Hebrews chapter 9 commentary Sunday, Mar 27 2016 

9.1 the dissolving of the first covenant. This is critical to Christianity. Nowhere in the Bible does it speak of two new covenants. There is only one new covenant. Whatever soteriological position you accept, this fact is established. This argument is paramount to Christianity. The new covenant is founded on Christ and His death. Christ is the perfect sacrifice and the completion of all Old Testament sacrifices (Rom 3.25). All attempts to explain away the creation of a new people in God by Jesus Christ fail when viewed in the light of the new covenant. Paul declared in Romans 2.29 that now a Jew is “he is one inwardly”. Paul also declared in Ephesians 3.6 that the Gentiles “should be fellowheirs, and of the same body”. Then in verse 11 “according to the eternal purpose which he purposes in Christ Jesus our Lord”. One must decide who was this eternal purpose? Was it national Israel that Paul argues was cut off? (Romans 3). No, for Paul states in Romans 3.29, “Is he the God of the Jews only? Is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also;”. The new covenant was instituted for the new family created by Jesus Christ when he became the second Adam (Romans 5.14-21). 2 Cor 3.6 Paul declares He is a minister of this new covenant. This new covenant broke down the middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile. Jesus Christ hath made them both one. (Eph 3.14). The new body of Christ is now one, comprised of Jew and Gentile. The church comprised of both Jew and Gentile, is the heir of Abraham, and shall be joint heirs with Jesus Christ (Rom 4.13-25, Rom 8.17). This is the fulfillment of the new covenant.

9.2-5 the golden censer. Here we see the two chambers of the mosaic tabernacle. There is an issue here because the censer is mentioned as being behind the veil and there is no record of that in the record of the primary golden censer. It seems that the author is most likely referring to the situation in Lev. 16.12-13, where the priest was to take a censer and bring it into the vail, before the mercy seat. The beautiful analogy here is that our High Priest, Jesus Christ does that for us. All censers used in the tabernacle were of gold ( 1 Ki 7.50). Rev 8.3 also reveals golden censers are still the norm for incense.

9.6-10 access to the presence of God. Through this typology, we see the picture of the tabernacle. Man did not have direct access to the presence of God while the first tabernacle stood. That Mosaic tabernacle was a figure, a physical symbol for all to see. Access to the holiest of all was not open. This was imperfect because man was never allowed to see the end result of his sacrifice. Atonement happened inside the tabernacle, and had to be repeated many times in a lifetime. Now, Christ hath entered once and for all to atone for the sins of all mankind.The figure (tabernacle) is now complete with an ever living and interceding High Priest, Jesus Christ. Reality has superseded the type.

9.11-12 a greater tabernacle. This statement alone is worthy of note. To those who had lived a life of Judaism, the temple was the ultimate place of reverence. No place on earth was held in higher esteem. Here the writer establishes this tabernacle is greater and more perfect, made by God himself. This tabernacle is dedicated by the blood of God himself, not the blood of animals. This tabernacle does not provide temporary propitiation, but it offers eternal redemption. Never again will God accept the blood of animal sacrifice, nor the blood of a martyr for redemption, for He has shed His own blood for the salvation of all mankind for eternity. Jesus Christ has obtained eternal redemption for us. It is essential in living under the new covenant to have a superior sanctuary and an infinitely superior sacrifice.

9.13-14 the red heifer. This refers to Num 19. The priest would take a heifer outside the camp, kill it then burn it. As it was burning the priest would throw cedar, hyssop and scarlet wool on it. The ashes would be saved and stored outside the camp. If anyone became ceremonially unclean because of contact with a dead body, these ashes would be mixed with water and sprinkled on the person. This represented the coming day when our sacrifice (Jesus) was taken outside the camp (Jerusalem) and offered as our sacrifice. Out of His side came blood and water, the elements of our salvation. When we are baptized in water in the name of Jesus Christ, the water represents His blood and we are cleansed. If an Old Testament Saint could be made clean after this manner, how much more shall the blood of Christ purge our conscience from dead works. The writer continues to prove the superiority of Jesus Christ heavenly ministry.

9.15-18 the mediator. The animal sacrifices in the Old Testament could not take away sin (10.4); they made temporary atonement, a temporary covering for sin. Jesus Christ sacrifice reached back and covered all those sins as well as any future sins that are confessed. Never again will the blood of an animal or human being forgive sin. The ultimate price has been paid and provided. When a person writes a check, the paper itself is worthless. The only value is what is in the account that backs that piece of paper. So Christ was the lamb slain from the foundation of the world. All Old Testament sacrifices were dependent on the deposit made on Calvary. Calvary covered all Old Testament sacrifices. The death of Christ and His blood validate all forgiveness past and present. As John the Baptist proclaimed, behold the lamb of God.

9.19-22 the blood. The importance of blood is included here to illustrate the better covenant of the New Testament. The conclusion is that the blood of animals was temporary. It provided forgiveness until Jesus Christ came. Now the Blood of Jesus Christ is eternal and never needs to be shed again, therefore it is a better covenant. Without the shedding of blood there is no remission (aphesis-pardon). This repudiates the doctrine of just believe on the Lord and you are saved. For the blood to be fully applied you must repent, be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

9.23-28 the pattern. God spent several thousand years laying the foundation of the pattern. All the earthly patterns were set in place to show the heavenly tabernacle. The superiority of the heavenly is that it is once and for all. Christ was once offered. Sin is forever put away once and for all. The only thing that remains is for Christ to return. Now once in the end of the world (age), Christ appeared to put away (athetesis) sin once and forever. It is axiomatic that every person must die. There is also the surety of judgment. There is no second chance, no reincarnation, we only get one chance to prepare for judgment. There is a beautiful analogy in this passage. As man dies once, so Christ dies once also. There is a coming reality beyond death and judgment. Those that look for him, to them shall Christ appear. 

Thanks for reading today….

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Hebrews Chapter 8 Commentary Thursday, Mar 24 2016 

Chapter Eight

8.1-6 the sum: kephalaion-principal thing, main thing. The author now offers the glory of Jesus Christ. He has proclaimed in chapter one Christ’s eternal power and godhead and mediator glory. In the chapters two through seven he presents Christ’s human nature, Christ’s offices, and His priesthood. The author presents that Christ has purged our sins, and has moved to His throne in Glory and sat down having finished the grand plan of eternal salvation for humanity. And now, the author presents the principal thing. He does so in a fashion of words found no where else in Holy Scripture: this is the sum. The whole of revelation is here stated: The person of Jesus Christ. It is in Jesus. In Jesus we have an advocate who hears our prayers always. In Jesus we have everlasting assurance, He will provide. He who was dead and is alive, and now liveth forevermore is on the throne of the majesty on high. He reigns, waiting for His people, waiting to be gracious, clothed in a priestly vesture dipped in blood. This is the sum.

8.7-13 the covenant. The author now introduces one of his most prolific arguments for Christianity being better than Judaism. Thousands of years of history were built on this old covenant with the Jewish nation. He introduces the comparison of the two covenants. Jesus Christ came to rewrite the script for the future. Jesus Christ brought a superior covenant with better promises and this new covenant was without fault. This argument had need to be addressed because of the weight of the Old Testament. The old covenant had been the shield for the Jew against the world for thousands of years. It was their identity in every country of the dispersion. Therefore, it was not easy for these who had been steeped in this life for so long to let it go. The author masterfully addresses this subject. He announces the old, former covenant is palaioo: worn out. This covenant is kainos: new in age, freshness. The author further establishes there are but two covenants. There is an old and a new, a first and a second. There are no more covenants. The old was the blood of animals for the atonement of a soul’s sin. The new covenant is based solely in the blood of Jesus Christ. All attempts to fabricate salvation and atonement outside these two covenants is non Biblical. The law in its morality was blameless-amomos, but in saving us it was defective, and so not faultless, amemptos. The old covenant has faded under the shadow of the cross and vanished away, never to return. It was an apt moment when Jesus on His way to the cross, stopped and wept over Jerusalem and said, “behold, your house is left unto you desolate”. The house of animal sacrifice has been replaced with an upper room and a better covenant. On the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter two, when the Jewish world came together to celebrate the giving of the law on Sinai, Jesus Christ gave the first fruits of the New Covenant.

2 Thessalonians~Notes Wednesday, Mar 23 2016 

2 Thessalonians

Introduction 

This second Epistle was probably written shortly after the first. The Apostle appears to have heard of some who claimed to be acting on his authority, and were announcing the immediate coming of the Lord. This had so excited and unsettled the disciples of Thessalonica that they were neglecting their means of livelihood. Writing from Corinth, where he was staying at the time, Paul endeavored to allay that spirit of unrest and to call these disciples back to their everyday employment. This epistle which was sent about half a year after the first, is designed to comfort and support the Thessalonians in their afflictions and persecutions they were enduring for the sake of the Gospel. A secondary purpose was to also to exhort this church to take notice of disorderly persons such as were idle, and busy bodies, and withdraw from them, and remove them from their communion. A third purpose concerned a letter claiming to be from the apostle that was being circulated among them. Paul is writing to clear the air on these matters. Paul instructs them about the conditions that must exist before Jesus Christ returns again. He is admonishing them to return to work, and live Godly lives until the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Date of writing~Probably the spring of 53AD

Author~Paul the Apostle

Chapter 1

1.1-12 this letter is Paul’s shortest letter to a church. This second epistle to the church at Thessalonica uses a much sterner note than the previous letter to this same church. Most of the subjects are the same. Paul covers the second coming of Christ, spiritual growth, and people who do not work. The first letter was warm and tender, this time Paul speaks with a stern voice. It appears the Thessalonians failed to listen well the first time. Instead of coaxing, Paul now commands. He commands “stand fast and hold the traditions which ye have been taught” (2.15) The return of Jesus Christ dominates the entire book. Church members were stirred up by a false report that alleged the last days had already arrived. Paul admonishes the saints to be patient and steady. In this first chapter Paul addresses the christians who were undergoing persecution for their faith. He let’s us know life is not fair. Ultimately life will prove to be victorious for the child of God. Verse seven promises rest or release from tribulation and persecution. The world will experience flaming fire and everlasting destruction, while the saint will be glorified! The name of the Lord Jesus Christ will be glorified in His saints.

Chapter 2

2.1-6 The church at Thessalonica had become greatly troubled about the subject of the day of the Lord. The word shaken in verse two denotes great anxiety and pain. These saints needed an Apostolic reassurance and instruction. Paul introduces the coming of the man of sin. This is the beast out of the sea of Rev 13.1, the little horn of Dan 7.8, often called the Antichrist. This will be accompanied with a great falling away. (Greek apostasia). This Antichrist will actually sit in the temple of God, verse four. Paul reminds them he spoke of these issues when he was with them. The man of sin will be revealed in his time.

2.7-12 Paul introduces the mystery of iniquity. This is a counterfeit work to the mystery of godliness in 1 Tim 3.16. Mystery in scripture means that which is hidden for a while, but is manifested in due time. Satan will oppose the imminent appearing of Jesus by appearing in the man of sin who is in-dwelt by Satan himself. Satan will attempt to maintain control of the world. At the first coming of Christ, Satan rushed to dwell in as many people as possible, in hopes of keeping many from being filled with the Spirit of God. Before the second coming of Christ, Satan will in dwell a man and this man is noted as the man of sin. Satan always mimics and copies God. In Zech 4.14 there are two who stand by God, so in chap 5 verse 9-10 Satan also has two that hold evil. This is the same spirit of lawlessness Paul speaks of here in chapter two. There must be a great apostasy and the unveiling of the mystery of lawlessness, which even at that time was already at work. First the man of sin, then the Son of man. First He that sets Himself forth as God, then God manifest in the flesh. First the revelation of sin, then the revelation of perfect salvation. In verse 9 the same term is used for the coming of the man of sin as for the coming of Christ, parousia. The coming of Jesus will absolutely destroy this power of Antichrist. For a time Satan’s power will be manifested. Satan will use power and signs and lying wonders. Satan does this because Christ used signs and wonders, Acts 2.22, Heb 2.4 and Satan will attempt to show Himself as God. This will be very effective and many will be deceived, Matt 24.24. The protection against being deceived is to have a love of the truth.

2.13-17 the admonition to stand fast and hold the traditions they had been taught. Tradition: paradosis; par-ad’-os-is from G3860; transmission, that is, (concretely) a precept; specifically the Jewish traditionary law. The new assembly needed to hold on to the teachings of Paul. Paul reminds them they are the beloved of God. Comfort one another with this admonition.

Chapter 3

3.1- 5 finally…Paul prays for free course of the Word, and for the Word to be glorified in them. He further prays that they be delivered from wicked men. He assures them God will keep them from evil. Again, the encouragement to wait patiently for Christ.

3.6 The apostle now proceeds to the last and closing part of the epistle, which respects church discipline, and the removing of disorderly persons from their communion; and introduces it with a request to pray for him, and the rest of his fellow ministers. Paul commands them to withdraw from those who would destroy unity. Unity is the bond of peace in the body of Christ.

3.7-16 Paul leaves the high spiritual revelation of the coming of the Lord and concludes with his final word to them. He speaks of living life until Christ comes. They are to work, even as he worked while he was among them. He speaks against any who would not work and those he calls busybodies. These busybodies simply went around meddling in other peoples business, and not working. Paul clearly tells the church to disassociate from any one like this. Paul uses his Apostolic authority to command such people to to work with quietness, and eat their own bread (mind their own business). He clearly states if any man does not obey this command, then have no company with him. He says to note that man or distinguish that man. They were to have no company with such a one, for they harm the body of Christ. Paul closes with an appeal to the Lord of peace. This is needed because of the confusion brought by those who acted disorderly.

3.17-18 Paul signs off himself to give the proof of authenticity. Grace from the Lord Jesus Christ is entreated upon them.

The Wrath of God~Divine Perfection Wednesday, Mar 9 2016 

Wrath. 

It is sad to find so many people who misunderstand the wrath of God. Some people actually want to apologize for God. It is as though they wish this part of God was not there. It is like they see it as a blemish on his divine character. They are far from regarding it with delight. 

 May I tell you this part of God like all other parts, is his divine perfection. Yes ~it is terrifying. Some go so far as to say his wrath is not consistent with his goodness. God’s wrath is not a blotch on his divine character. They say things like “how can a God of love turn people into hell?” 

God has made no attempt to conceal the fact of his wrath. He is not one bit ashamed to make it known that vengeance and fury belong to him. Listen to his word on himself; “see now that I even I and he and there is no God with me: I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand….If I whet my glittering sword and mine hand take hold on judgment I will render vengeance to mine enemies and will reward them that hate me”. Deut 32.39-41 

There are more references in scripture to the anger, fury, and wrath of God than there are his love and tenderness. God is holy, he hates sin, therefore his anger burns against the sinner every day. The wrath of God is just as much a divine perfection as faithfulness or power or mercy, for God has no blemish, and he is perfect in all his ways. If in fact God were indifferent to sin, that would be a blemish and wrong. 

God is the sum of all excellence therefore he cannot look on sin and not feel the fury of wrath. How could he who is infinitely holy ignore sin and its horror. The very nature of God makes hell a necessity just like it makes heaven a necessity. A holy God detests sin and unrighteousness. 

It is the holiness of God that is stirred into action against sin. What kind of God would he be if he did not react to sin. What kind of parent would you be if you never corrected your child? Sin is rebellion against God. It is rebellion against his authority in our life. Sin opposes his sovereignty in our life. 

The divine wrath is one of the perfections of God. The wrath of God is revealed from heaven. Rom 1.18. That is why you see judgment at the garden of Eden, Noah’s flood, Sodom and Gomorrah and death upon every person who has ever lived. The whole creation groans and travails because God is holy and sin is rampant. 

Calvary showed the wrath of God more vivid than all those other tokens. Christ sufferings and death were more awful than all those moments. God’s hatred of sin was in full view on that hill outside Jerusalem in April of AD29. Right now wrath and grace stand like sentinels waiting for your choice. 

We must remember God hates sin. We gloss it over and pooh-pooh it, but God sees it as hideous and horrible and heinous. Thus your Bible says let us have grace…for our God is a consuming fire. Heb 12.28. In Psalm 50.21 God says thou thougtest that I was altogether as thyself. Deut 32.43 God does not see sin like we do. God hates it. Rejoice..for he will avenge the blood of his servants and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful to his people. Rev 19-true and righteous are his judgments for he hath judged the great whore… 

 When you see him for the first time, he will be wearing a vesture dipped in blood. Make no mistake the wrath of God is real. God will vindicate his majesty, he will magnify his justice, and overthrow every one of the proud rebels who dare to defy him. Our great God who could speak every rebel into hell tonight is patient. Today he offers mercy and grace, tomorrow he offers wrath. 

And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.