Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 1 * BOOK 50
Our High Priest
Hebrews 6:11 – 7:19
We’re going to jump right in at Hebrews chapter 6 verse 11. Just for a little bit of review so that we can pick up the flow, we have been coming through those verses that dealt with a portion of Scripture that has confused a lot of people. It is not a matter of being saved and lost, and saved and lost. But for those who have deliberately scorned and turned their back, they have no more opportunity for forgiveness, as we have seen in verses 4-6, which of course, was applied primarily to Jewish people who were not willing to let go of all the ramifications of the Law here in this Book of Hebrews. They had come far enough to recognize that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ, but to step on into the doctrines of Grace as we understand them, they were having a problem. Then for some, of course, they just deliberately turned their back on everything and went back into Judaism. And that’s why the term was used ‘there is no further repentance,’ and sacrifices and so forth.
Then we saw in verse 10 where we left off, that God is not unrighteous. He’s never unfair. And God will never forget the work of the believer in love. Now, before I go any further, I guess I might as well point it out right now. You can do this in your own Bible. Remember when we were back in I Corinthians 13, the very last words of that chapter are:
I Corinthians 13:13
“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, (love) these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” (love)
Now I made the point when we were teaching, that if you’ll watch all through Paul’s epistles, you constantly see those three words popping up. Sometimes one at a time, maybe here and there, and sometimes all three together. But here’s another good example. Up here in verse 10, we have “He will never forget your work and labor of (what?) love.” Then you come down to verse 11 and “…to show diligence to the full assurance of (what?) hope.” Then to verse 12, “…that you be not slothful but followers of them who through faith….”
If you’re looking for them, they’ll just jump off the page at you. “Faith, hope and love.” See, these are little tidbits of Scripture that just show us how intricately this whole Book is put together. It’s not just a bunch of stuff thrown in by various authors. This Book is Divinely inspired. It has been Divinely programmed so that everything fits. Alright, let’s jump in in verse 11 where Paul writes to these Jewish people:
“And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:”
Now who is he talking about? Well, he’s talking about the “beloved” up in verse 9. He’s not talking about those who had turned their backs and went back into Judaism and became apostate, but rather about the believing element. Let me read it. “But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you,” Alright it’s to those believers that he says, “they have the full assurance of hope.” For how long? “Unto the end.” Now we know eternity has no end, so in this case he must be talking about what? Their sojourn on earth until death, and that God will never forsake them. Now a verse always comes to mind with a thought like that. Just back up a few pages to Philippians. Because even though Hebrews is written to Hebrews, never lose sight of the fact that the whole concept is the same as what Paul has written to us as Gentiles. And in Philippians chapter 1 verse 6, we have that same concept, as he writes to us as Gentiles.
“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you (in other words, he has brought us to the place of embracing our salvation, and we know that we’re saved. Now here’s a promise) will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”
He will never let us go, nor will He will ever forget about us, and it’s the same concept here in Hebrews 6. Even with these Jewish believers who had stepped right on into this same concept of Paul’s Gospel now, that they were full of the assurance of hope.
Now verse 12 – here is an admonition to these believers, as well as believers today, as we pointed out in our last taping in those previous four programs, that they were to move on. They were to keep growing in grace and knowledge and unto a maturity, and leave the elementary things behind. Now verse 12:
“That you be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the (what?) the promises.”
Oh, the promises of God! Most of us are aware of the Old Testament promises given to Israel which, of course, were all earthly promises, and they’re still waiting for a good portion of it. But even for us in this Church Age or this Age of Grace we, too, have a multitude of promises. Paul’s letters are full of them. He will never leave us nor forsake us, and we have the assurance that we are His. And he tells us in Romans chapter 8 that we’re what? “We’re joint-heirs with Christ.” Well, those are promises that we can hang on to and know that they are ours. Now when it comes to promises, I’ve already said, the first place we normally go is the Old Testament. And so does Paul in verse 13:
“For when God made promise to Abraham,…”
That’s why we call that period of time, in between Abraham and the giving of the Law, a time of promises. Because over and over, God promised the patriarchs. Number one to Abraham, that out of him would come a nation of people. In the next chapter God promised that He would give them a geographical area of land. And then later on as He comes to King David, He gives David the promise that out of him would come the royal family which would bring forth the Messiah. All promises of God!
And then all the promises concerning the coming Kingdom, that age of peace and prosperity of which the Nation of Israel has always longed for. Promises. And so, it’s just to show us that when God makes promises, even though His wheels grind slowly, they grind surely. Okay, so reading on in verse 13:
“For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,”
Now you see, only God could do that! And so God can swear on the veracity of His own Person, that these things will come to pass. I always tell people, don’t ever give up on God, just because things don’t move as fast as we think they should. My, how long did Abraham have to wait before he even got the first fulfillment of the promise of a son, Isaac? Almost fifty years as far as we can determine. You can’t put that in concrete because we don’t know exactly how old he was when God spoke to him down in Ur.
But we know he was seventy-five when he went from Haran down into Canaan. And we also know that he was a hundred before Isaac was born. So it was somewhere between and 25 and 50 years that Abraham patiently waited for the promise of a son. Of course, we know that in the meantime, Abraham took things into his own hands for a short spat of weakened faith, but nevertheless he came back and he waited until finally his wife Sarah brought forth Isaac. So with that as a backdrop, that God will never go back on His promises, this is what God told him in verse 14.
“Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.”
Always stop and think. What are we talking about? We’re talking about one man who is already 75 years old. His legitimate wife is already 65, well past the normal age of expecting children. And then God makes them wait another 25 years. By that time you would think they would have totally given up. But you know, isn’t that the way it works.
I always tell people when they ask, “Why do we have to go through pressures and so forth before God answers.” I always use this comparison – I don’t know how many of you like to eat the blue concord grapes like I do. But the first thing I do when I put a blue concord grape in my mouth is, I squeeze out the pulp, you know what I’m talking about. And how that pulp in your mouth just pops out of the skin. Alright, That’s how I feel when God deals with me a lot of times? I feel like the pulp in that grape skin. He just squeezes me into the corner, tighter and tighter and I finally get to the place, “God aren’t you ever going to hear me?” Then ‘fsssst’- there’s the answer! And so this is what He did even with Abraham. He just squeezed him and squeezed him and I suppose Abraham was almost thinking he could never have a son by this 90 year-old wife.
And what happened? The miracle of God, she had the promised son Isaac! And so this is what we have to constantly remember, that God will never go back on His promises. And that’s what makes our Christian experience so exciting. Now verse 15.
“And so, after he had (what?) patiently endured, and he obtained (what?) the promise.” Here it came! A hundred years old – his wife 90, and here came the promise. Up until that time, he must have agonized, how will a nation of people possibly come from me when there’s no chance that my wife can have a child. But you see, Abraham, just like we, underestimated the power of God, but it came. And he got the promise. Verse 16.
“For men verily swear by the greater:…” In other words, the more authority you can get backing you up the better we like it. I imagine if you deal with corporations, I’ve found that you don’t like to make the underlings angry or anything like that but I’ve found one thing, if you want to get something done, you go as far up the ladder as you possibly can. Even if you have to bypass a few people that won’t like it. You go to the top if you want to get something done, and so, this is the same way here. Why go to anything less than the God of Creation, because He is the greatest that can give a word of promise.
Now then the two things that are mentioned here are the two immutable witnesses which would be His Word and His Oath. He not only spoke it but He promised it! He put an oath on it.
“…and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife.”
Now, the casual reader probably reads right over that. What does that really mean? Well, until you get somebody to sign on the dotted line, what is there still room for? Negotiation. But once you get them to sign on the dotted line, there’s no more argument. That’s what you signed, and that’s what you agreed to.
Well, that’s what God has done. God has sworn it with an oath, that these things are going to come to pass and there’s no room for argument. Oh, they can scoff all they want. The unbelieving world can ridicule it but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the Sovereign Creator God is in total control. It’s going to happen according to His timetable and you can rest on it. Verse 17.
“Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, (and He) confirmed it by an oath: 18. That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie (God cannot lie) we might have a strong consolation,…:” In other words, we can rest on these promises. I think for us today, the world is in a turmoil like I don’t think it has ever been before. When I pick up my weekly news magazines and it’s the Philippines, it’s Indonesia, it’s China, it’s Taiwan, it’s India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Israel – you just go all around the globe and it’s conflagration. Never have I seen it, at least in my lifetime, so completely global.
Now we know everything else is “global,” and so, are the problems. Now, the secular world out there doesn’t have an answer for it. All they do is worry and lose sleep and wonder whether there’s going to be another Enron debacle tomorrow. Well, we could care less, because you see, we haven’t got all our money tied up in earthly stocks – we as believers have got ours put up in Heaven. And it’s from there that we look for all of our final returns.
But, here we have it that since God cannot lie, He has given us all these promises that, yes, all the turmoil of the world has to happen. That doesn’t surprise me, and I hope it doesn’t surprise you. Because out of all this you see, the world is just getting set. The stage is getting prepared for the coming of the Anti-christ. And oh, he’s going to bring in a pseudo peace, he’s going to bring in what they normally think the Messiah would bring and so we know all these things are coming. And now, finish the verse, and so we are like those: “…who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:”
When I saw that word refuge, as I was preparing this, I thought of the Cities of Refuge in Israel’s history. Let’s go back to Joshua chapter 20. Here Joshua has now taken up the reins of leadership and Israel is moving into the Promised Land. And all the laws of civility are being laid upon the nation. How to get along with our neighbors as well as all the spiritual ramifications of the Law. But, in the midst of all their civil law was a unique one. And that was that Israel was to establish three cities of refuge on both sides of the Jordan Valley. Three between the Jordan the Mediterranean and three others between Jordan and the land to the east and around the east side of Galilee. Now these three cities of refuge then were just exactly that. They were a place where a person could flee and be totally protected in a unique circumstance.
“The Lord also spake unto Joshua, saying, 2. Speak to the children of Israel, saying, Appoint out for you cities of refuge, whereof I spake unto you by the hand of Moses: 3. That the slayer that killeth any person unaware and unwittingly…” In other words, he has no idea. I always use the example, there used to be a lot of hedgerows, I’m sure in Europe and the Middle East. And I can just picture this farmer cleaning the rocks off of his field. Because after all, Israel has their share of rocks. And I can just see him cleaning the rocks off of his field and he probably just threw them over a hedgerow to get them off his field. And one of them happened to hit a passer-by on the head and killed him.
Well, he had no intentions of killing anybody. Never even entered his mind. But, the fact remained that he had killed someone. So now what could he do? He could run to one of these cities of refuge, lest some avenger come and take advantage of him. Now that’s the picture. Not anybody with any malice. No premeditation but he has without any knowledge of his own killed someone unawares. Alright so that this person in verse 3 could do what?
“…may flee thither: and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood.”
So it goes on to say that he can be there in total safety. No one can come into that city of refuge and try to arrest him, or deal with him or anything else. The only thing is, of course, he’s not going to get off all that easy – he has to stay in that city of refuge until the high priest of that present day dies. Then, as soon as the high priest dies, he is free to go back to his own farm or whatever. Now, let’s drop down to verse 6 so you see where I’m coming from:
“And he shall dwell in that city, (the city of refuge) until he stand before the congregation for judgment, and until the death of the high priest that shall be in those days: then shall the slayer return, and come into his own city, unto his own house, and unto the city from whence he fled.” Now, that was refuge in a time of distinct need. That’s the first thing I think of when see that word. Now you can come back with me to Hebrews again. So here we have that blessed hope that we, too, have been able to “flee to the refuge” that the Lord Jesus Christ has made available, and we have entered into that refuge with our faith. Alright, and then again, reading verse 18, so as we flee to that place of refuge:
“…to lay hold upon the hope (there’s that word again, faith, hope and love. And now) set before us:” Oh, what is it? The promises of God! I just told a young man earlier this morning, “He has promised never to leave us nor forsake us.” Regardless of what may happen, He is always there and He will never leave us. Alright, and this hope then becomes:
“Which hope we have as an anchor or the soul….” An anchor that is steadfast. Immovable. And that anchor then is that which will permit us to enter into that which is behind or“within the veil.” Now, always stop and think as you read Hebrews – since Paul is dealing with primarily Jewish people, he uses all of his examples coming out of the Old Testament economy, because they knew what he was talking about then. Now, when he spoke of going in “within the veil” he was talking about that huge curtain across the Temple or, earlier, the Tabernacle that separated the front sanctuary from the Holy of Holies. So Paul is telling us that we are now able to enter in within, behind that veil, into the very Holy of Holies, the presence of God. In other words, there, behind the veil that every Jew understood hung there in the Temple:
“Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”
I want you to underline that word “Forerunner,” because in the next chapter, in the next verse we’re going to come back and pick up Melchisedec the high priest of all, who Jesus personified when He went in behind the veil. Now the word forerunner is a unique Greek word again, and it doesn’t just mean that he went in and accomplished the work of the high priest, but when he went in as a forerunner, he opened the way for everyone that follows him. What do I mean by that? You remember, in an earlier chapter in Hebrews, Paul called Christ the ‘captain of our salvation.’? And I pointed out that again, in the Greek, that word captain was really better translated “a file leader.”
In other words, I think I’ve used the analogy, if you can think back when the cavalry were still working in the west and I think we’ve all seen movies where the officer was up at the head of that line of horseback-riding cavalry, what was that? That was a “file” of soldiers going to battle, and the leader was out in front. Well now, that’s the way we can picture Christ. He is the Captain of all of us who are following as believers. As that Captain of our salvation, He then has become the forerunner, or again the word implies, someone who is at the head of the line. And He has led the way in behind the veil. Let’s look at Hebrews chapter 4 and verse 16, and these aren’t empty words. This is because the Captain of our salvation has been the forerunner Who has taken us through the veil right into the Holy of Holies whereby He tells:
“Let us there for come boldly into the throne of grace, (See that?) that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in our time of need.”
Why, because the forerunner has opened the way. He is the file leader Whom we are following and that takes us right into the throne room. Now, when the high priest of Israel went in behind the veil it was nothing like that. He had to come back out and no one else would dare go into the Holy of Holies except the high priest, once a year. It was a closed room, but for us, the file Leader has opened it up. The forerunner has gone ahead and now we have complete access to God. We don’t have to go through anyone else. Wherever we are, however we are, we can pray and know that He hears us.