1. Introduction 2
2. Jesus—The True High Priest 6
3. Two Apartments in Heaven 8
4. Heavenly Sanctuary Needs Cleansing 11
5. What Caused Defilement? 13
6. Atonement Ministered Behind the Veil 19
7. Christ's Blood Makes Perfect 23
Although the book of Hebrews has been greatly ignored by Christian scholars and laymen alike, it contains some of the most important, basic doctrines in the Bible. Spiritual subjects that are scarcely mentioned by other writers have been fully explained by the author of Hebrews.
Perhaps the reason for its general neglect is twofold. First, it leans very heavily upon Old Testament imagery and typology. Many modem Christians seem to feel that it doesn't fit in with the tone of gospel freedom enunciated in Paul's other epistles.
Secondly, the book may be shunned because it contains some very clear statements that seem to conflict with positions held by the majority of Protestant Christians. Three of those areas of controversy are woven throughout the book of Hebrews. Although at first glance they may seem to be quite unrelated to each other, these three subjects are very closely tied together. The nature of Christ's humanity, the high priestly work of Jesus in the heavenly sanctuary, and the subject of perfection are interrelated themes of truth in the book of Hebrews.
The first two chapters are devoted in general to the position and nature of Christ before and after His incarnation. Chapter three begins to talk about the role of Jesus as the true High Priest in contrast to the earthly ministry of human priests. That theme carries through the next ten chapters, and within those chapters the term "perfect," or forms of it, are used nine times.
Now let us try to discover how these three major threads of doctrine—Christ's human nature, His priesthood, and the perfection of God's people—are really part of the same great truth.
Many scholars have puzzled over Paul's extended explanation in chapter two of Christ's total assumption of man's fallen nature. He makes unequivocal statements that go far beyond any other inspired description of the incarnation. Verse 11 tells us that "he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren." In other words, Christ took the same kind of body that His human brothers possessed. The Sanctifier (Christ) and the sanctified (man) are all of the same physical nature, and can truly be called brethren. The point is enlarged in the next verse, "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers offlesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same" Verse 14. Then comes the strongest statement of all, and one that could be made only by a person speaking under the direct inspiration of God, "Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest."Verse 17.
Paul dares to say that it was almost an obligation for Jesus to become, through this physical birth, just like the human family whom He had come to save. Such audacity was undoubtedly rooted in his perfect assurance that he was setting forth the very thought of God.
Please notice how the foundation is being laid for the chapters that follow. Here we find the theological rationale for the high priesthood of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary. He had to be a man in order to be "a merciful and faithful high priest." He must of necessity pass through our experiences in order to represent us properly before the Father."For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." Hebrews 4:15.
There are some who deny that the holy nature of Jesus could ever be tempted by any of the allurements or provocations of this world. Let such be reminded that Jesus emptied Himself of His divine form when He came among men. There is no question about His perfect sinlessness, but He took upon Himself not
"the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham." Hebrews 2:16.
Could that nature be tempted? Of course it could. We know it because we have that nature also. We cannot and dare not probe into mysteries that are not revealed, but we can be certain of those things that are revealed. He was tempted in the same points in which we struggle against the evil one.
As a partaker of our flesh and blood, He was no stranger to the sorrows, trials, and disappointments that commonly afflict our lives. In no way did He use His divine power to evade the infirmities of human nature.Yet, He did not sin by even a thought.
Did His sinless experience separate Him so far from us that we can never hope to gain the same victory over sin? No. There are scores of assurances in the Bible that we may overcome as He overcame. We may have the "mind of Christ" (Philippians 2:5), be filled with "all the fulness of God" (Ephesians 3:19), and partake of the divine nature of Christ (2 Peter 1:4).
The pure and holy aversion to sin that resided in our blessed Lord from the moment of His birth may be experienced by every converted, Spirit-filled Christian through faith in God. Jesus repeatedly acknowledged His total dependence on the Father for everything He said and everything He did. He deliberately limited Himself to the works that were made possible by prayer, faith, and surrender— avenues that are also open to every one of us.
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