Memphis Belle

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Hebrews 1:1-14
Hebrews 2:1-18
Hebrews 3:1-19 Hebrews 4:1-16
Hebrews 5:1-14
Hebrews 6:1-20 Hebrews 7:1-28 Hebrews 8:1-13
Hebrews 9:1-28 Hebrews 10:1-39 Hebrews 11:1-4 Hebrews 11:5-8
Hebrews 11:9-16 Hebrews 11:17-22 Hebrews 11:23-27 Hebrews 11:28-31
Hebrews 11:32-40 Hebrews 12:4-29 Hebrews 13:1-25 What is Faith ?

 

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Hebrews 4:1-16

 

“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.  For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them:  but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.  For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest:  although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.  For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.  And in this place again, If they shall enter in my rest.  Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:  Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.  For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.  There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.  [Accurate marginal rendering in Hebrew: “There remaineth a keeping of a Sabbath to the people of God.”]  For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.  Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.  For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.   Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight:  but all things are naked and open unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.  Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

 

The Sabbath Is A Shadow Of A Powerful Spiritual Reality

 

Hebrews 4:1-2, “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.  For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them:  but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.”  The “fear” he is talking about is for a purpose, “lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.”  The word “rest” occurs eight times here in Hebrews 4, and they’re all related, even though there appear to be several different kinds of rest being referred to here.  You have the Canaan rest, going into the Promised Land, the creation rest, which is also symbolic of the physical Sabbath rest, which is also a picture of the Millennial Kingdom of God rest, and also you have the “salvation rest.”  As we go further on, we will come to see that the actual physical Sabbath, the 4th Commandment, pictures all these other kinds of rest.  But right now we’ll focus on how the physical Sabbath is a picture of the “salvation rest” we have in Christ via the indwelling Holy Spirit, because that is what Hebrews 4:1-11 is all about.  We will thoroughly discuss this subject so bear with me, as we go through some Scriptures.  And how does “the rest of salvation” come into a person?  Acts 2:38-39, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”  So a person enters into the process of salvation by repenting, being baptized and then receiving the Holy Spirit.

Let’s see where the apostle Paul described a little bit more about the Holy Spirit, and how the indwelling Holy Spirit gives us rest through the salvation process.  Paul in Romans 8 draws some pretty clear distinctions between the carnal mind without the Holy Spirit and the mind of one who has the indwelling Holy Spirit.  It is summed up when he says, “but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”  Romans 8:1-17, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of death.  For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:  that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God:  for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.  Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.  And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.  Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.  For if you live after the flesh, ye shall die:  but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba, Father.  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:  and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;  if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”  So what is the fruit that the Holy Spirit bears within us?  Paul tells us in Galatians.  Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance:  against such there is no law.”  Those sound like attributes that make for a restful spirit within a believer, now don’t they?  And focus on one of those fruits, faith, which is an identifying key fruit, as it identifies the “rest” Paul talks about as he discusses the fruits of the indwelling Holy Spirit.  Because what is the exact opposite of “faith”?  It’s ‘unbelief” now isn’t it?  Faith is one of the attributes, fruits which the Holy Spirit bears in believers, Christians.  But unbelief and faith is the main identifying attribute, or the lack thereof (“unbelief”), that Paul focuses on when discussing entering into “God’s rest” here in Hebrews.  Unbelief verses belief or faith is the first key which Paul gives us that helps identify what this “rest’ is made up of, what it is.  And it is none other than entering into the Salvation process, by having the Holy Spirit placed within each and every one of us (upon accepting Jesus into our lives through repentance and baptism, which we already showed in Acts 2:38).  Other attributes are listed in 1st Corinthians 13:4-8, “Charity [Greek: agape’ God’s agape-love] suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.  Charity never faileth:  but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.” 

 

Believers In Christ Have Entered God’s Rest, And It’s All Linked To The 7th Day Sabbath

 

Hebrews 4:3, “For we which have believed do enter into rest,  as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest:  although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.”  Paul actually says this “rest” is talking about “Salvation rest” via receiving the Holy Spirit.  Why?  Because you can’t be a Christian without God’s Holy Spirit in you, as Paul said in Romans 8.  So to be in this “salvation rest” as Paul in verse 3 says, we have to have the Holy Spirit within us.  Verse 3 of Hebrews 4 is essentially saying that we who are in God’s rest already have God’s Spirit within us, and thus we’ve entered into the salvation process, “the salvation rest.”  “For we which have believed do enter into rest.”  It couldn’t get much clearer.  Now in the next set of verses the apostle Paul identifies and ties this “rest”---directly links it---to God’s 7th Day Sabbath.  Hebrews 4:4-6, “For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.  And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.  Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief…”  J. Vernon McGee gets this partly correct in his commentary.  I will directly quote him so you can see for yourself.  But first, before you read his explanation, understand this, the literal Ten Commandments, including the Sabbath Command, have not been abrogated.  (For proof, see: http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/Has%20the%20Sabbath%20Been%20Abrogated.htm]  None of the other 9 Commandments have been abrogated in the letter as seen throughout the New Testament---and neither has the Sabbath Command, the physical observance of the Sabbath.  But the spirit of the Sabbath goes much, much deeper.  If you are not in the “Salvation rest” via the indwelling Holy Spirit, no amount of Sabbath keeping will save you.  Now let’s see what J. Vernon McGee has to say about the spirit of the Sabbath Command.  He does get it right on the money here, hits the nail on the head.  For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.” [Heb. 4:4]  This is the Sabbath.  God rested on the seventh day, and that was the Sabbath day.  However, the Sabbath today is not a day you keep or observe.  [now all you Sabbath-keepers, bear with him and me here J]  Have you entered into the real Sabbath today?  Do you know what it is to trust Christ and Christ alone for your salvation?  Are you trusting in anything else?  Is He it?  Have you entered into rest?  [i.e. God’s Salvation rest]  I had a good friend who was a doctor and who observed Saturday as the Sabbath.  We used to play tennis together, and we got pretty well acquainted with one another.  One day after we had played three sets of tennis, we sat down on the bench, and we began to have what you would call a religious argument.  He looked at me and said, “McGee, do you keep the Sabbath day?”  “Yes, I keep the Sabbath.”  He looked at me real hard and said, “What day?”  I said to him, “Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and then I start all over again on Saturday.”  He said to me, “What in the world do you mean?”  “Well, the way I understand the Epistle to the Hebrews, the Sabbath day is now this day of grace in which we live, and Christ, after He died on the cross and came back to life, went back to the right hand of the Father and sat down.  He sat down, not because He was tired, but because He had finished your redemption and mine.  So now He tells me, ‘You rest in Me.’  I have a Sabbath day everyday---I rest in Christ.”  That doctor friend looked at me in amazement.  “Well,” he said, “that’s better than having just one day, isn’t it?”  I said, “It sure is.”  Seven days a week is a Sabbath of resting in Christ.”  It is unbelief that robs you of the rest of salvation…”  [J. Vernon McGee, Through the Bible, Vol. 5, p.532, col.1, par. 2 through col.2, par.1]  Now we know that Paul said the Holy Days and Sabbath were a shadow of powerful spiritual realities.  We also as the Sabbath-keeping Churches of God know what all the Holy Day shadows represent.  Passover is a shadow of Christ’s sacrifice to pay for the sins of mankind.  The Days of Unleavened Bread symbolize us living off the Word of God, Jesus Christ, eating the Unleavened Bread of Life (cf. John 6).  Pentecost represents the beginning of God’s first harvest of saints, which started on the day of Pentecost (31 or 30 AD, it’s debated), and wraps up at the blowing of the 7th Trumpet (Revelation 11:15-18) and the Resurrection to Immortality (cf. 1st Corinthians 15:49-54).  The Feast of Trumpets symbolizes Jesus Christ’s 2nd Coming (cf. Revelation 19:11-21; Zechariah 14:1-15).  The Day of Atonement is when the whole world will eventually come under Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice (cf. Zechariah 12:10-13; Revelation 20:1-3).  And finally, the Feast of Tabernacles represents the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom of God on earth by Jesus Christ, where he and the resurrected, immortal saints will rule over the whole earth (cf. Zechariah 14:16-19; Revelation 20:4-6).  I just typed that from memory.  We all should be well-versed in what the Holy Days represent, which Paul said are shadows of great spiritual things, shadows of things to come, things we have in Christ.  But there is one shadow we in the Sabbath-keeping Churches of God tend to ignore, most of us at least.  And that is the Sabbath, what the Sabbath actually is a shadow-picture of.  The physical Sabbath, just like the Holy Days, is a shadow of a powerful spiritual reality.  Why do we ignore it, or at least some of us do?  It is because the Sunday-observers use it as an excuse for not having to keep the physical Sabbath.  Just like we saw J. Vernon McGee do in his explanation to his doctor friend, which we just quoted out of his commentary.  What is the shadow the physical Sabbath represents?  Let’s go over this again, because it is just as important, actually more important than the prophetic meanings of the fall Holy Days, which just picture physical prophetic events yet to occur.  Turn to and let’s read Hebrews 4:1-11, “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.  For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them:  but the word preached did not profit them [i.e. those in the Wilderness of Sinai], not being mixed with faith in them that heart it.  For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest:  although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.  For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest on the seventh day from all his works.  [So, obviously, the subject is the Sabbath throughout these first 11 verses, folks, and what the physical Sabbath pictures.]  And in this place again, If they shall enter my rest.  Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:  again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day, if ye will  hear his voice, harden not your hearts.  For if Jesus had given them rest [as Yahweh, God of the Old Testament], then would not he afterward have spoken of another day.  There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.”---That underlined verse is not the accurate Greek.  The accurate Greek for that verse is given in the margin of most King James Bibles, and reads, There remaineth therefore a keeping of a Sabbath to the people of God.”  Isn’t it nice, how the King James translators put the accurate rendering in the margin?  Why?  Because it was not a popular teaching in 1611 England, when Sabbath-keeping believers where being hunted down, severely persecuted, and at times even killed by the British religious authorities.  Let’s finish up with verses 10-11, “For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.  Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”  If the Sabbath is a shadow of a powerful spiritual reality within us, and it is described here as entering into God’s rest, what is that rest?  We rest in the Lord when God’s Holy Spirit enters into us.  But here’s another important identifier Paul gives.  He says we who have entered into “God’s rest” cease from our own works.  That’s another key hint.  Our own works in the spiritual sense are the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21).  God’s rest is found in the fruits of his Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, [self-control]:  against such there is no law.”  A lot of these fruits of the Spirit are also described by Paul when he listed the seven traits of God’s agape-love, which we also went through in 1st Corinthians 13:4-8.  How is it possible to have God’s agape-love?  It is developed within us by the combination of having God’s indwelling Holy Spirit, coupled to our life’s experiences.  In John 14 it says Jesus and the Father dwell within us by the indwelling Holy Spirit.  John 14:15-17, 21, 23, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.  [Matthew 5:17-19 anyone?]  And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him:  but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you…He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me:  and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him…Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words:  and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”  So to enter into the Sabbath rest spiritually is a lot more involved than just observing the physical Sabbath, that’s kindergarten stuff folks.  To enter into God’s Sabbath rest spiritually is to receive God’s indwelling Holy Spirit, starting the Salvation process within us, which means developing God’s agape-love within us, which truly helps us rest in Christ (see: http://www.unityinchrist.com/Agape/Agape%20I.htm for a whole section on how this is done).  This dwelling in God’s Sabbath rest spiritually is a 24/7 deal, not just on the Sabbath, just like J. Vernon McGee said.  He got that part correctly.  He just didn’t realize the physical Sabbath Command, like all the other 10 Commandments, has not been abrogated. 

“Today” Is The Day of Salvation

 

Hebrews 4:7-8, “Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.  For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.”  This “salvation rest” is open to all whom God is calling “Today.”  “Today” is every day from that first Pentecost in 30/31AD when the Holy Spirit was first given, right up to the 2nd Coming of Christ.  And this period of time called the Day of Salvation is also called the Church Age.  Verse 8 shows that the Israelites under Joshua, from Joshua’s to Christ’s time, did not have this “salvation rest” offered to them. 

 

That Hidden Verse About The Sabbath

 

Hebrews 4:9, “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.”  I already gave you the marginal rendering, because it is the accurate Greek rendering, which is: “There remaineth therefore a keeping of a Sabbath to the people of God.”  When the King James Bible was being translated, it was not “politically correct” to be endorsing Sabbath observance, even though this verse does exactly that.  As a matter of fact, the king’s men were killing Sabbath-keepers whenever they could.  This verse also points to the Millennial Sabbath rest the world will come into as well.  (For more on the symbolic meanings of the Sabbath, see:  http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/Observe%20His%20Sabbath%20Day.htm] 

 

Paul Continues To Identify “God’s Rest”

 

Hebrews 4:10-11, “For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.  Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”  Ceased from our own works,” what does that mean?  Before we entered into salvation with God’s Holy Spirit entering into us, our works were the works of the flesh.  Weren’t they?  Galatians 5:19-21, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”  But when we receive God’s Holy Spirit and enter into the process of salvation we cease from these works of the flesh, and God through the Holy Spirit starts producing the fruit of the Spirit within us, Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance:  against such there is no law.”  Verse 11 is a final warning from Paul, “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”  Paul is warning us to labor to enter into this process of salvation, “lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”  i.e., a lack of faith.  What is faith?  It is an attribute of God’s Holy Spirit.  Paul warns us we can “step out of” God’s rest through unbelief, a lack of faith, which equates to not exercising God’s Holy Spirit, by not following the lead of God’s Holy Spirit, or as Romans 8:14 says, “for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”  Not actively following in the salvation process, by being led by God’s Holy Spirit, equates to unbelief.

 

The Word Of God Is Sharper Than A Double-Edged Sword

 

Verses 12-13, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight:  but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”  “Quick” is the King James word for “living.”  “Powerful” is the Greek word energes and means “energizing.”  J. Vernon McGee has this to say about verse 12, “I have a friend who likes to kid me about my recording of tapes for our radio Bible study broadcasts.  He says, “These are you, sitting in your study, just talking to yourself!”  Very candidly, that is the way it works out many times as I sit there teaching the Bible.  I’m speaking to myself.  It may not apply to anyone in the radio audience, but it applies to me.  The Word of God is two-edged.  It will cut toward the other fellow, but it will also cut toward you and me.  The Word  of God is a two-edged sword, and it will penetrate.  Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (1 Thess. 2:13).  The Thessalonians received the Word not just as an ordinary word, but they received it as the very Word of God.  Paul said that when he gave out the Word of God “…my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Cor. 2:4).  We receive many letters from those who listen to our radio Bible study broadcasts, from folk who through the Word have been brought to a saving knowledge of Christ, brought to a place where they enjoy their Christian faith, and brought to a place where they enjoy prayer.  That is the purpose of the Word of God---it will have an effect upon you and your life.  It has been said, “The Word of God will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Word of God.”  A great many believers do not spend enough time in the Word of God.  A great many preachers do not spend enough time in the Word of God.  The greatest discipline a preacher can have is go through the Bible book by book with his congregation.  [emphasis mine]  That is a discipline which even if it does not help the congregation, it will surely help the preacher.  In every church which I have served as a pastor, I have gone through the Bible with the congregation.  It surely helped me---it was good for me.  The Word of God is sharp; it is living and powerful and sharp.”  [J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible, Vol. V, p.534, col.1, par. 4-5, col.2, par 1-2.]  This is why the connective expository sermon is one of the most powerful methods of preaching a  pastor can use for spiritually feeding and nourishing his congregation.  Topical sermons are ok on occasion, but the majority of a pastor’s sermons should be “connective expository,” going through the Word of God, verse by verse, book by book.  [see: http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/ConnectiveExpositoryTA.htm]  J. Vernon McGee goes on in defining the word discerner in verse 12, “A discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”  “The Greek word for “discerner” actually means “critic.”  We have today many critics of the Word of God.  However, the Word of God is the critic.  It criticizes you.  It criticizes me.  No man is in a position to sit in judgment on the Word of God.  There are many reasons for that, and one reason is that there is no other book like it.  The Word of God was written over a period of fifteen hundred years, by about forty-five different authors, some of whom never heard of the others.  Yet they are all in agreement.  They all present the same great story.  They all present a glorious salvation.  May I say to you, no man is in a position to sit in judgment on such a remarkable book.”  [J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible, Vol.5, p. 534, col.2, par. 5]

 

Jesus Christ Is Our Great High Priest

 

Verses 14-16, “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”  Job 9:33, “Neither is there any days-man betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both.” Job in his long trial longed for a real mediator---not his three friends who weren’t getting it right---to stand between him and God, someone “who would put one hand in Job’s hand and his other hand in God’s hand, and thus bring them together.”  That someone, that “mediator”, Paul tells us, is Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ is our Great High Priest, the one who mediates between God the Father and each and every one of us. Verse 14, “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.”  Verse 14 tells us that Jesus Christ, one, was not our high priest while he was on earth, but became our Great High Priest after his death and resurrection, and after he passed into the heavens, where now he sits at the right hand of God the Father.  Jesus was called a great Prophet while he lived physically on earth.  He is our great High Priest now while he resides in heaven at God the Father’s right hand.  And Jesus Christ is coming back to earth to rule as King of kings and Lord of lords. 

 

The Pressures of Sin, What Jesus Endured Without Sinning

 

Verse 15, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”  Jesus Christ was tempted by sin, and even Satan, without ever giving in to that pressure and sinning, an absolutely amazing feat in and of itself.  Temptation puts a lot of pressure on a person, and when the pressure gets too great, all human beings will give in to the pressure of that temptation, whatever it is.  We’re all called to be overcomers, overcomers of sin in our Christian walk with Jesus Christ, and learn how to not give into pressures and sin.  But we’re not perfect, and we do give in to pressure and sin, when that pressure becomes too great.  I’m a submarine sailor and do a lot of reading about submarines.  I’m just going to give you an analogy to help you understand.  This has everything in the world to do with Jesus Christ, and his never giving in to the pressures of sin, and what Jesus is trying to do with us, and how this set of verses applies to our lives.  A submarine as it goes deeper and deeper underwater can only tolerate so much pressure.  When it exceeds its built-in dive depth the pressure becomes too great, and the hull and/or various hull fittings will rupture and seawater will come in, and thus the pressure is removed (but everybody drowns L). Have you ever noticed that when you give in to a temptation (and sin) the extreme pressure is gone?   A submarine’s test-depth is the deepest depth a submarine of that class can safely dive to. The crush depth, usually three or four hundred feet deeper, is the depth a submarine of that class will have it’s hull crushed by outside sea-pressure.  Now let’s put two Biblical facts, promises into this analogy:  1) Jesus is the captain of our salvation, Hebrews 2:10, “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”  Also, 2), Jesus through the apostle Paul promised us that we would never be tempted beyond what we could endure (see 1st Corinthians 10:13).  The U.S.S. Tang, captained by Richard (Dick) O’Kane was one of the highest scoring submarines of World War II.  When LtCdr O’Kane took command of the recently constructed and launched Tang, he took her for a deep-submergence test dive with crew stationed everywhere to spot potential leaks all over the boat.  He brought Tang down to 525 feet.  (Tang’s test-depth was 500 feet).  A small sea-water line to a gage burst, spraying salt water everywhere.  Commander O’Kane had that and any other leaks spotted repaired, and strengthened the effected hull openings and fittings on Tang.  Tang’s test-depth was 500 feet and her crush depth was somewhere beyond 800 feet.  The number of feet between that 500 foot test-depth and 800 foot crush-depth is a grey area.  Captain O’Kane next brought Tang down to 600 feet with no problems or leaks whatsoever.  He had just strengthened Tang’s hull integrity by 100 feet beyond normal test-depth, a real plus for a wartime submarine.  As the Captain of our Salvation, Jesus Christ will never bring us to “crush-depth.”  He has promised that through the apostle Paul in the Word of God.  But Jesus will bring or allow tests and pressures to come into our lives, stress in excess at times beyond our capability to cope.  That reveals where the loose fittings and hull openings to our character exist.  It is then that we go about strengthening the weak or failing part of our spiritual character.  We take what we find, while and after failures occur, to our High Priest, Jesus Christ, our Captain, who “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (verse 15).  We then work with our “captain” to strengthen the weak parts of our character that pressure and stress on our “hull” have revealed.  This is all an essential part of the process of salvation.  Hebrews 11 reveals some of the finished works of the Lord, “and the depths they were able to achieve” after working with the Lord on themselves (cf. Hebrews 11:1-40). 

 

How We Work Our Salvation Out With Our Great High Priest

 

Verse 16, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”  “Boldly” is a very interesting word in the Greek---parrhesia.  It denotes the freedom of speech the Athenians prized so highly.  They were the first to feel that the average citizen should have freedom to speak.  Athens was sort of the birthplace for freedom of speech.  So let’s plug that definition for boldness into the verse.  “Let us come with great freedom of speech unto the throne of grace,”  We can speak freely to Jesus Christ about our sins, pressures and trials we’re experiencing.  We can tell him things we can’t tell anyone else.  Paul said, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”  When he said that, he meant that ‘we should work out our own salvation with the help of the Lord Jesus Christ, our Great High Priest, with fear and trembling.’ When that verse is coupled to Hebrews 4:16 we get, ‘We can come to Jesus Christ, our Great High Priest, with great freedom of speech, working out our own salvation with him with fear and trembling.’ “that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”  When is that “time of need”?  Most of the time it is when we’re either under extreme pressure to sin or have given into sin.  We can and should be quite honest and open with Jesus Christ as we come before his throne of grace in those times of spiritual need.  He sees all and can read our every thought anyway, so you might as well be open and honest with him, right down to your very motives.  Why?  Because he understands your motives better than you do.  And he has been tempted in all the ways you possibly could be tempted in, without ever sinning.  He has taken the pressure of temptation beyond what any other human could endure.  So he knows what you’re going through.  He’s a compassionate High Priest.  What is the goal of the Captain of our salvation?  To make it possible for us to be able to dive well below the normal test-depth of pressure and stress which causes the average human being to sin.  Is that goal attainable?  The Biblical record for those who successfully attained it is recorded in Hebrews 11:1-40.  Foxes Book of Martyrs also contains the record of many more Christian individuals who succeeded with Jesus in this area.

 

Related links:

 

Has the 7th Day Sabbath been abrogated?  See:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/Has%20the%20Sabbath%20Been%20Abrogated.htm

 

The early Christian Church historically was Sabbath observing.  See:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/index3.htm

 

What are some of the real fruits of God’s Holy Spirit?  See:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/Agape/Agape%20I.htm

 

For some more symbolic meanings of the Sabbath, see:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/Observe%20His%20Sabbath%20Day.htm

 

Powerful method of preaching the Word of God.  See:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/ConnectiveExpositoryTA.htm        

 

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Content Editor Peter Benson -- no copyright, except where noted.  Please feel free to use this material for instruction and edification
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