s lifetime.  Abraham defeated Chedorlaomer and the kings who fought with him, rescuing Lot and all the people who had been taken captive with him.  When they were on their way back home, Melchizedek came to meet Abraham, bringing bread and wine for him.  Melchizedek blessed Abraham in the Name of the Lord, and Abraham gave a tenth of all the spoils of the battle to Melchizedek, as a thank offering for the victory God had just given him.  Melchizedek’s name means, ‘king of righteousness,’ and, since he was king of Salem, he was also, ‘king of peace,’ since Salem means ‘peace.’  There is no mention of Melchizedek’s family in Scripture – no genealogy, no mother or father, not even a date of birth or death.  Like Messiah, Melchizedek’s priesthood is everlasting.”

 

Hebrews 7:1-3, Genesis 14:1-20

11/16/17 God Offers Himself As Collateral On His Promises, And Therein Lies Our Hope

“When people make a promise or take an oath, they swear by something greater than themselves, and that is how they show that they are committed to keeping their promise or fulfilling their oath.  But when God makes a promise, He swears by Himself, because there is none greater than He.  So when He made a promise to Abraham, He said, ‘Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.’  Abraham believed God’s word, and trusted Him to fulfill His promise, and even though it took many years of patient perseverance in faith, Abraham did indeed receive what God had promised to him.  Because people are assured by a sworn oath that the promise made will be fulfilled, God was willing to swear by Himself, to offer Himself up as collateral, both when making His promises to Abraham, and in His promise to all who now put their faith in His Son for their salvation, so that we can be certain that His promise to us will be fulfilled as well.  Our hope of eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven is based on our knowledge of who God is – we know that He is faithful and true, that He does not change His mind and He does not change His plans, and that it is impossible for Him to lie.  Because we know this about God’s character, those of us who run to Him for salvation can be assured that we will receive what He has promised to us.  This hope is for us like an anchor, holding our souls steady in the midst of even the most terrible storms.  We put our hope in Messiah for our salvation.  In His sacrificial death on the cross, Messiah tore the veil in the Temple separating the place where priests are allowed to go from the place where God’s Holy Spirit dwells and only the High Priest is allowed to enter, and that only once a year.  Now, having entered into that Most Holy Place for us, having ascended into Heaven to sit enthroned at the right hand of God the Father, having been given the distinction of High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek, Messiah is that anchor of hope for our souls.  Our anchor is in the Kingdom of Heaven, and we are drawn ever closer by the chain that links us to that anchor, until the day when we reach its gates and enter into its glory.”

 

Hebrews 6:13-20, Genesis 22:17

11/15/17 You Can Persevere In Faith

“My beloved brothers and sisters, though I had to warn you of the consequences of turning away from your faith, I know that you will not go down this path, but that you will choose the path that leads to life.  The right path is not the easy one, but it is the only path brings salvation and eternal joy in the presence of God.  God has seen and will remember all the work you have done out of love for Him, for His Son, and for His people, taking care of their needs.  And I know that even as I write these words, many of you are actively engaged in good works in the Name of our Lord.  It is my deepest desire that each of you would continue to strive daily to do all you can for the Kingdom of God and for His people, patiently enduring all that comes, holding tightly to your faith and love for God until Messiah returns to take you home.  I pray that you would not falter or grow lazy in your faithful works for God’s Kingdom, but that you would hold up as examples people who have gone before you in faith and have persevered in their good works for the Kingdom in spite of all the opposition they have faced, and do as they do, so that like them, you will also inherit the promises of God.”

 

Hebrews 6:9-12

11/14/17 The Danger Of Apostasy

“There is great danger in turning away from your faith.  Once you have come to Messiah and been forgiven of your sins and saved from the death penalty attached to them, if you then turn away and reject that faith, you can never return to your salvation.  Anyone who has learned of Messiah, has accepted His gift, has received the Holy Spirit, and has experienced the beauty and love of the Word of God and the power that He bestows upon His own children through the Holy Spirit, and then rejects all of this and turns their back on God, can never return.  Messiah is the only way to salvation from sin.  If you reject Him after embracing Him, you are worse than those who crucified Him.  Those who crucified Him did not know who He was or what they were doing.  But if you reject Him after embracing Him, it is as if you are publicly humiliating and crucifying Him again, after having received His gift and knowing Him intimately.  When the rain comes, the ground eagerly receives it.  In some places, the rain and the gardener’s care help good crops to grow.  This results in more blessings from God.  But in others, though they too received the rain and were cared for by gardeners, only thorny weeds will grow, of no use to anyone.  Those weeds are pulled out, cursed, and burned.  Do not be a weed in God’s garden.”  Hebrews 6:4-8