A STUDY GUIDE FOR THE BOOK OF HEBREWS
A STUDY GUIDE FOR THE BOOK OF HEBREWS Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
The expression "the righteous shall live by faith" is defined by the entire text of the Book of Hebrews.
The righteous shall live by faith means the righteous shall live by diligently seeking the Lord in every area of thinking, speaking, and doing, throughout their lifetime on the earth—and forever after.
The new covenant is shown to be superior to the old covenant in that it removes the source of sin from the worshiper, Meanwhile forgiving him and bringing him to the knowledge of the Lord.
The Book of Hebrews is an exhortation to experienced Christians to not ignore the program of redemption but to press forward into the rest of God, into the fullness of the Divine salvation and inheritance.
The rest of God is the state of abiding in the center of God’s will, in Christ, as one by one the several aspects of the believer’s inheritance are acquired by him.
When they come to maturity the sons of God will be placed in charge of all the works of God’s hands.
Heaven itself is not a city.
However, in Heaven there is an unshakable city named the new Jerusalem.
The goal of the Christian redemption is not eternal residence in Heaven, it is our transformation into new creations in Christ so that we may be part of the city that has foundations.
How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; (Hebrews 2:3)
Table of Contents
A STUDY GUIDE FOR THE BOOK OF HEBREWS
.Give three instances in which God "spake in time past to the fathers by the prophets."
2.By whom has God spoken to us in "these last days"?
3.Who has been appointed "heir of all things"?
4.By whom did God make the worlds?
5.What force upholds the universe?
6.In what ways has Christ been made "so much better than the angels"?
7.Hebrews 1:5 states: "Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee." On what "day" was Christ begotten as the Son of God?
8.What is the significance of the word "first-begotten"?
9.What kind of scepter does the Lord Jesus Christ hold?
10.Why has God anointed Christ "with the oil of gladness above thy fellows"?
11.Who laid the foundation of the earth and created the heavens?
12.Explain the expression, "they all will grow old as doth a garment."
13.Where is Christ seated today?
14.For what is Christ waiting expectantly?
15.What very important change from singular to plural occurs between verse two and verse fourteen of Chapter One?
16.What is the role of angels under the new covenant?
1.After reading verse one of Chapter Two, keeping in mind verse two of Chapter One, to whom is the author of Hebrews writing?
2.What exhortation is contained in verse one of Chapter Two?
3.In which instances, as described in the Old Testament, did God speak "by angels"?
4.In what ways can a Christian "neglect" his or her salvation?
5.From what are we warned to escape?
6.What did Christ preach?
7.How did God bear witness of His Word under the old covenant?
8.How does God bear witness of his Word under the new covenant?
9.Who has been given dominion over the world to come?
10.To what Scripture is the writer of Hebrews referring in verse six?
11.Why is God mindful of man, and why does God "visit" him?
12.Who has been crowned with glory and honor by the Lord God?
13.Who has been given dominion over the works of God’s hands?
14.What part of God’s creation has not been placed under subjection to mankind by the Word of God?
15.To whom or to what is the Christian to be in subjection?
16.Why was the Lord Jesus made a little lower than the angels?
17.Who is the "him" of verse ten?
18.What has God the Father determined to do?
19.How was Christ made perfect?
20.Why is Christ not ashamed to call of us "brothers"?
21.Who sings praises to God in the midst of the church?
22.Why was it necessary for Christ to become flesh and blood?
23.What fear keeps mankind in bondage?
24.With whom did Christ choose to associate, whom did He choose to resemble?
25.Why did Christ come to earth as a man?
26.How did Jesus make "reconciliation for the sins of the people"?
27.Why is Jesus able to "succor [help] them that are tempted"?
1.What kind of brothers are we to be?
2.What is our "heavenly calling"?
3.Who "appointed" Christ?
4.In what ways did Christ demonstrate His faithfulness to God the Father?
5.Why is Christ "counted worthy of more glory than Moses"?
6.In what way did Moses demonstrate his faithfulness to the Lord?
7.How was Moses "a testimony of the things that were to be spoken after"?
8.What must we continue to do if we desire to be the "house" of Christ?
9.What "hope" are we to hold firm to the end?
10.Whose voice are we to be hearing today?
11.What is the Christian not to do?
12.In what way can a Christian "harden" his or her heart?
13.In what ways did the "fathers" tempt God?
14.Why was God grieved with Israel?
15.What did God swear in His anger?
16.What is the "rest" of God?
17.Of what condition must we as Christians beware?
18.Who is directed to exhort whom each day?
19.Toward what end are we to be exhorted?
20.Give one example of how a saint can be deceived through the "deceitfulness of sin."
21.What must we do in order to be a partaker of Christ?
22.Read Psalms 95:7,8; Exodus 17:1-7; Numbers 20:1-3; Deuteronomy 6:16.
23.Read verse sixteen in another translation in order to clarify the meaning.
24.With whom was God grieved forty years?
25.To whom did God swear that they should not enter His rest?
1.What is the "rest" of God?
2.In what way can a believer in Christ come short of the rest of God?
3.What was the "gospel" that was preached to the Israelis who were wandering about in the wilderness?
4.What takes place if we keep on pressing forward in faith in the Lord?
5.What is true of the person who has entered God’s rest?
6.When did God cease working?
7.Into what is the believer in Christ striving to enter?
8.Why does the believer have to "labor" (exercise diligence) in order to enter the rest of God?
9.Why are belief and obedience so important?
10.What is the Word of God creating?
11.Why does the Word of God penetrate and divide every part of our personality, including our bones? Why does it judge the thoughts and attitudes of our heart?
12.What "profession" (confession) are we to hold fast?
13.Where is our "great high priest"?
14.How can it be true that Christ understands all of our weaknesses?
15.In what manner are we to approach the throne of the almighty God, the throne of grace?
16.What two Divine gifts are we in need of continually, because of our weakness?
1.What two offerings does a high priest make to God on behalf of the congregation of people?
2.Why is a high priest able to be gentle and lenient toward people?
3.Because the high priest has the same problems as everyone else, what must he do?
4.Under the old covenant, who was permitted to be a priest?
5.Who called Christ to be our high priest?
6.With what personage of the Old Testament does God associate Christ?
7.For what did Christ plead with "strong crying and tears"?
8.Why does the Father listen to His beloved Son?
9.By what means did Christ, although God’s Son, learn obedience to the Father?
10.For whom is Christ the Author of eternal salvation?
11.After what priestly order has Christ been made a high priest?
12.Why could the writer not teach the Hebrew Christians concerning the priesthood of Melchizedek?
13.Concerning what condition are the Hebrew Christians being rebuked, in verses 11 and 12?
14.What is true of a believer who still is unable to digest any food except milk?
15.What is the mark of full spiritual age?
1.What is the first "elementary" doctrine mentioned?
2.The second doctrine?
3.The third doctrine?
4.The fourth doctrine?
5.The fifth doctrine?
6.What does the writer of Hebrews term these five doctrines?
7.What does the writer of Hebrews exhort us to do, with reference to the five beginning doctrines?
8.Beginning at verse four, what aspects of salvation had the Hebrew saints experienced already?
9.What is impossible, if people of such spiritual experience should fall away?
10.What two things do such backsliders do to Christ?
11.What kind of ground does God bless?
12.What is true of ground that brings forth thorns and thistles?
13.What are some of the things that "accompany salvation"?
14.What was God remembering concerning the Hebrew Christians?
15.How can we make ourselves sure of our hope of salvation?
16.By whom did God swear, when He made His promise to Abraham concerning Abraham’s descendants?
17.What trait of character was Abraham required to exercise in order to inherit the promises that God had made to him?
18.Why did God confirm His promise with an oath?
19.What two "immutable" (unchangeable) things give us strong "consolation" (encouragement)?
20.What is the "hope " of the Christian pilgrim?
21.Where is our soul anchored?
22.Who made a place for us behind the holy veil?
1.Read Genesis 14:18-20, Psalms 110:4.
2.What does Melchizedek represent?
3.In what particular way is Melchizedek "like the Son of God"?
4.In what three ways is Melchizedek shown to be greater than Abraham?
5.In what way does the writer of Hebrews show that Christ and His salvation are greater than the Law of Moses and the Levitical priesthood?
6.If there is a change in the priesthood, what also changes of necessity?
7.What else is different about Jesus?
8.What is the power of the priesthood of Christ?
9.Why have the Levitical priesthood and the Law of Moses been set aside by the Lord?
10.Why was it necessary that a better hope be brought in?
11.By what special act of God was the salvation that is through Christ confirmed and guaranteed as a "better testament (covenant)"?
12.Why is Christ able to "save them to the uttermost (completely)" who approach God through Him?
13.In what ways is Christ especially suited to be our high priest?
14.Read verse twenty-eight in another translation for clarity.
The idea here is that the Mosaic Law appointed frail men as priests, but God’s oath, coming after the Law, has perfected the Son of God as a priest who will continue forever.
1.What has been stated thus far?
2.What is true of every high priest?
3.What would be true of Jesus if he were living on earth as an ordinary man?
4.What was the Tabernacle of the Congregation that Moses built?
5.What is true of the priestly ministry of the Lord Jesus?
6.What is true of the Divine promises that are the foundation of the new covenant?
7.Why did God make a new covenant?
8.Where did the problem lie, with the first covenant?
9.With whom does God make the new covenant?
10.If the new covenant, which is the Christian covenant, is made with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, how can we Gentiles become Christians?
11.Why did God turn away from the Jews?
12.Name some of the points of the new covenant.
13.What has happened to the old covenant of Moses?
1.What did the first covenant possess?
2.What furniture was placed in the first, outer room (Holy Place) of the Tabernacle of the Congregation?
3.What furnishing was placed behind the veil, in the Most Holy Place?
4.What articles were contained in the Ark of the Covenant?
5.What overshadowed the Mercy Seat, forming a lid on the Ark of the covenant?
6.Where did the priests of Israel perform the Divine worship continually?
7.Where did the high priest enter once each year?
8.What did the High Priest always bring with him into the Most Holy Place?
9.What does the fact that the veil could be opened only once each year tell us?
10.What aspect of the personality of the Jewish worshiper could not be made perfect by the gifts and sacrifices offered under the Law of Moses?
11.Of what did the Levitical ordinances and ceremonies consist?
12.How long were these Levitical ordinances to be maintained?
13.Into what tabernacle did Christ, as high priest, enter?
14.What blood did Christ bring?
15.Into what area of the Tabernacle in Heaven did Christ enter?
16.What kind of redemption did Christ obtain for us?
17.What did the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer, accomplish?
18.How did Christ offer Himself?
19.What does the blood of Christ purge purify?
20.Of what is Christ the mediator?
21.What will those who are called to the new covenant receive, if they hold fast their confidence in Christ?
22.From what did Christ die to ransom us?
23.What must be proven before a will takes effect?
24.What was necessary in order for the old covenant to be in force?
25.What did Moses do, after announcing to the people the various points of the Law?
26.What else did Moses sprinkle with blood?
27.What was necessary in every part of the Law of Moses?
28.What cannot take place without the shedding of blood?
29.The copies of things in the heavens were purified by animal blood.
What was used to purify the heavenly things themselves?
30.In what tabernacle is Christ the high priest?
31.Where does Christ appear on our behalf?
32.How many times is Christ to be offered on the cross?
33.What comes to every person after he or she dies?
34.Read verse twenty-eight in another translation for clarity.
1.What is the Law of Moses?
2.What is it that the Law of Moses cannot do?
3.How do we know that the worshipers were not made perfect?
4.What is it that the blood of bulls and goats can never do?
5.What did Christ bring in place of burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin?
6.What is the significance of the prophecy, "Lo, I come to do thy will, O God"?
7.What has God’s will accomplished?
8.Why did the priests of Israel have to keep performing their religious duties, offering the same sacrifices for sin?
9.Where did Jesus go after he had offered His body a perfect sacrifice for sin, and then had received it back again?
10.For what has Jesus been waiting, from that day until the present hour?
11.What has Christ accomplished by the offering of His body on the cross of Calvary?
12.Who is it who also bore witness to us, speaking through the Prophets of Israel?
13.Under the new covenant, where are the laws of God written?
14.What will God do with our sins and our lawless deeds?
15.Why is there no longer any need for an offering for sin?
16.Why do we have such confidence when entering God’s Presence in prayer?
17.What veil hung before the Presence of God?
18.Since we have forgiveness of our sins through the blood of Christ, and since He is an eternal priest who is interceding on our behalf before the throne of the almighty God, what should we then do?
19.What will be true if we keep sinning willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth?
20.What is the person facing who presumes to live in sin after he hears the Gospel of Christ?
21.Under the old covenant, what happened to any individual who despised the Law of Moses?
22.Will the punishment of the individual who despises the Gospel of Christ be more or less severe than in the case of the old covenant?
23.What is a human being doing when he or she receives Christ and then turns back into the world?
24.To whom does vengeance belong?
25.Whom does the Lord judge?
26.What will it be like for a Christian to fall into the hands of God, after having received the Lord Jesus, and then having trampled Him under foot?
27.What had happened to these Hebrew saints previously?
28.Why were these Jewish believers able to accept cheerfully so much loss?
29.What were the Jewish Christians in danger of doing?
30.What will be true if they demonstrate their confidence in the Lord by pressing into the rest of God?
31.What aspect of character did the Hebrew Christians have need of?
32.How soon will the Lord Jesus appear?
33.How are the righteous to live?
34.How might we define the word faith ?
35.What is God’s attitude toward the believer who shrinks back, that is, he or she does not continue to press forward in joyous faith?
36.What will happen to us if we, having started on the Christian pilgrimage, turn back toward Egypt, toward the world?
37.What were some of the Jewish Christians doing?
38.What will we accomplish if we keep living by faith in Christ?
1.What is faith?
2.What did the godly men of old gain by faith?
3.How can we grasp the fact that the visible things of the universe were framed (prepared) by the invisible Word of God?
4.Why was Abel’s sacrifice better than that of Cain?
5.Because of Abel’s faith, what kind of man did God consider Abel to be?
6.What quality of Enoch’s personality caused him to be translated from the earth into the Presence of God?
7.How did people of the Old Testament please God?
8.What two facts must the individual believe who wishes to approach God?
9.God viewed Noah as a righteous man.
Because of Noah’s righteousness, the Lord warned him of the flood to come.
What emotion caused Noah to prepare an ark, when there was no visible evidence that a flood was coming?
10.What three things were accomplished as the result of Noah’s obedience in building the Ark?
11.What aspects of faith did Abraham demonstrate when he left Ur of the Chaldees and began his journey, not knowing where he was going?
12.In what attitude did Abraham conduct his life in Canaan?
13.What was Abraham looking for?
14.Abraham and Sarah were elderly.
How were they able to conceive Isaac?
15.To what extent has God fulfilled His promise to Abraham and Sarah?
16.What does verse 13 teach us about faith?
17.Why is it true that the man or woman of faith is not at home in the present world?
18.What will happen to the individual who receives Christ but who keeps on looking back toward the things of the world from which he came?
19.What can we do to make sure that God is not ashamed to be called our God?
20.What has God prepared for the people who are desiring and looking for a heavenly world?
21.What kind of faith offered up Isaac?
22.Of what is the offering of Isaac a type?
23.What did Abraham believe that God would do in order to keep His promise concerning Isaac?
24.What kind of faith did Isaac use in blessing Jacob and Esau?
25.What kind of faith did Jacob employ when he blessed Joseph’s sons?
26.What kind of faith did Joseph exercise when he gave instructions concerning his bones?
27.What kind of faith did the parents of Moses demonstrate?
28.What kind of faith did Moses show when he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter?
29.What was Moses thinking about when he made his choice?
30.What does verse 27 teach us about faith?
31.What does verse 28 teach us about faith?
32.What does verse 29 teach us about faith?
33.What role did faith play in the toppling of the walls of Jericho?
34.What type of faith did Rahab demonstrate?
35.What was true of the faith of many of the saints and prophets?
36.How has the faith that overcomes the world, the faith that brings us into our inheritance, into the rest of God, been demonstrated in the lives of people?
37.What did the saints obtain by their faithfulness during their fiery trials?
38.What have such warriors of faith not received as yet?
39.Why have they not been given the promise?
1.What people make up the cloud of witnesses that is surrounding each Christian today?
2.What should we do in view of the fact that such people are witnessing what we are doing today?
3.To whom should we be looking every moment?
4.What is the significance of the expression, "Looking unto Jesus the author [leader] and finisher [completer; perfecter] of our faith"?
5.By what means was Jesus able to endure the cross, despising the shame?
6.Where is the Lord Jesus now?
7.What did Jesus endure from sinners?
8.In view of the troubles the Lord Himself experienced, what are we able to avoid?
9.How had the Jewish Christians differed from some of the heroes of faith of Chapter 11?
10.What exhortation had the Hebrew Christians forgotten?
11.How is the Christian to regard chastening?
12.How does God deal with us?
13.What is true of us if we do not experience Divine discipline?
14.What attitude should we have toward the Father of spirits?
15.Why does God discipline us?
16.What is true of chastening while it is being administered?
17.What does Divine discipline yield?
18.What are we to do when we feel weak and discouraged?
19.What should we attempt to do?
20.What will be true if we do not pursue a holy life?
21.What should we be watching for constantly?
22.What else should we be watching for?
23.Of what is Esau an example?
24.What was Esau unable to find?
25.What awesome, terrifying spectacle is being described in verses 18 through 21?
26.What was God revealing on Mount Sinai?
27.To what has the believer in Christ come?
28.Of what does the blood of Abel speak?
29.Of what does the blood of Jesus speak?
30.According to verse 25, is there greater danger to the disobedient under the new covenant or under the old covenant?
31.God’s voice shook the earth at Mount Sinai.
What else has God promised that He shall do?
32.What does the expression "Yet, once more" signify?
33.Since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, what should we do?
34.What is true of our God?
1.What attitude must reign among the members of the body of Christ?
2.What have some hospitable people done without being aware of it?
3.What attitude should we have toward prisoners, and those who are being treated badly for the Kingdom of God’s sake?
4.What is to be our attitude toward marriage?
5.What shall happen to fornicators and adulterers?
6.From what should our life be free?
7.Why can we be content with our present circumstances?
8.What can we state boldly?
9.What attitude should we take toward our leaders who have spoken to us the Word of God?
10.What is true of Christ?
11.Should the Christian saint devote much time considering what types of food should be eaten?
12.What is the meaning of verses 10 through 13?
13.What should each Christian saint be seeking?
14.What kind of sacrifice are we to be offering?
15.What are we to continue doing?
16.Why must we obey the leadership in the churches?
17.The writer of Hebrews felt that he had a clear conscience and was attempting to live honorably.
What was he requesting?
18.What is the writer’s prayer for the Jewish saints?
19.How does the writer refer to God the Father?
20.What is unique about the new covenant?
21.What is unique about the great Shepherd of the sheep?
22.What is the writer’s prayer for the Jewish Christians?
23.What does the writer beseech the saints to do?
24.Who had recently been released from prison?
25.What was the writer’s final gift to the Jewish saints?
A STUDY GUIDE FOR THE BOOK OF HEBREWS
1. Give three instances in which God "spake in time past to the fathers by the prophets."
To Israel through the Prophet Isaiah.
To Israel through the Prophet Jeremiah.
To Israel through the Prophet Ezekiel.
2. By whom has God spoken to us in "these last days"?
His Son, Christ.
3. Who has been appointed "heir of all things"?
4. By whom did God make the worlds?
Christ—He is the brightness of God’s Glory and the exact image of God’s Person.
5. What force upholds the universe?
Christ upholds the universe with the Word of His almighty power.
6. In what ways has Christ been made "so much better than the angels"?
He has been named the "Son" of God.
The angels have been commanded to worship Him.
The Father has called Him "God."
His throne is forever.
Righteousness is the scepter of His kingdom.
God has anointed Him with the oil of joy above His companions.
He laid the foundation of the earth.
The heavens are the works of His hands.
He will, one day, discard the earth and the heavens as being worn out; but He shall continue eternally.
He has been seated at the right hand of God until God makes all His enemies His footstool.
He is in the image of the Father.
Christ is altogether God and altogether man. He purified us from our sins and then sat down at the right hand of God Almighty. Christ is God and His throne is eternal. Christ is not just a wind, or spirit, or a flame of fire. He is substantial. He is the Son of God Almighty and rules as the Son of God Almighty. None of this is true of any angel.
7. Hebrews 1:5 states: "Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee." On what "day" was Christ begotten as the Son of God?
That day was in three parts: when He was born of Mary (Luke 1:35); when He was baptized in water (Luke 3:22); when He rose from the dead (Romans 1:4).
8. What is the significance of the word "first-begotten"?
More sons will be begotten of the Father and Christ will have preeminence among them.
9. What kind of scepter does the Lord Jesus Christ hold?
The scepter, the rod of authority of Christ, is that of lawfulness, of uprightness, of justice, of equity.
10. Why has God anointed Christ "with the oil of gladness above thy fellows"?
Because He has loved righteousness and hated wickedness.
11. Who laid the foundation of the earth and created the heavens?
Christ is the One who created all things. He laid the foundation of the earth and created the starry heavens that we can see.
When Christ is through using the earth and the heavens He will discard them as "dirty laundry." He Himself is eternal. He will remain fresh and bright. If you are in Him you also will remain fresh and bright throughout eternity.
12. Explain the expression, "they all will grow old as doth a garment."
The earth and the heavens are deteriorating (growing old). The amount of energy available for man’s use is decreasing. Scientists claim that no new energy is being added to the physical universe. The universe is "running down."
13. Where is Christ seated today?
At the right hand of the Father.
14. For what is Christ waiting expectantly?
For His enemies to be made His footstool.
As we press into Christ each day the Father, working through the Holy Spirit, brings every enemy of Christ in us under the feet of Christ. As the Spirit of God casts out the enemy we enter into our inheritance, into the "rest of God." When God has finished removing the enemy from His Church, God, through the Church, shall remove all the enemy from all the heavens and the earth.
15. What very important change from singular to plural occurs between verse two and verse fourteen of Chapter One?
From the "Heir" to the "heirs" of salvation.
16. What is the role of angels under the new covenant?
Angels are ministering spirits for those who will be heirs of salvation.
1. After reading verse one of Chapter Two, keeping in mind verse two of Chapter One, to whom is the author of Hebrews writing?
Jewish people who know the Gospel of Christ.
2. What exhortation is contained in verse one of Chapter Two?
We should pay close attention to the things of Christ we have heard, being careful that we do not at any time drift away from them.
3. In which instances, as described in the Old Testament, did God speak "by angels"?
Under the old covenant the Word of God often came through angels: to Abraham, to Lot and his family, to Moses and Israel in the wilderness, to Joshua, to Gideon, to David, to Daniel. If that word was disobeyed, as in the case of the instructions given by the angel to the family of Lot, there was swift punishment.
4. In what ways can a Christian "neglect" his or her salvation?
By not praying, not reading and meditating in the Bible, not gathering together with other disciples to worship the Lord, not resisting the devil.
By compromising in order to please worldly people, by not seeking the Lord’s will each day, by not putting Christ first in everything, by not mixing faith with the words of Scripture, by becoming so busy with buying, selling, marrying, giving in marriage, planting, harvesting, building, making money that there is little time left to tend to the growth of Christ within us, by not pressing forward in the Spirit, by not giving the best of our life and personality to Christ.
5. From what are we warned to escape?
From destruction (Hebrews 3:11,13,17,19; 4:1,11; 6:8; 10:27,39; 12:17,25).
6. What did Christ preach?
"So great salvation": the coming of the Kingdom of God; being saved into the Kingdom of God; being born again into the Kingdom of God; coming to maturity in the Kingdom of God.
7. How did God bear witness of His Word under the old covenant?
By signs, wonders, and various acts of power.
8. How does God bear witness of his Word under the new covenant?
By signs, wonders, and various acts of power. If there is not some evidence of God’s power in our preaching and teaching we are not presenting the Kingdom of God, for the Kingdom of God is not in word but in power.
9. Who has been given dominion over the world to come?
Mankind, as represented by Christ and His saints.
10. To what Scripture is the writer of Hebrews referring in verse six?
What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? (Psalms 8:4).
11. Why is God mindful of man, and why does God "visit" him?
People who have received the Lord Jesus Christ are God’s image, God’s sons, the brothers of Christ, God’s heirs, the creatures redeemed through the blood of the Lamb, the Wife of the Lamb, the Temple of God, the judges of the heavens and the earth, the army of the Lord, the heirs of all things, those who will sit on the throne of Christ.
God has made man a little lower than the angels by placing him in an animal body, a body subject to death. However, in the resurrection, people will be immortal like the angels and will be the sons of God in a greater sense than is true now.
Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection (Luke 20:36).
But even today, man is infinitely superior to the angels in that he has been created in God’s image and is capable of being the habitation of God. Neither of these attributes is possessed by angels.
12. Who has been crowned with glory and honor by the Lord God?
13. Who has been given dominion over the works of God’s hands?
14. What part of God’s creation has not been placed under subjection to mankind by the Word of God?
No part (see Hebrews 2:8).
Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him (Hebrews 2:8).
15. To whom or to what is the Christian to be in subjection?
The Christian saint is to be in subjection only to God through Christ. No creature or thing is to have dominion over a member of the Body of Christ. Much of our Christian experience is occupied with the freeing of us from the dominion of creatures, things, and circumstances.
God has placed all things in subjection under mankind. God has left nothing that has not been placed under mankind.
However, in the present hour, all things are not under man. But God calls circumstances that are not as though they were. God creates in a timeless vision. All things are finished in the sight of God. We now are in the working out of them.
God sees the end from the beginning. We have been predestined, according to the foreknowledge of God, to be in the image of Christ. Yet we are never to take an attitude of passivity or inevitability. We still must make godly choices if we are to obtain our inheritance.
16. Why was the Lord Jesus made a little lower than the angels?
So He could experience death, tasting death for every person. Jesus had to experience the pain that we experience so He could become the author of our salvation and our elder Brother.
We do not as yet see all the creation under the authority and power of mankind.
We do see Jesus as representative Man, as the Man God has in mind.
He was made a little lower than the angels for His thirty-three years on the earth. Being made lower than the angels for a season He was subject to physical death, as are all men.
The same Jesus who was willing to experience death on behalf of all people has now been crowned with glory and with honor. The Lord now has received the glory and honor assigned to mankind.
Jesus now possesses all authority and power in Heaven.
Jesus now possesses all authority and power on the earth.
Jesus now possesses all authority and power over all creatures in Heaven, in Hell, those who are dead, those who are alive, those yet to be born.
Christ has been crowned with glory and honor. He always moves in majesty and authority.
Christ has been crowned with honor in that all the armies of Heaven give Him praise, as well as the Church in Heaven and on the earth.
We are pressing toward what Christ already is. Christ is what the Lord God has in mind when He says, "Let us make man in our image."
Christ is our example in all things. More than that, He is being formed in us, He is our Life. As He is, so are we in the world. His Life is filling us and conforming us to His image. He is magnified in us. For the Christian saint to live is Christ and to die is gain.
17. Who is the "him" of verse ten?
God the Father.
18. What has God the Father determined to do?
To bring many sons to the glory and honor assigned to mankind.
19. How was Christ made perfect?
20. Why is Christ not ashamed to call of us "brothers"?
Because He who makes us holy (sets us apart unto God), and we who are holy, are all of one Father.
We are the younger brothers of Christ. We are smaller, not as mature, but we are His brothers.
Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me (Matthew 28:10).
Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God (John 20:17).
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestine to be changed into the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29).
21. Who sings praises to God in the midst of the church?
Christ. When we sing hymns to God and praise God, Christ sings with us, His brothers. As we all sing praises there is satisfaction in the heart of God.
I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee (Psalms 22:22).
And I will wait upon the Lord, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him. Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion (Isaiah 8:17,18).
Christ trusts in the Father; and we, whom God has given to Christ, also put our trust in the Father.
22. Why was it necessary for Christ to become flesh and blood?
So that through death He could render powerless the one who possessed the power, the dominion, of death, that is, the devil.
23. What fear keeps mankind in bondage?
The fear of death keeps mankind in slavery. But now the saint does not fear death at all because Christ holds the keys of Hell and death. We shall come from the grave one day and we shall see one another again and be alive forever.
24. With whom did Christ choose to associate, whom did He choose to resemble?
The descendants of Abraham.
25. Why did Christ come to earth as a man?
Christ chose to be made like His brothers so He could be our merciful and faithful High Priest in the Presence of God.
26. How did Jesus make "reconciliation for the sins of the people"?
He paid the price for our sins by the offering of His own body and blood on the cross. This was possible only by becoming a human being.
27. Why is Jesus able to "succor [help] them that are tempted"?
Because Christ Himself was tested severely in the things He suffered on the earth He is able to come to the aid of each of us when we are going through a period of testing and suffering. Christ was tested and experienced suffering just as we are tested and experience suffering. Christ knows our pain. Therefore He is able to help us and to make intercession for us before the throne of His Father in Heaven.
1. What kind of brothers are we to be?
We are to be holy brothers. We are made holy by the blood of Jesus. We are not to be living in the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life. We are to be walking in righteousness, holiness, and obedience before God.
Holiness means cleanliness and purity in the eyes of God so we are doing, saying, and thinking the things that are acceptable to the Spirit of God. Holiness means belonging especially to the Lord, not to the world, not to the lusts of the flesh, not to evil, unclean spirits.
In the final sense, holiness is the Presence of God through Christ.
2. What is our "heavenly calling"?
To be sons of God, heirs of salvation, brothers of Christ. We are sharing together in a calling that has come to us from Heaven above. We are called to be partakers of the Person, image, and Glory of God Almighty.
We are to devote our days to thinking about and considering Christ, who is both the Apostle and the High Priest of the faith we are confessing with our mouth. We are to place our minds on Christ and to keep them there as much as possible.
3. Who "appointed" Christ?
God the Father.
4. In what ways did Christ demonstrate His faithfulness to God the Father?
By always doing, saying, and thinking those things that pleased the Father; by suffering abuse unjustly; by bearing on Himself the sins of the world; by denying Himself so He might always show in Himself the Person and will of the Father.
Christ was faithful to the Father, who assigned Him a role and a task.
Moses was faithful in the house of God, performing all that the Lord instructed him to do.
Let us also be faithful in that which the Lord expects and requires of us. Do we know the Lord’s will for us as an individual?
In order to discover the personal will of God for us we must present our physical body a living sacrifice.
5. Why is Christ "counted worthy of more glory than Moses"?
Because Moses was faithful in all God’s house, but Christ built the house and owns the house.
Christ receives more glory than Moses because the builder of a house possesses more honor than the house itself. Every house on the earth was built by some person, but Christ built everything that we see with our eyes and handle with our hands.
6. In what way did Moses demonstrate his faithfulness to the Lord?
By faithfully bringing forth to Israel every commandment that God gave to him, without taking the glory to himself. By always doing what God told him to do.
And he spread abroad the tent over the tabernacle, and put the covering of the tent above upon it; as the Lord commanded Moses (Exodus 40:19).
And Moses did so: as the Lord commanded him, so did he (Numbers 17:11).
7. How was Moses "a testimony of the things that were to be spoken after"?
All of the things the Lord brought forth through Moses, including the Law, the priesthood and the offerings, the Levitical feasts, and the Tabernacle of the Congregation, bear witness of the Person and work of the crucified and risen Lord Christ. In addition, Moses prophesied of the coming of Christ:
I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brothers, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him (Deuteronomy 18:18).
Moses was part of the testimony of the Old Testament Scriptures. This testimony applies directly to us today. The things and events of the Old Testament are a physical portrayal, an example, a shadow, an illustration, a representation in the material world of what is true today. The events, the circumstances, and the utterances, of the Old Testament have occurred for our benefit who are living in the hour when all will come to fruition.
Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come (I Corinthians 10:11).
Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom [the Hebrew Prophets] it was revealed, that not unto themselves [the physical Israelites], but unto us [the Christians—Jews and Gentiles] they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into (I Peter 1:10-12).
Have we meditated on the journey of Israel from Egypt to Canaan?
Have we studied the Tabernacle of the Congregation?
Have we considered the seven feasts of the Lord, found in the twenty-third chapter of Leviticus?
Even the days of creation are a type of the redemption that is in Christ in that we commence in chaos of personality and finish in the rest of God, having been created in the image of Christ.
The Book of Hebrews gives several examples of the manner in which we are to apply the Old Testament Scriptures to our lives as Christians.
We should not neglect our salvation. We should be continually and diligently reading and meditating in both the old Testament and the New Testament so that the Holy Spirit can guide us through our Christian pilgrimage.
8. What must we continue to do if we desire to be the "house" of Christ?
We must hold fast the confidence, the boldness, the boasting, the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.
9. What "hope" are we to hold firm unto the end?
That God can and shall bring us to glory.
We have a hope. Our hope is that the Lord Jesus Christ is coming for us and that we shall be with Him forever. Our hope is that we shall be reunited with our loved ones. Our hope is that the Kingdom of God is coming to the earth. Our hope is that we shall be raised from the dead at His glorious appearing, our mortal body being redeemed with a wonderful "house" from Heaven. Our hope is that we shall reign with Jesus in a state of glory over the nations of the earth.
We are to hold fast to this hope, proclaiming it boldly, boasting in the Lord of the power and faithfulness of Christ when the enemy would tell us that Jesus cannot perform what He promised.
Many people start the Christian race but not all finish. We are to hold our hope firmly to the end.
10. Whose voice are we to be hearing today?
The voice of the Holy Spirit.
A Christian church begins in the fire of the Spirit of God, hearing the voice of the Spirit of God. Then, if it is not careful, it begins to trust in its own ability to carry out the programs that the Spirit began.
We are never to do that. We are to remain as humbly dependent on the Spirit of God for every detail as we were when we began.
How difficult it is for humans to wait on the voice of the Spirit of God! How much more would we prefer to take hold of the program and make it work!
The only success that ever comes about in the Kingdom of God is when faithful men and women finally come to the realization that nothing is accomplished in the Kingdom except by the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit.
Working in the Spirit of God brings both fruitfulness and dominion. The Spirit never fails. He comforts us, enables us to bear witness, and brings forth the image of Christ within us. Let us learn to pray, live, and labor in ministry in the Spirit, always in the Spirit, only in the Spirit.
What is the Holy Spirit of God saying to each of us now?
. . . To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest (Psalms 95:7-11).
11. What is the Christian not to do?
He is not to harden his heart, as did Israel in the wilderness. He is not to provoke God to anger by murmuring, complaining, and returning to the filthy, fruitless ways of the world.
He is not to keep testing God by saying that God cannot solve this problem, God cannot solve that problem.
God has solved all our problems in the past when we have prayed about them. Let us have faith in the present and in the future that what Christ has begun in our life He will finish gloriously.
12. In what way can a Christian "harden" his or her heart?
By not allowing the Holy Spirit to lead him to spiritual maturity according to what is written in the Scriptures.
13. In what ways did the "fathers" tempt God?
By complaining about their welfare throughout the forty years of wandering in the wilderness; by wailing in fear and unbelief concerning the giants in the land of Canaan; by rebelling against the leadership of Moses and Aaron.
14. Why was God grieved with Israel?
Because God delivered and nourished them by miracle after miracle; yet, they would not allow themselves to believe that God could or would help them. They howled and complained at each new trial.
The Israelis were perverse and always went astray in their hearts. They refused to trust God for food although manna came down every day for forty years.
They refused to trust God for water, although on at least two occasions God brought forth water from a rock.
But—worst of all—they would not press toward the land of promise. They refused to reason that if God smote Egypt, if God parted the Red Sea, God would help them against the Canaanites.
The Israelis refused to learn from the examples God gave them, choosing rather to murmur, complain, find fault with God, disbelieve God. They chose to be frightened rather than to have faith in God.
Those who are timid and fearful will not be allowed to enter the new Jerusalem. Faith and fear cannot dwell in our hearts at the same time.
15. What did God swear in His anger?
"They shall not enter my rest."
It is possible for God to become angry. God has love for His creatures. He also can exercise anger, as we learn from the flood of Noah, from Sodom and Gomorrah, from the ground opening under Korah, Datham and Abiram, and from the blessings and curses that the Lord taught to Israel (Deuteronomy, Chapter 28).
One of the most destructive errors of our day is the overemphasis on God’s love. God’s love and mercy can be seen in true perspective only when viewed against the backdrop of His fiery wrath.
Those who state that God is capable only of love know neither the Scriptures nor the Lord. God was angry because of the perversity of the Israelites. They would not learn. At every turn of the trail they wanted to stone Moses and Aaron for one reason or another.
God is capable of making decisions. God can be provoked. If God deals with your heart to be saved, or to be baptized in water by immersion, or to speak in tongues, or to prophesy, or to do something or say something, and you keep delaying to do it because of unbelief or disobedience, God will become angry. He will not help you enter your inheritance as He would have if you had been willing and obedient. You will dwell in spiritual dryness. God’s first and best plan for your life may never be realized.
Israel was turned back into the wilderness. Esau changed his mind about his birthright, but it was too late! Too late! How terrible are the words too late!
Will it be true of you or me that one day the gates of glory will close in our face and we will understand that we decided to serve God too late?
It is good to fear God and to fear the consequences of disobeying His love.
Let us reason: if God has given us His only Son, if God has allowed His Son to be spit on and murdered by men for our salvation, should we not run to that salvation?
Should we not give our life in attendance on that salvation?
Should we not believe that God will help us in all matters of our life since He has given His Son for us?
Will not God be angry if we play lightly with the things of Christ and not seek the will of God diligently?
To reason in this way is sound, it is wise, it is pleasing to God.
16. What is the "rest" of God?
The land of promise, the inheritance of the Christian.
In verse eleven the expression is employed, "They shall not enter my rest." What is the rest of God?
The Book of Hebrews is an exhortation to Christian disciples to enter the rest of God. What is the goal of the Christian discipline?
What is the "mark" toward which Paul was pressing?
The rest of God is not rest as in sleep. The rest of God concerns our grasp on our inheritance in Christ. It is the place where we have arrived at all that God has spoken concerning us.
We have not entered fully into the rest as yet but we are laboring to enter that rest, if we are a Christian saint who is being led by the Spirit of God.
17. Of what condition must we as Christians beware?
Of having an evil heart of unbelief that causes us to turn away from the Lord.
When we are not pressing into the rest of God we are falling away from God. The pressures of today from our flesh, from the world, and from Satan are so great we cannot remain stationary in the dock. Either we will turn and sail out on the ocean of God’s will and power or we will become covered with rust and barnacles and finally be a worthless hulk.
The requirement for success in Christian discipleship is faith in God; not personal ability but faith in God. A heart that does not have faith in God is an evil heart. Faith, as defined in the Book of Hebrews, is a living, strong grasp on the Word and Life of Christ so we are able to perform God’s will, entering our inheritance.
Two important parts of true faith are obedience and courage. God will give us a spirit of obedience and courage if we ask Him.
18. Who is directed to exhort whom each day?
Each Christian is to exhort the other Christians each day.
19. Toward what end are we to be exhorted?
To not allow ourselves to become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. To be a faithful follower of Christ, a stranger and pilgrim on the earth.
20. Give one example of how a saint can be deceived through the "deceitfulness of sin."
Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1,2).
21. What must we do in order to be a partaker of Christ?
We must "hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end," not hardening our hearts in rebellion.
22. Read Psalms 95:7,8; Exodus 17:1-7; Numbers 20:1-3; Deuteronomy 6:16.
For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: (Psalms 95:7,8).
And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the Lord, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink. Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the Lord? And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst? And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me. And the Lord said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go. Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us, or not? (Exodus 17:1-7).
Then came the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, into the desert of Zin in the first month: and the people abode in Kadesh; and Miriam died there, and was buried there. And there was no water for the congregation: and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the Lord! (Numbers 20:3).
Ye shall not tempt [test] the Lord your God, as ye tempted [tested] him in Massah (Deuteronomy 6:16).
23. Read Hebrews 3:16 in another translation in order to clarify the meaning.
Who was it who heard God and then rebelled? Was it not all those who were led out of Egypt by Moses?
24. With whom was God grieved forty years?
"With them that had sinned," whose bodies were left in the desert.
25. To whom did God swear they should not enter His rest?
To those who disobeyed, not believing the Lord’s promise.
There is a close relationship between faith in God, and righteous, holy behavior. We demonstrate our belief by our behavior. The Israelites did not believe God. They complained against God, continually testing Him to see if He would take care of them.
True Christian faith follows God in confidence, joy, and courage. Israel chose to not believe that God would bring the tribes safely and joyfully into the land of milk and honey.
Under the new covenant the faith that saves us is not a correct statement of theological truth. Rather, the faith that saves us is a daily grasping of the Life of Christ such that we are enabled to overcome Satan, the spirit of the world, and our own fleshly lusts and self-will.
The daily grasping of the Spirit of life is salvation. The purpose of theological truth, of doctrine, is to lead us to Christ. Only as doctrine leads us to the Person of Christ is it effective, as far as eternal life is concerned.
The writer of Hebrews was addressing experienced Christian disciples who had heard the Lord’s Apostles, who had witnessed the miracles of the first-century anointing of power, and who had accepted joyfully the confiscation of their belongings.
These Jewish Christians had been made a public spectacle, being subjected to abuse and insults. They had been persecuted vigorously for the Kingdom of God’s sake (see Hebrews 10:32-34).
They had come this far in the Lord. Now they were being exhorted to continue in faith, pressing forward to life lived wholly in the rest of God, that is, wholly devoted to the Lord’s Presence and will. The eyes of their faith were being lifted to behold a greater level of maturity in Christ than they had attained to this point.
It appears, from the complete text of the Book of Hebrews, that at least part of their problem had to do with the overcoming of sinful behavior.
Hebrews 5:12-14 gives us a key to the type of lack of faith that characterized the Hebrew Christians.
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
The Hebrew Christians were spiritual babies, even though they had seen the miraculous of the Gospel and had suffered persecution. They were babies because they were "unskillful in the word of righteousness." They were saved. They were candidates for Heaven. But they were not growing in the all-important ability to distinguish between good and evil.
Without the ability to distinguish between good and evil, and the spiritual strength to choose the good and resist and reject the evil, it is impossible for the believer to enter the rest of God. The rest of God, the inheritance, the land of promise, is occupied now by the evil enemies of God. These enemies can be driven out only by saints who have become skillful in the word of righteousness.
We understand, then, that the writer of Hebrews is exhorting each believer in Christ to "lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us," and to "run with patience the race that is set before us."
1. What is the "rest" of God?
Life lived in the fullness of Christ.
2. In what way can a believer in Christ come short of the rest of God?
By allowing some part of his personality to be dominated by sin or self rather than by Christ.
3. What was the "gospel" that was preached to the Israelis who were wandering about in the wilderness?
That they were going to be brought into a land where there were springs of water, plenty of rain, an abundance of minerals, and rich soil for grazing and for growing crops.
4. What takes place if we keep on pressing forward in faith in the Lord?
We enter the rest of God.
The thought here seems to be that everyone who chooses to believe and obey God without murmuring and complaining will enter His rest, His inheritance. The Israelites were not permitted to enter Canaan at their first approach because they would not believe God, even though God had planned from the creation of the world that they should enter Canaan.
The Jews in the wilderness did not mix faith with the word they heard. Even in those days faith was required in order to please God.
We who believe do enter the promised rest. The important word is believe. Those who will not believe shall never enter the rest of God.
Entering the rest of God involves:
Coming to understand what God has stated to be true concerning us.
Believing that what God has stated shall come to pass.
Cooperating with the Holy Spirit in the step-by-step accomplishment of what God has declared to be a fact.
We must read the Scriptures to find what God has stated to be true of our relationship with Him and what He is doing with us through Christ. We must set our mind and heart to believe that what God has stated He can and will do. We must demonstrate our faith in the faithfulness of God by obeying the Holy Spirit in every area of our life at all times.
The Israelites knew that God had called them from Egypt and had promised to bring the people into a land flowing with milk and honey. However, as soon as they became thirsty, or hungry, or discouraged they made little or no attempt to believe that what God had promised to them He was able and willing to do. They doubted the goodness, truth, and power of God. As a result they complained, they murmured, they wept in fear, they rebelled against Moses and Aaron.
We must exercise these three aspects of faith:
Faith based on the knowledge of what God has stated in the Scriptures.
Faith that God is all-powerful and trustworthy. God can and shall keep his part of the contract.
Faith that presses vigorously each day into the rule of the Holy Spirit over our deeds, words, and thoughts.
In verses three through nine the Holy Spirit gives us three concepts that have to do with being able to enter the rest of God:
God’s creation, all the way from the separating of the light from the darkness to the descent of the new Jerusalem, was completed in God’s mind before the events described in Genesis, Chapter One came into existence.
The Jewish Sabbath day.
The land of promise.
Let us consider the three concepts one at a time. If we do not believe them and embrace them, applying faith to them, we will not enter the rest of God. We will not attain the fullness of the inheritance that God has prepared for each believer in Christ.
First, consider this statement: "the works were finished from the foundation of the world."
We understand from verse three that all the works of God were completed in God’s mind, in the spirit realm, before God said, "Let there be light." We who are imprisoned in the physical realm are bound by time. God beholds a matter as being accomplished long before (sometimes thousands of years before) we humans arrive at the time of its physical appearance and substance.
"The works were finished from the foundation of the world." The fact of the pre-working, the foreknowledge, the predestination, the sovereignty of God, is taught by statement and by example throughout the Scriptures.
From the calling of Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees, to the establishing of the last saint in the new Jerusalem, the sovereignty of God is demonstrated clearly.
Does this mean that no matter what anyone does, those who are to be saved will be saved and those who are to be destroyed will be destroyed?
The Scriptures do not teach this. Every human being on the earth determines his or her eternal destiny by the way he behaves and the choices he makes. Grace, salvation, and the Kingdom of God, are not edicts. They are opportunities.
How can these two concepts be reconciled?
Perhaps they cannot be reconciled in the material world. But both of the concepts—that God is sovereign in the universe and His works have been finished already and now are being fashioned for us to see, and also that each individual must choose to accept God’s will in Christ for his life or to reject God’s will for his life—are taught throughout the Scriptures and are true and factual in the spirit realm.
The knowledge that God already has completed all things has a very practical effect on the overcomer. Such knowledge gives him rest from the tormenting driving of his own fears and feeling of duty and obligation, and enables him to settle back into the arms of God and allow Christ to build the Kingdom of God.
The concept of predestination and foreknowledge is that God knows what He is doing and has a special place in His Kingdom for each believer.
The fact that God knows what He is doing gives us rest in the security that the world and our personal life are not out of control but are being directed by the perfect wisdom and power of God, according to a master plan.
The fact that God has a special place in His Kingdom for each of us means we are to cease attempting to force our will, to direct our destiny, to cease striving to build our own kingdom, and instead to devote our days seeking the will of Christ for our life. We enter the rest of God when we turn over the remainder of our life to Christ and allow Him to perform what God has planned for us.
But, one may ask, is it possible for the believer to deviate from what God has determined?
We have our answer in the passage that we are studying. Israel refused to believe and obey God. As a result, God would not allow the people to enter the land of promise although He had promised the land to them. God suspended His promise to that generation, just as He changed what He had spoken concerning Eli, the priest (I Samuel 2:30).
The Scripture commands us to give diligence to make our calling and election sure (II Peter 1:10).
It is important to realize it is the "rest of God" we are entering. God is seeking a living temple for Himself, for His own pleasure and to accomplish His own purposes. We can be part of that rest only as we cease from our attempts to live our life in our own way and present our body to God as a living sacrifice, seeking His will. God is resting, having set in motion His eternal plan. We are to enter that rest, God’s rest.
The first concept that has to do with our being able to enter the rest of God is that God has a specific purpose and plan that have been completed already in God’s mind and vision.
The second concept that concerns our being able to enter the rest of God is that of the Jewish Sabbath day.
What does the Sabbath day, the seventh day of the week, teach us about the rest of God?
To find the answer to this question, let us turn to Isaiah, Chapter 58, verses thirteen and fourteen. This passage was true for the Jew one day each week. The Christian keeps this Sabbath, this Divine rest, twenty-four hours of every day, seven days a week.
If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
This is the way the Christian saint is to live at all times. We are to cease seeking our own pleasure. We are to take pleasure in finding and doing the Lord’s will. We are to honor God always, not following our own path, not finding our own pleasure, not speaking our own words.
If we will keep this Sabbath, which is rest in God’s will, God will cause us to "ride on the high places of the earth." He will feed us "with the heritage of Jacob," our father.
Jacob was greatly blessed of the Lord in all areas and was preserved in the days of famine. If we will live in the Sabbath rest of God, if we will abide in Christ, in the center of God’s will, we will partake of the good things of the earth. We will be brought to fruitfulness, to dominion, to honor, to glory, as was Jacob. We will be delivered in the time of famine (see Psalms 37).
If there is any part of our time during which we are following our own path rather than seeking the will of Christ, we are falling short of the rest of God. Jesus always did the works of the Father and spoke as the Father gave Him the words. We are to always do what Christ is guiding us to do, and we are to speak as the Lord directs.
Most of us are imperfect in terms of abiding in Christ in all that we do and say at every moment. But this is the goal toward which we are to be pressing (John 6:57).
To enter the rest of God, we must understand that the creation of God, from Adam and Eve to the Lamb’s Wife, was finished from the creation of the world.
To enter the rest of God, we must give our life to Christ so that our pilgrimage on the earth becomes one long Sabbath day during which we think God’s thoughts, speak God’s words, and show in ourselves the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Sabbath rest of the Christian is the Life of Christ lived in and through us.
The third aspect of entering the rest of God is that of the land of promise. Satan and his spirits are now in possession of that which belongs by Divine assignment to Christ and His saints. The nations of the world, and the earth itself, are an important part of our inheritance. The only way in which Satan will be driven from our land of promise, our inheritance, is by war. It is Satan’s opinion, apparently, that the earth and its peoples are rightfully his.
To enter the rest of God, into the fullness of our inheritance in Christ, we must become warriors so we can drive out Satan. In the present hour, a spiritual enemy is dwelling in our land, our inheritance. The third and fourth chapters of Hebrews set forth Canaan, the land of promise, as a type of the rest of God.
What does the land of promise teach us concerning entering the rest of God?
The example of the land of promise teaches us that we are to destroy the devil wherever he is entrenched in the good things that God has given to the saints. We are not to cease driving the devil from our inheritance, by the power of God, until the memory of the devil, of sin, of rebellion, has been destroyed from the creation.
We can have no rest in our inheritance until God’s enemy has been driven from it.
We enter our land, the rest of God, one step at a time.
And the Lord thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee. But the Lord thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed (Deuteronomy 7:22,23).
All things were finished from the creation of the world. Therefore we are not to rush about attempting to save ourselves, or to build the Kingdom of God according to our own plan. Rather, we are to wait on God constantly so that we may know what it is He wants us to do—moment by moment.
Sometimes God must slow us down until we can understand what it is He desires. The first aspect of entering the rest of God is a deep realization that God has a plan of His own. Spiritual warfare always is conducted by the Lord Jesus Christ working through His Church. The war is fought according to the timing, the strategy, the tactics that come from God the Father, whose Kingdom it is that is being established. Each battle is won by the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit.
The argument in verses seven and eight of the third chapter of Hebrews is that if the possession of Canaan, the land of promise, was the true rest of God, then David in the Book of Psalms—hundreds of years after Israel entered Canaan—would not have spoken of "another day."
Notice the profound and exacting manner in which the Holy Spirit guides the writer of the Book of Hebrews to interpret and apply the Old Testament Scriptures. The science of scriptural interpretation is termed hermeneutics. We can learn much about the discipline of hermeneutics by observing how the writers of the New Testament employed passages from the Old Testament.
The Book of Hebrews is an exhortation to Christian people to enter the "rest of God." We know that "there remains therefore a rest to the people of God" verse nine. We have said that the rest of God is the state of abiding in the center of God’s will in Christ.
5. What is true of the person who has entered God’s rest?
"He also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his."
The word unbelief, in verse eleven, may be translated "disobedience," or "obstinacy. This is true also in 3:18, where the translation may be read: "to those who disobeyed", or, "to those who were obstinate."
We understand, therefore, that the kind of belief and faith that obtains the promises of God is belief and faith that are expressed in cheerful obedience and willingness in the actual doing of what the Holy Spirit is laying on our heart. We "eat the good of the land" when we are willing and obedient.
What did God create before He ceased from His works?
A perfect and complete plan of redemption in Christ, including the specific purpose and plan for our own life, finished from the foundation of the world.
A place of rest for us from our trials and tribulations when we die, or at the appearing of Christ—whichever comes first.
A place of full abiding in Christ in which we can await His pleasure in all things, becoming obedient to the will of God.
The destruction of God’s enemies in and around us.
Perfect and complete conformity to the express image of the Lord Jesus Christ in our spirit, in our soul, and in our body.
The abiding in us of the fullness of the Father and the fullness of the Son through the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
Our ability to possess the fullness of the fruitfulness and dominion promised to Christ and to those who are coheirs with Him.
6. When did God cease working?
When He had performed a perfect work in each of the above areas of accomplishment, and in every other part and aspect of the physical universe, of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, and of the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.
7. Into what is the believer in Christ striving to enter?
Into two aspects of the rest of God: the cessation of his struggle to secure his own survival, to please God, and to accomplish something of worth and permanence; and the achievement of the seven parts of the inheritance we have listed above.
The overcoming saint learns how to enter and rest in the creative wisdom and power of God so that the awesome abilities of the Holy Spirit of God can accomplish every part of the inheritance that God has assigned to him or her.
One of the tools the Holy Spirit has provided so we may learn to flow and rest in his power and wisdom, is the speaking in tongues. Speaking in tongues is the means that God has given to keep us in continual contact with the supernatural life of the Holy Spirit.
Notice how the Spirit of Christ explains this, in the following passage from Isaiah:
For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear (Isaiah 28:11,12).
Such is the rest of God, the reward held out to those who do not neglect their salvation but press with all their attention and diligence each day of their life into the immediate will of God. This they do, in the joy and comfort of the wisdom and strength of Christ imparted to them through the Holy Spirit of God.
8. Why does the believer have to "labor" (exercise diligence) in order to enter the rest of God?
Because our fleshly lusts, our self-will, our fear and double-mindedness, our foolishness, the spirit of the world, Satan and his demons, and the fact that the spirit realm is invisible whereas the objects of our soulish desires are visible—all combine to persuade us that God is not to be trusted, that He will not and cannot bring us into righteousness, peace, and joy.
Therefore we must keep praying, keep studying the Scriptures, keep mixing faith with the promises of God, keep obeying the Holy Spirit, keep committing our way to the Lord so we can follow the Holy Spirit into the place of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit are always ready to enable every believer to enter that place of peace and trust. Our task is to keep committing every one of our actions, every one of our words, and every one of our thoughts to Jesus so He can become the center of all that we are and all that we do.
Rest in the center of the Being and will of Christ is the only place of righteousness, peace, and joy on the earth, under the earth, in the heavens, above the heavens, and in every other place that we may be in God’s creation.
God Almighty has given us all things in Christ. Are we determined enough to seek after and obtain all the inheritance?
All the blessing?
Or are we coming short of the rest of God?
All the riches of God’s universe have been given to mankind as an inheritance. The world is God’s creation. Christ is God’s concept of what mankind is to be. Our being made one in God, and God in us, is a guarantee that we indeed shall live forever, possessing within ourselves the power of an endless and indestructible life.
9. Why are belief and obedience so important?
Because belief and obedience on our part are necessary if we are to:
Trust God for our material needs.
Trust God for our spiritual needs and our pleasure, as we worship God through Christ and resist and reject the worship of Satan and sin.
Trust God for what we are to achieve in life, believing that if we do His will faithfully each day, good fruit will come from us and what we are assigned to accomplish in the world will be accomplished.
10. What is the Word of God creating?
The Word of God is creating man in the image of God and giving him dominion in Christ over all the works of God’s hands.
11. Why does the Word of God penetrate and divide every part of our personality, including our bones? Why does it judge the thoughts and attitudes of our heart?
So there will be nothing left in us that is not in Christ’s image; nothing left in us that will go against the rule of God in the creation; nothing left in us that will endanger our security in Christ and bring us to destruction, as in the case of Adam and Eve.
12. What "profession" (confession) are we to hold fast?
Christ died for our sins and was raised again from the dead by the Glory of the Father. We have died in and with Christ. We have been raised in and with Christ. Christ is our life. Christ is coming again to reveal to the world that our life indeed is "hid with Christ in God."
13. Where is our "great high priest"?
At the right hand of the Father.
14. How can it be true that Christ understands all of our weaknesses?
Because He "was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."
We are comforted and strengthened when we realize that Christ actually was a human being—is a human being. In the days of His experience as a flesh and blood person He suffered much. The kinds of pains and burdens we humans bear were experienced by Christ.
He was not permitted to partake of many of the comforts and satisfactions of life on earth. The rights and privileges of an ordinary person were denied Him because of the awful responsibility that was His.
Christ is at the right hand of the Father today. He became acquainted with the various ways in which we are hurt, broken, crushed, bewildered, weary, anxious, terrified, hopeful. He is "touched with the feeling of our infirmities."
15. In what manner are we to approach the throne of the almighty God, the throne of grace?
16. What two Divine gifts are we in need of continually because of our weakness?
Mercy, so that God does not deal with us according to what we deserve but forgives our sins and shortcomings; Divine enablement, so that we do not keep making the same mistakes but rather grow in the ability to recognize sin and to resist it.
1. What two offerings does a high priest make to God on behalf of the congregation of people?
Gifts and sacrifices for sins.
2. Why is a high priest able to be gentle and lenient toward people?
Because he himself is having the same problems.
3. Because the high priest has the same problems as everyone else, what must he do?
He must offer sacrifices for his own sins.
4. Under the old covenant, who was permitted to be a priest?
Aaron and his descendants.
5. Who called Christ to be our high priest?
God the Father, saying, "Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee."
6. With what personage of the Old Testament does God associate Christ?
7. For what did Christ plead with "strong crying and tears"?
To be saved from death.
8. Why does the Father listen to His beloved Son?
Because of the godly fear Jesus has for the Father.
9. By what means did Christ, although God’s Son, learn obedience to the Father?
10. For whom is Christ the Author of eternal salvation?
For those who obey Him.
11. After what priestly order has Christ been made a high priest?
The order of Melchizedek.
12. Why could the writer not teach the Hebrew Christians concerning the priesthood of Melchizedek?
Because of their slowness to learn.
13. Concerning what condition are the Hebrew Christians being rebuked, in verses 11 and 12?
For being dull of hearing, not being able to teach others, needing milk instead of "strong meat" (solid food).
14. What is true of a believer who still is unable to digest any food except milk?
He or she is not well versed in the righteousness that comes to us as part of the new covenant, the righteousness that is able to distinguish between good and evil, and to embrace the good and resist the evil.
15. What is the mark of full spiritual age?
Having our senses, through instruction, exercise, and habit, brought to the place where we can recognize both good and evil.
The ability to distinguish good from evil is the power of judgment.
The spiritual baby cannot tell what is good and what is evil. He is lacking in judgment. The Jewish Christians were lacking in the ability to distinguish holiness from sin, to recognize what is acceptable to the Lord and what is not acceptable to the Lord.
Growth in Christ, in Divine grace, means we are becoming stronger and wiser in our ability to understand and recognize what is of the Lord and what is of Satan. Many of God’s people are taken captive by the devil at his will because they do not understand the difference between God’s works and Satan’s works.
The saint, the overcomer, by constant exercise in righteous and holy habits of behaving, becomes more and more able to recognize both the Lord and Satan. He resists Satan and walks in the righteous and holy ways of the Lord Jesus.
The spiritual baby must be fed milk. The saint, the overcomer, must be fed the solid food of the Word of God. Only Christ’s soldiers, His saints, are given the "hidden manna." They are active in the battle against sin; they do the Lord’s will. Therefore God nourishes them continually so they can march to victory after victory in Jesus’ name.
Perhaps all of the doctrinal errors that have confused believers in Christ have as their goal the prevention of righteous, holy, and obedient behavior.
The Christian churches have reacted strongly against any doctrine that would detract from the Divinity of Christ. Meanwhile, another dangerous error, the substitution of a belief or practice in place of a transformed personality, has not always been given the necessary attention.
One widespread error of our day is the concept that Jesus has "done it all," meaning that our part is to trust in the "finished work of Christ." While the idea that Jesus has accomplished and finished every aspect of redemption appears to give due glory to the Son of God, it could not be more destructive in its practical effects on the human personality.
Human redemption takes place only as people cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the work of sanctification and consecration. The race of righteousness must be run, and it is more grueling than any race run by the physical body. The true Christian discipleship is a constant pressing ahead, a warring against the flesh and Satan, a militant faith that succeeds in conquering Satan, the flesh, and the world. All of the rewards go to him who overcomes, who conquers, who finally gains victory in each circumstance.
The Lord Jesus overcame, and now we must, through Him, overcome all that would keep us from the full possession of our inheritance. Any teaching other than this will lead the student to destruction.
1. What is the first "elementary" doctrine mentioned?
Repentance from dead works and faith toward God.
2. The second doctrine?
The doctrine of baptisms.
3. The third doctrine?
Laying on of hands.
4. The fourth doctrine?
The resurrection of the dead.
5. The fifth doctrine?
6. What does the writer of Hebrews term these five doctrines?
The first principles, the beginning, of the doctrine of Christ.
7. What does the writer of Hebrews exhort us to do, with reference to the five elementary doctrines?
To leave them and go on to perfection, to maturity.
The writer means that we are to leave them and proceed further with our discussion of the Christian salvation. However, in the light of the statements in Chapter Two through Five, it also is true that we should press past them in actual practice and seek to enter the rest of God.
8. Beginning at verse four, what aspects of salvation had the Hebrew saints experienced already?
They had been enlightened.
They had tasted the heavenly gift.
They had been made partakers of the Holy Spirit.
They had tasted the good Word of God; they had tasted the works of power of the world age to come.
9. What is impossible if people of such spiritual experience should fall away?
To renew them again to repentance.
10. What two things do such backsliders do to Christ?
They crucify Him again and they expose Him to public shame.
Numerous Christian teachers have attempted to prove that once a person has made a genuine of belief in Jesus he can never be removed from the grace of God. Their position is based on a concept of grace as a sovereign action of God unrelated to man’s response.
The premise that redemption is an abstract Divine act that does not depend on human response is one of the deadliest, most subtle of all the errors that have corrupted Christian thinking. The Divine redemption, from beginning to completion, is an opportunity. The believer can choose to pursue the continuing revelation of God’s grace or can, after having begun, ignore and neglect the further challenges and demands.
The Christian walk is a way of faith, a way of righteousness. Whenever a believer ceases to press forward in faith he stands in danger of falling back into spiritual death. Satan never ceases his attempts to deceive the Christian away from the path of light.
The believer who, after repeated admonitions of the Lord, does not begin to bear the fruit of righteousness, will be cut out of the Vine, out of Christ.
Thesis of the Book of Hebrews is that we will be made a partaker of Christ on the condition that we press forward to the land of promise, to the rest of God, to the fullness of our inheritance in Christ. Hebrews was written to experienced disciples who now were losing their fervency.
The expression "If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance" must be interpreted in the light of the whole Book of Hebrews. It appears that these seasoned Christians were beginning to neglect their salvation and were not pressing into the rest of God, the perfection of salvation that is the mark of maturity.
The spiritual forces that govern the earth are so powerful, the currents so strong and swift, that is not press forward is to be swept backward. The experienced saint who loses the white heat of fervency slowly but surely loses ground. Satan works slowly and unremittingly. Before many years have past the believer who once had been a prophet of God is now living in the flesh. His spiritual life is dying.
Whether he would be able in this condition to rekindle his love for Jesus is questionable. We have known of a man in this condition. What at one time had been a vibrant Christian was now a shell of a man, sick, terrified that he had sinned away his day of grace. Our counsel to him was to sit in church every time the doors opened and hope that God would have mercy on him and give him the grace to repent and pray.
Our relationship to the Lamb of God is that of Bride to Bridegroom. We may stumble a few times, in which instances the Lord will pick us up so we may continue our journey toward His palace. But if we fall away, spurning His love, there may come a day when He loses interest in us.
We know of the parable of the prodigal son and the blessing this has been to countless sinners who have come to themselves and returned to Father’s house.
We know also of a faithless Israel who sinned until there no longer was a remedy and they lost the Glory that had been theirs. Twenty-five hundred years later they still are trying to retain control of their land and their holy city.
If we neglect our salvation we will not escape punishment and severe loss of inheritance--if not something worse!
11. What kind of ground does God bless?
That which drinks the rain that comes on it and brings forth crops fit for those for whom it has been tilled.
12. What is true of ground that brings forth thorns and thistles?
It is rejected. It is near a curse. It will be burned in the end.
13. What are some of the things that "accompany salvation"?
Love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, and a pressing forward in the Spirit each day toward the fullness of the inheritance that is in Christ.
If these "things" are not accompanying our Christian experience, then salvation is not occurring. Faith apart from such works of righteousness is dead.
14. What was God remembering concerning the Hebrew Christians?
Their work and labor of love in serving the saints.
Evidently these Jewish saints were hospitable toward the traveling ministries, and were doing all that they could to assist Christians who were in need.
15. How can we make ourselves sure of our hope of salvation?
By being diligent in the work of the Kingdom of God, by following and imitating the believers who through faith and patience are becoming heirs of the promises of God that are in Christ.
Notice that our hope must be made sure. We inherit the rest of God, the land of promise, only as we respond to God’s salvation with faith and patience. Salvation is not an arbitrary Divine action; rather, it is an opportunity to regain what was lost in Eden. God has given Jesus to us to help us drive Satan from our inheritance. Jesus helps us and guides us in every detail. But we must obey Him at each moment or the process ceases.
Prayer is not merely asking God to give us what we desire. Prayer is the way in which we enter the program of redemption, seeking the Lord’s will, and receiving strength and guidance so His will may be done in our life.
16. By whom did God swear, when He made His promise to Abraham concerning Abraham’s descendants?
By Himself because there is no one greater to swear by.
17. What trait of character was Abraham required to exercise in order to inherit the promises that God had made to him?
18. Why did God confirm His promise with an oath?
So the heirs of the promise would be convinced of the unchanging nature of God’s intention.
19. What two "immutable" (unchangeable) things give us strong "consolation" (encouragement)?
God’s promise plus the oath that confirms the promise.
20. What is the "hope " of the Christian pilgrim?
That his soul will be saved (Hebrews 10:39) and that he will inherit the fullness of the blessing promised to the descendants of Abraham.
21. Where is our soul anchored?
In the Most Holy place behind the veil, being fastened there by our hope.
22. Who made a place for us behind the holy veil?
The Lord Jesus, our eternal High Priest of the order of Melchizedek.
1. Read Genesis 14:18-20, Psalms 110:4.
And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: and blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all (Genesis 14:18-20).
The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek (Psalms 110:4).
2. What does Melchizedek represent?
Melchizedek represents righteousness and peace, reminding us of the Kingdom of God, which is righteousness, peace, and joy in the holy Spirit.
3. In what particular way is Melchizedek "like the Son of God"?
He has "neither beginning of days, nor end of life."
4. In what three ways is Melchizedek shown to be greater than Abraham?
He received tithes from Abraham. He blessed Abraham. He is eternal.
5. In what way does the writer of Hebrews show that Christ and His salvation are greater than the Law of Moses and the Levitical priesthood?
By the fact that Christ was made a priest after the order of Melchizedek, and Melchizedek is greater than Abraham. Therefore if Melchizedek is greater than Abraham, and Abraham was the ancestor of Levi, who was the ancestor of Aaron, then Christ and His salvation are greater than Aaron and the Levitical priesthood.
Levi, still in the body of Abraham, paid tithes to Melchizedek when Abraham paid tithes. Since Aaron, the High Priest, descended from Levi, then Aaron also paid tithes to Melchizedek, in a manner of speaking.
We understand, therefore, that the Levitical priesthood was imperfect. If it had been perfect, there would have no need to install a priest from another order—a superior order—the order of Melchizedek.
6. If there is a change in the priesthood, what also changes of necessity?
A change in the law associated with the priesthood.
7. What else is different about Jesus?
He came from the tribe of Judah rather than from the tribe of Levi. Never before had Israel been served by a priest from the tribe of Judah. Moses did not indicate that a member of Judah could serve in the Tabernacle of the Congregation.
8. What is the power of the priesthood of Christ?
The power of an endless, indestructible life.
9. Why have the Levitical priesthood and the Law of Moses been set aside by the Lord?
Because of their weakness and uselessness.
10. Why was it necessary that a better hope be brought in?
Because the Law was not able to make anything perfect.
11. By what special act of God was the salvation that is through Christ confirmed and guaranteed as a "better testament (covenant)"?
God swore an oath that Jesus is a priest forever, setting Jesus ahead of Aaron and the Levitical priesthood.
12. Why is Christ able to "save them to the uttermost (completely)" who approach God through Him?
Unlike the Levitical priests who are subject to death, Christ possesses eternal life and is able to keep interceding for them. His is a permanent priesthood.
13. In what ways is Christ especially suited to be our high priest?
He is holy, blameless, undefiled, separate from sinners, higher than the heavens.
14. Read verse twenty-eight in another translation for clarity. The idea here is that the Mosaic Law appointed frail men as priests, but God’s oath, coming after the Law, has perfected the Son of God as a priest who will continue forever.
For the law appoints weak men as high priests; but the word of the oath, which followed the law, has perfected a Son forever.
1. What has been stated thus far?
We have a suitable high priest who is at the right hand of God Almighty, who ministers in the true tabernacle that God pitched—the Tabernacle in Heaven.
2. What is true of every high priest?
He is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices.
3. What would be true of Jesus if he were living on earth as an ordinary man?
He would not be a priest since He was not descended from Levi.
4. What was the Tabernacle of the Congregation that Moses built?
A copy, a representation, a shadow of things in Heaven.
5. What is true of the priestly ministry of the Lord Jesus?
It is as superior to the Levitical priesthood as the new covenant is superior to the old covenant.
6. What is true of the Divine promises that are the foundation of the new covenant?
They are better than the promises of the old covenant.
7. Why did God make a new covenant?
Because the first covenant did not accomplish God’s objective, which is to enable man to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8).
8. Where did the problem lie, with the first covenant?
With the people. God found fault with the people, not with His Law.
9. With whom does God make the new covenant?
With the house of Israel and the house of Judah.
10. If the new covenant, which is the Christian covenant, is made with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, how can we Gentiles become Christians?
By becoming part of Israel and Judah through the blood of the cross (see Ephesians 2:11-15).
It is of the greatest importance that both Jews and Gentiles come to understand that Christianity is first, a Jewish salvation; and after that a Gentile salvation. The Gentiles are invited to the Jewish feast as guests.
The harm that has been done to the Kingdom of God by the Gentile usurpation of the Jewish salvation could hardly be overestimated. The excuse that "the Jews murdered Jesus" is no basis for robbing the Jews of their salvation. In fact, it was not the Jews but Satan in the Jewish leaders who crucified Jesus. The same Satan works in the Gentile leaders when they persecute the Jews.
Christianity is the "children’s bread." The new covenant can never be made with a Gentile, only with Israel and Judah.
11. Why did God turn away from the Jews?
Because they did not remain faithful to the covenant.
12. Name some of the points of the new covenant.
God will put His laws into our minds.
God will write His laws on our hearts.
God will be our God and we will be His people.
Every one of us will know the Lord.
God will be merciful to us and remember our sins no longer.
When we compare the modern understanding of the Christian salvation with the five aspects listed above we wonder if the preachers and teachers have read the Scriptures.
In our day, the concept of the Christian salvation is that Christ came to forgive our sins so when we die we will go to Heaven.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" has been changed into: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not go to Hell when he dies but should go to Heaven to live forever in a golden mansion."
Our evangelistic efforts are directed toward encouraging people to accept the forgiveness of their sins so they may escape Hell and make Heaven their eternal home. Added to this misunderstanding is the idea that the Gospel is directed primarily toward Gentiles. We see, therefore, how far from the Scriptures we have strayed.
The purpose of the new covenant, which is directed toward the house of Israel and the house of Judah, is not to move people from earth to Heaven or to provide for their death.
God’s goal is to have sons who are in His image, who are filled with His Presence, who bear the fruit of His image wherever they are, and who govern all of the works of His hands. In addition, God intends to have nations of saved people governed by His sons. Israel, God’s chosen, His Church, His Bride, is made up of God’s firstborn sons. By Israel we are referring to all who are part of Christ.
The first covenant did not produce the righteousness that God always seeks in His family. The new covenant has been made so that Israel will be the personification of God’s eternal moral law.
We notice that every covenant God makes with man has as its purpose to create people who do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. But in every instance Satan converts the covenant so there is some other goal, such as in the case of the Jews straining over whether they should throw a light switch, or the Catholics repeating the Lord’s prayer as a penance, or the Protestants abandoning all attempts at righteousness and trusting in their version of "grace" to bring them to Heaven.
Why is Satan so determined that God’s elect do not behave righteously? It is because Satan regards the world as his possession and he wants the people to think, speak, and act as he does. It is as simple as that.
In our day there is a new movement of God. It is called, "the word of righteousness." It is God commanding His elect to cease their doctrinal excuses, to repent, and to begin to keep Christ’s commandments.
The only people who truly love Christ are those who keep His commandments. The only people who will stand in His sight are those who keep His commandments.
The fact that under the new covenant God is merciful to us and remembers our sins no more does not mean that forgiveness is the primary aspect of the new covenant. Rather, forgiveness is a means God uses to make possible the operation of the covenant, which is to write the eternal moral law in the heart and mind of each of His elect.
In no case is the new covenant made with a Gentile except as the Gentile becomes part of Israel through marriage to Christ. In no case is the purpose of the new covenant to make possible our eternal residence in Heaven. In no case is the purpose of the new covenant to prevent our residence in Hell, except as the covenant changes our behavior from that which is sinful to that which is righteous and holy.
Unrighteous people are of Hell and belong in Hell. Righteous people are of God and belong with God. It is not the purpose of the new covenant to alter this eternal truth.
13. What has happened to the old covenant of Moses?
It has been made obsolete and is soon to disappear.
1. What did the first covenant possess?
Regulations of Divine worship and an earthly holy place.
2. What furniture was placed in the first, outer room (Holy Place) of the Tabernacle of the Congregation?
The Table of Showbread and the golden Lampstand.
3. What furnishings were placed behind the veil, in the Most Holy Place?
The golden censer, and the Ark of the Covenant with the covering Mercy Seat.
We have not found agreement among Bible scholars as to why the writer of Hebrews places a golden censer behind the veil in the Holy of Holies. The Old Testament Scriptures, as well as every student of the Tabernacle of the Congregation we have studied, locates the Table of Showbread, the Lampstand, and the Altar of Incense in the Holy Place, and the Ark of the Covenant and its covering Mercy Seat in the Most Holy Place. We have not found an exception to this.
We know from the Law that the high priest had to prepare the coals and pour incense on the Altar of Incense twice each day. Yet, it is our understanding that the high priest entered behind the veil only once each year—on the Day of Atonement.
Hebrews 9:4 does not state that the Altar of Incense was behind the veil but rather a golden censer, that is, a pan holding coals on which the holy incense was poured in order to fill the Holy of Holies with perfume.
Yet, the writer of Hebrews does not mention that the Altar of Incense remained in the Holy Place—a peculiar omission, from the viewpoint of a student of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.
Perhaps it is true, as some have suggested, that the author of Hebrews was thinking only of the Day of Atonement. This is not unlikely because we know he is getting ready to tell us how the sacrifice of Christ is a superior atonement for our sins. On the Day of Atonement the high priest did bring a censer into the Holy of Holies and burn incense in the Presence of God (Leviticus 16:12). But the actual Altar of Incense assuredly remained in the Holy Place.
On the Day of Atonement the burning of incense was performed within the Holy of Holies while on the remaining days of the year the incense was burned outside the veil, in the Holy Place.
During the Day of Atonement the Holy Place was brought into the Most Holy Place, so to speak, and became one with the Most Holy Place. Perhaps this is why the writer of Hebrews locates the burning of incense in the Holy of Holies rather than in the Holy Place, the customary area for the burning of incense throughout the year. He was thinking only of the Day of Atonement and how the atonement made by Christ is superior to the atonement that was made through the blood of animals.
In any case, the Altar of Incense stood before the veil and was closely associated with the Most Holy Place, although it resided in the Holy Place—the first part of the Tabernacle building.
As we move past Pentecost, past the Lampstand, we come to the Altar of Incense. The Altar of Incense signifies death to our self-life as we fall down in worship and surrender our total personality to the Lord.
The true Church of the Lord Jesus, presently found in many different denominations, is to come today to the Altar of Incense. When the Lord "slays" the sin, worldliness, and self-will of His Bride, making her totally dependent on Himself, the holy veil will open and the Presence of God, the Day of the Lord, will come to the earth.
Some scholarship holds that because the Ark of the Covenant and the covering Mercy Seat were removed from the Tabernacle by the sinful sons of Eli, the priesthood that ministered after that time moved the Altar of Incense from the Holy Place to the Most Holy Place so the Most Holy Place would not be empty during the celebration of the Day of Atonement.
4. What articles were contained in the Ark of the Covenant?
The golden pot of manna, Aaron’s rod that sprouted, and the tables of the Covenant—the Ten Commandments.
The golden pot of manna symbolizes the body and blood of Christ that we eat and drink as we draw strength and wisdom each day from the Lord. Aaron’s rod that sprouted portrays the eternal resurrection life by which Christ is our high priest and in which we are to live. The two tables of stone, the Ten Commandments, speak of the eternal moral law of God that is being engraved in our mind and in our heart.
The manna represents the fact that the victorious saint has learned to live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
Aaron’s rod that sprouted is found in every conquering saint. It speaks of the eternal life working in the priesthood that has been chosen of God. There are many imitators in our day, many would-be religious leaders, many rebels against the true royal priesthood. But in the hour of testing the Life of God will come forth in the priesthood He has chosen and the pretenders will be swept away.
The tables of stone also must be wrought in the personality of the conqueror. God judges and makes war in righteousness, and only in righteousness. Until the eternal moral law of God has been formed in us we cannot serve God as we should in the struggle between good and evil. The morality must be carved in stone in us so that it never changes, even though our application of it to others is softened by the "flesh" of compassion and understanding.
5. What overshadowed the Mercy Seat, forming a lid on the Ark of the covenant?
The Cherubim of Glory.
6. Where did the priests of Israel perform the Divine worship continually?
In the "first tabernacle," that is, in the Holy Place, the first room, of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.
7. Where did the high priest enter once each year?
Into the Most Holy Place—the Holy of Holies, the second and last room of the Tabernacle.
The phrase "the errors of the people" may be translated, "the sins of ignorance of the people." The Day of Atonement, as well as the sin and trespass offerings of the people of Israel, provided a Divine covering and satisfaction for sins committed in ignorance—sins that people committed unintentionally.
There was no provision under the old covenant, nor is there under the new covenant, for deliberate, intentional, willful, presumptuous sinning.
8. What did the High Priest always bring with him into the Most Holy Place?
9. What does the fact that the veil could be opened only once each year tell us?
That the way into the holiest of all, into God’s Presence, was not revealed or available while the Tabernacle of the Congregation was still in operation; while the Levitical priesthood still was the authorized agent of God’s blessing and God’s curse.
10. What aspect of the personality of the Jewish worshiper could not be made perfect by the gifts and sacrifices offered under the Law of Moses?
11. Of what did the Levitical ordinances and ceremonies consist?
Food, drink, various washings, and other regulations for the physical body.
12. How long were these Levitical ordinances to be maintained?
Until the time of reformation, of setting things right.
They were to remain in force until Christ came, the High Priest of the good things God has promised.
Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator (Galatians 3:19).
13. Into what tabernacle did Christ, as high priest, enter?
Into the Tabernacle in Heaven, the tabernacle that is not part of the present physical creation.
14. What blood did Christ bring?
15. Into what area of the Tabernacle in Heaven did Christ enter?
The Most Holy Place, that is, behind the veil.
16. What kind of redemption did Christ obtain for us?
17. What did the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer, accomplish?
They made the outward personality of the worshiper holy.
18. How did Christ offer Himself?
As the unblemished Passover Lamb before God, through the eternal Spirit of God.
19. What does the blood of Christ purge purify?
Our conscience from dead works.
The "dead works" spoken of here refer to the Levitical ordinances and regulations, including the blood sacrifices and the regulations concerning food, drink, various washings, and the other directives concerning bodily behavior.
It appears that the contrast is between the Levitical ordinances and the "living" God. However, there also may be the idea of works of sin being purged from our conscience. Putting the two together, we have the thought of the sin in us leading to spiritual death because of the defilement of our conscience due to our inability to observe all the commandments of the Law.
Our conscience having been relieved of the burden of guilt, we now are free in our mind to serve God apart from the ordinances of the Law.
20. Of what is Christ the mediator?
A new covenant.
21. What will those who are called to the new covenant receive if they hold fast their confidence in Christ?
An eternal inheritance (as distinct from the temporary nature of the old covenant).
22. From what did Christ die to ransom us?
The sins committed under the terms of the old covenant.
23. What must be proven before a will takes effect?
That the person who made the will has died.
A will is not in force until the testator dies.
24. What was necessary in order for the old covenant to be in force?
The shedding of blood.
25. What did Moses do after announcing to the people the various points of the Law?
He sprinkled the scroll and all the people with blood and water, proclaiming to them that this was the blood of the covenant God was commanding them to observe.
26. What else did Moses sprinkle with blood?
Every vessel used in the priestly ministry associated with the Tabernacle of the Congregation.
27. What was necessary in every part of the Law of Moses?
The sprinkling and purifying accomplished by the blood of animals.
28. What cannot take place without the shedding of blood?
The forgiveness of sins.
29. The copies of things in the heavens were purified by animal blood. What was used to purify the heavenly things themselves?
The blood of Christ.
30. In what tabernacle is Christ the high priest?
The Tabernacle in Heaven.
31. Where does Christ appear on our behalf?
Before the Presence, the Face, of God Almighty.
32. How many times is Christ to be offered on the cross?
If the offering of Christ were not perfect He would have had to suffer and die on many occasion since the creation of the world. Now Christ has come as a sin-offering with the purpose of removing sin from the world—not just forgiving sin but removing it. The blood of bulls and goats was not able to remove sin, only to appease the wrath of God until the next offering was made.
Notice, in verse twenty-six, the expression "the end of the world" literally, the consummation of the ages. If the Apostles two thousand years ago spoke of the end of the world, the consummation of the ages, the hour in which we are living now surely must be the end of the end.
33. What comes to every person after he or she dies?
34. Read verse twenty-eight in another translation for clarity.
Christ was offered once to take away the sins of many people, and to those who eagerly await His coming He will appear a second time, not as a sin offering but to bring salvation.
When the Lord comes the second time He will bring with him the redemption of our bodies. This is the promised salvation, the restoration of all that was forfeited in Eden.
The redemption of our body will mark the removal of all unrighteousness from our personality. All unrighteousness, unholiness, and disobedience will be gone. For eternity we shall be able to serve the Father in absolute purity of personality and behavior. We shall be filled with eternal life. We shall be crowned with eternal life, the Life of God, so we will be able to enforce the laws of the Kingdom of God wherever we are. This is the eternal inheritance of the sons of God, of the royal priesthood.
Salvation is deliverance from sin. Total deliverance from sin will be brought to those who are looking for Christ to come. When we compare this thought with the writings of Paul, especially in the sixth and eighth chapters of the Book of Romans, we understand that we are not just to wait for release from sin to come at the appearing of the Lord. There are some actions we must take now if we are to be eligible for such release when the Lord returns.
We are to work out our own salvation, our own deliverance from sin, in the present hour. We do this by living as a disciple; particularly by confessing our sins and renouncing them vigorously. After that we are to resist the devil. It is a daily warfare against the evil that seeks to destroy our new eternal life, our new born-again nature.
If we do not live as a disciple, do not present our body a living sacrifice, do not take up our cross and follow Jesus, do not obey the commandments of Christ and His Apostles found in the New Testament, do not confess and renounce our sins, do not continue in the daily warfare against Satan, then we will not be prepared for the final act of redemption. We have slain our salvation through neglect. This is what the Book of Hebrews is emphasizing.
Let no believer be deceived concerning the need for genuine discipleship. This is the true God and eternal life. It is those who keep His commandments who love Christ and are of Christ. There are many false apostles in the world of today who teach otherwise, and they are heading toward destruction along with their followers.
The trumpet is sounding in Zion today. Can you hear it?
1. What is the Law of Moses?
A shadow of the eternal salvation that God has provided in Christ.
The Jewish Law was a shadow of the salvation which is in Christ. We now possess in Christ the substance of what was given as a shadow under Moses.
2. What is it that the Law of Moses cannot do?
It cannot, by the continual animal sacrifices, make perfect the people who are trying to draw near to God through the sacrifices.
The sin and trespass offerings, the ashes of the red heifer, the bull and goats on the Day of Atonement, can never make perfect those who are attempting to satisfy and please God by these means.
To be perfect, in the sense emphasized here, is to be able to live without displeasing God—to be free from all sin and rebellion against God.
The inference is that the blood of Christ can make us perfect.
The need for blood to wash away our sins shows us that God is different from us. If we were God we would not require the shedding of blood in order to be satisfied. The blood of bulls and goats flowed by the thousands of gallons each year in order to satisfy God’s justice. We can understand from this that God is not altogether like us, although Christ lived as a man among us.
3. How do we know that the worshipers were not made perfect?
By the fact that the offerings were made over and over again. This was true even of the great Day of Atonement.
If the blood of bulls and goats had the authority and power to remove sin it would not have been necessary for keep offering the animals. The worshiper no longer would have had any guilt concerning sin because the sin would have been gone.
The blood of animals was offered year after year, demonstrating that the blood of animals do not possess the power to remove sin from us.
4. What is it that the blood of bulls and goats can never do?
It can never take away sins.
It is impossible for the blood of animals to remove our sins from us. Only the blood of Christ possesses the authority and power to forgive our sins, to remove our tendencies toward sin, and to repair in our lives all of the damage done by our sinning. We can overcome sin and the devil through the blood of the Lamb.
Furthermore, as we drink the blood of Christ we receive into ourselves the life of Christ so we can live victoriously moment by moment by His Divine life that is within us.
The blood of bulls and goats made an atonement for sin, in the sense of obtaining Divine forgiveness. The difference in the atonement made by Christ is that the sin is not only forgiven but removed. As we follow the Lord in the program of redemption, the sin and self-will are destroyed from our personality. The final, complete removal will take place at Christ’s coming provided we have laid the groundwork today.
5. What did Christ bring in place of burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin?
A physical body.
When Christ planned to come into the world He stated (through David) that God no longer desires sacrifice and offering.
Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart (Psalms 40:6-8)
Mary gave birth to the body that Christ was to offer before God as a sacrifice for sin. We Christians must offer our body before God as an offering of consecration, which is our reasonable Divine service.
God was not taking pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin. The people were offering the animals but their hearts were not in it. It was a task that wearied them. Their sacrifice was not an opportunity to joyfully draw near to God.
Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the Lord of hosts; and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? saith the Lord (Malachi 1:13).
But Christ came to do the will of God.
6. What is the significance of the prophecy, "Lo, I come to do thy will, O God"?
The will of God was not being accomplished under the old covenant. Now Christ is setting aside the old covenant and establishing the second so that God’s will may be performed.
7. What has God’s will accomplished?
The will of God has sanctified us (set us apart as holy to the Lord) by the offering of the body of Christ once for all time.
It is God’s will that the house of Israel and the house of Judah be set apart as holy to the Lord; that God’s elect be in the moral image of Christ, eternally pursuing righteousness of behavior, holiness of thought and deed, and stern obedience to the Father.
8. Why did the priests of Israel have to keep performing their religious duties, offering the same sacrifices for sin?
Because the sacrifices were not able to take away sins; therefore, the people were not able to approach God themselves.
9. Where did Jesus go after he had offered His body a perfect sacrifice for sin, and then had received it back again?
To His appointed seat at the right hand of God.
10. For what has Jesus been waiting, from that day until the present hour?
For His enemies to be made a footstool for His feet.
11. What has Christ accomplished by the offering of His body on the cross of Calvary?
He has perfected for all time the saints—those who are being set apart as holy to God. Because He has perfected them for all time, Christ is now waiting in the Presence of God for His (and their) enemies to be made His footstool. The judgment on Satan was finished on the cross. Sin has been done away. The next Divine act will be to remove the presence of sin from the creation.
Does verse 14 mean that it does not matter what we do because we are forgiven anyway?
No. This would be contrary to the writings of the Apostles in the New Testament.
Does verse 14 mean that we no longer are capable of sinning?
No. This would be contrary to the writings of the Apostles in the New Testament as well as to our own experience. All of us come short of the Glory of God in many instances.
Verse 14 of Chapter Ten of Hebrews means that if we continue to press forward in the will of God, availing ourselves of the Word of God, of the body and blood of Christ, and of the power of the Holy Spirit, then the blood of Christ keeps on making a way for us to come boldly before the Presence of the Father so we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 10:14 is explained in I John 1:7-9:
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin (I John 1:7).
If we walk in the light of God’s will for us each day, as the Father dwells in light and is that Light, we have fellowship with the Father, and the blood of Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (I John 1:8).
If a Christian believer should claim he has no sin he is deceiving himself. He is walking in deception. The truth is not in him.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9).
As long as we do God’s will the blood of Christ keeps on cleansing us. As long as we keep repenting and keep walking in Christ, the blood continues to cleanse us from every sin.
The moment the Holy Spirit points out to us a sin in our deeds, our speech, or our thoughts, we are to confess that sin specifically and clearly to God. We are to repent of it and turn away from it with all our determination, asking the Lord to give us strength to overcome it.
The moment we repent and confess the sin, God the Father exercises His faithfulness and His righteousness in forgiving the sin and cleansing us from all unrighteousness.
The Apostle John wrote to us that we should not sin. When we sin we have an Advocate with the Father, the righteous Christ. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Hebrews 10:14 states that by one offering Christ has perfected forever those who are set apart as holy to the Lord.
As long as we lead a separated life to the Lord, the blood of Christ presents us in righteousness before the Throne of God in Heaven. Let us therefore march forward in the light of God’s will, confessing our sins to God when the Holy Spirit makes us aware of them. Let us repent of our sins, receive with thanksgiving the forgiveness and the cleansing, and pray for Divine grace and strength so that we do not commit the same sins again.
The guilt of sin is not to be an issue with us. Our conscience is to be perfect before God—entirely free from condemnation. Such perfect conscience, such perfect freedom from condemnation, is to be true from the moment we receive Christ and on throughout eternity. By one sacrifice, Jesus has perfected us forever.
The perfect guiltlessness is based on our continuing in the program of sanctification. The Holy Spirit works with us each day, helping us wash our robes so they remain spotless. The Lord Jesus, having accepted us in our sin, has made Himself responsible for our cleansing. The Lord Jesus rebukes and chastens us frequently so we will partake of His holiness.
If at any time we should withdraw from the Presence of the Lord, ceasing to abide in Him moment by moment, the entire program of redemption is placed in jeopardy. God begins to send judgment upon us for the purpose of saving us from the destruction that falls on the ungodly.
Christian theology has erred, in many instances, from an accurate portrayal of the program of redemption. In Christian theology, the program is changed from one of a daily interaction with the Holy Spirit in the process of cleansing and transformation into a static adherence to belief in the facts of redemption, as though a belief in the existence of redemption is equivalent to receiving the work of redemption.
It is as though one were to sit in Egypt and believe that one day he will awake to find himself in the land of milk and honey because God has promised to give Canaan to him. There is no wilderness sojourn. There is no battle to enter the land. Possession of the land occurs as a matter of "grace"—a sort of magic that occurs as we profess belief in what God has said.
Modern Christian teaching often presents mental assent to spiritual facts in place of a daily interaction with God. This is the error of contemporary Christian thinking. The believers is left with the idea that no matter how he behaves in the world he will rule in glory with Jesus when He appears. It is this "strange fire" that has destroyed the Christian testimony.
Today in the United States of America there is a cry for righteousness. The cry is coming even from the some of the leaders of government. But the churches that preach unconditional grace are cutting the ground from under those members of our government who would make an effort to restore moral values to our nation.
The Great Commission is to tell the nations to keep the commandments of Christ, not to assure them that if they "make a decision for Christ" they no longer have to keep Christ’s commandment but will certainly go to Heaven to live in a mansion when they die.
The contemporary Christian tendency toward a trust in "eternal security" masquerades as an acceptable Divine assurance of salvation. Indeed there is a true Divine assurance for the weary pilgrim who is anxious to please God.
But the modern equivalent of the scriptural comfort of Divine assurance is the belief that no matter how far we stray from the Lord, He will lift us up in the Day of Christ and we shall rule with Him. This is a false vision and it has destroyed the witness of the Christian churches.
It is time for a restoration of the true understanding of redemption. God’s holy remnant, His chosen, will understand this and embrace the true. The false, while it appeals to the deceived mind, will be discarded by God’s saints as the coming of the Lord draws near.
The true grace of God, the grace in which we stand and that one day will present us faultless before the throne of the Father in Heaven, guides and enables us as we change from the first man, Adam, to the new Man, Christ.
12. Who is it who also bore witness to us, speaking through the Prophets of Israel?
The Holy Spirit.
But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inner parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (Jeremiah 31:33,34)
13. Under the new covenant, where are the laws of God written?
In our heart and in our mind.
14. What will God do with our sins and lawless deeds?
He will remember them no more.
15. Why is there no longer any need for an offering for sin?
Because all the sins of the believer, past, present, and future, have been forgiven by the one offering of the body of Christ.
The purpose of the new covenant is that God’s people may live without sin. Notice the steps in making this possible:
The Lord Jesus gave His body on the cross as a perfect sin-offering.
The Holy Spirit puts God’s laws in our heart.
The Holy Spirit writes God’s laws on our mind.
God no longer remembers our sins and lawlessness.
Because God no longer will remember our sins and lawlessness there no longer is a need for a sin-offering.
To view the new covenant as only the forgiveness of our sins is to put the new covenant on a level with the old covenant. The difference in the covenants is that under the new covenant our sins are removed from us. This is made possible by the forming of Christ, who is the eternal law of God made flesh, in our personality. As Christ is formed in us we are able to overcome sin and lawlessness, the atoning blood meanwhile keeping us without condemnation while we are learning how to gain victory over every enemy, every force that would seek to prevent us from keeping God’s commandments.
The promises of God are to the overcomer, to him who, through the Presence of Christ, gains the upper hand over the world, the lusts of the flesh, and his own self-will and self-centeredness. He who thus overcomes through Christ shall inherit all the promises of God.
The promises are not directed toward those who, after having made a profession of faith in Christ, continue to live according to the adamic nature. The hope of continuing to live in the adamic nature, and then to inherit the promises of God, is the major delusion of our time. It is a misunderstanding of the new covenant and of what it means to live by faith.
16. Why do we have such confidence when entering God’s Presence in prayer?
Because of the work of forgiveness and reconciliation performed through the blood of Christ.
17. What veil hung before the Presence of God?
The flesh of Christ.
18. Since we have forgiveness of our sins through the blood of Christ, and since He is an eternal priest who is interceding on our behalf before the throne of the almighty God, what should we then do?
We should draw near to God:
With a sincere heart.
In full assurance of faith.
With the blood of Christ sprinkled on our heart, purging away a guilty conscience.
Having our body washed with pure water (perhaps referring to water baptism).
Holding fast the confession of our hope, remembering that He who made the promises is eternally faithful.
Considering how we may provoke one another to love and good works.
Assembling together and encouraging one another—and all the more as the coming of the Lord draws near.
19. What will be true if we keep sinning willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth?
No new sacrifice will be made to take care of our additional sinning.
Under both covenants, the sin-offering was (and is) for sins of ignorance—the sins that overtake people whose desire is to be pleasing to God but whose flesh is weak. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a soul shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments of the Lord concerning things which ought not to be done, and shall do against any of them: (Leviticus 4:2).
The Israelite who sinned willfully, presumptuously, was to be cut off from his people.
And the priest shall make an atonement for the soul that sinneth ignorantly, when he sinneth by ignorance before the Lord, to make an atonement for him; and it shall be forgiven him. Ye shall have one law for him that sinneth through ignorance, both for him that is born among the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them. But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the Lord; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Because he hath despised the word of the Lord, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him (Numbers 15:27-31).
20. What is the person facing who presumes to live in sin after he hears the Gospel of Christ?
A certain terrifying expectation of judgment and furious fire that will devour those who, by despising His commandments, have made themselves the enemies of God.
21. Under the old covenant, what happened to any individual who despised the Law of Moses?
He or she died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
22. Will the punishment of the individual who despises the Gospel of Christ be more or less severe than in the case of the old covenant?
We must keep in mind that the warning concerning willful sin is not being directed primarily toward the individual who has never heard the Gospel or who is an unbeliever. The warning is to those Christians who had at one time been fervent disciples but who now were neglecting their salvation. This is thesis of the Book of Hebrews.
23. What is a human being doing when he or she receives Christ and then turns back into the world?
He is trampling under foot the Son of God.
He is esteeming the blood of the covenant, by which he was made holy, as being unclean.
He is insulting the Spirit of grace.
Those who have received Christ are required to press forward to the full possession of all that God has given under the new covenant.
The penalty for neglecting to keep on moving toward the land of promise is severe, dreadful punishment.
How different the concept of pressing forward is from the current people-pleasing "gospel" of our day!
24. To whom does vengeance belong?
25. Whom does the Lord judge?
26. What will it be like for a Christian to fall into the hands of God, after having received the Lord Jesus and then having trampled Him under foot?
It will be fearful! Terrifying! Dreadful!
27. What had happened previously to these Jewish saints to whom the warnings of the Book of Hebrews are addressed?
They, after having received Christ, had endured suffering by being made a public spectacle. They had suffered reproaches and afflictions. They had joined other believers who were being persecuted. They had shown sympathy toward those who were in prison. They had accepted joyfully the confiscation of their property.
28. Why were these Jewish believers able to accept cheerfully so much loss?
They knew in their hearts that they have a better and a lasting possession in Christ.
29. What were the Jewish Christians in danger of doing?
Throwing away their boldness and confidence in Christ.
It appears they were settling back into the ways of the world, not being careful to assemble with fervent believers. They had accepted the elementary principles of the new covenant but were not taking advantage of the growth in righteousness that now is available through the blood of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. They were as Israel in the wilderness: content to remain encamped, not pressing forward to the rest of God.
Although they had stood courageously during persecution they still were babies, not being able to distinguish between righteousness and lawlessness. Therefore the writer of Hebrews was not able to feed them with the meat of the Word of God.
30. What will be true if they demonstrate their confidence in the Lord by pressing into the rest of God?
They will be rewarded richly.
31. What aspect of character did the Hebrew Christians have need of?
We receive what God has promised after we have done His will. The concept of patient waiting holds true throughout our discipleship. God may promise us many things: healing, a better job, a specific ministry, a child. However, we do not know what lies between the present hour and the fulfillment of the promise. Our task is to keep on performing God’s will to the best of our ability, knowing that what God has stated He will do. God is faithful. The answer may not come for many years. But it shall come. God is faithful.
We make a mistake when we try to force the answer or when we try to imagine how the promise will be fulfilled. It is better to let God fulfill His Word in His time and in His way. God speaks in parables. Many times the fulfillment is different from what we had supposed.
32. How soon will the Lord Jesus appear?
From the first century we have been told that Jesus will come soon. Yet, two thousand years have passed. Two thousand years is but two days in God’s sight. It is true also that the Lord Jesus has kept on coming to the earth in the former and latter rain, that is to say, in various revivals and revelations of His purpose.
His final coming in the clouds of glory will represent the fullness of His coming, a fullness which will be the climax of a gathering crescendo of revelation.
It is ever the fate of worldly believers, the "Lots" who choose to live in the things of the world, to miss the present appearing of the Lord. While they look for Him afar off they miss what He is doing today, often referring to the current manifestation as being of the devil.
But the faithful, like Anna and Simeon, always are seeing the coming of the Lord that is taking place today. It is these faithful ones who will be prepared for Christ’s triumphant appearing to the world in the Day of the Lord. But the "Lots" will continue in their blindness, always having to be yanked from destruction by the prayers of their more faithful relatives.
33. How are the righteous to live?
By faith in the promises of God.
"The righteous shall live by faith" is an Old Testament expression repeated three times in the New Testament. The statement does not mean we are saved by assent to the facts of redemption. The statement means that the righteous live in humility before God at all times, trusting in Him for the conduct of their life rather than in their own wisdom and strength.
The righteous shall live by faith is referring to a way of living, not to belief in the statement of faith of a Christian organization nor to belief in the "finished work of Christ."
34. How might we define the word faith?
Confidence in the atonement and priestly office and work of Christ; daily obedience to the Lord resulting in growth in godly behavior; joyous expectation of the glorious inheritance to come.
35. What is God’s attitude toward the believer who shrinks back, that is, he or she does not continue to press forward in joyous faith?
God takes no pleasure in that individual.
36. What will happen to us if we, having started on the Christian pilgrimage, turn back toward Egypt, toward the world?
We shall be destroyed. In the day of resurrection there will be no spotless robe given to us. Instead, if we are saved, most of our personality will be burned away by the fire of judgment. There will be no fruit remaining, only a corrupt adamic personality, which cannot enter the Kingdom of God.
If we are finally saved into the Kingdom, saved by passing through the fire of judgment, it will be as a naked spirit.
37. What were some of the Jewish Christians doing?
They were neglecting their salvation by not pressing into spiritual maturity in Christ.
38. What will we accomplish if we keep living by faith in Christ?
We shall save our soul.
Notice from the above that the salvation of our soul is a program in which we must participate. It is a pressing forward against obstacles—obstacles that may cause us to turn back in the battle unless we have enough faith to keep on fighting.
Notice also, in the following chapter, that it always has been true that the righteous have lived by faith. When teaching us the meaning of the expression, "The righteous shall live by faith," the writer of the Book of Hebrews begins with Abel—the second person born on the earth.
As we have stated, "the just shall live by faith" is an Old Testament declaration (Habakkuk 2:4). It means that the righteous individual lives by trusting in the Lord for every one of his thoughts, words, and deeds. The unjust are those who trust in themselves. They are proud and think that they do not need the Lord. God is not in all their thoughts.
Today, perhaps because of a modern interpretation of the teaching of the Protestant Reformers, "the just shall live by faith" has come to mean we do not have to serve the Lord. The only obligation of the Christian is to give assent to the facts of theology. To attempt to live righteously is "works," and works of righteousness and godliness must not be allowed to contaminate the pure faith by which, supposedly, we are saved.
This is not what the declaration means. The righteous shall live by faith means just that—the righteous are to conduct their life on earth by total reliance on the wisdom, power, and love of God. They are not of the spirit of the present age, which teaches that man is a god and should trust in his "inner divinity" to enable him to achieve security, pleasure, fruitfulness, and every other aspect of personal fulfillment.
Observe carefully that in the definition of "faith," found in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews, assent to doctrine is not mentioned. Rather, the faith portrayed here is the faith of works—works that proceed from obedience to the revealed will of God.
1. What is faith?
The substance (assurance) of things hoped for, the evidence (conviction) of things not seen as yet.
2. What did the godly men of old gain by faith?
A good report—approval of God and men.
3. How can we grasp the fact that the visible things of the universe were framed (prepared) by the invisible Word of God?
4. Why was Abel’s sacrifice better than that of Cain?
Because Abel’s sacrifice was offered in an attitude of faith.
5. Because of Abel’s faith, what kind of man did God consider Abel to be?
A righteous man.
Notice in verse four that the righteousness-producing faith of Abel speaks to people today. Every human being who has borne a true witness of the Lord has done so through faith. The Lord’s witnesses bear an eternal testimony. Abel, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Elijah, Elisha, are still guiding righteous people today. The testimony of a faith-filled righteous individual has eternal power to turn people toward the God of Heaven.
6. What quality of Enoch’s personality caused him to be translated from the earth into the Presence of God?
Enoch "walked with God."
And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him (Genesis 5:24).
We believe that walking with God in those days was the same as walking with God today. Hebrews 11:5 is not saying that Enoch exercised faith for translation and therefore God took him. Rather it was true that Enoch’s persistent walk with God pleased God to the extent that God removed him from the earth.
To walk with God is to be aware of God’s Presence all day long; to look to God for every decision; to seek God’s help with every problem. God is to be in all our thoughts, and we are to pray without ceasing.
We do not begin our discipleship with this kind of spiritual strength. But if we have a heart for God, after a number of years have passed we discover that we are able to be filled with thoughts of God all day long. We walk with God.
True faith brings us to a perfect walk with God. False faith is an attempt to wring something from God by making ourselves believe one thing or another. We hope to use God as a source of magical power.
God is more skillful in playing games than we are. If we seek to use God, to manipulate God for our own ends, we will discover that we have become as barren and dry as any desert.
People today are attempting to use God for their own purposes. They hope to discover spiritual formulas that will enable them to live a better life. Men have become lovers of themselves.
The true saints see through the contemporary error. They choose instead to put their hand in the hand of God as a loving child. They learn to trust their Father. As they walk with Him their faith in His goodness pleases Him. These are the heirs of the Kingdom that God has promised to those who love Him.
7. How did people of the Old Testament please God?
By faith. There is no other way of pleasing God.
8. What two facts must the individual believe who wishes to approach God?
God exists. God rewards the person who seeks Him.
On many occasions, God defers the hopes of the righteous and insists that they remain in prisons that are unpleasant. The righteous keep on believing that God exists and that He will reward them for their patience in His schools and His prisons. Faith holds fast to the truth that God knows what is happening to us and is bringing us toward joy.
We see, therefore, that our faith is our statement concerning God’s character—whether God is good and faithful or whether God has evil intentions toward us. This was the issue Satan raised in the beginning.
Satan understands well that God exists but Satan does not have faith that God will reward those who earnestly seek Him. Satan doubts the goodness and faithfulness of God’s character and attempts to deceive us into having the same attitude.
9. God viewed Noah as a righteous man. Because of Noah’s righteousness the Lord warned him of the flood to come. What emotion caused Noah to prepare an ark when there was no visible evidence that a flood was coming?
Fear—a fear resulting from his faith that God would do exactly what He had said He would do.
God has warned His churches of today concerning the results of living according to the lusts of the flesh. The believers demonstrate their unbelief by insisting that these warnings are to be ignored, believing that somehow the Word of God will not be fulfilled in their lives. They do not understand what it means to live by faith.
10. What three things were accomplished as the result of Noah’s obedience in building the Ark?
Noah saved his household.
He condemned the world.
He became an heir of the kind of righteousness that can be produced only by faith toward God.
In this instance, faith in God’s Word concerning the future caused Noah, who was understandably anxious about the welfare of his household, to build an ark. It is likely that by doing so Noah subjected himself to the derision of his violent neighbors.
Noah’s fear was the anxiety of a person who has been notified that a calamity is near at hand. Such an individual will not stand idly by. He immediately will take steps to insure the safety of his loved ones and himself.
The person who does not believe the warning that has been given him will not fear. If he believes, and then takes no action, he is a foolish sluggard who will bring himself and his loved ones to ruin.
Noah was moved with the fear of a man who sees trouble coming and moves to avert it. Such action requires courage if the surrounding people do not understand that danger is at hand.
Noah’s love for God, his belief in what God told him was coming, and his actions in providing the kind of safety for himself and his family that God outlined as being necessary, provide us with a scriptural definition of the kind of faith that will save us.
Every witness of God who has ever lived or ever will live causes one of two things to happen to each individual who sees and hears his witness: the individual is saved from the wrath of God or the individual is condemned. The true, Spirit-filled testimony always will save the righteous and obedient and always will stand against the unrighteous and disobedient as Divine judgment upon them.
The true righteousness that God accepts has never been produced by works. From the days of Abel, righteousness has come by faith. By faith is meant the quality in an individual that causes him to spend the days of his life in humble reliance on God’s will and His provisions rather than in proud self-seeking and reliance on human strength and wisdom.
11. What aspects of faith did Abraham demonstrate when he left Ur of the Chaldees and began his journey, not knowing where he was going?
Obedience, trust in God’s goodness and faithfulness, courage.
Abraham was directed by the Lord to leave Ur of the Chaldees and to go to the land of Canaan—the land his seed would afterward receive for an inheritance. Abraham did not know where he was going, but God did. It was to a good place that God was guiding him.
So it is with us. We are called to leave the world and to go with God to a situation we do not understand. Let us have faith that it is a good place, a good thing that God is doing to us and for us. It is an area that we afterward shall receive for an inheritance.
12. In what attitude did Abraham conduct his life in Canaan?
Abraham lived like a stranger in a foreign country.
Although Abraham was extremely wealthy he chose to live in tents, just as was true of his fellow-heirs, Isaac and Jacob.
Each Christian disciple is to live in this present world as an alien in a foreign country. If he does, not attempting to become rich in the things of the world, he will inherit the earth at the coming of the Lord. The farthest reaches of the earth and the nations thereof are the inheritance of Christ and His coheirs.
Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen [nations] for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession (Psalms 2:8).
Jesus set the example for all of His brothers by living on the earth as an alien, not being part of the present world system. Now He is Lord of all. We also will be coheirs with Him if we suffer with Him.
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together (Romans 8:17).
13. What was Abraham looking for?
The city that has foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God Almighty.
There is only one city in the creation that has an eternal foundation and whose Architect and Builder is God. That city is the holy city, the new Jerusalem. The foundation of the new Jerusalem is Christ, the Rock.
God has designed His city and God is building it. All other cities have been designed by men and are founded on the earth, which in turn is founded on the seas and rivers (Psalms 24).
How did Abraham know about the new Jerusalem?
Abraham was a prophet. God must have showed him the city in vision.
14. Abraham and Sarah were elderly. How were they able to conceive Isaac?
They had faith in the truth and power of the Lord’s promise.
15. To what extent has God fulfilled His promise to Abraham and Sarah?
Beyond the most fantastic dreams that could be dreamed by men and women.
16. What does verse 13 teach us about faith?
That we often must wait a long while before we receive the fullness of what God has promised to us.
True faith embraces the promise of God and then waits patiently for the fulfillment.
17. Why is it true that the man or woman of faith is not at home in the present world?
The saint’s life, speech, and thinking point toward a more godly age to come. The vision of the Kingdom of God, while it has a direct and bearing on all that we do and say now, is a vision of the future.
The saint demonstrates that he is not at home in the world, that he is looking for and waiting for a country in which he belongs.
The person of faith is a seeker after God at all times and in all matters. The individual who is not living by faith is at home in the present world and finds his security, pleasure, and achievement in the things and relationships of the present world.
Faith concerns the pursuit of God.
18. What will happen to the individual who receives Christ but who keeps on looking back toward the things of the world from which he came?
He or she will have the opportunity to return to the world.
19. What can we do to make sure that God is not ashamed to be called our God?
We can keep desiring and looking for a world that is better than the one in which we are living—a heavenly world.
20. What has God prepared for the people who are desiring and looking for a heavenly world?
21. What kind of faith offered up Isaac?
The faith of absolute obedience, trust, and hope.
Notice that the faith of Hebrews, Chapter 11 is not the faith of adherence to the statement of faith of a Christian organization. The term faith often is used to indicate a set of beliefs: the Christian faith; the Hindu faith; the Muslim faith; the Southern Baptist statement of faith.
Christian statements of faith may have items such as the following: "I believe in the virgin birth; I believe in the resurrection of the dead." Great emphasis is placed on adherence to such items of belief. However, these beliefs are not the faith that saves us.
The faith that saves us is described in Hebrews, Chapter 11. It is the faith of absolute obedience, trust, and hope.
22. Of what is the offering of Isaac a type?
Of the complete consecration of the saint to the Lord.
The saint must die to the love of the world, the love of sin, and the love of self. It is the third death, the death of self-love, self-will, self-centeredness, that is the most difficult to endure.
The offering of Isaac represents the third death, the death of the self. The soul of Abraham, all of his hopes and dreams, was rooted in Isaac. To sacrifice Isaac was to place himself on the altar of God.
The overcomer must die to the world, to sin, and to self. God often uses suffering and various forms of imprisonment to slay our self-will and self-centeredness. The third death is exceedingly painful but it is the only route to the fullness of fruitfulness and dominion.
By putting Isaac to death (which he did in his heart), Abraham was giving up the earthly hope of realizing the promise of God. So it is true that we must always be ready to give back to God that which God has promised us. To cling to the promise of God is to prevent its fulfillment.
We must place our hope of joy beyond the grave. It is God’s choice whether or not He wishes to give us our desires in the present world. Our treasures must be established solidly in Heaven or we will fail in our pursuit of God. True Christianity is a hope for future joy.
23. What did Abraham believe that God would do in order to keep His promise concerning Isaac?
Raise Isaac from the dead.
24. What kind of faith did Isaac use in blessing Jacob and Esau?
The faith that springs from the prophetic vision.
25. What kind of faith did Jacob employ when he blessed Joseph’s sons?
The faith that springs from the prophetic vision.
26. What kind of faith did Joseph exercise when he gave instructions concerning his bones?
Faith that the destiny of Israel would far exceed in glory anything that the land of Egypt would ever experience.
27. What kind of faith did the parents of Moses demonstrate?
The courage to behave in a godly way, even at the risk of their lives.
They could see that Moses was a beautiful child and they were not willing to obey a law that would destroy this gift from God.
Courage is an important part of faith.
28. What kind of faith did Moses show when he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter?
Faith that rejects the sinful pleasures of the world, choosing instead to suffer afflictions and hardships along with all of God’s true people.
29. What was Moses deciding when he made his choice?
It is better to be in disgrace for Christ’s sake than to have all the treasures of the world. The reward that will be given in the future to those who seek and serve the Lord God while they yet are living in the world far outweighs in value anything the present world has to offer.
How Moses knew about Christ we do not understand, just as we do not understand how Abraham knew about the city that has foundations. Paul stated that Christ followed Israel through the wilderness.
And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. (I Corinthians 10:4)
It is our point of view that Yahweh of the children of Israel, the "I am," was Christ. The Lord Jesus was the Lord of the Old Testament just as much as He is Lord of the New Testament.
30. What does verse 27 teach us about faith?
That we receive the guidance, courage, and strength to keep acting in faith when we fix our eyes steadfastly on the invisible Jesus.
Moses had gotten into trouble by attempting to assist a fellow Israelite. So it is true that the righteous pass from one trouble to another as they look for justice in this life. But, as was true of Moses, the incidents in the life of the righteous lead at last to the land of promise.
Notice once again that doctrinal faith is not the faith of the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, the faith by which the righteous live. Moses "forsook Egypt" by faith. Faith is revealed in action that proceeds from obedience to God.
31. What does verse 28 teach us about faith?
That we must act in obedience to what God tells us to do.
Sprinkling animal blood on the doorway of one’s house does not make sense in the physical world. But God commanded it to be done, and the result was protection in the day of calamity.
God commands us to do many things that do not make sense in the physical world. Water baptism is one example. Yet such obedience to God will bring us salvation in the Day of Wrath.
32. What does verse 29 teach about faith?
Faith delivers us from the power of the enemy when we do what God tells us to do.
Stepping into the waters of the Red Sea required courage, especially for the mothers with babies and for the Israelites who could not swim. But the dreadful obstacle parted before them.
Many times the Christian is faced with dreadful problems. As he goes forward in faith, obeying the Lord to the best of his knowledge, the waters will part before him. This is the normal Christian experience of living.
33. What role did faith play in the toppling of the walls of Jericho?
Faith gave rise to an obedience that did exactly what God commanded, even though the command appeared impractical, with the result that the miraculous took place and the enemy was overcome.
34. What type of faith did Rahab demonstrate?
The response in the heart of an individual who hears about the workings of God and reasons that such a God is the only Power that can provide deliverance and security.
35. What was true of the faith of many of the saints and prophets?
Gideon obeyed the angel of the Lord, although he did not have much faith in his own abilities. Because of his obedience, a victory was won. Gideon’s faith was that of obedience to the Lord and reliance on the Lord.
Barak, at the word of the prophetess Deborah, obeyed the Word of the Lord, and a victory was won over Jabin’s army.
The experience of Samson teaches us that faith and separation from the world are interwoven.
The Lord granted to Jepthah to become head over the Gileadites and to overcome the Ammonites. The sacrifice of his only child, his daughter, in order to honor his foolish vow to the Lord, was a cross that Jepthah bore for the few remaining years of his life. The true man or woman of faith always bears the cross and everything in his or her life is touched by that cross. The personal cross of the believer is a very important aspect of the life of faith.
David, the Lord’s chosen and anointed, demonstrated that a person raised to the highest level of authority and honor can devote his days to the pursuit of the Lord’s Presence and will. David is an excellent example of the meaning of the Scripture, "the just shall live by his faith."
Living by faith means that our deeds, words, and thoughts always are submitted to God for His approval, guidance, and enablement. Living by faith is the opposite of living by pride and self-will.
Samuel, the child dedicated to the Lord by a previously barren mother, represents dependence on the Spirit of God—a vital part of the life lived by faith.
Samuel was the last prophet that Israel would tolerate as a political leader. The Jews wanted a king they could see, not a prophet giving them directions from an invisible God. In rejecting the leadership of the prophets, Israel was rejecting the leadership of God Himself. In rejecting Samuel, Israel was rejecting that which is brought forth by prayer and dependence on the Lord.
Each of the prophets portrays the life of faith. Jeremiah was at odds against his own nation. Jeremiah’s faith stood against the sin and the fleshly, soulish behavior of the princes of Israel. The king of Babylon slew the princes of Judah but saved Jeremiah alive.
The prophets of Israel were, to a great extent, rejected and persecuted. The man of faith, living a righteous life, may find that he is rejected and hated. Rejection and hatred from other people is one aspect of the life of faith, the true faith that brings us into the rest of God.
36. How has the faith that overcomes the world, the faith that brings us into our inheritance, into the rest of God, been demonstrated in the lives of people?
By conquering kingdoms, as did David.
By performing acts of righteousness, as Joseph fled from Potiphar’s wife.
By obtaining promises, as did Abraham and Sarah.
By shutting the mouths of lions, as was true of Daniel.
By quenching the power of fire, as did the three Hebrew men.
By providing escape from the edge of the sword, as was true of Queen Esther and Mordecai.
By acquiring strength out of weakness, as happened to Elijah who had food given to him by the angel. Sarah received strength to bear Isaac.
By becoming mighty in war, as in the case of Samson.
By success in driving out foreign armies, as occurred with Gideon.
By women having their dead brought back to life, as in the incident concerning Elisha and the Shunammite woman.
By choosing the Lord’s way even though it meant enduring torture, because of their hope of obtaining a better resurrection. The saints of all ages have hoped for a better resurrection.
By enduring mocking, scourging, chains, imprisonment, stoning, being sawn in two, temptation, death by the sword, as happens to those who declare a true witness of God.
By the Lord’s elect wandering about in sheepskins, in goatskins, destitute, oppressed, treated in a cruel manner, seeking refuge in deserts, mountains, caves, and holes in the ground, which is the expected experience of those who represent God in the present evil world.
We can understand from the above statements that the true life of faith often means danger, trouble, and pain in the world. Faith in God, the faith that overcomes the world, enables us to choose the Lord’s will and way no matter what may be the consequences to ourselves, and to enter victoriously into the Presence of Christ.
37. What did the saints obtain by their faithfulness during their fiery trials?
A good report; God’s approval.
The true saint puts himself on God’s side. He proclaims and performs God’s will. He is an adversary to all people, including himself.
The great error of our day is the assumption that God is on our side no matter what we do. God always is on His own side. He is with us only as we are fulfilling His desires. Salvation comes from God and is for God’s pleasure. We are blessed only as we receive and obey the salvation of the Lord.
We are made fit for God’s Kingdom, worthy of His Kingdom, by suffering. Suffering teaches us obedience, humility, faith, and patience. It is only after much suffering that we begin to be presentable before the Palace in Heaven.
The adamic race is a fallen, rebellious, lawless set of creatures made from mud. It is to be expected that we will experience much inconvenience as we seek to arise from the mud, from the midst of those who have accepted the mud as our normal, desirable environment, and find our place among the stars of God.
The true man or woman of God has one supreme desire: to be approved of God.
38. What have such warriors of faith not received as yet?
The promise, the city that has foundations, the rest of God, the inheritance, the land of promise.
39. Why have they not been given the promise?
Because God has envisioned something better for all of us. They cannot be made perfect apart from us.
One of the principal confusions in Christian thinking arises from a misunderstanding of the goal of the Divine redemption. The traditional goal of salvation is eternal residence in Heaven. Eternal residence in Heaven is not the scriptural goal of salvation.
The patriarchs died in faith, hoping one day to enter the city that has foundations. The city that has foundations is the new Jerusalem. In the present hour the new Jerusalem is being constructed in Heaven as the spirits of righteous people are being made perfect.
When a firstfruits of the Church, the new Jerusalem, has been perfected to the Lord’s standard, the Lord will return to the earth, bringing His firstfruits with Him. The Lord Jesus will be crowned King over all kings in the earthly city of Jerusalem. He and His princes will govern the earth during the Kingdom Age.
By the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age the entire Bride, the Church, the new Jerusalem, will have been made perfect. Then the entire Wife of the Lamb will descend from Heaven to remain forever in the new earth.
We see clearly, then, that residence in Heaven is not the goal. Heaven is not the city that has foundations. Jerusalem is the city that has foundations. We know this to be true because the patriarchs have not as yet obtained the promise of God.
If residence in Heaven were the goal, then the patriarchs now in Heaven would have attained the goal. But residence in Heaven is not the goal of salvation. Therefore the heroes of faith are still waiting for the inheritance.
And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise (Hebrews 11:39).
The patriarchs are now in Heaven. If Heaven were the goal they already would have received the promise.
But they, like us, are awaiting perfection. The perfection for which they are waiting is the perfected Bride of the Lamb.
The goal of the Divine redemption is not eternal residence in Heaven, it is perfection in Christ. The Bride is being made perfect so she will be a perfect Wife for the Lamb and a perfect light for the nations of saved peoples of the earth.
1. What people make up the cloud of witnesses that is surrounding each Christian today?
The people named in the eleventh chapter and those like them, plus all who have followed their example since the time of the writing of the Book of Hebrews.
2. What should we do in view of the fact that such people are witnessing what we are doing today?
We should lay aside everything that would in any way hinder our walk in Christ. We should lay aside the sin that so easily entangles us. We should run with patient endurance the race set before us.
The patriarchs have helped us greatly by the sincerity and diligence with which they served the Lord. The Kingdom of God has been brought nearer to completion by their willingness to sacrifice themselves in order to do the Lord’s will. We are witnesses of their faith and are guided by their example.
Now it is our turn. We have gained from their prayers, obedience, and example, and now they will gain if we pray, obey God, and bring forth the aspect of the Kingdom of God that has been assigned to us. They are watching us. They are profiting from what they are witnessing. They are marveling at the wisdom and goodness of God.
In eons past there arose in Heaven a doubt concerning God’s Character. Instead of responding immediately God set in motion a long range (by our standards) plan designed to produce a bride for the Lamb, a temple for God, and judges, priests, and rulers for the nations. In addition to these outcomes of His working, God is speaking through the Church to the personages of the heavens concerning His Character and His will.
To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by [through] the church the manifold wisdom of God (Ephesians 3:10).
God could have spoken directly to the exalted rulers and powers in the spirit realm. Instead, God chose to bring forth His Word through creatures of dust—a masterpiece of irony.
Not only is God’s Word, the revelation of His Kingdom, coming forth through the dust of the ground, but it is being refined in us; proven in us. It is not enough that we believe God is faithful; His faithfulness is proved in us through fiery trials. God’s Word is refined in earthen vessels.
The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times (Psalms 12:6).
God’s Character is proved in us as we endure fiery trials. By means of our pilgrimage through the valley of the shadow of death, God demonstrates to the personages in the heavens the faithfulness and goodness of His Character as well as His wrath against those—angels and men—who rebel against His love.
God speaks to the heavens from the mouths of dust.
Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth (Deuteronomy 32:1).
We always are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses. Wicked spirits as well as righteous spirits, angelic and human, study carefully that which God reveals through people. God withdrew above the heavens and conceived His Kingdom in detail. Now the Kingdom is being revealed, one small area at a time. No one can know the personages and timing of the Kingdom—not even the Lord Jesus—until the Father is ready.
. . . but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father (Matthew 20:23).
But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father (Mark 13:32).
Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth (Psalms 57:5).
3. To whom should we be looking every moment?
4. What is the significance of the expression, "Looking unto Jesus the author (leader) and finisher (completer; perfecter) of our faith"?
That the Lord Jesus will perfect the faith He is developing in our heart and mind. Our faith is tested by Divine fire until it is pure and perfect.
5. By what means was Jesus able to endure the cross, despising the shame?
By the joy set before Him.
It is very difficult at times for us to bear our personal cross. If we are to successfully follow Jesus throughout our lifetime we most have before us a joyful hope. That hope must be anchored beyond the grave, that is, we must be willing to go through life and never experience the fulfillment of joy in the present world. Nevertheless it is good to hope for fulfillment even in this world.
I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (Psalms 27:13).
If the Christian walk is to be bearable we must have a hope of joy. We can find that hope only by spending much time before the Lord, walking with Him each day, as did Enoch. The Lord shares His secrets with us and they are not to be divulged to other people.
Jesus endured the cross by spending much time alone with God in prayer. The joy that God had for Him was not realized in this world, but now Jesus possesses all things. We must pray for joy. We cannot endure the rigors of patient, cross-carrying obedience unless we are finding joy continually in the Presence of the Lord.
People who believe it is not necessary to pursue the Lord with such intensity, to bear the cross of denial, look on the disciple with scorn. The disciple, because of his willingness to suffer with the Lord, looks with scorn on the reproach that comes on him. The true saint scorns the reproach of the cross because of the vision of joy he holds.
6. Where is the Lord Jesus now?
At the right hand of God in Heaven.
7. What did Jesus endure from sinners?
Great opposition, contradiction, hostility, the twisting of His words and intentions, physical pain.
8. As we think about the troubles the Lord Himself experienced, what are we able to avoid?
Becoming weary and faint in our minds.
9. How had the Jewish Christians differed from some of the heroes of faith of Chapter 11?
Unlike some of the heroes of faith, these Jewish Christians had not been required to shed their blood in the warfare against sin.
10. What exhortation had the Hebrew Christians forgotten?
That Christians are not to despise the Lord’s discipline nor are we to faint when He reproves us; for whom the Lord loves He disciplines and chastens severely every son whom He receives.
My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction: for whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth (Proverbs 3:11,12)
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent (Revelation 3:19).
11. How is the Christian to regard chastening?
As discipline that is necessary for all of God’s true sons.
12. How does God deal with us?
13. What is true of us if we do not experience Divine discipline?
We are illegitimate children.
14. What attitude should we have toward the Father of spirits?
Respect, submitting meekly to His chastening hand so we may live in His sight.
15. Why does God discipline us?
For our good—so we may share His holiness.
Our human fathers discipline us according to their understanding of what is good, and sometimes out of their own anger. But God’s disciplining always is for our good; always is wise, correct, and perfect.
16. What is true of chastening while it is being administered?
It is painful.
17. What does Divine discipline yield?
Righteousness and peace.
18. What are we to do when we feel weak and discouraged?
Strengthen ourselves in prayer; encourage ourselves by reviewing the promises of the Scriptures; remember whom we are serving and the numerous times He has delivered us from every problem; and consider with joy the hope He has given us.
We are to walk in a plain, straight path so the weak believers may follow us without stumbling and be healed.
19. What should we attempt to do?
To live in peace with everyone and to be holy in our personality and behavior.
20. What will be true if we do not pursue a holy life?
We will not see the Lord.
21. What should we be watching for constantly?
That no one misses the grace of God, and that no root of bitterness takes root and grows, causing trouble and defiling the believers.
Perhaps the most misunderstood word in the English language is grace. Grace is currently defined as "forgiveness." However, grace is vastly more than forgiveness. Grace, in its most comprehensive sense, is the Presence of God through Christ. Under the new covenant, God has given us His Presence so that we may become holy as He is holy.
To make certain that no one misses the grace of God is to insure that no believer, through deception or lust, removes himself from the daily walk of holiness and consecration to God’s will.
Many deceivers seduce the Christians with promises of an easier way. Meanwhile the world, our bodily appetites, and our self-will all conspire to move us away from the Presence of God in Christ. Our task is to avoid all these, and to help others avoid them, so we all may continue in the Presence, the grace, of God.
"Bitter roots" spring up in the assembling whenever an individual or group of individuals attempts to find some way to please God other than by the patient, cross-carrying discipleship of the true saint; other than by stern obedience to the Father.
22. What else should we be watching for?
That no one lapse into immoral behavior.
Whenever believers become careless in their pursuit of God’s Person and will, immorality is likely to become prominent. The pressure of lust has been with mankind from ancient times, as we notice from the Old Testament. Lust is stronger than ever today and is one of the principal blights on civilization. Only the truly dedicated saint has enough power to conquer the invitations of demon-inspired bodily appetites.
23. Of what is Esau an example?
Esau is an examples of the person who gives his inheritance as a child of God in exchange for the temporary satisfaction of his bodily appetites.
24. What was Esau unable to find?
A place of repentance, the opportunity to change the decision he had made to sell his birthright.
We live in a society in which it often is possible to remedy a bad situation. If we have enough money, or power, or are skillful enough in lying, we are able to force of trick our way out of trouble.
It is not so with the Lord. No amount of money, or power, or trickery is of any help at all in extricating ourselves from the trouble and pain that fall on us when we turn away from the Lord and give ourselves to the things of the world.
Esau made a decision when he sold his birthright to Jacob for some lentil stew. That decision proved to be unalterable. The agony Esau experienced after his appetite was satisfied did not change his situation, nor will our personal agony in the days to come alter our situation if we exchange our birthright in God for the temporary security and pleasures of the world system.
25. What awesome, terrifying spectacle is being described in verses 18 through 21?
The Lord God coming down on Mount Sinai.
26. What was God revealing on Mount Sinai?
His holiness and power.
27. To what has the believer in Christ come?
Mount Zion, the city of God, the heavenly Jerusalem. Mount Zion is the place of defense of the heavenly Jerusalem. Mt. Zion speaks of the firstfruits of the Bride, the royal priesthood—those who will rise to meet the Lord when He appears.
The heavenly Jerusalem is the city that has foundations. When a firstfruits of the heavenly Jerusalem has been perfected it will descend with the Lord and clothe earthly Jerusalem with righteousness, just as the heavenly body of the conquering saint will clothe his mortal body at the coming of the Lord.
Numerous angels gathered together. One of the great joys of the victorious saint will be the company of another race of intelligent beings. The angels have served the Lord from eternity past and will gladly serve God as ministering spirits for the heirs of salvation throughout the eternity of the future.
The assembly of the Firstborn registered in the heavens. Jesus is the Firstborn of many brothers.
God, the Judge of all. God, through Christ and the saints, judges His people as well as the rest of the people of the world. Judgment begins in the household of God.
The spirits of righteous men made perfect. The Christian redemption makes righteous people perfect. The Seed of the Gospel, if it is to bear lasting fruit, must fall on an honest and good heart. Within that honest and good adamic heart the Seed of God brings forth a new, Divine creation.
But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience (Luke 8:15).
Job was a righteous man. His experience with the Lord perfected him.
In the world there are the righteous and there are the wicked. The wicked remain wicked. Sometimes God’s elect do wicked things, but in their heart and conscience they are crying out to God for help. The Christian redemption is designed to deliver them from wickedness and make them perfect.
The goal of redemption is not to move an individual from one place to another—from Hell to Heaven or from earth to Heaven. Redemption is not a trip, it is a change in personality so that wherever the individual is he is abiding in eternal life and brings the Presence of God with him.
Jesus, the Mediator of a new covenant. The old covenant forgives our sin. The new covenant forgives and removes our sin.
The blood of sprinkling, speaking better things than the blood of Abel.
28. Of what does the blood of Abel speak?
That his murder be avenged.
29. Of what does the blood of Jesus speak?
That everyone who believes in Him and turns away from his sins shall be forgiven.
30. According to verse 25, is there greater danger to the disobedient under the new covenant or under the old covenant?
Under the new covenant.
31. God’s voice shook the earth at Mount Sinai. What else has God promised He will do?
He will shake the earth and also the heavens.
32. What does the expression "Yet, once more" signify?
That all created things will be removed so that only what has been wrought in Christ will remain.
33. Since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, what should we do?
We should be thankful and worship God in a manner pleasing to Him, with reverence and fear.
34. What is true of our God?
Our God is a consuming fire, just as He demonstrated on Mount Sinai.
God is love. God is also a consuming fire who will not tolerate the wicked. The true witness of God always will portray both the goodness and the severity of God.
1. What attitude must reign among the members of the body of Christ?
Satan will do everything in his power to destroy the love among believers. If he is successful, the assembly no longer is an effective part of the Kingdom of God.
2. What have some hospitable people done without being aware of it?
They have entertained angels.
In our day, in some cultures, it is dangerous to be friendly to strangers. The admonition to entertain strangers, as is true of every other part of the Scriptures, must be applied by the Spirit of God.
We always must ask Jesus for help in obeying the written Word. To attempt to obey the written Word without asking Jesus to give us the necessary wisdom and strength tends to move us toward a rigid, legalistic type of experience that is not filled with God’s Presence, an experience that will not bring forth righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
3. What attitude should we have toward prisoners and toward others who are being treated badly for the Kingdom of God’s sake?
That we are suffering with them.
In many nations of today, Christians are permitted to conduct their assemblies as they wish without interference by the authorities. In other countries, Christians are harassed, and sometimes put in prison for their religious beliefs. Those of us who are free to assemble as we wish, to pray, to study the Scriptures, must always be aware that there are fellow members of the Body of Christ who are prevented by force and violence from such religious activities. We can never be completely at peace until all the members of the Body are able to praise the Lord without hindrance. We without them cannot be made perfect.
4. What is to be our attitude toward marriage?
That it is honorable, being instituted and blessed of God.
5. What shall happen to fornicators and adulterers?
God shall judge them.
The world today is sick with sexual lust. The penalties and judgments shall keep pace with the increase in immorality and perversion.
6. From what should our life be free?
From the love of money.
The love of money is one of the great curses on mankind. The love of money is the root of all evil. Of all the gods of the Greeks and Romans, the one heathen god that Jesus mentioned was mammon (money). No many can serve God and mammon. He must choose between them.
People seek security, pleasure, and achievement. These can come from money, or from God. We make the choice. Shall we serve God or shall we serve money? It is impossible to serve both.
7. Why can we be content with our present circumstances?
Because Christ has promised, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen (Matthew 28:20).
8. What can we state boldly?
The Lord is my helper. I will not fear what man can do to me.
9. What attitude should we take toward our leaders who have spoken to us the Word of God?
We should follow and imitate their faith, observing and thinking carefully about the way in which they have learned to behave in Christ, and what has resulted from their diligence.
10. What is true of Christ?
He remains the same, yesterday, today, and forever.
Christ came from eternity and extends into eternity, ages without end. He never changes although now He has become a man. We are destined to be changed into His image in spirit, soul, and body.
11. Should the Christian saint devote much time considering what types of food should be eaten?
No. The Lord Jesus Christ has brought to us the Presence of God. Eating certain foods, or occupying ourselves with unusual religious observance, do not add to the Presence of God. They may have been a help previously but now we have God in Christ and He is all we need.
12. What is the meaning of verses 10 through 13?
The meaning of verses 10 through 13 seems to be that the priests who serve the Levitical rituals have no right to partake of the body and blood of Christ—that is, of course, until they receive Christ as their Lord and Savior. We eat from a different altar than do the priests.
The physical body of Christ was "burned" outside the camp, and His blood was sprinkled before the Mercy Seat in Heaven.
Therefore the true saint is not a member of a popular religion. He must go outside the camp of popularity with Christ, sharing with Christ the reproach, the disdain, the scorn of those who are attempting to serve God apart from the Holy Spirit.
13. What should each Christian saint be seeking?
The city that has foundations.
We do not have an enduring city on the earth at the present time. Not even Jerusalem, as it is presently constituted, is permanent. The city that we are seeking is the new Jerusalem. It is in Heaven now although its final destination is the earth.
The new Jerusalem is the Body of Christ, the Bride of the Lamb. It shall stand forever as the Glory of God, the eternal moral law of God personified in Christ and His Bride, the moral light of the world.
14. What kind of sacrifice are we to be offering?
Praise and thanksgiving to God.
15. What are we to continue doing?
We are to continue performing good works. We are to share our material goods with those in need and our spiritual gifts with the members of the Lord’s Body.
16. Why must we obey the leadership in the churches?
Because the elders are required to give an account to God concerning our souls.
When the believers are obedient to the elders, the work of the elders is a joy and not a burden. Also, the believers are blessed and benefited.
17. The writer of Hebrews felt he had a clear conscience and was attempting to live honorably. What was he requesting?
That the saints pray for him, and especially that he would be restored to them soon.
18. What is the writer’s prayer for the Jewish saints?
That God the Father would perfect them in every good work to do His will, performing in them what is well pleasing in His sight, through Christ.
19. How does the writer refer to God the Father?
As the God of peace.
20. What is unique about the new covenant?
It is eternal.
21. What is unique about the great Shepherd of the sheep?
He was raised from the dead.
22. What is the writer’s prayer for the Jewish Christians?
That God would perfect them in every good work to do His will, working in them that which pleases Him, in His Presence, through Christ.
23. What does the writer beseech the saints to do?
To bear with the word of exhortation.
24. Who had recently been released from prison?
Whoever the writer was (and it may have been the Apostle Paul), he was a friend of Timothy. Apparently he was in Italy at the time of writing.
The writer sends greetings to the leaders and to all God’s people, and includes the greetings sent from the saints in Italy.
25. What was the writer’s final gift to the Jewish saints?
The expression "the righteous shall live by faith" is defined by the entire text of the Book of Hebrews. The righteous shall live by faith means the righteous shall live by diligently seeking the Lord in every area of thinking, speaking, and doing, throughout their lifetime on the earth—and forever after.
The new covenant is shown to be superior to the old covenant in that it removes the source of sin from the worshiper, meanwhile forgiving him and bringing him to the knowledge of the Lord.
The Book of Hebrews is a word of exhortation to the saints. It is an exhortation to experienced Christians to not go back into the world but rather to press forward into the rest of God, into the fullness of the Divine salvation and inheritance. The inheritance is envisioned as being a city that has foundations.
Heaven itself is not a city. However in Heaven there is an unshakable city named the new Jerusalem. The new Jerusalem is the glorified Church, the Bride of the Lamb. It is being perfected in the saints today, particularly its impregnable wall against sin. The names of the Apostles are in the highly ornamented twelve foundations of the wall.
The goal of the Christian redemption is not eternal residence in Heaven, it is our transformation into new creations in Christ so we may be part of the city that has foundations.