Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 50
Once, By His Own Blood – Part 2
Hebrews 8:11 – 9:14
Well here we are finishing up our 50th book this afternoon, with each book containing twelve programs. Who would have thought when we were asked to do a television program starting in Genesis 1, that we’d still be taping over 10 years later, and when we finish this afternoon we would have taped 600 programs. We thought when we came on television that this would probably be about a six month deal, but here we are still. We just give the Lord the credit, the praise. And how we thank you for all your support, your prayers and all that it takes.
Alright, let’s go right back where we left off in Hebrews and we’re now ready to start chapter 9. Now it’s rather interesting that after Paul almost exhausts chapters 7 and 8 with the constant reference to the high priesthood of Melchisedec now we move on into these chapters and we’re certainly still going to be looking at that priesthood but we never again see the name Melchisedec. And as I study, I find it’s rather interesting that it is used so rarely through Scripture.
Genesis 14 is when we have the first mention of Melchizedek and then again in Psalms, I think it’s 107. Then we see nothing more of Melchizedek until we get here to the book of Hebrews and again it’s only just for a couple chapters in here. Now the name disappears but the priesthood continues.
“Then verily the first covenant (again going back to the Mosaic) had also ordinances of divine service, (in other words, they had to go through the ritual prescribed) and a worldly (or an earthly) sanctuary. 2. For there was a tabernacle…” (a tent)
Now I trust you all know that the word tabernacle is better translated in our English, as a tent. It was a temporary place that could be taken down, folded up and moved. It was not stone and brick and mortar like the temple which came later. But it was a temporary tent situation and so, consequently, it was called a tabernacle.
“For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary. 3. And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all;” In other words, all part of this same little tent. Now while we were waiting for the cameras to get ready, I just quickly drew a little makeshift illustration of what we’re talking about. This isn’t according to scale, but in the outer fence there was only a gate on the East. I’m using the typical directions of North, and East and South and West. This is the way the tabernacle was always set as was the temple on the Mount in Jerusalem. Alright, so as you came in from the East through the outer gate the very first thing that was in the furnishings was the brazen altar; the sacrifices. Then you came to the laver of cleansing, which was filled with water. And then you came to the first door of the tent, or the veil if you want to call it that, and this was called the sanctuary. This was the only place that the priests ministered every day of the year.
And in this, we had the table of showbread with the twelve flat loaves of bread. Down here was the candlestick, the light for the sanctuary. And then right over here next to the veil was the altar of incense, which was still in here but close enough that the aroma of the incense covered the Ark of the Covenant, which was just behind the veil. And we’re going to look in a minute how, specifically, God told Moses to place these. And then here was the veil that most Bible readers are acquainted with, the veil that rent when Christ died on that Cross. But it was the veil behind which only once a year the high priest could go and sprinkle the blood on the Mercy Seat, which was above the Ark of the Covenant. So this is basically the floor plan.
Now the Temple was established years later on the same kind of a floor plan, only instead of being a temporary tent, it was made of all the materials that are part and parcel of a building. In other words, the mortar and the stone and the gold and the silver and all the rest of it. But, out in the wilderness, which Paul is dealing with here, it was just the little tent. Now verse 3.
“And after the second veil, (the back room of this little tent or of) the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; (or what we really refer to so often as the Holy of Holies.) 4. Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein (that is in the Ark – this little box made of wood and covered with pure gold) was the golden pot that had (a sample of the) manna (the food in the wilderness) and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;” (or the Ten Commandments.)
Let’s go back to Exodus chapter 40. And the children of Israel are now ready to set up the tabernacle. The last year has been spent getting everything ready. Craftsmen of every sort were commissioned to do the work and they must have been brilliant – to take pure gold and overlay these articles of wood, out of which everything was tremendously beautiful. Verse 19.
“And he spread abroad the tent over the tabernacle, (the various hides and cloth and so forth) and he put the covering of the tent above and upon it; as the LORD commanded Moses.”
Now I just had the question during our last break, of whether the Lord spoke directly to Moses. Well, of course He did – with the exception of the Ten Commandments – they were written in tables of stone by God’s own finger. But all the rest of the setting up of the ritual and the appointing of the priests; that was done orally as God spoke directly with Moses. Now verse 20.
“And he took and put the testimony into the ark, (the tables of stone) and set the staves on the ark, and put the mercy seat above upon the ark.”
Now I’m going to stop and shock a few people. The word ‘ark’ in Hebrew is also what we would call a what? A coffin. Same word. And the analogy is the same; So this Ark of the Covenant was a coffin. Oh, not for a human corpse but for something else that was going to die and it spoke of death throughout Scripture and what was that? The Law!
Now I know that shocks people but I’m going to show you here in just a minute that that’s what the Scripture called it, ‘a ministration of death.’ So the Law, the tables of stone, were placed into that little box, that Ark of the Covenant, which was a coffin that spoke of death. But whenever you speak of death in the spiritual, what’s the next item? Life! Out of death always comes life. Let’s follow it. That’ll come in a little bit later.
“And he brought the ark into the tabernacle, and set up the vail of the covering, and covered the ark of the testimony; as the LORD commanded Moses. 22. And he put the table in the tent of the congregation, upon the side of the tabernacle northward, without the vail. 23. And he set the bread in order upon it before the LORD; as the LORD had commanded Moses.” In other words, that’s the table of showbread. So here are the instructions: that as you would come in from the East, up here on the North side was to be the table of showbread. Alright, then just read on a little bit further.
“And he put the candlestick in the tent of the congregation, over against the table, on the side of the tabernacle (what?) southward.” So you’ve got the table of showbread up here; on the south-side you’ve got the candlestick and then in the center right next to the veil was the altar of incense, so that the incense would literally cover the Ark of the Covenant without actually being in the room. So, it was not behind the vail but it was close enough that the effect would cover the Ark of the Covenant. Verse 25.
“And he lighted the lamps (down here in the candlestick) before the LORD; as the LORD commanded Moses 26. And he put the golden altar in the tent of the congregation before the vail.” In other words, right in front of the veil was the altar of incense.
“And he burnt sweet incense thereon; as the LORD commanded Moses. 28. And he set up the hanging at the door of the tabernacle.” And so on and so forth. Now when we studied all this back in Exodus the thing I always like to emphasize, and I still do, is that everything – every jot and tittle of this tabernacle set up – was a picture of the complete finished work of the Cross. In fact, if you’ve got a little imagination, you can see that the very floor plan depicted a cross. You come from the altar to the laver of cleaning to the two articles here and over to here. And everything from man comes with sacrifice toward God, but with God, the God of mercy, everything moves out this direction. And that’s what makes Bible study so interesting.
Whenever I read scoffers, I feel sorry for them. You know why? Because they scoff and they ridicule and they have no concept of how beautifully this whole Book is put together from Genesis to Revelation. The words I use so often are, ‘”it’s so intricate.” It is as intricate as the illustration that I gave years ago, back when we first started on television, “like a Swiss watch.” Everything is in perfect harmony, everything in ways that man could never imagine, all fit, and dovetail together. And that proves that it is a supernatural revelation of the mind of God.
Now just this right here that we’ve been talking about should be enough to convince anybody that the very setting of all these various furnishings of this tabernacle worship was already picturing a cross and how everything spoke of the very mercy of God, moving out to meet sinful men. On the other hand, the only way sinful men could approach this Holy God was through sacrifice and the shed blood. Now we’re going to see later in this chapter, of course, that the blood of animals couldn’t take away sin. All it did was stop-gap it. It was a covering but it was all looking forward to when Christ would finish that work of the Cross.
Alright now let’s see, while we’re back here in Exodus, let’s just stop in at the Book of Numbers chapter 17. If you remember a few weeks ago, we covered the rebellion of Korah. I don’t remember if it was the last taping or the one before. You remember how that Korah came up to Moses and said, “You and Aaron think you’re too much. After all who are you that you have to do all this. God can use any of us. I can be my own priest.” Remember that? At that time I read you the account here in chapter 16 of what took place. Alright now, as a follow up of that, Moses told Korah, “Alright bring all the people that are consorting with you against us and we will just see what God thinks of the whole scenario.” And you know what happened. The ground opened up and all those that sided with Korah and his rebellion went down, the Scripture says, into the pit.
Alright now, chapter 17 follows that. Let’s just take the time to read this. Every once in a while someone will call my program “a program of Bible reading.” Well, I don’t mind that a bit because after all that’s what we do mostly, we just let the Scripture speak for itself.
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2. Speak unto the children of Israel, and take of every one of them a rod (like a shepherd’s rod) according to the house of their fathers, of all their princes according to the house of their fathers twelve rods: (In other words, one from each one of the Twelve Tribes – Judah and Reuben and Ephraim and all the rest of them.) write thou every man’s name upon his rod.”
“And thou shalt write Aaron’s name upon the rod of Levi: for one rod shall be for the head of the house of their father (one rod per tribe.) 4. And thou shalt lay them up (all twelve of them) in the tabernacle of the congregation before the testimony, where I (God says) will meet with you. 5. And it shall come to pass, that the man’s rod whom I shall choose, shall blossom:…” Remember, they’re starting out with dead sticks of wood. These rods are just dead sticks of wood, probably almond.
“…and I will make to cease from me the murmuring of the children of Israel, whereby they murmur against you. 6. And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, and every one of their princes gave him a rod a piece, for each prince one, according to their fathers; houses, even twelve rods: and the rod of Aaron was among their rods. (remember Aaron’s will be a rod from the Tribe of Levi.) 7. And Moses laid up the rods before the LORD in the tabernacle of witness. 8. And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi (remember will be the rod from the Tribe of Levi.) was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds.” But only his rod did this. Now I suppose the scoffer reads that and thinks boy, that’s pretty good story telling. But see, there’s more to it than that. This is telling us a tremendous New Testament truth. What is it?
“And Moses brought out all the rods from before the LORD unto all the children of Israel: and they looked and took every man his rod. 10. And the LORD said unto Moses, Bring Aaron’s rod again before the testimony, to be kept…”
Remember what the Book of Hebrews said? “That within the ark of the testimony was a sample of the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of testimony.” That was in the Ark of the Covenant, in that box. Alright, completing the verse:
“…for a token against the rebels; and thou shalt quite take away their murmurings from me that they die not. 11. And Moses did so; as the LORD commanded him, so did he. 12. And the children of Israel spake unto Moses, saying, ‘Behold, we die, we perish, we all perish. 13. Whosoever cometh any thing near unto the tabernacle of the LORD shall die; shall we be consumed with dying?’”
Well what did they suddenly realize? The power and the Holiness of God, that Aaron was the designated priest of Israel and the rest of them dare not usurp that kind of authority. But it goes further than that. This wasn’t just a sign to Israel because, in this little box that we call the Ark of the Covenant (and that’s all it was remember, it was just a box over which of course) you had the angelic beings and the gold. But in here you had Aaron’s rod that budded, the tables of the testimony and a sample of the manna. Now, if the Law, the testimony on the stones, spoke of death, then what did the budding dead almond stick speak of? Resurrection life!
And so even though those tables of stone were a ministration of death in that box which was a coffin, there was also the promise of life to come. And when life to come came along, what do we have to sustain it? The Bread of Life! Now there’s a whole sermon for you right there in one little box!
Now let’s turn up to II Corinthians chapter 3, and see if that isn’t just exactly the way the Scripture puts it. I think I mentioned it once before on the program, when I taught this one night in one of my classes here in Oklahoma, I’ll tell you what, you could almost hear a pin drop. They were so shocked when I called the Law a ministration of death. That’s all the Law could do was kill; it couldn’t save anybody. It couldn’t give life to anybody, and it still can’t. As much as people try it will never work. And that’s why Law-keepers are doomed – they are beating a dead horse. It’ll never get up and give them a ride.
Alright, II Corinthians, chapter 3, let’s just jump in at verse 6. Paul is writing. And he says:
II Corinthians 3:6a
“Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, (that is the Law) but of the spirit:…”
And that’s where we are. We’re not under the Law, we’re under grace. Now I guess I’d better stop and explain again because some people get all bent out of shape when I say, look, we’re not under the Mosaic Law. And they say, “You mean I can do whatever I please and get away with it?” That’s not what I said. I said, “You’re not under the Law because we’re under Grace.”
Now then, since Israel was under the Law and they tried to keep it, what happened? They failed – miserably. I already gave you an example in the last program. And the reason was those Ten Commandments on those tablets of stone had no power. Nothing to help the people keep them, so they were ministrations of death. But now, we come under grace the moment we become a believer and we’re not under the Law but we’ve got something a million times better, and what is that? The indwelling Spirit. And it’s the Spirit of God that keeps the believer from breaking, if I may use that word, the Law. The Holy Spirit will never tell a believer to steal. The Holy Spirit will never lead a believer to gossip. The Holy Spirit will never lead any of us to go contrary to the basic laws of God, that’s the whole power element. Finishing the verse.
II Corinthians 3:6b
“…not of the letter, (the law) but of the spirit: (the power of the Holy Spirit. Now look at the conclusion) for the letter (law) killeth, (that’s all the Law can do, it’s a ministration of death.) but the spirit giveth life.” What was that? The rod that budded. Now do you see it all fit? Alright, then come down to verse 7.
II Corinthians 3:7
“But if the ministration of death, (that’s what your Bible calls it) written and engraven in stone was glorious, (and it was. It was great for its time) so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; (when he came down from the mountain, remember) which glory was to be (what?) done away;”
The day would come when all that pertained to Moses, like I said in the last program, would be folded up like a worn out garment and laid aside. And Israel to this day, can’t understand that. But trusting God to give us wisdom, we do. Verse 8:
II Corinthians 3:8
“How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather (or more, what?) glorious?”
Now what does that tell us? All that the Law was in all of its glory under the Mosaic system has faded away and in its place has come something a million times better. We’re not living under a ministration of death. We are living under eternal life. It’s already promised. It’s already begun. Oh we may pass away from this old earthly tabernacle some day, and Iris and I talk about it. I mean after all, we’re walking into the sunset whether we like it or not. And if the Lord doesn’t come, one of these days, it’s very possible either she or I will suddenly be gone. That’s the way of all flesh, that’s why we pray harder and harder that the Lord will come. I don’t fancy going to the cemetery and I don’t think she does either. And I don’t think any of us do. But if the Lord doesn’t come, that’s going to happen, but the death of a believer is what? Oh! It’s a graduation into something far better because we’ve already got that eternal life.
So remember we are no longer under a ministration of death. We are now under a ministry of life. Eternal life! But again, don’t forget now that that Ark of the Covenant contained the three things that pertain to all of these end-time events. It contained the rod that budded, speaking of resurrection life, it spoke of the ministration of death which was the Law and had to be put away, and it spoke then of the manna which would be the Bread of Life, that would sustain us as believers as we go through this earthly sojourn. They were all back there in type, but now revealed by the Apostle Paul.