Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 1 * BOOK 50
Saved To The Uttermost
Hebrews 7:20 – 8:10
It’s so good to see everyone in again for this taping session on a beautiful Spring afternoon. We thank you for prayers, your interest, your financial help and how we thank the Lord for lives that have been touched through our simple teaching of the Word.
Alright, this is a Bible study and we’re going to go right back where we left off in our last program which is Hebrews chapter 7 and we were in verse 19. Jerry’s got 20 on the board but I’m going to jump in at verse 19 a little bit, because I didn’t feel like I had finished it completely. Remember, we’re talking about the priesthood of Melchisedec. And always remember, too, that the Book of Hebrews is written primarily to Hebrews, to Jewish people. Not that we can’t learn from it. There’s a lot in here that is so apropos, even for us in the Age of Grace.
These Hebrew people (like the Jerusalem church – and I don’t think this was written to the Jerusalem church but another one like it) and these other Jewish congregations that were scattered throughout the Roman Empire had embraced Jesus as their Messiah. They had grasped that much, but they were still keeping the Law. They were still hanging on to so many of the tenets of Judaism and that’s so obvious as you saw in the study of Acts that’s been on the daily program. How that Peter had said:
“But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.” Why not? Because he was a good law-keeping Jew. And when he got to the house of Cornelius he hedged and he said:
“And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation;…”
Well, why? That was all part of Judaism. And then when you get on over to Acts chapter 22 and Paul is rehearsing his conversion on the road to Damascus, Paul makes the statement:
“And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there.” Well you see, none of those believers in Jesus as the Messiah, had yet severed themselves from that part of Judaism, which was Law-keeping.
And so, what the whole book of Hebrews is really all about is to convince these Jewish believers now, to move away. Cut the apron strings to Judaism, not to just throw it away as trash, no way. It’s the very foundation of everything that has come on up through even into Paul’s apostleship, but nevertheless, they were to cut the strings to the legalism of Judaism and step into the Gospel of Grace.
Consequently then, we’ve been looking at the priesthood of Melchisedec, who was not a priest of Israel. He was not after the order of Aaron and the tribe of Levi but rather he was a high priest of the Most High God, you remember, which we stressed was the term for God of the whole human race and not just Israel. And so now we come to this whole idea that the Law has to be put behind them – and then step out into Grace. Alright, let’s start in verse 19 then for this afternoon.
“For the law (the law of Judaism – the Mosaic law) made nothing perfect,…” In other words, the Law of Moses, as holy and as pure as it was from God’s vantage-point, so far as men were concerned it was weak and it was beggarly, because no man could keep it. And so it was not perfect. It was not the final answer to man’s dilemma.
“But, (flipside) the bringing in of a better hope did;…”
Did what? Make something perfect! Isn’t it amazing what language can do? The Law as pure and holy as it was didn’t finish it for the human race. Nobody was saved by keeping the Law, and we’re going to see that in a moment. But, the flipside was now God has introduced something that is perfect and it can’t be improved upon. Now you remember what I said several weeks ago, and I’ve been sharing it over and over wherever I open the Word. Twice in Scripture, God did something so perfect that He couldn’t add to it, He couldn’t embellish it, He couldn’t correct it and so what did He do? He rested.
What’s the whole idea? Well, if something is perfect, what more can you do? And so you just leave it there. The first one remember, was at the end of Creation, the last verse of Genesis 1 says:
“And God saw every thing that he had made, and behold, it was very good….”
There wasn’t a thing that He could improve on those days of creation. You jump into chapter 2 and what did he do? He rested! Nothing more He could do.
“And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested…”
And then we have the second one when Hebrews tells us that after Christ had purged us from our sin by virtue of his death, burial and resurrection, and when He had purged us from our sin, He did again what? He sat down, denoting a finished work. He could rest.
Alright so this is what we’re coming back to, see? The Law wasn’t perfect. But, the flipside is that now the bringing in of a better hope, that is our Gospel of salvation based on His death, burial and resurrection. It did what? Made it perfect! So that there was nothing more that could be added. And isn’t it sad, oh, mankind has walked it underfoot ever since Paul the Apostle began to introduce it to the Gentile world.
And he writes so pitifully, I think, in II Timothy, “O, Timothy you know that all those in Asia have turned against me.” Why? They didn’t like Paul’s message. They preferred something that demanded works. And I was just reminded again as I was reading last night, a quote from the president of Princeton University. And I used it, I think, when I started the book of Romans, if I’m not mistaken. And I think I can quote it almost verbatim. I called Princeton some time ago and found out when he reigned as president. It was back in 1888. And that of course, gives rise to the truth of his statement. He hasn’t been polluted by the modernism of the last hundred years. But in 1888-1890, this president of Princeton made this statement,“Either Christendom has to rehabilitate the doctrines of Paul or it is on and on and on to apostasy and despair.”
And the gentleman who quoted it in the book I was reading last night went on to say, (and he was writing in about 1910 or 1915) “…isn’t it sad that Christendom chose the former.”They chose to turn against the Apostle Paul and his doctrines and went instead contrary to it. But in this ministry, we’re not going to do that. We’re going to hang with Paul’s apostleship, with his teachings and with his Gospel of the Grace of God. So again, verse 19:
“For the law (the Mosaic System) made nothing perfect, (it had so much lacking) but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.”
Now just to prove the point, let’s go back. I know many of you have been watching Romans being taught now during the weekday programs on television, but come back with me to Romans chapter 3 because we can never repeat some of these things often enough. I have to be constantly reminded by our letters that for most of our audience, they are hearing these things for the first time. And, you just can’t grasp it in just one hearing. It has to be repeated and repeated, so just remember, that we have all kinds of people out there who are hearing it for the first time. Romans chapter 3 verse 19 and this is exactly what Hebrews 7:19 is referring to, that the Law was not perfect. Alright, here’s why.
“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law:…”
Well now, what percentage of the human race even at that time was that applicable for? Well, the tiny Nation of Israel, which was probably just a fraction of a percent of the total. They were the only ones that were under the Law. But on the other hand to settle the Sovereignty of God, the whole world came under the curse of the Law, not just Israel, but the whole world. And that’s what it says next, see?
“We know that what soever the law saith, it saith to them that are under the law: (that is to the Nation of Israel) that every mouth (going beyond the Nation of Israel to the whole human race) may be stopped,…” What does that mean? Hey, when they come before God they can’t argue. Oh, they’re going to try, I think, but it’s not going to work. The Lord Himself gave us a good example. He said, “in that day” (and He was speaking of the Great White Throne, he said) “in that day they will say, but Lord” (what does that mean? They’re arguing) “but Lord didn’t we do this and didn’t we do that? Didn’t we cast out demons in your name and all that?” (And what’s His answer going to be?) “Depart from me ye workers of iniquity, I never knew you.” Sad, isn’t it? So sad.
But nevertheless, the Law could do nothing more than what we see in the rest of the verse now that:
“…all the world may become guilty before God.” Notice it doesn’t say, that they may become saved as a lot of people today think yet. That if they just keep the commandments and do the best they can, then God will say “Well, come on in.” No! All the Law could do was condemn.
Now that shocks people that have never heard it before, but the Law has never saved anybody! All the Law can do is show man their sin and the fact that we’ve all broken it. Keeping the Law is not a vehicle of salvation. It is a ministration of death because, as James says, “if you’re guilty of one, you’re guilty of breaking all of them.” Boy, where does that leave all of us? We’re all Law-breakers supreme. Now verse 20.
“Therefore by the deeds (or the keeping of the Law) there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: (not Jews, nor Gentiles) for by the law is (only one thing, and what is it?) the knowledge of sin.”
The Law condemns. Remember I said already, it was a ministration of death and we’re going to be looking at it in probably chapter 8. But let’s jump ahead and turn to II Corinthians chapter 3 and look at it. I used it in the last taping, I’m sure I did. But, it bears repeating and I’m going to use it like I said, in the next chapter when we speak to the “tables of stone” that were in the Ark of the Covenant. I’ll make some statements on that that will shock people. But here, since I’ve already alluded to it, let’s read it.
II Corinthians 3:6
“Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; (or the new covenant) not of the letter, (now whenever Paul uses the letter, he’s referring to the Mosaic Law) but of the spirit: for the letter (the Law, the written law, the Ten, if you want to call it that, they can do nothing but) killeth, but the spirit gives life.”
Now maybe I should stop. I’ve probably made statements over the years that have shocked people and only because they probably don’t understand where I’m coming from. But when I say we’re not under Law, we’re under Grace, the first impression people get is, “Well he’s telling me I can do what ever I want to do.” No, no! The Law, you see, “demanded,” whereas Grace is total freedom, total liberty, but instead of the Law telling us what we can’t do and what we can do, we now have the indwelling Holy Spirit who changes our whole modus operandi so that we don’t want to break the Law. And what a difference!
That’s where Israel failed so miserably all up through her Old Testament history. They were under those demands of the Law but with no power of the Spirit to help them keep it. And so, consequently, what were they doing most of the time? Breaking them. And it almost became despairing because they just couldn’t help it. They didn’t have that indwelling Spirit.So always remember that when I say we’re not under Law, we’re under Grace. I’m not saying we’ve got license – I’m saying now we’ve got something that empowers us to keep God’s Law. Now verse 7 and here it comes.
II Corinthians 3:7a
“But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones,…” Now listen, what was engraven in stone? The Ten. And what are they? They are a ministration of death. They don’t give life because all they can do is condemn.
II Corinthians 3:7
“But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones was glorious, (and it was, it was perfect from God’s vantage point. Now if that was glorious) so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:” It would be done away when this whole new concept of Grace would be brought in. Well, we could just keep going, but I think we’d better make a little headway today. Let’s go back to Hebrews chapter 7 and now we can go into verse 20.
“And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest: 21. (For those priests [that is the priests of Israel, out of the order of Aaron; from the tribe of Levi] were made without an oath; but this [this priesthood of Melchisedec] with an oath by him who said unto him, [which of course, is from God Himself] The Lord sware and will not repent, [or change His mind]. Thou [speaking of this priesthood of Melchisedec of which Christ is the epitome] art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec;)”
And remember that was sworn in an oath from God Himself and nothing could settle it more, that Christ is a priest after the order of Melchisedec by virtue of the oath of God place upon His person. Now verse 22.
“By so much (that is by God swearing in an oath that Christ would be a priest after the order of Melchisedec) was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.”
And the other word for testament is covenant. Now I’m not going to comment on that word covenant in this verse, because we’re going to be picking it up again a little later in chapter 8 and I will enlarge on it then. But we still have to realize now that we’re coming out of one system and God is bringing in another.
Of course, that is one reason there is so much confusion across Christendom. They will not separate these two entities so that it’s simple and easy to understand. But the Law has to be set aside. It’s done. It was crucified at the Cross. And God has ushered in now this whole new system, or economy, of Grace.
Alright, now we’re going to come back to verse 23 and see the difference between the priests of Israel and this priest, Jesus the Christ, after the order of Melchisedec.
“And they (the priests of Israel) truly were many …” Well, that stands to reason. They had regular schedules of all these numbers of priests as to when they would serve in the Temple Worship. And then of course, as the next verse says, or down a little further, they’re going to die. And in their place will come up new young men, always filling the ranks of the priesthood to keep fulfilling all the rituals there at the temple.
“And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:”
They were human and when the old grim-reaper knocked, they went just the same as anybody else. And so their priesthood would end and a new one would come in. Then verse 24, what’s the first word again? “But…” Now the flipside! We’re not under that system of Israel’s priests that would live and die and be replaced and die. No. We are under a whole new system.
“But this man,…”
Remember I pointed out in our last taping that Paul refers to him – in fact we’d better go back and look at it. Let’s read this verse and then we’ll go back.
“But this man (this Jesus, the Son, a priest after the order of Melchisedec) because he continueth ever,…” Remember what we said about Melchisedec’s priesthood last program? He was without beginning and without end.
“Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.”
He’s from eternity to eternity. And we always make the point, when we’re saved forever, how long is that? For as long as God lasts! Now that’s how long we’re saved. We’ll go on and on as long as God does. Quite a thought isn’t it? That’s what it means to be saved forever. Now finishing verse 24.
“But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.” His priesthood will never end, as He will never die! Now let’s come back to Timothy again – this is all review, I know. I haven’t gotten senile yet, I know what I’m doing! But, I want people to see it over and over so that it will not be forgotten, so let’s go to I Timothy chapter 2. We looked at this a program or two back when I made mention of the fact that Melchizedek appeared to Abraham, as a man. Christ is in the Glory interceding for us at the Father’s right hand, as a man, and here we have the Scripture to back it up.
I Timothy 2:3-4a
“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4. Who (that is God) will have all men to be saved,…” Now that’s not saying they will be. Only precious few will be but that isn’t God’s fault. He’s made it possible for every human being to spend eternity with Him, but they won’t because they refuse to take it by faith. But God’s whole concept is that He has finished the work of salvation for all.
I Timothy 2:4-5
“Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (now here’s the verse I want you to lock in) 5. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, (who?) the man Christ Jesus.” See how plain that is? Now I’m afraid there are a lot of even professing believers who do not comprehend that Christ is in glory ever since His ascension in human form. The disciples saw Him go. He didn’t suddenly change into the invisible. The Scripture is so plain that He maintained His human appearance and He left in such a way that the disciples could see Him go.
And Zechariah foretells the day that He’ll return and again it’s in human form because what does Zechariah say?
“And his feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east,…”
Now listen, a spirit, an invisible thing, doesn’t have feet! But He will because He is bodily at the Father’s right hand. And again, now let’s just go back a little further to the Book of Colossians chapter 2.
“Beware lest any man spoil you…” See there’s that constant warning from the pen of the Apostle, that we’d better keep our eyes on truth and not be led astray with all of this pseudo truth that’s being thrown at us, especially today. But it was already evident in Paul’s day.
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ, 9. For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”
Not in spirit-form. Not invisible. My, when He took off from the Mount of Olives, He left bodily. How bodily was He when He has fish cooking on the fire up there in Galilee and the disciples had caught nothing all night? He asked the question “Do you have any food?” And they said, “No.” But what did He have cooking? Fish and bread. And then Luke tells us plain as day, not just the disciples ate, but Who? Jesus ate. How? Don’t expect me to tell you how He digested it! But I know He ate.
And yet, in that same body He went into Glory. In that same body He’s coming again. He’s going to stand on the Mount of Olives as we see in Zechariah. He’s going to rule and reign bodily, not some invisible enigma. But the man Christ Jesus Who is the Mediator between man and God, the Man Christ Jesus Who sat down at the Father’s right hand having finished the work of redemption. It was perfect! There wasn’t one more thing that He could do!