Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 50
Once, By His Own Blood
Hebrews 8:11 – 9:14
We left off in Hebrews chapter 8 verse 9. But to get a good understanding of where we left off let’s start with verse 7.
I think Hebrews was written by the Apostle Paul. We know it is first and foremost directed to Jewish believers. And that’s why it’s called the epistle to the Hebrews. Consequently, there is not one word in this whole letter to the Hebrews that is what we would call the body of Christ or the Church language.
You will find almost nothing that pertains directly to the body of Christ. In other words, you don’t see the term “The body of Christ.” There is not that emphasis on salvation through faith alone in the death, burial and resurrection. And there is certainly no reference to pastors, bishops, deacons and elders in Hebrews because again, it’s not directed to the Gentile Church. This letter does not address the body of Christ as such, but all the things I trust we’ve been learning now over these last seven or eight chapters are fundamental truths on which the body of Christ rests. Even Romans chapter 3 when Paul says:
“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets:” So everything is a progressive revelation and Hebrews is one of those sections of Scripture that, even though it’s not directly addressed to the Gentile body of Christ, it shows us the fundamental truths that were so necessary for our Gospel to come about. We also find that in all of Hebrews there is this constant comparison of that which was good (was in the past), to that which is better (is now). In fact, back up to verse 6 – what’s the first two words?
“But now…” In other words, that which was past is past but now, see?
“…hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, (see, that constant comparison and ) by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, (Better than that which was before, the old covenant) which was established upon better promises.” I really love this! Yes, the Law was good. Judaism was good as far as it went, but now, that has faded off and folded up like an old garment and now we’ve got things that are far better. Now verse 7.
“For if (conditional) that first covenant (the Covenant of Law) had been faultless, (if it had been perfect) then (there) should be no place have been sought for a second.” That stands to reason doesn’t it? Again, “If it ain’t broke – don’t fix it.” It’s only when something is amiss that we dive into it and make corrections. So Paul says: “if the first had been perfect, there’d be no need to correct it.” But it wasn’t. It was fleshly and weak.
“For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold the days come, saith the Lord, when I will (future) make a new (better) covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:” Now that’s not addressed to the Church. The new covenant, even in Jeremiah (we’re going to look at it after a bit), was never addressed to the Gentile Church; it was addressed to Israel and we’ll look at that. Oh if only people could separate Israel and the Church, how the Scriptures would just open up to them.
“Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.” Well, we went through that explicitly back in chapter 3 especially, when we rehearsed their unbelief at Kadesh-barnea. And what did the Lord say? “They entered not because of unbelief.” And the warning is even for us then, don’t harden your hearts as they did – keep trusting. Now verse 10 for something totally fresh.
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, (after all the years – 1500 at the time Paul writes this, So that after all those years) saith the Lord; I will (future tense) put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will (future) be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:” Now they haven’t been that since way back in Old Testament history when the Shekinah Glory left the Temple. Remember when God was speaking to Daniel and said, “Thy people.” Why? Because they were no longer God’s people, they had turned away in unbelief. But the day is coming when once again they will be the people of God, and we’re getting closer and closer to that day. Now let’s go back to Jeremiah 31, and see this New Covenant in its original setting. And then you’ll readily see that this has no direct – indirect, yes – but no direct bearing on the Gentile Church.This is a covenant that God has made with Israel not to be fulfilled of course, until Christ returns.
“Behold the days come, (a promise for the future) saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:” See how perfectly the Apostle Paul quoted this?
“Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant, they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD.”
When God gave the Law to Israel, and as we’re going to see when we get into chapter 9, He gave them the Tabernacle and the whole sacrificial system of worship. He gave them the priesthood; my they had everything going for them. God was present, remember, in that pillar of fire by night and the cloud by day.
For forty years after they had rejected Canaan, He fed them in the wilderness. He provided the water, provided everything they needed. And yet, what did the Nation of Israel do with it? Rejected it. They spurned Him for the most part, see? And so, because of their unbelief, this covenant of Law became nothing but a broken covenant waiting for the day when this new one will take center stage. Alright, now verse 33.
“But (See there’s that flip-side again. Oh they just scorned the first covenant. But) this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD,…” In other words, after those days of unbelief and of breaking the original covenant, the Mosaic Law, After those days, saith the LORD:)
“…I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; (not on tables of stone but He’s going to literally implant it in the heart of every Israelite, and then what will happen?) and (I) will be their God and they shall be my people.” Now I’m going to just read on because there’s some good stuff in here.
“And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour,…” Do you remember back when Moses gave the Law, what was the instruction to every Jew? Teach it, and teach it. Memorize it, memorize it. When you get up in the morning, think on the Law. When you go to bed at night, you think on the Law. And it was just constantly programmed into their thinking. But you see, when this becomes a reality, which will be, of course, when Christ returns and sets up that glorious Kingdom, then Israel won’t have to constantly be reminded because it will just be implanted in their very being. Looking at the verse again.
“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.” What a promise! Now verse 35.
“Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, which divides the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name:” In other words, the God of Creation. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, He’s speaking. And now look at the promise in light especially of the Middle East scenario today (2002). Many people think that Israel should be driven into the sea. But what does the Scripture say?
“If those ordinances (the sun, moon, and stars) depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.” Alright now then, if the sun and moon would suddenly quit shining. If the stars would suddenly fall out of their position, then it’s possible Israel would cease to be a nation, but not until.
“Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can me measured,…” And what’d we just hear again in the news this last week? They found another galaxy of some billion-trillion years out into space. Well that’s just a guess, but what does that tell you? How vast the universe is. Human science can’t measure it. But God says:
“…and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD.”
So if all that could happen then Israel might cease to be a nation, so it’ll never happen. Now I know most of us who are Biblically oriented are real concerned about the situation in the Middle East. It almost looks as though the life of the Nation of Israel is slowly but surely being snuffed out and I was just reading in the Jerusalem Post again last night where a lot of the Jewish people actually think that. They think they’re about to lose their country. No, they are not. Now they’re going to be squeezed. They’re going to go through some terrible times and the Old Testament prophecies that it’s going to come to the place where they will stand totally isolated. All alone with no one to help them, but they’re not going disappear.And so we can take comfort in that, that the Word of God is steadfast and sure. And they are there.
I trust they are there as a part of the end-time scenario now and it just tells us that the Lord’s coming is getting nearer. I made a big mistake back in 1993 – I thought that, by the end of the millennium, the Lord would return. Well, I didn’t set it in concrete, but I shouldn’t have even said that much because we can’t even speculate. Remember when I told you about the cartoon I’d seen about the end-time. The old boy sitting outside his cave door and above he had written ‘The End Is Near.” But then he had second thoughts and he added “er.” “The End is Nearer.” And so that’s the way I leave it today – the end is nearer than it was yesterday and it’s certainly a lot nearer than it was when Israel first declared themselves an independent state in 1948. But we can see that – all the ramifications of the world, the turmoil, the perplexity, the wars.
Somebody called me on the phone the other day, and again I have to respect what people tell me and I didn’t ask for a documentary of it, but he had heard someone give a lecture that right now today, there are 50 wars raging around the planet. Fifty. Well, I knew it was well over 40 the last I read in one of the news magazines. But just think about it, fifty wars are raging. Forty-eight of them involve the Muslim people. And so we find ourselves in a world that’s in turmoil. And it’s not just politics, it’s not just economics, it’s religious. If you’ll go back into history, you’ll find that most of the turmoil all the way back was usually, not always, but usually based on religious differences. But the Nation of Israel in spite of all the pressure; in spite of all the gloom will never again cease to be a nation. So lets look at verse 37 again.
“Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also search out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD.” But it’s not going to happen because this New Covenant is a covenant set from the eternal Sovereign God and He will never go back on His Word. Alright, back to Hebrews chapter 8 verse 11.
“And they (coming back to Jeremiah 31:31) shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. 12. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.”
Here again, you and I in the human realm cannot comprehend the Grace of God, even concerning Israel. My, God should have cast them out of His thinking centuries and centuries ago. They have no reason to still be in God’s favor. They’ve been a rebellious people, an ungodly people. In fact let me take you back to another verse, go all the way back to II Samuel chapter 7 and it just shows the mind of a merciful God.
God has never changed. He has never even had a thought of casting away His People, Israel. Even as Paul says in Romans 11, “hath God cast away His People?” God forbid. Don’t even think such a thing. That even though they had rejected Him and crucified Him, yet God has not cast away His people, Israel. Alright and the promise begins way back here in II Samuel chapter 7 verse 14 where God is addressing King David and He tells David concerning the Nation of Israel:
II Samuel 7:14
“I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men;” In other words, in another place, Isaiah speaks of people coming in with a language that the Jews couldn’t understand. They’d be overrun by their Gentile enemies. But that’s not going to stop God. He said, “I will chasten them with the rod of men and with the stripes of the children of men.” Verse 15:
II Samuel 7:15a
“But (even though they are iniquitous and steeped in unbelief, yet God says) my mercy shall not depart away from him,…”
Now go back to Exodus chapter 33 verse 19. And don’t forget these things. These are the very words of the Eternal God. And it’s nothing that men or nations or governments can ever change, it’s set in concrete, as I like to so often express it.
“And he (God) said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, (that is before Moses) and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; (Now here comes the promise.) and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.”
If you’ll remember when we were teaching in Romans several years ago, I used the analogy, it’s just like someone who has stepped out in the bright sunlight and these things just come down upon him, but God retreated and He retreated into His Sovereignty. Even though men may have just exclaimed “No way!” But God retreats into His Sovereignty, He is Absolute, and in His Sovereignty what does He say? “I will show mercy to whom I will show mercy. And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious.” Nobody can change that. He’s Sovereign.
And though we as mortals can’t understand some of these things, we have to remember that in His Sovereignty God can do whatever He wants to do even though we as humans may sometimes think it’s ridiculous. But from His Sovereignty, never. Now, Hebrews 8 again, verse 12 – with what we’ve just been seeing from the Old Testament, for God says:
“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness,…” Even though they’ve been a wicked and an ungodly nation. You go back to the Old Testament and you wonder how God ever put up with it. And never forget the vast majority then, as now, even though they were ‘religious,’ they didn’t have saving faith.
And I’m always going back to Elijah when he confronted the prophets of Baal. That’s probably the clearest explanation of the spiritual level of Israel. And here most of Israel had fallen down and worshipped Jezebel’s god, Baal. And you know the story, and when Elijah confronted them and the fire from Heaven lapped up all the water that Elijah had put on his sacrifices and God instructed him to kill the prophets of Baal, which he did. But then he got the message from ole Jezebel, “that tomorrow at this time he’ll be as dead as my priests of Baal are.”
And poor old Elijah did what? He ran and he ran and I always like to make it graphic. He was more than a marathon runner. He was triple that. And he ran all the way to the Negev. That’s a good hundred miles. And then he gets down under a juniper tree and I would imagine he all pooped out. Scared to death. And what’s he say? “Lord, take my life, I’m the last one left in Israel. Take me and forget about the nation.” And what was God’s answer, “Elijah, I have seven thousand that have not bowed their knee to Baal.”
And we think, well that’s a pretty good chunk of people – seven thousand. But out of an average population of 7 million, 7,000 is one tenth of one percent. Even in Israel, that’s all that were remaining true to Jehovah. Well, it’s never been much different. At the time of the flood it was less than that. There were just eight. And I feel there were four billion people on the earth at the time of the flood. Eight people. That’s all.
And now another graphic illustration. When you get into Acts chapter 1, after the Lord has been ministering to Israel, up and down the dusty roads of the little nation and they come together in the upper room, how many were there? A hundred and twenty. Now I have to feel that that was most, if not all, of the TRUE believers in Israel concerning Christ. A hundred and twenty after three years of His miracles and His ministry. Then we wonder why people don’t listen to me or you?
It’s always been that way. We can never expect much from the multitudes, at least I don’t. That’s why I’m tickled if people call and say we’re going to get twenty people together, will you come? Sure I’ll go! Because I’d rather have twenty true believers who are really concerned as to have a whole stadium full that want to be entertained. But you see, it’s always been that way. God has always had to settle for that tiny little remnant. Alright in the couple of minutes we have left let’s look at verses 12 and 13.
“For (God says,) I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” Now stop and think. Can you and I forget something that has happened in the past? Not very likely. Not if it’s made an imprint on us. We can try our best but you cannot forget it, it’s there. And as you go through life something will just trigger it and there it’s back.
But what about God? He can. See, God can forget. And that’s the precious promise that when He forgives, He forgets. He doesn’t throw up our past. Our own memory will, but God won’t. And always remember that God doesn’t hold (I don’t care how black the past) that against us. He has forgotten it. Well, He did the same thing with Israel. And so then verse 13 in the few seconds that are left.
“In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old, (like a garment that’s ready to be folded up and cast aside.) Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.”
Well, what’s He still trying to impress upon these Jewish people? That the old system of Law and the old religion of Judaism is now worn out, it’s past, it’s done and they’re to look for something totally new.