Introduction to Hebrews part 3

Teaching by Richard Jordan
Transcribed by Bev Pratt

Statistics of Hebrews: 13 Chapters, 303 verses, 6,913 words

Not the longest book in the bible, but a very important book. It is complicated to a lot of people. One of the more frequent controversies is the authorship of the book. There has also been confusion over the warnings in Hebrews. This book is a favorite book for people who want to believe you can lose your salvation because there are warnings about that issue in this book. It is necessary to learn about these issues and these verses of controversy and to learn how to deal with them dispensationally. That will take away the threat to you about losing your salvation. These warnings do have a particular impact on the people they are written to.

When you are faced with these types of problems, turn to the bible for the answer. That is how we turn to the Lord for the answers. It is interesting to watch people start to read the bible, then turn to other books to tell them about the bible. If you went to a book store and purchased a cook book, you wouldn't say to yourself, "I need to go back and buy another book about the cookbook so I can understand the cookbook." You would read the cook book. Likewise, if you wanted to use a recipe from the cook book, you wouldn't go buy another book to cook that particular recipe. You would simply read the cook book containing the recipe. You would use the contents or the index and figure out where to find things in the book (How the book is designed) and then go after the information you desire.

The Lord has given us teachers to teach us the bible. I teach. . . on radio, tapes and in the assemblies. Another way of teaching is to write a book. We have many books that teach the bible - called commentaries. It is a way of communicating with the people we can't physically reach to teach. One good thing about literature is that, no matter where you send it, it says the same thing it said when it was sent out. It never changes its mind. You could send out a missionary and never be sure of what he is saying. When a visiting missionary comes to my pulpit and asks me what he is "allowed" to say or not say, I give him liberty to say what he wants to say. That is the best way to find out whether they are teaching correctly. That is why I don't require people that preach here to use the King James Bible. I tell them, when they ask, to use whatever they are comfortable with. Then you can know what they do use. If a man comes here and uses the King James Bible simply because he believes we want him to we would never know what he really prefers. Also, I can trust you to know when someone is teaching an apostate doctrine because they are using an apostate version of God's Word. I don't fear someone polluting your mind because I have taught you correctly. I would not knowingly invite someone in here who would teach you wrong but it can happen and if you are well taught in truth, you will be able to withstand error.

Paul said, By manifestation of the truth, we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. So being built up in truth, you are able to discern whether something commends itself to you. So we do have teachers and they can teach by the written word - books. However, the message here is that you should not turn to a teacher or a book without reading the bible itself. When that happens there is a tendency to lift the teacher or writer to a heroic position over the Word of God.

The goal is that we all appreciate TRUTH. It is interesting, therefore, when people want to find truth, they tend to go everywhere but to scripture.

If there are some problems in a book like Hebrews that you don't really know how to answer, and everybody has a different wind of idea out there, you just need to go to the Lord. That's what he wants you to do. The way to do that is to prayerfully consider the words on the page in the Book.

Now we will study more about what we do know about the book of Hebrews; then the difficult matters will take care of themselves as we go along. If you focus on what we do or can know, you will find the rest of it will take care of itself.

(Heb 1:1-2 KJV) God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, {2} Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

The Book of Hebrews is the words of the Lord Jesus Christ spoken to the nation Israel. You recognize that just by reading the book.

(Heb 3:1) Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;

Who is the one sent from God (apostle) and the high priest of our profession (of the doctrine we espouse)? Jesus Christ. This book is the words of Christ to the nation Israel.

(Heb 12:25-29 KJV): See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: {26} Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. {27} And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. {28} Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: {29} For our God is a consuming fire.

It is the words of the Lord Jesus Christ that he sends to the nation Israel, speaking them to Israel as pertaining to her kingdom and the kingdom program they are a part of. If you go back to chapter two you will see how it fits in, bringing Time Past and The Ages To Come together.

  • 2:3 - How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, . . . The salvation in Hebrews is the kingdom message that Christ began to speak back in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
  • 2:3b - and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; the twelve (12) apostles went out and (God working with them) confirmed the word with signs following in the early Acts Period.
  • 2:4: - 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? Jesus Christ spoke to them in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, giving them the gospel of the kingdom. Then he died, was buried and ascended up into heaven and sends back his Holy Spirit.

(Review Time Line - Time Past, But Now, Ages To Come).

  • Matthew, Mark, Luke & John - The Earthly Ministry of Christ to Israel.
  • Early Acts . . . . . . - The Holy Spirit comes upon the apostles who trained The Little Flock, who then confirm the Word preached with God bearing them witness by signs and wonders. The Kingdom message God taught them in Matt, Mark, Luke and John is what they go forth and proclaim and confirm in early Acts.
  • Hebrews . . . . . . . . . - fits in the period when the Risen Lord Jesus Christ is still up in the heavens. He sends to the nation Israel a message regarding and explaining the New Covenant as it relates to the Kingdom program revealed to them in the gospels.

We are like a parenthesis between the Gospel of the Kingdom and the coming of the Kingdom on Earth - The Mystery, The Body of Christ. Hebrews deals with the Ages To Come and relates to Time Past. Both are periods relating to Prophecy.

We need to make a contrast in your thinking between the Book of Hebrews and the Book of Romans. In the Pauline Epistles there are nine written to local churches, four to Pastors of local churches. Romans through II Thessalonians are designed to lay a doctrinal edifice in the heart and soul of the believer to establish them in what God is doing today. Likewise in Hebrews - Revelations there are nine epistles written to the Circumcision believers there. Those nine epistles compare to the nine Pauline epistles in that they also lay doctrinal edifice. Example: Romans explains the cross to us; the meaning of the cross. It explains what God has done through the cross in forming the Body of Christ and establishing the program of Grace. The book of Hebrews does exactly the same thing for the Circumcision believers. Hebrews also focuses on the cross, establishing the cross as the basis of God's provision for the nation of Israel receiving her kingdom. The whole purpose of God in every age is the Lord Jesus Christ and the important thing about Christ is his cross work. How does that cross work relate to us and how does it relate to Israel?

The cross work and the propitiation that is in Christ relates to us in a way somewhat different than in its application to the nation Israel. Therefore the book of Hebrews explains how the cross work applies to them just as Romans explains how the cross applies to us.

I and II Thessolonians are the last of the nine Paul wrote to the local churches. They focus on the coming of Christ for the church and our relationship to his coming, just like the last of the Hebrew Epistles is the book of the Revelation. It too focuses on the coming of Christ in relationship to the kingdom program. So if I want to know about the coming of Christ in relation to the Body of Christ, I would go to Thessonlonians and find the details of it there. If I want to know about his coming for the kingdom saints I would go to the book of the Revelation. Revelation is the key to the prophetic program in all the Old Testament.

Compare the contrast, consistent with the two dispensations. In Romans, God sends out a new word to all nations, with no distinctions between them.

(Rom 1:3-5 KJV) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; {4} And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: {5} By whom (the RISEN Christ) we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:

This means Paul's apostleship was different from the twelve. The twelve apostles were commissioned as such during the earthly ministry of Christ (as opposed to the heavenly ministry of the RISEN Christ). [Matt. 10.]

After his ascension into heaven Paul is saved on the road to Damascus by the Lord and commissioned as an apostle by Christ right then. He was transformed from Saul of Tarsus, the rebel, to Paul, the Apostle of Grace.

Verse five tells what that apostleship is for:
(Rom 1:5 KJV) ......, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: An unrestricted apostleship. It was to be for all nations; not just for Israel.

In Hebrews, instead of something new going to all nations, you have a last word being given to one nation. Hebrews 1:2 - Hath in these last days spoken unto us. . . One final plea and call to the Jewish nation.

(Heb 2:1-4 KJV) Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. {2}For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; {3}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?

In other words, we have had the word (we got it through the angels), we had the law and now we have this last warning and message from the Lord. So the contrast in Romans is there is something new going out to all the nations where in Hebrews, it is one last plea to one nation. Notice in Romans 10 when the message is sent out to all nations there is no distinction between the nations. No national distinction is recognized and honored in the Book of Romans.

(Rom 10:12 KJV) For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

You couldn't say that in Time Past - back in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John or in early Acts - saying there is no difference between Jew and Greek - because there was a difference. The whole definition in Ephesians 2 of what Time Past is shows a distinction between Circumcision and Uncircumcision. The only way to have no difference is for there to be a dispensational change where the middle wall of partition between the two is taken down and then there is no difference; the ground is level and ALL men are cut off. For the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

Romans 3:29 - Is he the God of the Jews only?

Well, in Time Past, he was. Ephesians 2:12 says the uncircumcision were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: . . . BUT NOW,

(Romans 3:29 KJV) Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:

You see, there's been a change in the program dispensationally. The middle wall of partition has been removed. That is the whole basis of things in the book of Romans.

But when you come to the book of Hebrews, everything in that book is addressed to Hebrews as a special class of people. Israel is addressed as distinct from everyone else. They are identified as the heirs of the promise made to Abraham. In Chapter 8 he talks to them about making a new covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Jacob. The name of this book itself tells you the flavor of the book. These people have a special program as a special people honored by God distinct from every one else.

Even if you believe that Paul wrote the book of Hebrews, you still have to deal with the fact it was written to different people than was the book of Romans. When the writer says, "We have access into this new and living way", he is not speaking to or about you. When he says, "Let us go on. . ., he is not saying you. He is speaking to Israel based on the promises God made to Israel when you were specifically excluded from the promises. (To Abraham)

Remember also that Hebrews deals with the cross dispensationally and doctrinally for us. How is it that you and I, who once were outcasts, are now able to be reconciled to God? How is it He is now our God also? Romans tells us: it is through the fall of Israel that salvation goes to the Gentiles for to provoke them to jealousy, (Rom. 11:11) that God concluded them all in unbelief that he might have mercy upon all. (11:32) It's Romans 3:21 that tells you, But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

NOW there is a NEW WAY that the righteousness of God is being revealed.

  • In TIME PAST, the righteousness of God was revealed through the LAW.
  • BUT NOW, a new way, WITHOUT THE LAW.
(Rom 3:23 KJV) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

. . . that word propitiation is a wondereful bible word meaning a fully satisfying payment. The justice of God is angry because the righteousness of God has been violated. God's holiness is made up of two attributes:

  1. Righteousness - his absolute standard of perfection, (violated by our sin) and
  2. Justice - the attribute of God that enforces his righteousness. (Goes into action to take retribution against the violation)

Propitiation steps in and satisfies God's justice. That is, of course, the cross work of Christ, the shedding of his blood. (vs 25 - above )

26 To declare, I say, at this time (BUT NOW) his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

There is a dispensational issue there. Paul came along with a secret revelation. There is information he has been given (from the Risen Lord) about the cross work of the Lord Jesus Christ that no one prior even knew about. (1 Cor 2:8 KJV) Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. So God could not have revealed this information back in the past (TIME PAST) about the propitiation that was to be accomplished through the death of Christ at Calvary. Now that it has been accomplished (not immediately, not back in Time Past) but in due time, (when the time came that God chose to do so) he revealed it through preaching communicated to us through the Apostle Paul.

(Titus 1:2-3 KJV) In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; {3} But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;

Paul is the "due time revealer" of what was accomplished at Calvary in the BUT Now.

How did people in TIME PAST have their sins forgiven? Not by the blood of bulls and goats.

Rom 2:4 - Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

God already knew the meaning of the cross. The mystery was only a mystery to us. He just didn't tell us about it. He planned it in eternity past. So on the basis of what God knew he would accomplish at Calvary, they had God's forbearance. Paul came along and explained how the cross is the basis of what God does for us, but also to take care of sins in all ages.

Rom 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Paul reaches that conclusion here, but it affects everyone, everywhere. No one has ever been justified by the deeds of the law, even under the Law because men failed to keep the law back then. Also the law could only justify if you had perfect righteousness.

Then how is it that God could forgive people's sins back there? It was by their exercising faith in God's word to them; God honoring their faith knowing that the cross work was coming.

So what Paul's message is doing is giving the last installment of understanding about the work of the cross, but what the cross does affects not only us but those people in Hebrews. You will notice in Romans 3 he doesn't go into any detail explaining how it affects the different people. He goes into detail in chapters four and five about how it affects us. He goes on in chapter after chapter in Romans to tell us how the cross work affects our lives. That's because it is left to the book of Hebrews to take up that truth of the propitiatory work of Christ and apply it to Israel's program doctrinally and dispensationally.

The whole issue in the book of Hebrews is that they are going to leave the Old Covenant and go on to the New Covenant. Hebrews points out to believing Israel that though they were once under the Old Covenant, now, by virtue of the cross, they are under the New Covenant. The book of Hebrews does not do what the book of Romans does. Romans, and all Paul's other epistles say, "there was a law back there at one time, but God has set that law aside and brought into being the dispensation of Grace and the Body of Christ; something new and different. Now the righteousness of God, without that law is manifest." Hebrews doesn't do that. Instead Hebrews says, "God made a covenant with the nation Israel through Moses and that covenant could not bring righteousness, so God has replaced that covenant with a new covenant." The writer never says that God replaced the Old Covenant, the Law, with the Body of Christ and the Dispensation of Grace.

I suggest to you that if the book of Hebrews was written as a handbook for you and me in the Dispensation of Grace to be able to understand the cross, then it would tell us, like the book of Romans does, that we have moved from Israel's Law Program to a program where there is no distinction and where the program is the Dispensation of Grace and the Body of Christ. It would not tell us over and over that the New Covenant is going to be fulfilled in us or is being fulfilled in us.

The transition book of Hebrews covers the change from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant; - not from the Old Covenant to the Body of Christ. We are not a New Testament or New Covenant church. God did not make the new covenant with us and is not executing the new covenant with us today. The New Covenant was made with and belongs to the nation Israel. We can get some of the blessings that God promised Israel in the New Covenant. We have forgiveness of sins, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and God as our God, etc. However, we don't have those things because God made a covenant with us. We have them because God on the basis of his free grace and choice and the sovereignty of his own will chose to give them to us without ever promising them to us. He didn't promise them, he just gave them to the Body of Christ. Just because some of the blessings are the same does not mean they are obtained on the basis of the covenant God made with Israel.

(Heb 7:12 KJV) For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.

If you are going to move from the Aaronic priesthood to the Melchisedekian priesthood of Christ, you must change the Old Covenant for something else. What would you change it for?

(Heb 7:18-19 KJV) For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. {19} For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

You see, there was a problem with the Old Covenant. The law is weak through your flesh. You can't do it. They couldn't do it. The law made nothing perfect because the weakness and unprofitableness of the law was man. So God had to change the system.

(Heb 8:7-13 KJV) For if that first covenant (The Mosaic Covenant) had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. {8} For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: {9}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 continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. (This won't be a covenant like the Mosaic Covenant where they fail.) {10} For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: {11} And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. {12} For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. God will do for them what they could not do for themselves. {13} In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

Something better was to take the place of that Old Covenant. Was it the Body of Christ? No. It will be a prophesied NEW COVENANT with the NATION ISRAEL. Not a new dispensation when there is no Jew and no Gentile.

(Heb 10:1 KJV) For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
(Heb 10:9) Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.

It is clear to me that Hebrews is saying that the Old Covenant is dead and gone and the New Covenant is being established. He never says here that "we aren't under the Law, but we are under Grace, or in the Dispensation of Grace and the Body of Christ, or a new, unprophesied message that is different and that no one ever knew about where there is no Jew and no Gentile. No . . . he writes that the Old Covenant is over and that prophesied, promised New Covenant here. He writes about why and how it came about. What put the old away and brought the new in? The Cross and the baptism for the remission of sins. (see verses below):

(Heb 10:10 KJV) By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
(Heb 10:16-22 KJV) This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; {17} And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. {18} Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. {19} 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; {21} And having an high priest over the house of God; {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 washed with pure water.

Reminder: the "us" and the "we" in the passage is identified in the passage as Israel. It is Israel's covenant, Israel's promise, Israel's blessings; won for them through the cross.

   

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