Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 2 * BOOK 51
A Shadow of Something Glorious to Come – Part 2
We just trust that you’ll take your Bible and line me up with the Scriptures. Just compare Scripture with Scripture and with the Holy Spirit’s guidance we trust we can stay with the truth. Again, we always like to thank our listening audience for your phone calls, your letters and your prayers especially. That’s the most important of all.
Okay, we’re going to pick right up where we left off in verse 4.
“For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins.”
Now you know, that would be another half-hour lesson. But you see, that’s why the Old Testament believer didn’t die and go to Heaven, he went down into Sheol. He went down into Hell. He went down into Hades, which was split with a great gulf fixed, as Luke tells us in chapter 16. And so the believing element went down into those areas in the Paradise side, whereas the lost went down into the torment side. But then, at Christ’s resurrection, He took ‘captivity captive’ and now with the atoning blood shed, He could take those Old Testament saints up to Glory.
So, until the true atoning blood had been shed, they could not die and go to Heaven. They went down into Paradise; and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, then just think of the thief on the cross. What did Jesus tell him? “Today, thou shalt be with me (not up in Heaven, but where?) in Paradise.” (also see Matthew 12:40) And so, this is all because “the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sins.”
“When he cometh into the world, (that is speaking of Christ coming into His earthly, first advent – He said) Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body thou hast prepared for me:”
Now, there are two thoughts right there. We saw in the last part of the last half-hour what God thought of a good portion of the sacrifices made by Israel. They were an abomination to Him because they thought it would just cover a multitude of sins, and it never changed their lives. They were still cheating their neighbors. They were still selling false products. They were still committing adultery. And they were doing all the things abhorrent to God, but they thought they could just smooth that all over with their religion. Well, that doesn’t work.
But, sacrifice wasn’t what God was looking for – He was looking for, even back then, changed hearts and lives. You know, I think I put it in our last newsletter that will be coming out the first of July – in our time out in Indiana and Ohio, I don’t know how many times people came up and said, “You’ve changed my life.“ Or “You’ve changed our home.” “You’ve changed our marriage.” Well, of course, they all know I don’t do it. God does it. But anyway, we’re an instrument that brings about a change in lifestyle. And you know, I’ve stressed that as long as I’ve been teaching. If you claim to be a believer and you claim to be a Christian, there has to be a change in lifestyle. We cannot keep on living like we did when we were lost. Because when God moves in we’re going to live differently.
Now that doesn’t mean that we become so heavenly-minded that we’re no earthly good. I’ve always used that little cliché. But, on the other hand, the change is all for the better. And I guess the simplest way I can put it is, when you become a true believer, you become a good husband; you become a good wife; you become a good mother; you become a good child; you become a good professional; you become a good worker; you become a good citizen. That’s what Christianity does. It just simply makes us good people.
Tocqueville, the French philosopher, after he had toured America, went back and wrote some of his famous things; and one statement he made, you remember. It’s quoted over and over. “America is blessed” (now this is way back in the early 1800’s)…America is blessed because America is full of good people. Well that has to be the case, see? All right, so God wasn’t just looking for the sacrifices as I said in the last program. He didn’t take pleasure in seeing those innocent animals killed one after the other, but it was His demand to make people conscious of sin.
All right so now, he goes on to say, that in His coming into the world, God prepared what? A body. Now you see, God in His omnipotence could have done it almost any way He wanted to. He could have set the standard. He’s Sovereign. But He chose to bring the whole plan of salvation to the human race through One of the members of the Godhead, the Son becoming a human being. Only the God of This Book could do something like that.
The god of the Buddha’s and the god of some of these other religions could never do it, but our God could. Because with Him nothing is impossible. So He saw fit to lay that plan of salvation based on a Person of the Godhead, God the Son, becoming human flesh and living amongst us. And being able to identify with all of our heartaches, our sorrows, our passions, our everything. That’s why the Scripture can tell us that there has no temptation taken you that is common to man, but that He has helped us find a way of escape (I Corinthians 10:13). Because He faced the same things.
So, “a body thou hast prepared for me.” Speaking of the baby in the womb. And I always like to make the point that from the very time of Mary’s conception that baby in the womb never ceased to be the God of Glory. He was God from the moment of conception up until He ascended back to Glory after finishing His earthly sojourn. So, “a body thou hast prepared for me” for the whole purpose of bringing about this tremendous plan of redemption.
“In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sins thou hast had no pleasure.”
Now this almost flies in the face of most of our thinking concerning the Old Testament doesn’t it? But go all the way back to Psalms, chapter 40, where even the Psalmist makes it so plain; in fact, here is where Paul is quoting from. You want to remember, a lot of the things David said were not regarding himself, but regarding David’s Messiah, the coming Christ. All right, in Psalms 40 verse 6, here’s where Paul quotes from. And I just want you to see that all of this was not just something that came on the scene in Paul’s time, but it was from antiquity.
“Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; (that’s not what God was looking for) mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering thou hast not required. 7. Then saidI, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, (Now here is the Messiah speaking.) I delight to do thy will,…”
Now, in Christ’s earthly ministry, what was He always praying to the Father? “Thy will be done.” Not His, but the Father’s. So this is already declared back through the lips of the Psalmist.
“Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, 8. I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is written within my heart. 9. I have preached righteousness in the great congregation; lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest.” Who was the great congregation? The Nation of Israel. And Christ came and proclaimed Himself as the answer to all their needs through this One Who had been born in Bethlehem.
All right, all the way back to Hebrews again, if you will. So God prepares a body with which he can minister to the congregation, to the Nation of Israel. But, in the long term it’s going to be that supreme sacrifice. That was the whole purpose of His coming, so that His sacrifice would end all sacrifices.
“Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offerings for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;” In other words, I want you to be constantly aware that we are talking about that Temple worship, the bringing of these sacrifices. Now verse 9.
“Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will O God, (that’s why I took you back to Psalms 40, it’s the Messiah speaking) He taketh away the first, (the system of Law, the shadow) that he may establish the (what?) second.”
Now, for those of you who have been with us from the very beginning of Hebrews, over and over this is what we’re seeing. Yes, that which was past was good as far as it went. But oh, this is so much better. And it is so much better that most of us just cannot comprehend it. We cannot even have the slightest notion that we can attain to all that God has provided for us. But, I’ll come to that a little later. For now we just have to realize that all these sacrifices aren’t what made God happy. Quite the opposite. But, it was what God laid down as the prerequisite for the Nation of Israel to find salvation, to cover their sin as an expression of their faith, even though most of it was done without faith, but it’s going to fade away so that something far better can come and take its place. All right, now verse 10.
“By the which (that is the second, the better economy that’s coming) will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Now look at that again. “By the which” (that is this second economy). Now when I use the word economy, I’m not talking about money. I’m talking about a system. The Old Testament economy was that Old Testament system of Temple worship and sacrifices and what have you. Our economy is that we’re saved by faith through God’s Grace plus nothing. We become a new creation, we become a different person. We now have new goals, we have new priorities, we have new desires. So that’s the better economy I’m speaking of, the present economy of grace, and it’s as difference as daylight and dark.
” By the which will (by this new economy, this second,) we are sanctified….”
Now way back in, I think probably in the Old Testament teachings (that’d be several years ago), I explained that for the believer there are really two sanctifications. The moment we’re saved, we’re sanctified – set apart for God’s purposes – we’re His. But on the other hand, there is an experiential sanctification that comes as a result of what? Growth. Because I just love to see people (in my classes here in Oklahoma especially), how, that today, they’re far more mature spiritually. They have a better handle on this Book; they have a greater love for it than they did a year ago. And the further you’ve come with me, the more you can feel you have grown. Well, that’s experiential sanctification.
You are far more set apart for God now than you were ten years ago. Six months from now we’ll all be more sanctified than we are today because it’s a growth process.
When you haven’t seen your kids for a little while, what do you suddenly realize? How fast these kids grow up. Well, why? Because time has gone by. They’ve been nourished, they’ve been fed. Well the same thing should be happening spiritually. Every one of us should be more spiritually mature today than we were a year ago. And that’s the experiential sanctification. But on the other hand, yes, the moment we were saved, God set us apart – we’re His. We’re in the palm of His hand and no one can take us out. That’s His promise.
All right so, “By the which will we are sanctified….” In other words, this whole new economy of God’s Grace, triggered by our faith.
“By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
Now do you see why he mentioned the body a few verses earlier? It had to come. We had to have Christ in the flesh. God had to have that body prepared so that it could be the supreme sacrifice. Now again, most of us cannot comprehend the idea and the necessity of the blood sacrifice. It’s beyond our human comprehension. One day, when we get to Glory, I think we’ll understand, but I don’t think most of us can even get a smidgen of the understanding of why God has demanded the blood sacrifice. The closest I can come to is that life is in the blood. And that you cannot get life unless there is first death. I mean that’s one of the laws of nature – for a seed to germinate and have new life, it has to die. Well, spiritually it’s the same way, see? We cannot experience new life until we have experienced death to the old. Let’s move on. So in verse 11, now we go back to the old economy.
“Every priest standeth daily (none excepted) ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
Those sacrifices could never take away sins. It was impossible. And so the whole thing was just a failure. God set it aside. Let me show you just some of the things that the Scripture itself refers to. We’ve used these before and this again is just a little quick review. Come back to Galatians, chapter 4. And of course Galatians is written to Gentiles who were having pretty much the same problem that the Hebrews were in the Book of Hebrews. They were being tempted to go back under some of the ramifications of the Law. And Paul is just almost screaming at the top of his voice, “Don’t go back under the Law!” Why? I’ll show you.
“But now, after that ye have known God, (that is through our saving saith) or rather are known of God, (in other words, we are now His. Now look at the question) how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements….?”
Well what’s he referring to? The Law! And what was it? Weak and beggarly. Now that term beggarly in the Greek I think is even stronger than it is in the English. It meant just what it said. It begged for all the things it didn’t have. It had no power. It had no transforming ability in the lives of the people that kept it. And, as I showed you in the last program, all it could do was condemn. And so it was “weak and beggarly.” Then come on over to chapter 5, still in Galatians, and verse 1. Again Paul is referring to that system of Law when he says for us under Grace:
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, (now here it comes) and be not entangled…”
Now that’s not a very pretty term is it? Have any of you ever been entangled in something? Most of you probably haven’t. In a farm situation you can find those things a lot quicker than you can a lot of other places. Have you ever been in a briar patch and can’t find your way out? It’s scary. But anyway, this is Paul’s language for the Law. “Don’t get entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
Isn’t it amazing what the human race wants to do to itself? Instead of being out in the freedom of grace and the glory of it, they’d rather get back where they can get entangled in laws and rules and regulations. I can take you to another one from the lips of Peter. Come all the way back to Acts, chapter 15.
“Now therefore why tempt (or test) ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, (or upon the believers. Now we’re talking here about Paul’s converts up there in Gentile country. Not talking about the Twelve Disciples. Don’t get your terminology switched. So why test God, to put a yoke upon the neck of those believers) which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear.”
Now again, is yoke a nice word? No, it’s a detestable word. Because what does a yoke indicate? You’re a beast of burden. It simply makes you nothing more than a beast of burden. That’s what it was to be under the Law. My some of you have been there. You know what I’m talking about. And oh, when people call and they’ll just be exuberant. I had one call again not too long ago and all he could spit out was, “Les, I’m free! I’m free!” Free from what? The bondage. And I won’t give you the name of the denomination, but it was a denomination of bondage. Oh, to be set free from that stuff. And that’s all it is, it’s stuff. It’s a yoke of bondage. It’s beggarly. It’s weak. It’s legalism.
All right, now then, let’s come back to Hebrews again because I’ve got a thought that I’m sure I want to hit before the afternoon is over and I think it’s in some of these coming verses.
“And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, stood daily ministering and offering the same sacrifices, which can never take away sin;”Now what’s my first word again in verse 12?
“But (oh, the flipside! See?) this man, (the one who received the body there in Virgin Mary. Who grew up in the carpenter’s shop. Who began His ministry up and down the dusty roads of Israel. But, this man,) after he had offered (how many?) one (not a million) sacrifice for sins for ever,…”
Now listen if you don’t remember anything else this afternoon. I want you to remember that little set of words. “But this man after He had offered one sacrifice for ever,…” That means exactly what it says.
It is forever and when we come under the power and the redeeming liberty of that sacrifice, we are safe forever. I think it was Friday night and I just emphasized, forever and ever and ever and ever and ever. Unending. The question came up a few weeks ago. How long is eternity? It’s as long as God lives! How long is that? No end! And that’s how long we’re going to be there – forever. All right, because of the sacrifice for sin that Christ made, what did He do? He sat down. See? After He had established that one sacrifice that was sufficient for all mankind for all eternity. He could do what? He could sit down. He didn’t have to start making plans for the next time he would come back. He didn’t have to start lining up arrangements for when He could go back to the planet and do it again.
No, it’s been done once and for all. And that sacrifice has covered all the sins of the human race – and then we worry and moan, “Is what He’s done really enough for my salvation? Is it enough for me?” You better believe it! And don’t go trying to add to it. Just believe it in your heart for your salvation! When we put our trust in that sacrificial work of Christ, we’re safe for all eternity. Nothing can take us out of that security! And we’ll be looking in one of our coming programs at the efficacy or the power of the cleansing of that shed blood of Christ. And oh listen, as a result of it, He could sit down at the right hand of God.
But now picking up in the next program, He’s not going to sit there forever so far as dealing with lost humanity because He’s still going to deal in His wrath with lost mankind – but we’ll pick that up in the next program.