Hebrews 10: 1 – 39
One will have no choice but to accept that the thrust of the Book of Hebrews borders on Salvation; written by a prolific writer whose desire was for his people to turn back to God. God had chosen this particular people as His people expecting them to move as the cloud or the pillar of fire moved from one destination to the other as spelt out in His grand plan. Obviously, the pillar of fire and the cloud have moved but His people have refused to move as expected. We have a loving God who will then send His chosen one to explain the new phenomenon to His people in expectation that they would change their minds and move to where the pillar of fire or the cloud is.
Obviously, some had heard the Good News and responded, some had heard and were yet to respond, while some had not heard the Good News. These three groups of people form the audience to which this writer wrote.
This chosen one of His (whom I think is the great Apostle Paul) was very gifted and copious in his writings; coupled with been led by the Spirit of God, he begins to pen down by combining history and reason so that when these people of God hear or read this epistle, they might have a change of mind and follow God like they have always done. This writer went back in history, narrating and comparing the past (which we call the Old Testament) with what God was doing at the present time. He made them understand the mystery of pictures and shadows which the Old Testament represented, in comparison with the real figure of the New Testament all embodied in the person of Christ.
He spoke of many examples in the Old Testament from the first to the ninth chapter of this book until this particular one we are in, that is, Chapter Ten. The chapter is divided into four parts carrying different blocks of messages and the general idea is to look at these four blocks of messages so as to capture what exactly was in the mind of this creative writer.
Hebrews 10: 1 – 18
The writer begins to explain that the Old Testament had defects in that it was not able to grant the people access to God; it was not enough to remove Sin as the blood of animals was not sufficient; and lastly, it was a symbol of the external. Nothing was done in the Old Testament rituals and ceremonies that could save the souls of the people not to talk of completely wiping away the Sins of the assembly. The Old Testament was only a shadow of the good things to come. Only the High Priest was allowed to get beyond the veil (and that was just once a year); he couldn’t bring the people with him.
In other words, ACCESS to God was the primary concern and desire in the heart of the people. The irony of the Old Testament was that the people were reminded of their Sins year after year as they came to offer their sacrifices. The awareness of guilt and unrighteousness was heightened. Their Sins were never removed but covered. In comparison to the COVERING of their Sins, the writer presents Jesus and the REMOVAL of their Sins forever, thereby granting access to the presence of the Father. Simply put, only the blood of Jesus, which was a symbol of His death, could remove Sin. There couldn’t have been any relationship between a man’s Sin and the blood of animals; it was only symbolic of what would happen in the future.
Through the mouth of two or three witness, a truth was established. The writer had to quote from the book of Psalms, from Prophet Jeremiah and Prophet Amos to the fact that Jesus was and would be the SACRIFICED LAMB that would take away the Sins of the World. The Jews believed and quoted from their Prophets, the reason why the writer went this way. They were put in a dilemma because if they accepted the teachings of Jeremiah, they should have no problem accepting the message of the Gospel that was prophesied by the same Prophet.
In this block of message, the writer highlighted the fact that no one could get that access to God except they came through the finished work at Calvary. This is the message of the Gospel that should be preached; this is where it all starts.
The idea of “A PEOPLE of GOD” in the Old Testament (ISRAEL) refers to a people that represented God here on Earth; a people that were deemed the Apple of God’s eyes and a people that saw their enemies wiped away before their faces, which remained a SHADOW, would now be reflected as a REAL phenomenon in a new people grouped under the mystical body called the CHURCH. The idea presented here is, once Sin is taken care of (speaking of Jesus and what He came to do), there would no longer be any need to offer sacrifices again.
We can therefore conclude that the message in this block was for all (everyone in His audience).
Hebrews 10: 19 – 25
This is the second block of message from this chapter. In his systematic way of writing, the writer knew that the people would be caught in determining what to do as they reflected on the message of the Gospel. The possible consequences to hearing such a message is either to believe and become the New Creation in Christ or to fall back in not believing the message of the Gospel knowing that a positive response to this message results in Salvation. Some had responded to the message in the context of this chapter and they needed to be addressed so that they could be re-assured about their Salvation. To the Jewish Believers the message in the block is addressed.
To the Jewish Believers, the writer assures them that, they have access to the presence of God and without hesitation, they could walk right up to God into the Holiest-of-all, using the example of the Tabernacle that restricted them in the Old Testament. He made them understand that Jesus, through the shedding of His blood, had cleared the way acting as our Priest before God. This access was described as a new and living way inaugurated for us through the curtain, which was now a symbol of His body/flesh.
To them, he reminded them that the Old Testament sacrifices only reminded the people of guilt; their consciences only continued to condemn them because their Sin remained in comparison to this New Way they had just adopted. In the New Testament there is no more reason for condemnation; their consciences are now free from guilt and they could serve God with a pure heart.
It is not enough to be good people; fundamentally our consciences have been warped not because of what we have done or are doing, but that’s how we arrived on planet Earth. We became a direct progenitor from Adam. Everyone under Adam has been condemned to be in Sin. In order for that Sin to be removed we must have FAITH in a different object, that is, FAITH in Jesus Christ, the one who came to offer Himself as a sacrifice so that we (those who will believe in Him) would become free in our consciences. Apostle Paul puts it this way, “ For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”
In concluding this block of message the writer, who was not oblivious to the many trials and afflictions the Believing Jews were subjected to as a result of their change in belief, encouraged and made it clear to them that they as believers must stick together (as they remained a symbol of persecution to the Unbelieving Jews), showing love, stirring up one another coupled with doing good to themselves. They were not to abandon or neglect their meetings as they look towards the promise of HOPE that the day was approaching when Jesus would come back for His own. In other words, birds of the same feather must flock together.
Keep it right here and be refreshed!