Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 1 * BOOK 51
For Lost Mankind – Death and Judgement
Hebrews 9:15 – 10:1a
“How much more…”
The book of Hebrews is constantly referring back to the system of Law and Judaism – and that it was good. But, now we’ve come on this side of the Cross, and the Law has been set aside; it was completely fulfilled at the Cross. Now everything is what? Better! And so this is exactly what he is talking about here.
The Book of Hebrews is not a book of salvation like Romans or Galatians or even a book of church position like Ephesians. The Book of Hebrews was written to Jews who were still hanging on to a lot of the things of Judaism in Paul’s day. And remember that, when Paul writes Hebrews, the Temple in Jerusalem is still going.
Even though the Romans had been hating the Jews for probably a hundred years or more, God in His Sovereignty did not let them destroy the Temple until after Paul’s epistles were completed. I hadn’t thought of that before. So now with Paul’s epistles complete (and he can say that we’re no longer under Law), there was no need for the Temple. There was no need for the priesthood, and there was no need for sacrifices.
But, it wasn’t until after the revelations of this Age of Grace that God permitted the Temple to be destroyed, and the priesthood dissolved and all the things that were associated with it.What an amazing God we have! And He does everything in perfect timing. Now the other thing I like to point out about the Book of Hebrews is that it’s not for the novice. I don’t expect new believers to just jump in and say, ‘WOW! I can really get a lot out of Hebrews.” I just don’t think that’s possible because of what Paul says way back in chapter 5, verses 13 and 14. And I think it’s just for this very reason that the novice cannot fully digest the things in Hebrews.
Now for the Jews (to whom he was writing), you see, they were steeped in all this. They had been for generations, but for the non-Jew, this is just something that we’re not accustomed to reading and seeing and delving into – and so he says there in chapter 5 verse 13:
“For everyone that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, (see!) even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised…” So the Book of Hebrews is not milk, let me put it that way. The Book of Hebrews isn’t for the novice, the young believer. It’s for the mature believer who studies the Word. And, consequently, I suppose, a lot of people think I may be going over their heads in these Hebrews broadcasts, but we trust that as we come through you’ll understand that, even for the novice, my, to just come in and periodically and feast.
Iris and I were just talking on our way up about how the world has been changing generation to generation. And she was talking about her Mom having to carry water from the well to the old washing machine and the hand-wringers and hanging out the clothes. You might remember that. Well, we didn’t have any part of that – by the time we got married, we had the washer and the dryer. And now our kids, I suppose they think what we went through was way back in the ancients someplace and they don’t do anything like we did.
Well then, as we kept on driving, I thought how this just fits with Hebrews. Hebrews is something you can just jump in and feast on like maybe an occasional trip to a high-class restaurant. Now there again, times have changed. You see, when we were first married and our kids were little, maybe three or four times a year we would drop the kids off at my folks, and we’d go to a real posh steakhouse and we would just live it up and feast.
But you know how much that cost us? Ten dollars! The filet mignon in that fabulous steakhouse was $3.75. Times two = $7.50. Plus a couple bucks for the waitress. We’d get out of there for less than ten bucks. Oh, it was a feast. Well, that’s Hebrews. Every once in a while you come into the Book of Hebrews and you just feast on it. Now you don’t do it every day, because Romans is the book for everyday, and Galatians. And Paul’s Church epistles. That’s down where the rubber meets the road as we say. But Hebrews, you just jump in there once in a while for a delicacy. All right, let’s come back:
“How much more (than the blood of animals mentioned in the previous verse) shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit (there’s your third Person of the Trinity, all involved together, see? ) offered himself without spot to God, (as a lamb, remember back there in Exodus 12 – without blemish) purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Are you all aware of what the word purge means? Now again, I just had a firsthand understanding of it. The natural gas people are laying a pipeline across our ranch, and it’s just going right next to our corral. And they’ve been cooperating with us and so the other day they were ready to lay that stretch where we wanted to have it closed up as quickly as possible. And I noticed that they had all of that pipe welded, laying above ground. Now if you’re like me and you’re going to start thinking, how are they going to get that steel pipe down in that ditch without busting it all up?
So when I noticed that they were starting to lay it into the ditch, I got out there and fortunately the foreman happened to be right there next to my corral and he said, “I watch you on television almost every morning.” Well, that kind of made the day. So I said, “Now I’ve got a question. How are you going to lay all of these hundreds of feet of pipe that’s all welded together, how are you going to lay it down in that ditch without it breaking?” He said, “Well you see back up there?” That pipe was laying down in that ditch like a rope – it had that much flexibility. Now I was just flabbergasted. So then I went one step further and I said, “Now before your guys came and welded these things I noticed dirt was laying in it. Do you clean all that?” “No,” he said, “we don’t pay any attention to that. When we’re all through, we’ll purge it.”
What did he mean? When they’re all through, I don’t know whether they use air or water, but they’re going to make sure that that pipe is totally immaculate without a speck of steel or welding slag or dirt. They’re going to purge it. Well, that’s the same word. So what did God do with our sin? He purged it. He cleansed us of it. Every last bit! And then He forgot about it!
Now even in my small ministry, I’ve had several ladies who have called who had been saved, and as they began to tell me the next part of their life they start to weep. And now I almost know what’s coming. What do you suppose they’re weeping about? Their past. They’ve come out of prostitution and they can’t get it out of their mind. “Oh, I know I’m saved but it’s my past.” You know what I tell these poor gals? I say, “Listen, I know that when we’re human, we can’t forget. Much as we try, you can’t forget. But God does!” That’s one of His attributes. God can forget! And when He purges us from our sin, He doesn’t ever bring them up to His mind, He never will throw them up to us. It’s over so far as God is concerned.” And that’s what I try to tell them.
And there’s also men that come from almost the same kind of a rotten background. And they say, “Les, I just can’t get my past out of my mind. I can’t forget it.” Well, look at it the way God does. God has forgotten your past. He will never throw it up to you again. You’re purged of all that. And all you can do is take it by faith and praise Him moment by moment. Oh, thank you Lord that you’ll never again hold my rotten past against me! We’ve been purged. We’ve been cleansed.
But what is the cleansing element? The blood! Now you don’t hear much about that anymore and it’s a sad, sad commentary on Christendom. The blood is the cleansing agent. And that alone can do it. So He offered himself without spot to God,
“…purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Now here again, the dead works response is directly given to the Nation of Israel, because see, they’re the ones that have been under a religion of dead works. All their Temple worship, all their sacrifices, couldn’t take away sin. It was dead works.
And so, now Paul is saying, “My, the blood of the Lamb! That which has purged us and has cleansed us from even the dead works of Judaism and has brought them to serve the living God.” All right, now let’s move on to verse 15.
“And for this cause (because God has with His own blood purged us of all our filth and our sin) he is the mediator of the new testament (covenant) that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament (covenant),…”
Now you’ll notice I’m using the word ‘covenant’ rather than the word ‘testament’ because in the Old Testament as we call it, you don’t see that word ‘testament;’ it’s ‘covenant.’ And the covenant back in the Old Testament was from God to Israel but with Moses as the mediator. Moses was the go-between God and Israel. And there is a new covenant coming according to Jeremiah 31:31, directed only to the Nation of Israel. But, you see, we’ve come under all of the good things of what God has done to fulfill that covenant to Israel and we’re getting what I’ve often called the overflow. And everything that Christ did there at the Cross in order to establish that new covenant with Israel, we’re enjoying all the benefits as well.
All right, because He has purged us and He has purged these Hebrews of their sinfulness, He has caused them now to turn to the Living God instead of a dead religion. All right, verse 15 again:
“And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, (covenant) that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament,(covenant) they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.”
Well now a few weeks ago, I think I asked my class here in Tulsa, “How long is eternity?” You remember, it’s as long as God lives! Eternity is as long as God will live. And that’s how long? Forever and ever. All right, so this whole transaction then of the Cross, the shed blood, has made possible an eternal inheritance.
“For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.”
Now you know, I had to look at a couple of commentators. And, I’ve said for years back, I didn’t pay too much attention to commentators and sure enough, here again, one said one thing and the other one said another. So, which one am I supposed to believe? The one said that the word testament was totally out of order. It should be covenant all the way through, because testament was the Greek and the Roman concept. Whereas, covenant was the Hebrew concept. Well, that makes sense. But on the other hand, the other fellow came back and said testament is the right word because we are under a different set of circumstances than the covenants made back in the Old Testament. So there again, see, you just almost have to flip it in the air and take your pick.
For a testament (as we refer to it, as the last will and testament) is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.”
Well, that’s understandable in our economy isn’t it? We know that if you have a last will and testament laying in your bank box or in your safe at home, it’s of no use. It doesn’t have any power until when? When you die. Then when you die, that becomes the law and by that they will establish the settling of your estate.
All right, so this is what I guess here in verse 17 is what it’s referring to, that Christ could not fulfill these promises made to us in the human race until He had died. Now verse 18.
“Whereupon, neither the first testament…” Now again, let’s be careful. In my Bible, the word testament is in what? It’s in italics. And I’ve taught some of you now for over twenty years. What does that mean? It’s added by the translator. So I like it better without it. Just leave it out. Verse 18 again.
“Whereupon neither the first was dedicated without blood.” Well, the first what? Covenant! Now what covenant is Paul referring to? Law! When Moses came down the mountain with the commandments written in stone, that was the covenant of Law. And it was the first covenant. See?
So, “Whereupon neither the first (that is the covenant of Law) was dedicated without blood.” It’s always involving blood. Now again, I’m sure every believer, sooner or later, is going to come to the point and ask the question, “Why does God put so much emphasis on blood when it comes to salvation?” Haven’t you? I have. And I think, I’ve got a little bit of the answer. Now you know, I’ve said so often in my class here in Oklahoma, this salvation work of God is so profound, it is so complex, it is so deep that I can’t comprehend it all. And I don’t think anybody else can. We can just take a little bit of it that we can really understand, and we take it by faith. But on the other hand as we’ve said so often, it’s so simple a child can believe it and understand it. But to really get down and understand all of the ramifications of this, I just don’t think it’s humanly possible. But, let’s take a stab at it.
Come back with me to Genesis chapter 9. And of course, we know that God had already instituted the blood sacrifice when He dealt with Adam and Eve back in chapter 3. And we certainly dealt with it with Abel who offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain because it was an animal sacrifice involving the shed blood. But now we come to chapter 9 and this will be the first time that we have anything definitive about the blood. All right, chapter 9, right after the flood, verse 4,
“But flesh (God says to Noah) with the life thereof, which is the blood, ye shall not eat. (and the whole idea was that in verse 5) 5. And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man. 6. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed:…”
Well, the secret to the whole thing, I think, is up there in verse 4. Why the blood? Because ‘life is in the blood.’ The blood is the source of all living. All right, then of course, you come on over to Exodus and the lamb that was supposed to be without spot, without blemish. And then you come all the way up through the Old Testament sacrifices. It was constantly the animal sacrifices and the shedding of its blood.
I remember several years ago when we were in Jerusalem and, at that time, the guide would still take us up to the Temple Mount and into the Dome of the Rock where this huge rock comes up (some of you have been there) out of the basement, so to speak – where supposedly Abraham offered Isaac. But our guide was explaining that, according to legend (and of course that’s all you go by), right about in that very spot is where the priests were sacrificing all of these animals. By the hundreds, day in and day out.
Well, that involved a lot of blood. And they had discerned that the blood would go down deep into the crevices and then find its way out to the Kedron Valley. Well it makes for a good story, but the point I wanted to make was about this constant shedding of blood. And I don’t think our Jewish guide had ever comprehended it before, but he made the comment, “You know folks, a lot of times the Jewish family had to offer up a lamb that was really a family pet. And that would just make it all the more devastating that that little pet lamb had to give its blood for the sins of its owners.” Later, I said to our guide, “It’s the same way with Christ. When Christ died and shed His blood it was to make such an impact upon the human race, whom He loved, that it would make them conscience of the horrible price of their sin.”
And you know what that good Jew said? “I never thought of that before.” But isn’t that true? You see, as that Jewish family would bring that precious little lamb, and they would see that lamb give its life and its blood because of what? Their sin. And if it had its right effect, it would devastate them to think that their sin caused the death of that precious little animal. And I imagine, too, that’s why God chose sheep as the primary sacrificial animal. They’re not a rebellious type. They’re not the kind that’s going to fight and buck and everything else. But, they’re so docile and it’s so easy to be touched by simplicity.
Well, it’s the same way when Christ died. The Lamb of God that took away the sin of the world. He suffered, He died, and it was brought about by only one thing. And what was it? Man’s sin. That’s all. And so He went to that Cross in payment for man’s sin; otherwise He would have never had to do it.
But, getting back to what we were talking about, the blood – life was in the blood. And even in biology, unless a seed falls into the ground – and Jesus used the analogy Himself in John chapter 12, I think it was. Unless that seed falls into the ground and does what? Dies. It abides alone. But, if it die, then what? New life.
It’s the same way with the shed blood, see? When Christ shed His blood, it wasn’t just that alone, but it was the fact that His life was poured out and the shed blood epitomized that life and it became death and then out of that death came what? New life! And that’s where we are. We have eternal life because of that death of Christ. And not just as I’ve always stressed so often over the years, not just His death, burial and resurrection but we can never shun the efficacy of His shed blood. Because blood was the price of redemption as God had mandated from day one, that life was in the blood. And blood alone could be the price of redemption.
Alright, come back to Hebrews again, chapter 9, verse 18:
“Whereupon neither the first covenant (the covenant of Law) was dedicated without blood.” And then in verse 19, we go all the way back to Exodus, and this is what had to happen.
“For when Moses (at the very beginning of the system of Law. When he had brought the Commandments down from the mountain and now has the instructions for building the Tabernacle to establish the ritual and the sacrifices.) had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood…” Now people don’t like this. Maybe that’s why I revel in teaching it. I like to rub people the wrong way, if it’ll wake them up and get them into The Book. And so, it was never without blood, see? He took –
“…the blood of calves and goats, with water, and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, (that is the Book of Law) and all the people, 20. Saying, This is the blood of the covenant which God hath enjoined unto you.” Now right from the very beginning of God’s dealing with the Nation of Israel in the matter of the Spirit, what is preeminent? The blood! And you go back to Exodus chapter 12, what was that one thing that spared the Nation of Israel on the night of the death angel? The blood. Where? On the door. And for those Jews who had put that lamb’s blood on the three spots of the door, which again of course, formed a cross, there was complete safety. Without the blood, they were doomed. So the whole concept from the very beginning of the experience of the Nation of Israel is, you cannot make the first step toward God without the shedding of blood.