Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 3 * BOOK 50
Hebrews 8:11 – 9:14
Alright, back to where we left off – we were in Hebrews chapter 9 and again, we’re just trying to show that everything that went before was God ordained and even though it wasn’t perfect from man’s side, it was from God’s. But it had no power and consequently the Law was weak and beggarly as Paul calls it in Galatians and now as we saw in our last program then, that everything back there in the tabernacle was a preview of the finished work of the Cross. And how even the materials in the Ark of the Covenant all spoke of His death, His burial, His resurrection and the Word of God being the very manna that would sustain us for this Age of Grace.
Now let’s just go on, I think Chuck is doing the numbers today, and we’re going to be in Hebrews 9 and we’re going to start verse 6 in this half-hour and just continue on.
“Now when these things were thus ordained,…”
That is by God Himself. The furnishings in the tabernacle, all the way from the brazen altar, the laver of cleansing, to the table of showbread, to the candlestick and the altar of incense. And then behind the veil was the Ark of the Covenant in which were the three things we just spoke of. Now continuing the verse:
“… the priests (the priests of Israel, all Levites remember) went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. 7. But into the second went the high priest alone, once every year,…”
Let me come back to my diagram here on the chalk board. So daily, the priests would begin with the animal sacrifices out here at the brazen altar; they would stop at the laver of cleansing and wash and wash and wash. And then they would come on in and they would replace the loaves of bread on the table of showbread and they would trim the wicks and fill the oil and all that in the candlestick. They would trim the fires and everything on this altar of incense but never beyond the veil. And then they would accomplish their daily work and go back out. Now that’s as far as they could go in their daily ministration, but once a year the priest could go behind the veil.
We were just talking at break and I’ve never been able to discern from Scripture, did he come around the end of the veil? We know he didn’t go under it, but somehow or other, once a year the high priest would come in behind the veil and sprinkle the blood upon the Mercy Seat and then go back out, get the blood of another animal; come back in for the sins of Israel and go back out. And only once a year on what we call the Day of Atonement.
Remember the Day of Atonement could not take away Israel’s sin. It was only a stopgap, it was a covering and that’s why David said in the Psalms, “Blessed is the man whose sins are covered.” They weren’t atoned for completely; they couldn’t be with animal’s blood. I wasn’t planning to do this – maybe I’d better do it again. So few people understand this whole concept of the departure of the Jewish believers or unbelievers as far as that goes in the Old Testament economy. And the Scripture is so plain that they went down into Hades or Sheol or Hell as we call it in the English. But Hades was divided by a great gulf, and on one side were the ‘flames of torment’ and on the other side was ‘Paradise.’ But it was all down in the center part of the earth.
Now maybe we’d better chase down the Scriptures for this because it’s been a long time since we’ve done this. Come back with me to Matthew chapter 12, and we’ll begin at verse 38. Remember this in Christ’s earthly ministry.
“Then certain of the scribes and the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. (now you remember, the Jews were always requiring a sign. And His answers are in red if you have a red letter edition) 39. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; but shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:”
If you ever have somebody scorn the story of Jonah, then you just tell them well, the Creator of the whole universe believed it. And if the Creator Himself believed it, you’d better! Because if you don’t you’re going to stand in danger of the judgment someday, because if you can’t believe that, then you can’t believe the work of the Cross. That’s the way I look at it. Because one is just as believable as the other. And so here the Lord of Glory Himself is putting His stamp of affirmation on the story of Jonah.
“For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Which means the very center.“In the heart of the earth.” Now let’s go up and get a little glimpse of that place in the center of the earth, in Luke, chapter 16, and we can jump in at verse 19. Again, I think we’ll just take the time to read a good portion of this because the Word of God is more powerful than any two-edged sword. And it’s certainly more powerful than anything I can say, so we’ll just let it speak for itself. And again in the words of the Lord Jesus, Himself. Now I can never emphasize enough that even though He was on earth in the flesh, He never stopped being the Creator God of Genesis 1:1. And of course, this is what Hebrews has been showing; that Christ was totally God in the flesh. So, as God you see, He knows exactly what He’s talking about and this is not a parable.
“There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously everyday: (in other words, he was really rich.) 20. And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores. 21. And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.” Now that poor guy was in really tough shape, materially, wasn’t he? Now verse 22.
“And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom:…”
We know the beggar was a believer, because he’s carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom. Now you want to remember that Abraham is 2,000 years before Christ’s earthly ministry.
“…the rich man also died, and was buried: (but his soul is in Hell) 23. And in hell he lifted up his eyes,…”
Now the rich man is in the same center of the earth of course, but he is not on the Paradise side, he is on the torment side. And so in Hell, this place of the departed, down here in the center of the earth, as Jesus said in Matthew 12, the rich man is in torment; and Abraham and Lazarus are over here on the Paradise side, all in the center of the earth.
“And in hell he (the rich man) lift up his eyes, being in torment, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. for I am tormented in this flame. 25. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. (Now here it comes) 26. And beside all this, (Abraham tells the rich man) between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: (no bridges across it. No way across) so that they who would pass from hence to you cannot; (Lazarus can’t come over and help you.) neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. (you can’t come over here) 27. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, (Abraham) that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: (my kinsmen, still alive up there in Israel) 28. For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.”
You know what that tells me? Every lost human being, the moment they depart this life, they wish they could have somebody go back and tell their loved ones, don’t come here. But it’s impossible see? Alright, and this is no different. Now remember this is not a parable. I have to feel that Jesus is giving us a little window of information that is as true as truth can be. So the rich man says, “send back Lazarus that they can be warned, that they not come to this place of torment.” Now verse 29.
“Abraham said unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.”
What does that mean? They’ve got the Word of God. Now today, you see, when lost people immediately find themselves in that place of torment, and if they could scream send somebody to warn their loved ones, what would still be the same answer? They have the Word of God. Only God would probably narrow it down a little more and say, “they have Paul’s epistles, and Paul salvation message” You remember, what I’m always showing from Peter, Peter says, “that if you would have salvation, you go to the epistles of Paul for according to the wisdom given unto him, and found in I Corinthians 15:1-4 and Romans 10:9-10.” Now verse 30.
“And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. (oh, if somebody could just tell them what it’s like down here, they would believe. No they won’t. Look at the next verse) 31. “And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets; (now remember this is an Old Testament economy, if they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets) neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.”
What does God know? The human mindset. And it’s no different today. My, sometimes I guess we wonder, if only God could just sort of manifest Himself in some tremendous way people would believe. No they won’t. Someone wrote me the other day and they said, “Les, I’m beginning to realize more and more as I hear you teach, that if Christ would come today, the world would crucify Him again.” And I’m afraid that’s true, because the vast majority wants nothing to do with these things.
Alright so now we can establish that in the Old Testament economy before the Blood of Christ was shed, since animal blood could not take away the sin of even the greatest believer such as Moses and Abraham, they went down into the center of the earth into the Paradise side of Sheol. But when the Blood was shed and the work of the Cross was finished, that now we see as Paul teaches in Ephesians chapter 4, that it all falls in place again so perfectly, and so clearly. I want to give you time to find it because you’ve got to read this with your own eyes, otherwise it won’t sink in.
Now remember the setting, all the Old Testament believers have been going down into Paradise, only in the realm of soul and spirit of course, fully conscious. But when Christ says to the thief on the cross and I don’t have to have you read that one, you all know what He said. What did He say? “Today thou shalt be with me (where?) in Paradise.” Not up in Heaven, in Paradise. Alright, now here Paul, puts the frosting on the cake:
“Wherefore he saith, (that is Christ in verse 7) When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive,…” In other words, He took those that were in captivity down in that paradise side of Sheol, and removed them. Now who were the ones in captivity? These Old Testament believers waiting for the atoning Blood. Maybe I should put it this way. They’re waiting for the work of the Cross. They’re waiting for Christ to come down in those three days and three nights and declare unto them as Peter puts it in his epistle, “He preached unto them (what?) that the atoning Blood was now shed and He could take them out and now they could go into the Heavenlies into the presence of God because, because of Christ’s Blood their sins were totally removed.”
I was just talking to somebody on the phone again the other evening. about my maintaining that at salvation we are forgiven and God has sent our sins far, far away. I think the Psalmist puts it, “as into the depths of the deepest sea.” Doesn’t he? Never to be remembered against us any more. Well you see, when that happens and you and I are so cleansed by the Blood of Christ, now we have no compunction with saying, as Paul does, “to be absent from the body is to be(where?) present with the Lord.”
He doesn’t hold our past against us. He’s forgotten it. It’s gone and we are now fit to go into His presence. But the Old Testament saints were only under the blood of animals. And it was just a stopgap, as I’ve been saying over and over all afternoon. It was just a covering waiting for the finished work of the Cross. Alright, now let’s read on in Ephesians.
“Wherefore he saith, When he ascended, up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?…)” See how that fits with Matthew 12. Then verse 10.
“(…He that descended (the Christ of the Cross) is the same also that ascended up far above all the heavens, that he might fill (or fulfill) all things.)”
See how plain that is? You don’t have to be a seminary graduate to understand that. You don’t have to be a PhD in English. It’s just plain as day “that as Jonah was three days in the belly of the fish, for three days and three nights; so must the Son of man be in the heart of the earth, three days and three nights.” What is it but that he descended first into the lower parts of the earth, took captive all these Old Testament believers, and took them up to Paradise which is now in heaven and torment of course now is enlarged, according to the Old Testament prophets. The torment side of Sheol now covers the whole area because Paradise is now in glory.
Well, now let’s come back to Hebrews chapter 9 and verse 7, and see if we can make some more sense out of this:
“But unto the second (that is beyond the vail, back into that Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant was placed.) went the high priest alone once a year, not without blood,(animal blood) which he offered for himself, (and then he’d have to go back out and kill the second animal, take it’s blood and again go behind the veil) and (that) for the errors of the people: 8. The Holy Ghost this signifying, (showing) that the way into the holiest of all (the very presence of God) was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:”
In other words, when the high priest would go in behind the veil, oh he was going into the Shekinah Glory presence of God as it hovered above this little tabernacle. But there was no way he had access into the throne room of God in heaven because all he had was animal blood. And it could not remove sin. It merely covered it.
Okay, now can we go to the next verse, verse 9, and all of this was a figure, a type, a picture, all of this:
Which was a figure for the time then present, (animal sacrifices, temple worship) in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, (or whole or complete) as pertaining to the conscience;”
Animal blood could not do it. Now isn’t it amazing that Israel did not lose the temple until after Christ was crucified, buried and risen from the dead? I’d never thought of it really before. Isn’t it amazing? Those Romans could just as well have destroyed Jerusalem and the temple before all that was finished.
My goodness, they were fighting the Jews for a hundred years before Christ came. But oh, God in His Sovereignty made sure that that temple worship kept on going until the finished work of the Cross was accomplished because you see, otherwise, there would have been a time in there where the Jews had no way of approaching God. If the Cross hadn’t been completed and if the temple was gone, then there would have been nothing. But God made sure that they could keep on with that temple worship, they could still bring their sacrifices. Remember, though that it was a dead religion. And not many of them were true believers anymore, but there were a few.
But God in His Sovereignty made everything fit, that after the work of the Cross was completed, the temple could be destroyed. And that’s why Paul can write in here that “everything pertained to the Law is like an old worn out garment, that you can fold up and lay it aside.” How it all fits historically, as well as Biblically! Alright, now then, verse 10 – all of these things of tabernacle worship:
“Which stood only (that all, that’s as far as it could go) in meats and drinks, and divers washing, and carnal (or fleshly or earthly) ordinances, imposed on them (that is on Israel)until (there’s your time word, when?) the time of reformation.” (or setting everything straight.)
In other words, again, they stayed under this old system of tabernacle, animal sacrificial worship, until that work of the Cross was consummated, and then all of this could fade away – it was now useless. It counts for nothing, and that’s the whole purpose of this letter to the Hebrews. Now let’s look at verse 10 carefully, for the minutes that are left.
All of this worship service, all of this daily operation of the priest, the yearly practice of the Day of Atonement was all just simply a ritual “of meats and drinks.” In other words, there were drink offerings that were poured out. The animal sacrifices and the burnt offerings and so forth, and then the next one; it’s real interesting – diverse what? “Washings.” A lot of people don’t want to hear this, but what do you suppose the word washing is in the Greek? You’d better write this in your margin. It’s ‘baptismos.’ In other words, along with all this sacrificial worship they had baptisms as we would call it. But they didn’t call it baptism in the Old Testament. What did they call it? Washing. Now goodness, I don’t have to tell you that. Let me go back to Leviticus chapter 8, and we’ll just have time for one verse. Now this is preparation for the priesthood. But not only was it when they prepared for the priesthood it was every day, as they got ready to do this ‘daily ministration.’ Whoever happened to be the priest’s turn for that particular day, how did they have to start? Wash, wash, wash – in water.
“And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water.”
Now if that would have been in the Greek it would have said he ‘baptized them in water.’ That’s really what it said. And so the whole religion of Judaism was based on wash, wash, wash. And so when we come to John the Baptist and he begins baptizing in the River Jordan, were the Jews all shook up, saying, “What in the world is all this?” No, nothing new. They’d been used to it for 1,500 years.