Sunday June 28 2020

A NEW AND LIVING WAY

Hebrews 4:14 states, “Seeing that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.”  This passage instructs us that Jesus has become the full and complete manifestation, fulfillment if you like, of the personage of the high priest of Old Testament  times. Let us review.

GOD demands exclusive worship. We understand this not only from the first of the Ten Commandments but also later from Exodus 20:22-24.

“And the Lord said unto Moses, Thus you will say unto the children of Israel, You have seen that I have talked with you from heaven. You will not make with me gods of silver, neither will you make unto you gods of gold. An altar of earth you will make unto me, and will sacrifice thereon your burnt offerings, and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto you, and I will bless you.”

GOD demanded a purity in their worship. They were to prepare an ‘altar of earth,’ perhaps to remind them that they were made from the dust of the earth.

In Exodus 25: 2, the people were to bring free will offering to be used to build a place of worship, the tabernacle. We read about this tabernacle in Ex. 25:9: “According to all that I show you, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the furniture, even so will you make it.” Besides his receiving the Ten Commandments upon the mount, Moses also was shown the blueprints of the tabernacle and everything in it. These were the blueprints of the true tabernacle that was, and is currently, in heaven, every item of which is critical in portraying some aspect of Christ’s ministry. The fullest detail concerning the ministry of the high priest is given in Hebrews 9; I include it here in its entirety.  

“Now, the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand and the table with its consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a room called, The Most Holy Place, which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the golden jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory overshadowing the atonement covering. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now. When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning. This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshipper. They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings – external regulations applying until the time of the new order. But, when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, He went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but He entered the Most Holy Place, once and for all, by His own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean, sanctified them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to GOD, cleanse our conscience from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living GOD! For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance – now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from their sins committed under the first covenant. Picking up again in verse 23. “It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in GOD’s presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”

What does this passage reveal to us? First, that the earthly tabernacle is but a copy, a shadow of a true tabernacle in heaven. The earthly tabernacle was made through the hands of man, whereas the heavenly tabernacle is part of the original creation. The earthly tabernacle was composed of two rooms, one outer room called the Holy Place and a second, inner room called the Most Holy Place. These two rooms were separated by a huge thick curtain. Many priests operated in the outer room but only the High Priest could enter the inner room and then only once a year. This passage compares our heavenly high priest, Jesus, with the earthly high priest. Whereas the earthly high priest needed to undergo much preparation before entering the second room, Christ has no need of this. The earthly high priest needed days of ceremonial washings and a twenty four hour time of prayer and repentance for his own sin before entering. He also needed to sprinkle himself with his own animal sacrifice to render himself clean before GOD. Christ needs do none of this for he was and remains sinless for all eternity. The earthly high priest needed to enter into the Most Holy Place, once a year, year after year, never ceasing. Christ entered once for all time and is now seated at the right hand of Majesty on high. The earthly high priest upon entering the Most Holy Place, was constantly moving, sprinkling the blood of bulls and lambs upon the Mercy Seat atop the Ark of the Tabernacle, while reciting prayers of repentance on behalf of the people. He was acting as Mediator between the people and GOD. The blood he brought before GOD was to act as a covering for the sins of the people, a substitution offering, the innocent for the guilty. Our heavenly high priest entered into the Most Holy Place in heaven through a removed veil-of-partition, bearing His own innocent blood, as the substitution for the complete removal for all time of all sin. And we the people, unlike the Israelites who had to stand afar off, can now enter in. Hebrews 10:19-20 gives us the Good News: “Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body, and since we have a great high priest over the house of GOD, let us draw near to GOD with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” At the moment of the Lamb of God’s death upon the cross – our substitutional blood sacrifice, Matthew records the following in chapter 27:51, “At that moment, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs opened.” There is no longer any separation for “whosoever will,” to enter in freely into the very presence of GOD. The curtain of partition has been forever ripped away by the action of our great high priest. Ripped, according to Matthew, from top to bottom signifying that it was the work of heaven and not of earth; top to bottom, heaven to earth; the work of God and not of man. And as the Hebrews 10 verse tells us, we have confidence now, to enter into the Most Holy Place, through a new and living way.” This new and living way has been opened for us by the blood of Jesus – our sinless, holy, perfect sacrifice. And note, if you would, it is a new and living way! We do not gain access as with the earthly high priest through an old and dead way. Our entrance is not through the blood of dead animals! It is in fact through the blood of our living high priest Jesus. And also from Hebrews 10 we are told that the heavenly veil was in fact the body or flesh of Jesus which was rent for the saving of many! For as Isaiah reminds us in chapter 53, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, was bruised for our iniquities:” And as He Himself told us, “Take eat, this is my body which is broken for you.” He is both the Priest and the sacrifice.

Oh, glory to GOD for His unspeakable gift of grace!

How does this concern us today? Christ is our Mediator, constantly interceding for each one of us, who call Him Saviour. Constantly ministering for us, by presenting Himself as our perfect sacrifice before the Father. He does not however, ‘walk the floor,’ as did the earthly high priest as he constantly moved about within the Most Holy Place, pleading for the people. No, Christ is seated, relaxed, in His ministry. Not relaxed in sense of being distracted, but relaxed and at one with the Father. His work upon the cross is finished, as He cried out, but His concern for us never ends as He constantly intercedes on our behalf. It is we, now, who must “reckon,” how this great ministry applies to our daily service.

What is it that occurred upon the cross? What was it that John the Baptist said in John 1:29? “Behold, the Lamb of GOD that takes away the sin of world.”

This is a reference to the “sin offering,” of the Day of Atonement. This day of atonement was the day when the sin of the entire nation was taken away. This was the day the earthly high priest ventured beneath the veil into the Most Holy Place. So this event in the earthly tabernacle was a shadow of Messiah upon the cross, His entering-in where we could not. In Hebrew the sin offering is called Khataah.” The word has a double meaning. On the one hand it means ‘the sin offering.’ But on the other hand, it means ‘the sin.’ In other words the sacrifice becomes the very thing it takes away! Both the sacrifice and the sin bear the same name, the Khataah. So, in order for Messiah to take away sin, He had to become sin itself. We are told in the New Testament this very thing. 2 Cor. 5:21, “For he has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of GOD in him.” What does this mean? Not only does the sacrifice bear the name of the sin – the sin bears the name of the sacrifice that takes away the sin. Every sin bears the name of the sin offering, the Khataah. And if every sin bears the name of the sacrifice then every sin bears His Name for He is the sacrifice! In Hebrew, every one of your sins bears the name of the sacrifice. On every one of your sins is written His Name. This means that all of your sins belong to Him. It means they don’t belong to you any longer. And if you try to keep what doesn’t belong to you, it means you are in possession of stolen property. 1

Recall what Jesus said in Mark 22:20-21. The doubters showed Jesus a coin, and Jesus replied, “Whose image is this and the inscription?” ‘Caesar’s they replied.’ “Then He said to them, ‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to GOD what is GOD’s’”

Each and every one of our sins has His inscription, His Name, upon it. They belong to Him so leave them with Him, and give to God what duly belongs to Him, our praise and our worship for so great a salvation! Let us stop trying to ‘take back our sins,’ from Him who is now the rightful owner of our sins. Jesus has removed our sin from us. As Psalm 103:12 informs us, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” And since we have been forgiven by GOD of all our sins we have no right not to forgive ourselves. Let go of them, they are no longer your property. Reckon it so; reckon it done, and draw near, through the new and living way into the very presence of the Father, and “The peace that passes all understanding will be yours.”

Blessed be Father GOD and to His Son, our Great Heavenly High Priest. Amen.

1 Jonathan Cahn, The Book of Mysteries Day 233.

PASTORAL PRAYER

Father GOD we worship and praise you this day, giving to you what indeed belongs to You. All of our worship, and all of our praise we rightly return to You. We thank you for “so great salvation,” that allows us to draw nigh unto You. We thank you for Your word which reminds us in Ephesians 2:14, “For He is our peace who has made us one and has broken down the middle wall of partition between us.” Thank you that we now have peace with you Father and with each other by the actions of our Great High Priest, Who carried each one of our sins, bearing His Name, in before you Father. That by the offering up of the pure, perfect, sinless life of Himself, with His own all sufficient blood He has given us a clear conscience and a holy covering; a covering of His Righteousness. Help us to grasp the absolute awesomeness of what has been done for us and to us. May we step into our service as ones who have your laws written upon our hearts, and not as ones who are hindered by rules and tradition. Every day is a new creation; every day a new beginning; every hour a new opportunity to reflect His Light upon others. LORD, we lift toward you our brothers and sisters of our congregation, in the certain knowledge that even as each of our individual sins bear Your Name, so too, each of our lives also bear Your Name. And as you carried each of our sins in to the Most Holy Place to forever rid us of them, so, LORD, carry each of us into that same Most Holy Place and there intercede for us. As our Advocate before Your Father, speak the words of healing over us; speak the words of comfort over us; speak the words of deliverance over us, and give us peace. Imbue us with your forgiveness that we may take hold of your words and forgive our brothers and sisters. We thank you that every single sin that tries to rear its deceitful head within our congregation has been dealt a death blow. Thank you that every unkind word, every frown of disapproval, every hint of resentment, every action of mistrust has been taken in before the Father and declared finished. Help us to not cling to these things as if we own them – we do not. They are Yours and You have rendered them impotent.  Allow us to let go of this stolen property to let go of the dead things, and to enter in through the new and living way. We thank you LORD that you have brought us together, that You have brought us this far. Continue to guide the hands and hearts of your servants as we move into your new creation of this day.

Amen.

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