“Today if Ye Hear His Voice”
Reading: Heb. 3.
“Today if ye shall hear His voice, harden not your hearts… Take heed, brethren, lest haply there shall be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God: but exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called Today; lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin: for we are become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end” Heb. 3:7,12-14.
“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” Heb. 4:1.
Everything in God’s purpose is bound up with our hearing His voice. I want to point out that the translation needs to be kept very accurate here. Unfortunately the Revised Version does not maintain its tradition of improvement at this point, and it should not be: “If ye shall hear His voice”, it should be: “If ye will hear His voice”. If you look at that very carefully you will immediately detect the difference. If we say: “If ye shall hear His voice” we put the onus on God, when really the onus is not upon God. The context makes it perfectly clear about having heard the Good News, and it is: “If ye will hear His voice”. God has spoken, the voice of God has sounded, and it is sounding today, and it is a matter of whether we will hear.
The force of that “will” is suggested by the earlier part of chapter 4. “Let us fear therefore, lest haply, a promise being left of entering into His rest, any one of you should be deemed to come short of it.” There is a tremendous emphasis upon our responsibility in relation to the voice of God. It is not that God will not speak, but that, God speaking, we shall not hear.
The word “consider” in the first verse of chapter 3 is a very strong word. Our simple English word there does not convey the force of the original language. The word really means “attentively consider”. It implies giving a fixed and prolonged attention to the matter. So you see that the atmosphere of this part of God’s Word is all that which suggests to our heart the necessity for attention.
In such an atmosphere there is this word: “If ye will hear His voice”. That means that we have to apply ourselves to hearing what the Lord is saying. It is a matter of application, of will, to hear His voice. Everything hangs upon that, as the whole context shows. All the promises of the land, all that which was presented to Israel as God’s great and glorious purpose to which they were called, were lost to that generation; and the implication is that they missed it all because they would not hear His voice.
That carries us to a very serious consideration. What was the voice to be heard? What was the voice saying? What was it that the voice was carrying with it? What was it that they would not hear? What was it they did not earnestly apply themselves to hear? If you look closely into the forty years’ history in the wilderness, you will see that everything called for application of heart, of mind, of will to understand. It called for close attention, because that which the Lord was doing with them had a meaning which was not too obvious, did not lie on the surface, could not be grasped instantly by any superficial glance. The dealings of God with them, the ways of God with them, contained a voice, a call, a message, a meaning, and it therefore required that they should earnestly attend to and apply the will, to say, in effect: “This means something more than we can see at a glance; we want to know what God means by this! There is a voice in this that is deeper than can be discerned by the outward ear; there is an inward ear required for this: there is something here to be seen which cannot be seen by the natural eye! The inner eye needs to be opened to see what God means by this!” And because they would not take that attitude and adjust themselves in that way, they missed everything. They simply took things as they saw them, and allowed them to become mere happenings, mere events, and judged by how those things affected their own personal interests and natural, earthly good. Chapter 3, verse 1 is the key to the whole thing. “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling” – “Today, if ye will hear…”
A heavenly calling! That puts a new complexion upon everything. What is the heavenly calling? A calling from above to glory and honour. How does the letter begin: “For not unto angels did He subject the inhabited earth to come, whereof we speak. But one hath somewhere testified, saying, What is man, that thou makest mention of him?” “But we behold Jesus… crowned with glory and honour.” “Thou dost make mention of him… wherefore, holy brethren, partners in a heavenly calling…” a calling from heaven, of glory and honour in association with the Son of Man, in relation to the inhabited earth to come. It is dominion with Christ that is in view. And today God is dealing with us in relation to that, and there is a heavenly meaning in God’s dealings with us.
Now go through Israel’s history. Not long after they had come into the wilderness they found themselves short of water, and they murmured against Moses and against the Lord. In effect they said, “We have been brought out here to perish!” That is taking the earthly point of view. There are two ways of viewing that. They could look at it like this, and say, “At least we had water to drink in Egypt, but here we are with no water to drink, and if we were going to perish we might as well have perished in Egypt!” They could have taken another view, and said, “Well, the Lord marvellously delivered us from Egypt; marvellously brought us through the Red Sea when it stood up like walls on either side; marvellously overwhelmed our enemies before our eyes, and wiped them out. He can surely provide water in a wilderness!” It depends whether you look up or down, whether you murmur, or whether you triumph.
Later they found themselves without anything to eat. Here was another chance for them to take one of two attitudes. They could take the downward attitude and say, “Now we are going to perish in the wilderness; we are going to die of starvation out here. We have been brought into a trap, all resources have been kept from us, and now this is the end of everything!” They could take the upward look and say, “God, who provided water, will surely provide bread in the wilderness!” Deliverance would have come from heaven, if they had seen the heavenly aspect of things.
In the lack of water, and in the lack of bread, and in every circumstance, no matter what it was – and the circumstances were numerous: adversity, want, hardship, weariness – there was a heavenly resource, but it required a heavenly faith, a heavenly aspect, a heavenly look. God was speaking in it all. What was He saying? In the absence of water, in the absence of bread, in these various and numerous situations, where nature and the world could make no provision, God was speaking, and He was saying continually through the forty years: “I am your resource! I am your portion! I am your life! I am your strength! I am thy sufficiency! I have brought you out here, not to let you perish, not to make you the victim of circumstances, but to teach you that for you earthly things at best could never be satisfying. And finally, your life; but in Me you have that which will not only maintain you here from stage to stage, but will be your everlasting portion, and bring you at last into My whole fulness.” God was seeking to say, “Here is another circumstance in which you can make a new discovery of Me, but if you look at the circumstance itself, you will go down! If you listen to My voice in the circumstance you will make a discovery, and that discovery will become your deliverance, your life.”
In His mercy they did make discoveries, but they never allowed the discoveries which they made to be permanent lessons. When every fresh trial came they forgot the Lord, because they were so centred upon their own interests. They could not, they would not, escape from themselves. As a thing came up before them, they immediately regarded it in the light of their own present personal interest: “Here is a bit more trial! That is a new blow! That is one more trouble to add to all my troubles!” That is one way of viewing things. There is another view. They could have said, “This is another lesson the Lord is trying to teach! What is the measure of the Lord that this trial will lead into if taken hold rightly, if viewed rightly?”
That land to which they were going was a great type of Christ in heaven, over the other side on resurrection ground, and they were brought through these trials in order that they might learn how now to live a heavenly life on the earth, by heavenly resources, here in the wilderness. But so set were they upon their own comfort, their own enjoyment, their own pleasure and satisfaction, that they could not detach themselves to listen to the voice; and because things were always regarded in a personal light, from the standpoint of personal interest, when troubles came they hardened their hearts against the inner voice.
It was, “Today”! What a tremendously impressive word that is, viewed in this light. Today! What does that mean? That text has been almost always used for Gospel sermons, and we do not do wrong in making an appeal by it to the unsaved, because the truth applies that there is a “Today!” when God’s voice is sounding to the unsaved, and God does not offer a tomorrow. This word is: “Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts!” His voice heard in your heart will not give you a tomorrow. Let this day go, and you have no tomorrow for responding to His voice and doing what you have failed to do now in the presence of the voice with the heavenly calling. That is quite true.
But this text was never written for the unsaved, with all its value and application to them. It was written to the Lord’s own people, and it is tremendous when you hear such a word to the Lord’s people. That says to us that today God is speaking; in adversity, in trial, in suffering, in affliction, in all manner of difficulties into which He Himself has allowed us to come. He has brought us out into a place where all nature is cut off from us, where we are helpless in ourselves, and He allows us to come into the fires of trial and difficulty, and in them all He says, “My voice is the voice of a heavenly calling, the voice which is calling you up, ever higher, to know your heavenly resources, to know what there is for you in Christ even here, in order to prepare you for that dominion over the inhabited earth to come, for glory and honour with Him Who is now crowned with glory and honour.” We are become partners with Christ, if we hold fast.
“Today, if ye will…” What does that say to me and to you? It says, “Here is a trial, a difficulty; here is an adversity, a sorrow, a suffering. How am I going to view it? Am I going to say, Oh, more trouble! One thing after another! Or am I going to say, Yes, more trial – we feel it – and yet always there’s some new knowledge of the Lord, some new discovery, I must hear the voice in this! It is going to lead into some greater fulness, where we have never been before.” Harden not your heart. In other words, do not become bitter because of the trial, the difficulty, the suffering, but listen! The Lord is speaking, this is a great ‘Today’! I venture to say that when this ‘Today’ is past, and all that it was intended to mean to us, and we see its meaning, we shall be sorry that we did not adjust ourselves more wholeheartedly to what the Lord was saying to us here in the very difficulties into which He brought us. We shall say, “Oh, if only I had been more attentive and less self-occupied, I should have seen that in that particular experience the Lord was speaking to me, but it came and it went, and I regarded it as a bit of suffering and no more, and it led to nothing. It may be even that I became bitter, I rebelled and I hardened my heart because of the suffering.”
God forbid! “Today, if ye will hear… Wherefore, holy brethren, partners in a heavenly calling, today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.”
Edited and supplied by the Golden Candlestick Trust.
Tag Archives: hebrews
The Book of Hebrews by Leo Fenton
The Book of Hebrews
The Revelation of Eternity
The Preparation of the Priests.
The Kingdom of PRIESTS– Mount Zion!
April 25, 2014
In examining the Book of Hebrews, if we are really attentive to its message, we might be astounded by what it clearly says.
To neglect this message is to ignore God’s Eternal Purpose and the tremendous salvation He has provided for us under the New Covenant.
This book is so unique from Chapter 1 to Chapter 13 that this document will point out some of this remarkable and unusual content.
This is the ONLY Book in the New Testament that bears this unique testimony.
While there are seven references to Zion in the New Testament, there are only two references to Mount Zion and only the Book of Hebrews tells us what that means.
Heb 12:18 For you have not come to a mountain that may be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, 19 and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word should be spoken to them.
20 For they could not bear the command, “IF EVEN A BEAST TOUCHES THE MOUNTAIN, IT WILL BE STONED.” 21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, “I AM FULL OF FEAR and trembling.”
Heb 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the Mediator of a New Covenant, and to the sprinkled Blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
(1) Mount Zion,
(2) The City of the Living God,
(3) The Heavenly Jerusalem,
(4) To Myriads of Angels,
(5) To the general assembly and church of the first-born,
(6) To God, the Judge of all,
(7) To the spirits of righteous men made perfect,
(8) To Jesus, the Mediator of a New Covenant,
(9) To the sprinkled blood.
Is there any other Book in the New Testament that gives us this revelation?
Not even close!
It should be obvious that to dwell on Zion and in the location of these nine tremendous disclosures would be a very HIGH and important calling.
Most Christians are seriously lacking of any preparation to live in that high and lofty place.
Many Christians have barely left “Egypt” and its world system, let alone coming to Mount Sinai.
Some only have one Foundation for dwelling on Zion laid experientially in their life.
Some Christians have come as far as the foot of Mount Zion but the ascending up the Mountain to the Throne of God is the major problem for most Christians and the church in general.
How could that still be true since there are about 85 references to this Heavenly Zion in Scriptures?
- First, most have never heard of Mount Zion,
- Second, they didn’t know we were destined for Mount Zion,
- Third, they have no idea how to ascend unto Zion,
- Fourth they see no reason to think about it because “We are already saved” and “if there is a Zion we are already there,“
- Fifth, “we don’t believe that God dwells on Zion because He dwells in Heaven,”
- Sixth, “even if His Throne is on Zion, all who are saved will sit on His Throne,”
- Seventh, “If Jesus rules on Zion we will certainly rule with Him because we are ALL a Kingdom of Priests!”
“Anyway, the Bible says we have already come to Mount Zion, so what IS your point?”
The point is this; the example we are given is Israel when THEY came to Mount Sinai.
However, the reality is that in the same way they came to Mount Sinai we have come to Mount Zion and to the mighty Presence of God.
While the Presence of God was terrifying at Mount Sinai, that is NOTHING compared to Mount Zion where His Extreme Presence is much more terrifying.
The big Santa Clause waiting in heaven for you to take your turn sitting on His lap vaporizes into fantasy when we see Mount Zion as it is displayed in Scripture.
1Cor 10:5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness. 6 Now these things happened as examples for us, that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved.
1Cor 10:11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
Rom 15:4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
The trip out of Egypt by Israel is an example for us and is reckoned by God as instructions for those upon whom the end of the ages has come.
They came to the foot of the mountain but refused to climb up the mountain.
If Israel had:
- ascended the mountain,
- heard His voice,
- kept His Covenant, and
they could have become a Kingdom of Priests.
They forfeited their calling and destiny simply because they stayed at a safe distance from the Mountain and insisted that Moses go up the Mountain and then bring God’s Words down to them.
They were terrified by the extremely unpleasant and intense fire that was His Presence when He came down on Mount Sinai.
Deu 5:4 “The LORD spoke to you face to face at the mountain from the midst of the fire, 5 while I was standing between the LORD and you at that time, to declare to you the Word of the LORD; for you were afraid because of the fire and did not go up the mountain.
The Eternal City of God, the Heavenly Jerusalem, is directly related to Mount Zion.
Paul referred to this destiny as the High or Upward or the Ascending Call of God in Christ Jesus.
Phil 3:7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for Whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ,
9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10 that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;
Phil 3:12 Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect,
but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what liesahead,
14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
The “DEBILITATING GOSPEL” (that has seriously weakened the church) which is being nearly universally preached could soon be reversed if the total underlying message of this Book was accurately preached and taught.
Since there are 156 references to Zion in the Old Testament, much of our additional understanding must come from those Scriptures.
However, this document will focus upon the Book of Hebrews and why its message is essential for the universal church today.
It is the Book of Hebrews that should and could reverse the casual attitude and pitiful and pathetic testimony of the modern believers.
Psalm 50:1The Mighty One, God, the LORD, has spoken, and summoned the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.
2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God has shone forth.
3 May our God come and not keep silence; Fire devours before Him, and it is very tempestuous around Him. 4 He summons the heavens above, and the earth, to judge His people: 5 “Gather My godly ones to Me, Those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice.” 6 And the heavens declare His righteousness, For God Himself is Judge. Selah.
We are identifying the pressing onward and upward call to Harvest Perfection as our ascending call to the top of Mt. Zion and to the Throne of God.
This Mount Zion and His Sovereign Throne is central to the Eternal Kingdom and Purpose of God!
Our goal is to grow into Sonship and become a member of the Body of Our High Priest and His eternal function as the Sovereign King over the Kingdom of Priests.
The King / Priests will be the Government over the nations and our Great King will rule from Mount Zion over ALL the works of God’s Hands.
Psalm 48:1 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, in the city of our God, His Holy Mountain. 2 Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion in the far north, the City of the Great King.
3 God, in her palaces, has made Himself known as a stronghold.
4 For, lo, the kings assembled themselves, they passed by together.
5 They saw it, then they were amazed; they were terrified, they fled in alarm.
6 Panic seized them there, Anguish, as of a woman in childbirth.
Even in its Eternal Dimension, this Mount Zion will be a terrifying place to be for anyone not fully:
- perfected and
to dwell there.
Isa 33:14 Sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling has seized the godless.
“Who among us can live with the consuming fire?
Who among us can live with continual burning?“
15 He who walks righteously, and speaks with sincerity, he who rejects unjust gain, and shakes his hands so that they hold no bribe; he who stops his ears from hearing about bloodshed, And shuts his eyes from looking upon evil;
16 He will dwell on the heights; his refuge will be the impregnable rock; his bread will be given him; His water will be sure.
17 Your eyes will see the King in His beauty; they will behold a far-distant land.
When we truly understand that it is His Bondservants who see His Face, the whole area of Mount Zion takes on a much higher and intense goal within His Kingdom Government.
Rev 22:1 And he showed me a river of the water of Life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb,Rev 22:2 in the middle of its street. And on either side of the river was the Tree of Life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the Tree were for the healing of the nations.
Rev 22:3 And there shall no longer be any curse; and the Throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His Bondservants shall serve Him;
Rev 22:4 and they shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.
Rev 22:5 And there shall no longer be any night; and they shall not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God shall illumine them; and they shall reign forever and ever. Rev 22:6 And he said to me, “These words are faithful and true”; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His Bondservants the things which must shortly take place.
While the law of the Bondservant applies in this application to Mount Zion, we must leave that explanation to a former study.
It should be clear that His Bondservants, in this verse, are a special people that have attained to the ascending call and became “perfect” as Paul was anticipating.
While Paul considered himself to be a Bondservant he also knew he must still be made perfect like the Prototype Son.
Even though this “high calling” seems much too impossible, it is clear that this Eternal position will be attained by all those who are identified in Revelation 22 and those who stand on Zion.
The Throne on Zion is the source of the River of Life that flows out to the nations.
The LEAVES of the Tree are for the healing of the nations but the fruit belongs to the residents of the Eternal City.
While the “nations of the New Earth” will also be called “heaven” they will be inhabited by those who barely escaped the world system (Egypt) or those who only came to the base of Mount Zion.
This understanding of Mount Zion and the Throne of God is an integral part of the FULL GOSPEL of the KINGDOM which has been nearly totally neglected.
Without the Book of Hebrews this evaluation of Zion would be very obtuse.
Much of what we share about the Priesthood and God’s Eternal City originates in this Book.
Understanding that the Tabernacle of God is related to the World yet to Come originates in this Book.
Without this Book of Hebrews we would be ignorant of the two distinct and separate Altars from which the two priesthood Covenants have a right to eat.
Since our Covenant is so much higher than the Old Covenant, we must be equipped to eat from the OTHER altar that is forbidden to the lesser priesthood.
Nevertheless, it is this Book of Hebrews, coupled with Revelation 21 and 22, that defines the ultimate Purpose of God to have a Kingdom of Priests who are Bondservants and have grown up in ALL things to become the Bride of Christ.
“But, Brother, how do you arrive at that conclusion?”
That is because it seems untenable that the Bride would not see His Face and rule with Him. She will sit with HIM on His Throne.
The fact that she will also be called “Mature Sons” or a “Kingdom of Priests” who are Bondservants should not seem strange.
Mature Sons refer to those who receive the Full Inheritance while these other names will define her function in the Tabernacle of God.
The Throne will be the seat of His absolute and Eternal Government so we should reject the foolishness that there will be a honeymoon that will last for eternity.
The seriousness of these five warnings in the Book of Hebrews should indicate the demanding and distinctive character of God’s Ultimate Purpose.
To approach eternity in the casual manner presented by the visible church indicates a pitiful lack of understanding.
To say that these warnings only apply to the Hebrews is ridiculous.
While we can see the warnings that Paul gives about going back under the Law, only the Book of Hebrews explains why the Law was set aside.
It clearly says that the Law could make nothing perfect because it was weak and useless.
Only the Book of Hebrews tells us why the priesthood after the order of Aaron was changed and a higher Priesthood was established.
That former priesthood could bring no one to perfection.
This clearly indicates that this higher Priesthood can and should bring the church to perfection.
Even though the Book of First Peter speaks about the Royal Priesthood, it does not evaluate it in relation to the former priesthood.
However, Peter does relate this Royal Priesthood to Zion.
1Peter 2:5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
6 For this is contained in Scripture: “BEHOLD I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM SHALL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”
1Peter 2:9 But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him Who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous Light;
Only the Book of Hebrews tells us the limitation and value of the blood of bulls and goats as it relates to “sins.”
Heb 10:3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year.
4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
That earthly blood could only cleanse the flesh but could not cleanse the conscience.
Only the Book of Hebrews explains the limitation of the animal sacrifices and how they were offered for the cleansing of the flesh but could provide nothing further.
The implication is that now with the Higher Blood of Jesus:
- our SINS can be TAKEN AWAY,
- the conscience can be cleansed and
- we can ascend to a much higher place in the Plan of God.
The former sacrifices could not provide us with an Eternal Redemption.
It is the Book of Hebrews that introduces us to the fact that ONLY Jesus and His Sacrifice can correct these deficiencies of the Old Covenant.
It had to wait for Jesus to come to establish a totally New Covenant.
It is the Book of Hebrews that clarifies for us that Jesus is the ONLY Mediator of the New Covenant which is built upon much better promises.
Whatever was lacking in the Old Covenant that prevented anyone from coming to perfection is now available to those who are participating in the New Covenant.
The Greater Priesthood, after the Order of Melchizedek, administers the New Covenant which is now sufficient to bring the Church He is Building to Perfection.
It is ONLY the Book of Hebrews that gives us a detailed description of the Priesthood after the Order of Melchizedek.
Without this revelation the Kingdom of Priests would be another lifeless doctrine.
When we ignore the “Kingdom of Priests” and the Eternal Government of God, we might falsely assume that everyone who said “yes” to Jesus was a member of this Eternal Priesthood.
It is the Book of Hebrews that makes a clear distinction between the earthly sanctuary and the Heavenly Sanctuary.
Aaron and that priesthood ministered in the earthly sanctuary but now this Eternal Priesthood ministers in the Heavenly Sanctuary.
The First Covenant was limited to the earthly sanctuary but the New Covenant relates us to the Heavenly Sanctuary.
However, the main point that we are sharing is that without the Book of Hebrews, the Tabernacle of Moses would only berelated to the Old Covenant and have NOTHING to say to us.
In this book alone is the Tabernacle of Moses declared to be a copy, a type and a shadow of heavenly and eternal things.
The Tabernacle of Moses is a picture of heaven itself.
No other Book gives us this revelation that ultimately reveals the Tabernacle of God. Why?
The Tabernacle of Moses is an earthly copy of the real Tabernacle that is currently in Heaven.
This fact alone gives LIFE to Revelation 21 and the final and ultimate Tabernacle of God.
The Tabernacle of Moses is an inadequate and ineffective picture of the Tabernacle of God, but it reveals enough to define Heaven as in three distinct places.
This fact, when understood and accepted, will reveal the real reason the Church He is Building MUST come to perfection if it is going to participate in God’s Eternal Purpose!
It will clearly explain why each individual in the Body of the High Priest must come to the measure of the full stature of Christ Jesus.
This is the reason that we all are called to grow up in ALL things into the Head, which is Christ Jesus.
It is the Tabernacle of Moses and the preparation of the Priests to function in the Holy Place ministry (the Heavenly Sanctuary) and to stand before the Lord to minister to HIM that gives us the insight to pattern our own development and maturity in the Christian Life.
The Seven Foundational Preparations for the Old Covenant Priesthood are a pattern for us and relate to our seven stage preparation for the Priesthood after the Order of Melchizedek.
Without the Book of Hebrews we would be very limited in our understanding of the Kingdom of Priests and how they are prepared to function in the Eternal Government of God.
Hebrews is the Book that reveals that AFTER the prescribed Foundations are laid experientially in our lives, we MUST still go on to perfection or what we refer to as Harvest Maturity.
It is this Book that warns us not to remain as baby Christians. Of course everybody begins there.
We are instructed to at least press on to become teachers rather than those who can only consume the very least of spiritual food, the milk.
These babies must NOT always need more teaching instead of becoming teachers for the next generation.
To be a “baby Christian” is a shameful thing if by this time you ought to be teachers.
In the visible church to be a “baby Christian” is considered as normal.
Even to have a “baby Christian” in the pulpit is acceptable if they have been trained by the leadership of that group.
It is this tremendous Book of Hebrews that confirms again that within the New Covenant provision God has chosen Man and appointed Man to be over all the works of God’s Hands.
It is exclusively in this Book that we learn that God has chosen to bring MANY MATURE SONS to the same glory as the only begotten Son, Christ Jesus.
It is in this Book that the Son of God is called “God.”
It is disappointing that this Book does not explain what that means but the mystery will be revealed within the preparation expounded in this Book.
It is this and similar reasons that I have guessed that this BOOK of Hebrews was Ultimately written by the Holy Spirit, even though a man must have held the pen.
It is for that reason that we insist that all who will not embrace the necessary transformation will eventually stagnate into a lifeless religion.
I am NOT using “necessary change” as a cliché or as an abstract term.
This means transitioning into the “New Covenant Priesthood Ministry after the Order of Melchizedek.”
This is the ultimate reason He is insisting upon and expecting “Harvest Maturity” (pure Gold) within the Church He is Building.
This will be required to participate in the end time Priesthood Ministry.
While the “titles” of these 6 Foundations are listed in Hebrews 6, the details are not given.
However, it is the Book of Hebrews that focuses upon the Tabernacle of Moses as a copy of the Eternal Tabernacle that alerts us to the reality of the preparation of those priests.
It is the preparation of those former priests that we arrive at the details for the preparation of the Ultimate Priesthood after the Order of Melchizedek.
These details, found in the Book of Exodus and the Book of Leviticus are essential for us to understand the New Covenant Priesthood after the Order of Melchizedek. Why?
Jesus became our Great High Priest after that ultimate Order.
Psalm 87:1 His Foundation is in the holy mountains.
2 The LORD loves the gates of Zion More than all the other dwelling places of Jacob.
3 Glorious things are spoken of you, O City of God. Selah (pause and understand).
In the beginning “GOD” (Genesis 1) at least implies that we must always begin our understanding with God.
When we always begin with the absolute Sovereignty of God, we will begin on His Holy Mountain.
Beginning with man (and earth) and reasoning UP to God is the source of so much wrong emphasis.
God always BEGINS His Foundations in the ultimate realm of His Sovereignty.
That means on HIS HOLY MOUNTAIN, Zion and His Design for the City of God!
When man begins with man and his needs it turns into a man-centered gospel that is stupefying to the believers.
This is what we are referring to as the “DEBILITATING GOSPEL.”
The Book of Hebrews BEGINS with God and how He spoke.
Now He speaks in His Son.
Then it exposes the wonderful Superiority of Christ Jesus and His position at the Right Hand of God.
From there it reasons down to “What is Man?”
It was GOD, His God, Who anointed Jesus above His companions.
Even though the current heavens will perish and disappear, the Ultimate Son will remain and retain His Ultimate Glory forever, seated at the Right Hand of God.
This IS the Stone that was laid in Zion.
Isaiah 28:16 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a Stone, a tested Stone, A costly cornerstone forthe Foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed.
17 “And I will make justice the measuring line, and righteousness the level; then hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the secret place.
This “Higher Priesthood” seems to be the underlying and the basic message of this Book.
It lays a background for the coming New Jerusalem, the City of the Living God.
It presents Jesus as the High Priest Who is the sole Mediator of the New Covenant reality so that we may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
This is NOT referring to “going to heaven when we die.
Hebrews 5:8 Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. 9 And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,
10 being designated by God as a High Priest according to the Order of Melchizedek.
It should be forcefully pointed out that our Eternal Salvation is directly related to our obedience to our High Priest (the Perfect Son) after the Order of Melchizedek.
The authenticity of this statement may be challenged by the ignorant who esteem doctrine above reality.
Unless we clearly understand that our Salvation is so much greater than the salvation under the Old Covenant, some will attempt to disparage the Book of Hebrews as Not for us.
The warning in Chapter 2 addresses this point of our higher and greater salvation.
Heb 2:2 For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? 3 After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, 4 God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His Own Will. Heb 2:5 For He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking. 6 But one has testified somewhere, saying, “WHAT IS MAN, THAT THOU REMEMBEREST HIM? OR THE SON OF MAN, THAT THOU ART CONCERNED ABOUT HIM? 7 “THOU HAST MADE HIM FOR A LITTLE WHILE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS; THOU HAST CROWNED HIM WITH GLORY AND HONOR, AND HAST APPOINTED HIM OVER THE WORKS OF THY HANDS;
8 THOU HAST PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET.”
For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him.
But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.
9 But we do see Him Who has been made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. 10 For it was fitting for Him, for Whom are all things, and through Whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the Author of their salvation through sufferings.
It is the Author of this Great Salvation Who relates us directly to the world yet to come.
At last now God has provided everything for “man” to fulfill what He purposed in the very beginning.
That is to give “man” dominion over all the works of His Hands.
Following Calvary God has received His First Man with this ultimate calling, Christ Jesus.
Now God’s Purpose is to bring MANY SONS to this same glory.
What other Book can we mention in the New Testament that reveals this extreme and achievable calling?
It would be wonderful if we could boldly proclaim that this is an ultimatum and Not a suggestion to the visible church, but who would permit that today?
The “DEBILITATING GOSPEL” has been dumbed down to a doctrine of just believe something about Jesus and be “saved.”
What is the real message?
Don’t turn back or be dissuaded for the ultimate goal but be faithful to the Word of God which He spoke through Jesus, which we have now heard.
Remember, we have received so much greater Salvation than anyone that came before Calvary.
Still, we have their testimony in Chapter 11 before us that was so real that many gave their lives for that lesser salvation.
We must reject any ignorance that compares our New Covenant salvation with the salvation of any who came before Calvary and the Kingdom / Priesthood Dimension of Eternal Salvation. Why?
That is because of all the tremendous provision that is available to us, that was NOT available to them.
All these excuses offered today for the pitiful state of the visible church will prove to be invalid and rejected simply because of this testimony from the Book of Hebrews.
To reduce this “provision” down to a very simple statement we could say “Everything is BETTER now.”
Of course this is a colossal “UNDERSTATEMENT.”
It is because of these much greater and more powerful provisions offered to the New Covenant believer that the warnings which are given are valid and necessary.
The ignorance of rejecting these warnings by offering some ridiculous doctrine about grace is difficult to understand.
(How ignorant is this; “The God I know would not require that!”)
Heb 2:1 For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense,
3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard,
4 God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His Own Will.
“SO GREAT A SALVATION” is certainly not another mystery.
This is clearly explained by what follows.
This “so great a salvation” is positively linked to the dominion over all the works of His Hands and the “Bringing many Sons to that Ultimate Glory.”
This wonderful fact was first revealed by Jesus and then it was re-told by those who heard Him say it.
What Jesus told His disciples involved this “So great a salvation” and the dominion over all the Works of God’s hands and in bringing many Sons to Glory.
Jesus obviously taught His disciples many things that are not recorded in the four Gospels and this is one of them.
However, in John 6 several of His disciples were offended by what Jesus taught about Passover and quit following Him.
John 6:66 As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew, and were not walking with Him anymore. 67 Jesus said therefore to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” 68 Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have Words of Eternal Life.
Peter reported that Jesus used to teach them about the coming Holy Spirit and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and must have informed them about speaking in tongues because of Peter’s witness in Acts 11.
Act 11:14 and he shall speak words to you by which you will be saved, you and all your household.’ 15 “And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, just as He did upon us at the beginning. 16 “And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’
17 “If God therefore gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?”
John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.
My point is this; Jesus, obviously taught His disciples many things that are not directly recorded but that show up several months or years later in other letters.
I am guessing that Peter’s references to the Royal Priesthood and the Spiritual House in 1 Peter 2 is one of those things.
1Peter 2:5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
1Peter 2:9 But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him Who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous Light;
Again, I am guessing that the Book of Hebrews contain many of those things that were recalled a few years later by someone who heard Jesus teach them.
Maybe before and maybe during those 40 days when He taught them about the Kingdom of God after His Resurrection.
Regardless of the way we received the Book of Hebrews it is certainly apparent that this Book contains:
- the foundation for the Christian Life,
- the vision of Eternity and
- the revelation of our SO GREAT A SALVATION and
- the clear reason for it.
That reason revolves around the World Yet to Come which is called “the Tabernacle of God” in Revelation 21.
Why anyone would set out to deny this obvious reality is a great mystery.
If the devil could persuade us this Book of Hebrews is invalid he would enlarge his days and delay his demise in the same way he deceived Adam and Eve and is still here after 6000 years.
Understanding the underlying message of this Book will reveal the “issues of Life” as viewed from God’s Eternal Viewpoint!
This was first spoken to my wife and me in December of 1970 and is still true today.
Taken from: God’s Pilgrims: Their Dangers, Their Resources, Their Rewards by Philip Mauro
The true Hebrew is one who has come out of the country of his birth, leaving all its advantages and associations, because he has heard and believed the report of a better country which he has never seen; and he is now passing through the intervening territory, not settling therein, and not mindful of the country whence he came out, though having opportunity to return thither. Of such it is written that God is not ashamed to be called their God, and He has prepared for them a city.
Abraham was not an Israelite. Abel, Enoch, Noah, Sarah, Isaac, Rahab were not Israelites. Moses was, rather a Hebrew than an Israelite, for he never had a place in the Land of Promise. These were all true Hebrews, who had seen by faith the far-off promises, and were persuaded of them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
The Scriptures speak of many things that God has prepared for them that love Him—things which are in the nature of rewards, not gifts, and are quite distinct from remission of sins and eternal life. These latter are gifts bestowed upon all who believe; but not all believers will obtain the rewards. Great is the reward promised to those who maintain the character of Hebrews “to the end”; and correspondingly great is the loss that will be incurred by those who, through neglect or unbelief, turn aside from the pilgrim’s path. In view of this, we would point out, as plainly as possible, the dangers to which God’s pilgrims are exposed, and the provision that He, in wondrous grace, has made to safeguard them from those dangers. May it be the purpose of both writer and readers to be “not slothful, but followers of them who, through faith and patience, inherit the promises.”