Introduction to Hebrews part 2

Teaching by Richard Jordan
Transcribed by Bev Pratt

At this point we have seen that the books of Hebrews through the Book of the Revelation fit the time period of THE AGES TO COME. They are written to someone back in the Acts period whose situation will be parallel to what these Circumcision believers are going to experience in the Tribulation Period.

These books appear in your bible in a very similar way that Paul's epistles are there for us. In Paul's epistles there is a design for the edification of the believer. Paul tells us Christ gives us the prophet, the pastor, the teacher, the evangelist - for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ. There is a ministry of edification that is to be carried on today. The teaching ministry of the Word of God is designed to perfect the saints; to bring the saints to maturity. The mature saint is then to go and perform the work of the ministry. One of the biggest problems in Christianity today are is the number of immature, babies trying to do man's work. When someone gets saved today, the first thing people want to do is put them to work for Jesus . . . which means put them to work for the church organization. Most pastors are involved in running from one person to another trying to motivate them to keep going. The motivation should come from the Spirit of God through correct doctrine. The answer to that is to use the interest and motivation when someone first gets saved to lead them to maturity through studying the Word of God. Then they will be equipped to serve in the ministry of edifying the saints.

The bible, being a lengthy book can be intimidating to a new believer. We need to lead them to correct study. That is what Right Division is all about. It is the way God says to do it and he knows more about it than I do!

You say, "Paul, You said I should rightly divide, so you teach me how to do it." Then you look in his writings to see how he says to do it. (See Eph. 2:7,11,13) Next you say, "Paul, I have figured out where to get my doctrine. However, you say I am to be a perfected saint. Now tell me how to do that."

Paul gives us a design. He tells us to learn certain information first, (the foundation - 1 Cor. 3:11-15) then other information second and third. Paul even warns of errors that people will make. Once you have that - you have reached maturity. Have you ever asked yourself if you have reached maturity?

I learned years ago that, no matter who you are, in some area of your life, you are an expert. In some area of your life the person sitting next to you knows more about it than you do. In the most intelligent, brainy person you can name, in some area they are very ignorant. No one person can know everything about everything. This is true in married life, in your church work, on your job, raising children, etc. If you find yourself in a position of leadership and want to teach others to follow your lead, find some area in their life where they are your leader and follow their advice in it. Role model what it is to be a follower by following some area in their life where they excel over you. In doing that, you will be teaching them to follow your leadership in the area where you excel over them. How do you know when you have reached spiritual maturity?

When you can play the piano? When you can stand up in public and speak fluently? When you can pray through the battlements of heaven and call down the blessings of God? When you can give lots of money? When you can win souls or win the $64,000 question? When you, at the drop of a hat, can name every one of David's boys and who their mother was? There are people who delight in their spiritual prowess because they can answer questions like that. They couldn't explain to you what justification is or what propitiation is; or what reconciliation is or who Paul was, or what was the distinctive ministry and the message committed to Paul. Yet, they could give you all those details about David's family. That is not maturity. How do I know that?

Because there is a doctrine outlined in your bible telling you what maturity is. You can know when you have reached it and when you have not. Paul gives us a design for the edification of the believer. Go through it and get the Godly edification according to the dispensation God has in effect for today and you are there. Then you can function properly on the basis of sound doctrine, motivated by God's grace.

Then you can function properly on the basis of sound doctrine, motivated by God's grace. That design is found in Paul's Epistles the way they are placed in your bible: Romans through Philemon. . . in canonical order. People have been known to say the books are out of order in the bible. They think they should have been place there in the chronological order in which they were written. When you hear someone say that, take both fingers and stick them in your ears and push real hard, leaving them there until you are sure that person is talking about something else! What they are telling you has no relation to anything that is even closely related to spiritual insight. That is because God Almighty not only wrote the Word of God, but he has superintended how it was put together. There are special people in the local churches of the New Testament days who were supernaturally empowered by God, not simply to write scripture, but to take what God wrote and to collate it in a specifically designed spiritual form. All this business about the bible being put together by the church councils in the 3rd and 4th centuries is just a bunch of Roman Catholic propaganda. Put out by Protestants? No. Put out by Roman Catholic sympathizing Protestants. Just think a minute about the idea that God would put out his Word and then lose it in the first century, when he wrote it! When you understand the doctrine of God's design to preserve his Word, you won't think it is so radical to believe that God did arrange his Word the way he did or that you could still have it today. The doctrine of Inspiration and preservation. Once you understand that you understand there is a spiritual design for the bible. If you don't even know what the Pauline design for edification is, if you will just read Paul's epistles in the order he placed them, Romans through Philemon, you will get the edification.

Just as there is a design for edification in the Pauline epistles, in Hebrews through Revelation there is also a design for the edification of the kingdom saints (circumcision saints) in The Ages To Come.

Speaking about the Lord Jesus Christ as the priest after the order of Melchizedek:

(Heb 5:11 KJV) Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.

These people needed an appreciation of the New Covenant priesthood of Christ so that they would be able to go on from the Mosaic priesthood (Aaronic) to the priesthood of Christ under the new covenant. But they were dull of hearing. Not yet able to receive that advanced edification they needed.

(Heb 5:12-13 KJV) For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. {13} For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

You could identify your spiritual status by these verses. If you are unskillful (don't know how to rightly divide) the Word of Righteousness, your maturity level is that of an infant or a child. This is not to condemn you but to help you understand where you are on the scale of maturity so that you can choose to grow to maturity.

(Heb 5:14) But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

(Heb 6:1) Therefore (because you are immature) leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, (5:12) let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, (6:2) Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. (3) And this will we do, if God permit.

Verses 1 and 2 is a description of the doctrines that make up the foundation for the kingdom program. The writer of Hebrews is telling them to leave these things. Not in the sense they were no longer to believe them, but to move on beyond the things they learned from the Apostles and from Christ when he was on earth. They were to build on that foundation the advanced truths of the Melchizedekian priesthood of Christ; the new covenant status they inherited in Christ on this side of Calvary. When you think about what would be the first principles of the oracles of God and the principles of the doctrines of Christ, where would you find that in your bible?

(Heb 2:3-4 KJV) How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; {4} God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?

Where did Christ first begin to speak this information? Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. When was it confirmed unto them by the ones that heard it, God bearing them witness? In the early Acts period. When you go back and base your doctrine on Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and the early Acts period, according to this passage you are going back to the immature. In the Kingdom Program maturity will not be found in those synoptic gospels or in early Acts. Interesting that today almost all of Christendom looks for instructions in those books. Forget about going "back to Pentecost" and let's go on to perfection. On to Paul. Even in the Circumcision church they weren't going back to Pentecost. It was on that foundation of who Christ was as presented in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John that they were then to go on to the truths of the new covenant which they did not yet know.

The issue in the book of Hebrews is the cross just as in Romans. In Romans the cross is explained to us today, as members of the Body of Christ. In like manner the book of Hebrews will explain Calvary as it relates to the Kingdom program. Never forget that the cross is the basis of everything God does. The basis of the church, the Body of Christ, is we have been reconciled through the blood of His Son. However, the kingdom program is also based upon that. . ."Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood," (Rev. 1:5) The kingdom program is therefore, based on the blood of Christ. The programs are different but have the commonality of the Calvary work of Christ. Romans explains to us all that was accomplished at Calvary. Hebrews explains how the cross accomplishes Israel's program. In this book you see a transition from the Mosaic Covenant to the New Covenant established by Christ at Calvary. In Hebrews we move from the house Moses built to Christ and the house he is building for Israel; from the priesthood of Aaron to the priesthood of Christ after the order of Melchizedek - an eternal, heavenly priesthood. In Hebrews you move from the shadow in the old covenant to the reality available in the new covenant and from the law system in the old covenant into this new and living way of the new covenant. Hebrews takes Israel out of the old covenant and put her into the complete and total provision of the cross work of Christ and the accomplishment of her program. Because the issue in Hebrews has to do so basically with the propitiation that is in Christ, often times people misunderstand their position because they say, we're in the blood also. However, the purpose of Hebrews is not to explain your salvation or your position in Christ. Rather it is to explain what God did for Israel. It is about faith founded in the better substance that is provided in the Lord Jesus Christ. This book provides the motivation for kingdom saints to go on to perfection.

(Heb 1:3-4) Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; {4} Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

They were enjoined to take their eyes off this old stuff and look at the more excellent glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.

(Heb 3:2-3) Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. {3} For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house.

There is the move from Moses to Christ - the motivation to move on to better things.

(Heb 9:11-15) But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; {12} Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. {13} For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: {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? {15} And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
(Heb 10:10-14) By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. {11} And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: {12} But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; {13} From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. {14} For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

In verses 15 - 18 he talks about the new covenant. In

(Heb 10:19-20) Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, {20} By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

- That's the new covenant - that new and living way. It's the provision Christ's blood makes for Israel in the accomplishment, executing and establishing of their covenant.

The issue in the book of Hebrews is faith focusing on the better substance rather than the shadow that is in Christ. Hebrews compares the old with the new, always describing the new as much better:

  1. angels were good but the Son is better.
  2. Moses: the better alternative - Christ.
  3. Joshua versus the Greater than Joshua.
  4. Aaron versus the Greater High Priest.
  5. Sacrifice versus a Better Sacrifice.
  6. Old Covenant versus a Better Covenant - the New Covenant.

In the Book of Hebrews, faith rests in that better covenant. When you get to the book of James you will see faith is going on. James reminds them that faith goes on to maturity and perfection in works. There's a lot of misunderstanding about this book of James. The key to that misunderstanding is that James says that faith has to prove itself in works. In fact it says faith will prove itself in works. There should be no problem with this because, in the kingdom program, that is exactly how faith is manifest. In the kingdom program, faith is expressed in works because it requires physical activity to bring a physical nation into a physical land to establish a physical kingdom.

The book of James parallels the Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 5, 6 and 7 we read Christ's declaration of the spontaneous lifestyle the kingdom saints will have as they live for one another when they are controlled by the Holy Spirit in the New Covenant. In James you can see him drawing from that Sermon on the Mount and he instructs the kingdom believers toward it.

(James 1:1 KJV) James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
(James 1:2-4 KJV) My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; {3} Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. {4} But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Everyone gets bent out of shape about James 2 and Romans 4 because they lack understanding of the dispensational distinction between them. James is not concerned about what Paul is concerned about in Romans 4. Here in James 2:14 he is referring to the works necessary to get into the kingdom.

(James 2:14-17 KJV) What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? {15} If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, {16} And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? {17} Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

To get the context of the illustration given here in verse 15 forward, go back to Chapter One:

(James 1:26) If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.

Here's a guy that seems to be religious, who runs off at the mouth but doesn't do what he says. James is saying that is empty and deceitful. Look at what he says pure religion is:

(James 1:27) Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Isn't that a weird definition of religion? Has there been a time when people, in order to be doing what God wants them to do, have to visit the fatherless and the widow and the stranger in the gate? Is there a time when people are to keep themselves unspotted from the world; when they must feed and clothe a person who comes before them destitute and naked? Do you remember reading in Matthew 25 when Jesus said,

(Mat 25:35-36) For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: {36} Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

That is the same thing as James 1:27. That is "pure religion". James 2 is a fascinating study when done in light of what the Old Testament says about the tribulation saints. Those tribulation saints are going to be poor. Have you noticed in the Old Testament and the gospels how many admonitions there are to take care of the poor? Why? Because the doctrine of those passages look over to the time when, if you don't take the mark of the beast, you can't go to work, buy, sell, etc. It will be a very difficult time. When taken in that context, you see in James 2 how faith goes on to perfection, demonstrating itself to be real faith in this kind of situation.

In the edification for that kingdom saint, James starts out with faith, motivating him to go on to perfection. When he begins to go on, the outward demonstration of that faith being perfected is the fact that it does the works that the doctrine tells it to do. When we get to Hebrews 6 you will see how they will gain perfection by learning obedience. So, in James, the saint gets motivation under the New Covenant from the provision of God's Grace in Christ, but then they are motivated to go on to perfection, doing the works called for under that program.

First they have faith; then they are motivated. These kingdom saints go out and accomplish the works, doing the things required under their New Covenant.

(James 1:23) For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:

Then they have a "hope" that sustains them.

(1 Pet 1:3-7) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, {4} To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, {5} Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. {6} Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: {7} That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

Something out there - beyond those fiery trials that sustains these people and carries them through. Their "hope".

(1 Pet 4:12-13 KJV) Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: {13} But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

(1 Pet 5:1) The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:

(1 Pet 5:4 KJV) And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

On and on, we see the hope that sustains these tribulation saints. They look forward to Christ coming and setting up his kingdom on earth.

Now, if you, as a member of the Body of Christ church, are trying to be sustained by their (kingdom saints) hope, you will definitely have a problem. You need to have a doctrinal understanding of what your hope is. Likewise, those tribulation saints won't be sustained by the hope of the Body of Christ. They will soon be discouraged.

In 2 Peter he says, add to your faith: (2 Pet 1:5) And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; etc. He concludes that book with the counsel to "grow in grace". He wants them to grow to maturity in understanding their dispensational doctrine of the hope they have, even though there has been a delay.

1, 2 and 3rd John presents the issue of Truth. Israel left Egypt and went into the wilderness. There was a mixed multitude in the nation; some that were true and some that were false. During the time of the Great Tribulation there will be a mixture of truth and false doctrine. The wilderness back in the book of Numbers was designed to identify and purge the multitude. The tribulation will purge the rebel from their midst. These books of John give them a series of tests to perform on those in their midst to determine the true from the false. Over and over again he says, "hereby we know". Spiritual maturity for those people will be to go through the tribulation with those who are true.

When you get to Jude you find them contending for the faith. The apostasy is moving away.

When you get to Revelation, Israel is reigning.

There is a progression for Israel in Hebrews through Revelation. What they have in their books is what we have in ours, (Romans through Philemon) bringing us both to spiritual maturity and ability to function in our respective time periods. Hebrews stands at the head of Israel's Ages To Come Doctrinal books explaining the motivation.