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An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews – Part 1-13

      

PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 307

August 18, 2008

An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews – Part 1

Appropriate For What Christians Are Facing In These Last Days

Don’t Draw Back From Walking by Faith in Christ!

II Timothy 3:1,12,13 – This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. [12] Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. [13] But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 

Although most believe that the Apostle Paul wrote the Epistle to the Hebrews and some have offered what they consider to be proof of his authorship, that is not the purpose of this exposition, so I will leave the writer to antiquity.  Some believe it was written to an assembly of Hebrews somewhere along the coast of northeastern Africa, probably Alexandria, and I adhere to this idea.  I know it was written to a group of Hebrews who had been in the practice of assembling regularly, but had already undergone one period of persecution from their Jewish brethren in the flesh for accepting Christ as the promised Messiah, and were experiencing a second time of serious affliction when the epistle was written.  I am persuaded they were a local, visible Hebrew church.  It is apparent the church was undergoing persecution on a grand scale from without by their unbelieving brethren in the Hebrew community, and from within by fellow Hebrew church members that were attempting to add certain elements of the law to Christ after salvation, as being necessary to maintain it.

The Hebrew community society did not have assistance services provided by the government such as Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, unemployment benefits, or welfare.  When a Hebrew made a profession of faith in Christ as Messiah, in the vast majority of cases, he or she was quickly disowned by family and forfeited their inheritance or any type of family assistance, which was the way of Hebrew culture, that is, when you grew old or disabled your family took care of you.

The keynote verses of the entire epistle are found in the tenth chapter and gross misinterpretation is likely if the   interpretation of the entire epistle is not based on what is revealed in HEBREWS 10:32 to 37.

HEBREWS 10:32 –But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; 

After they were illuminated (had put their faith for salvation in Christ), they began to undergo a great fight of affliction from their own families, but they endured through it.  They were going through a second round of affliction, probably from within and without, and the primary purpose of the Epistle to the Hebrews was to urge them to “keep on keeping on,” because they would come through this, and any other affliction, by the same power of Christ that had led them through the first time of trial.

HEBREWS 10:33 –Partly, whilst ye were made a gazing stock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.

There were two elements in their previous affliction. Many of them had their material possessions consumed like the grass eaten by sheep or the wool sheared off of them, both by constant verbal abuse and direct actions against their physical person. And, those who were not directly afflicted by immediate family, or by relatives, had been in tune to the suffering of those who did, because they were companions in the work of Christ.  Church members are in the same local boat, and when one suffers, all suffer.  This church was suffering what the Lord warned the first church, (which was composed entirely of Hebrews), that it would suffer in the future for him.

Matthew 10:34-38 – Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. [35] For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. [36] And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. [37] He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. [38] And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 

I Corinthians 12:26 – And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. 

HEBREWS 10:34 – For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. 

The Hebrew church members had shown compassion, likely having taken up an offering while the writer was in bonds, then sending it to him by a messenger, and had joyfully done so by selling some of the personal possessions they still possessed.  It showed that their faith in Christ to provide them a heavenly reward far outweighed their love for material things.  But Hebrews 10:32 to 34 was a reminder of the faith in Christ they had demonstrated in the past, and the writer was now encouraging and exhorting them to remember they had been faithful in the past, and to be as faithful in the present situation.  It is apparent that verses 35 to 37 are the writer’s encouragement, and his exhortation, to get them to continue their confidence in Jesus until the first resurrection or their natural death.

HEBREWS 10:35 – Cast not away THEREFORE your confidence which hath great recompence of reward. 

“THEREFORE” is a word, often used by a writer who writes with a lawyer’s style, who first lays down his premises, then bases his conclusion on those premises.  The writer lays down all his reasons, his premises, in verses 32 to 34, and uses “THEREFORE” to give firm reasons for what he is about to ask them to do.  He simply exhorts them to maintain their full confidence in Christ in this latest persecution and affliction, knowing their reward in heaven will be much more than worth it.  They had been saved by the power of God, they were kept by the power of God, and they would be rewarded in heaven for their works wrought in Christ by the power of God, “THEREFORE” they should endure through their trials by the power of God in Christ.

HEBREWS 10:36 – For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. 

I Peter 1:3-7 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, [4] To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, [5] Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. [6] Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: [7] That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 

HEBREWS 10:37 – For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.


PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 308

August 19, 2008

An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews – Part 2

Appropriate For What Christians Are Facing In These Last Days

Don’t Draw Back From Walking by Faith in Christ!

II Timothy 3:1,12,13 – This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. [12] Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. [13] But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

Hebrews 10:37 – For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. 

When Christ comes he will only rapture the just!  Who are the just?  The answer is so simple that many trip over it by adding works to the word as a requirement to be classified as such.

HEBREWS 10:38 – Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. 

A “just” man is someone who believes he is justified by the sacrificial blood and body of Jesus Christ, who he has asked to save him believing Christ is alive, having been resurrected from the dead. A “just” man has been born again totally by the workmanship of the Spirit of God. He had no works of his own to earn salvation and does not need works to keep it.  His faith is totally in the power of God in Christ on the cross to have made him “just” before God, and to keep him in that state before him forever.

John 3:6,7 – That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. [7] Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 

Ephesians 2:8-10 – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: [9] Not of works, lest any man should boast. [10] For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. 

I Corinthians 1:17,18 – For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.  [18] For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 

Only a man made just by the grace of God can live by faith, because it is the Spirit of Christ living in him that lives the life of faith in him.

Galatians 2:20,21 – I am crucified with Christ: never-theless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. [21] I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. 

Romans 3:26-28 – To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. [27] Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. [28] Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.    

Some of the Hebrew church members were starting to “draw back” from a total faith in the power of God to not only have made them “just” by Christ when they first believed, but to keep them “just” for the rest of their existence.  They were trying to add some elements of the law to his sacrifice to insure the maintenance of their “just” status before God.  They were undoubtedly being besieged by the same type of circumcising Jews that were trying to lead Peter and Barnabas to keep the law in part until Paul withstood him face to face and rebuke him for doing so, summarizing his rebuke in Galatians 2:16.

Galatians 2:16 – Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. 

The writer admonishes them not to “draw back” from faith in Christ alone by adding certain parts of the law as essential to preserving the salvation the Lord had paid for with the full price of his life, body, and blood, as had some of the same types of teachers in the church at Galatia. They had been saved by the Spirit initially, but were now trying to be made perfect by their works of the flesh.  Paul tells them these false teachers had cast a spell over them to cause them to believe a saved man or woman could add to the cross of Christ.

Galatians 3:1-3 – O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? [2] This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? [3] Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? 

Hebrews 10:38 – Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. 

God is a Spirit, and his soul had no pleasure in those he had already made just by the blood of his Son, who then drew back under the law to worship him by adding to his Son’s completed redemptive work.  To worship God correctly, one must first be made “just” by God in Spirit, and then worship him in the truth revealed in his word.  To be made “just” and then try to worship God by the works of your flesh is spiritual adultery.  Works are to reward the “just” for a walk directed by his word and led by his Spirit who wrote it.  If a “just” man will not walk in the Spirit by the word, the soul of the Lord has no pleasure in his worship.

John 4:23,24 – But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. [24] God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 

III John 4 – I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 

A man or woman is made “just” by the Spirit in the new birth from above.

John 3:7 – Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 

Then, and only then, is it possible for a person to walk by faith, and those who fail to do so, give the soul of the Lord no pleasure.  He set them free from condemnation for sins so they could choose to walk by faith.

John 5:24 – Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. 

Romans 8:1-4 –There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. [2] For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 

Hebrews 10:39 – But we are not of them who draw back unto PERDITION; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. 

The word translated “PERDITION” is “apoleia,” and when used of persons it means physical death, perhaps of a violent nature, and involves destruction of the flesh.  The same word is translated “DESTRUCTION” when used by Paul in I Corinthians 5:5, and refers to the destruction of the flesh, perhaps the physical loss of life, of a church member who was not walking by faith as a “just” man, being guilty of such fornication that even the heathen did not have it named among them.

I Corinthians 5:5 – To deliver such an one unto Satan for the DESTRUCTION (apoleia) of the flesh, that THE SPIRIT may be SAVED in the day of the Lord Jesus. 

Hebrews 10:39 – But we are not of them who draw back unto PERDITION (apoleia); but of them that believe to the SAVING OF THE SOUL. 

I am of those that believe a “just” man cannot draw back under the condemnation of God for sin, but that he can draw back under the law and lose his physical life in the flesh.  Hebrews 10:29 is referring to a church member who was illuminated to the truth and believed it, but drew back under the law by coming to believe it was not quite enough and, as a consequence, would be subject to loss of physical life as a punishment in the flesh for believing Christ’s blood was not quite enough to keep his soul eternally.

Hebrews 10:28-31 – He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: [29] Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? [30] For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. [31] It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.   (The same hands that saved also spank those they saved, who add to Christ’s blood).

          

PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 309

August 20, 2008

An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews – Part 3

Appropriate For What Christians Are Facing In These Last Days

Don’t Draw Back From Walking by Faith in Christ!

II Timothy 3:1,12,13 – This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. [12] Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. [13] But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

In Parts 1 and 2 a case was presented to prove that the assembly of Hebrews believers, to which this epistle was written, was in the second round of affliction by their Hebrew brethren outside the church who didn’t believe Jesus was the Messiah, and their Hebrew brethren in the church who did, but believed some works of the law had to be added to Christ’s redemptive work to insure their salvation.  This entire epistle was written to exhort and encourage the Hebrew assembly to keep all their faith in the grace of God in Christ Jesus, and to not draw back under the law to add their own works to the completed redemptive work of the Messiah.  To booster their faith, which was declining due to affliction and persecution, the writer fills Chapter 11 with a bevy of examples of tremendous faith in the promised seed of Genesis 3:15, that were demonstrated by many great soldiers of the faith from Genesis through Zechariah in the face of personal affliction and persecution.

Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 

The writer gives the same answer to two questions in this verse. What is the substance of things hoped for? What is the evidence of things not seen? And the answer to both is: A FAITH that does not draw back from the promise of heavenly things hoped for, just because they had not been seen by the one seeking them.  A just man who lived by this type of faith was an Old Testament elder who received a good report from God for having done so, and they are used as examples to the Hebrews, and to us, to do the same.

Hebrews 11:2 – For by it the elders obtained a good report. 

A just man who drew back from a life by faith did not obtain a good report, and God had no pleasure in him for this conduct.

Hebrews 10:38 – Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. 

Hebrews 11:3 – Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. 

Man has never seen an atom, but we know they exist because of the reactions they produce in response to mechanical and chemical reactions between the many types in forming compounds. I see what atoms do, but I do not see them.  I have never seen God but I know he exists because I see what he does in creation.  The things I can see were made of atoms.  The God who made the atoms, that I know exist, but cannot see, made them into all the things I can see, but I cannot see him until he translates me into his spiritual kingdom.

All of the men and women in Chapter 11 are elders of the Old Testament who did not “draw back” from faith in God’s promise of a seed who would one day come to save them from their sins.  They were men and women who exhibited great patience, great endurance, while they awaited the coming of the seed.  We of the New Testament have seen the seed of promise come and go, which makes our covenant better because we are better equipped to understand it.  Now we, along with them, are waiting for the final act of both the old and the new covenant, the return of the promised seed to give us the promised glorified body.

Hebrews 11:39-40 – And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: [40] God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. 

I John 3:2 – Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 

Hebrews 11:4 – By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. 

The Bible does not say that Abel ever saw God, but he saw the skins of the innocent animals God sacrificed to provide a “kaphar,” a temporary cover, for a condition Adam and Eve suddenly found themselves in before God because they sinned, the condition of being nakedly exposed before God in shame, a condition which they passed on to both Abel and Cain, and to all mankind.

Genesis 3:7-10 – And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. [8] And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. [9] And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? [10] And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. 

Hebrews 4:13 – 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.

God promised a seed would come one day and crush the power of sin bondage Satan had gained over man, but the seed would himself be bruised in paying the death penalty for sin for all those who had and would believe the seed promise was true.

Genesis 3:15 – And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. 

And God sacrificed innocent animal blood to provide a symbolic temporary covering for sin until the true seed came and shed his own perfect, sinless, human blood.

Genesis 3:21 – Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them. 

Abel demonstrated he believed God’s promise because he brought an animal body and blood, which followed the example established by God. Cain did not believe God’s promise because he brought a rebellious sacrifice that did not follow God’s example of a sin covering.

Genesis 4:3-7 – And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. [4] And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: [5] But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. [6] And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? [7] If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. 

The animal body and blood sacrifices did not take away sins, but did picture how the body and blood of the seed would one day take away the sins of all who would trust in the one who shed it, the promised seed of Genesis 3:15, the man Christ Jesus.  The animal sacrifices were like a large animal skin at the front door to a dwelling.  At times men have a tendency to sweep dust under it at a hunting lodge until bad weather ends, and then sweep in out into the wind.  

Genesis 4:7 – If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well sin lieth at the door. 

Animal sacrifices were only a temporary covering that pictured the blood of the seed to come and, when it was shed, the sins of all the Old Testament believers under the temporary covering were swept away eternally.  The door into heaven was opened eternally to all who would accept the blood of the seed as the eternal offering for all sins, except the sin of unbelief. 

Hebrews 10:4-10 – For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. [5] Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: [6] In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. [7] Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. [8] Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; [9] Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. [10] By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 


PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 310

August 21, 2008

An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews – Part 4

Appropriate For What Christians Are Facing In These Last Days

Don’t Draw Back From Walking by Faith in Christ!

II Timothy 3:1,12,13 – This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  [12] Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. [13] But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 

Hebrews 11:5 – By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 

Many of the members of the Hebrew Assembly were not pleasing God.  In fact, some were sorely displeasing him in that they were “drawing back” from faith in Christ by not walking by faith in him, and were attempting to return to a walk by faith in the law.  Enoch is given to them as an example of a man who walked by faith in God, not in himself, which pleased God.

I made the case, in Parts 1 through 3, to prove that this epistle was written to an assembly of Hebrews that was experiencing a second round of trials, severe affliction, and persecution from within and without.  The epistle’s main purpose was to exhort them, in all these trials, to “draw near” to Jesus by increasing faith in him, rather than “draw back” from him by turning their faith back to the Law of Moses.  One of the ways this exhortation was put forward was by giving the reader quite a few Old Testament examples of those who suffered through trials greater than the Hebrews were experiencing, and yet they did not “draw back” into unbelief.  Belief or confidence in God, rather than to “draw back” from confidence in God, is the high note of this epistle, and the next verse identifies the faith of Enoch to have been of the type that walks with him, not away from him.

Hebrews 11:6 – But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. 

Enoch not only believed in God’s promise of a coming seed who would deliver them from sin, he also believed God would reward him for seeking to know him by walking in the path of God’s choosing for him, and indeed God did.  Those who continually seek to know the God who saved them by the grace in his seed Jesus, are the ones who taste his preciousness, and keep on seeking for more.  They know him as the seed in them, and they want to discover his dwelling place.  That is what it means to “walk with him.”

Genesis 5:24 – And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. 

I Peter 2:2,3 – As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: [3] If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 

His seed indwells all his new born again babes, but many never know him except as the savior of their soul, and never come to appreciate how gracious he is by the study of his word.  To desire his word is to “walk with him.”  The more you come to understand about him, the less likely you are to “draw back” from faith in him in the face of persecution, and the more likely you are to “draw nearer” to him by an increasing faith in him.

I Peter 2:4,5 – To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 

The expression, “to whom coming,” in the Greek means “to keep on coming.”   The Hebrew assembly members, instead of “drawing nearer” to Jesus, were starting to “draw back” from their faith in him. They were trying to transfer some of their faith in him back to the law, even though he had delivered them forever from its condemnation by his one time sacrifice.  Christ had become the high priest over their local assembly, their local temple, their local church, their local house of God, and now they were supposed to “draw near” to Jesus because he had been faithful to keep the law perfectly for them, and his one time sacrifice was enough to cleanse them from all unrighteousness before God.  Now they were to “hold fast” to their profession of faith in him, not in their faith in the law to keep them saved.  They were to allow themselves to be stimulated to love and good works by his living Spirit in them.  

Hebrews 10:21-24 – And having an high priest over the house of God; [22] Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. [23] Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) [24] And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 

They were supposed to learn how to behave themselves in the house of God, which is a local church, a spiritual house, where spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ, are to be offered up by faith.

I Timothy 3:14,15 – These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: [15] But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 

I Peter 2:5 – Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 

Hebrews 10:25 – Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. 

The house of God today is a local church still teaching the same teachings as the first New Testament churches.  Each local church that does so is like a temple of God and is indwelt by his Spirit.  If any man defiles the local church by teaching false doctrine, he is subject to severe punishment by God.  The “YE” in I Corinthians 3:17 is plural, so it cannot be referring to the indwelling of the Spirit in the individual believer.  The verse is addressed to the local church at Corinth.

I Corinthians 3:17 – If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple YE are. 

Incidentally, I am well aware that in other verses in the Scriptures, the Spirit definitely is said to indwell the individual believer but, in the verse preceding 3:17, the “YE” and the “YOU” are plural, and the “IN” may be translated as “AMONG” without violating the KJV.

I Corinthians 3:16 – Know ye not that YE are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth IN YOU? 

The Spirit of God does indeed dwell in such a church that is built together as a habitation of God through his Spirit.

Ephesians 2:22 – In whom YE also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. 

The “YE” in 2:22 is also plural, and there is no question in my mind that God not only indwells each individual believer, but his Spirit also dwells in the midst of those local churches that still worship him in spirit and in the truth.  God’s Spirit indwelt both the tabernacle and the temple in the Holy of Holies as long as they worshipped him in spirit and in truth, and he does today in those churches that still preach the truth he once delivered to the saints.

Jude 3 – Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. 

John 4:23,24 – But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. [24] God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 

Revelation 3:2-4 – Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. [3] Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. [4] Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. 

Revelation 3:19-22 – As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. [20] Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. [21] To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. [22] He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. 



PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 311

August 22, 2008

An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews – Part 5

Appropriate For What Christians Are Facing In These Last Days

Don’t Draw Back From Walking by Faith in Christ!

II Timothy 3:1,12,13 – This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  [12] Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. [13] But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 

Hebrews 11:7 – By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. 

The crux of the message of the entire epistle is a very simple one – Don’t draw back from God in the time of affliction and persecution for your faith in the word of God – Don’t go back to a system of salvation that adds to the blood of Christ, but rather draw near to him in an even greater confidence that his blood alone is the total atonement for all of our sins.  The great number of Old Testament elders, listed in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, are given as examples to those to whom the epistle was written because they did not “draw back” when others stopped believing in the promises of God.  The readers of the epistle are exhorted to do the same.

Ephesians 2:8,9 – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: [9] Not of works, lest any man should boast. 

Genesis 6:8 – But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. 

Noah was not saved because he built the ark – He built the ark because he believed what God said.  Noah had faith in God’s word – He was saved by believing God’s word, then he built the ark.  We must first be saved by his spiritual workmanship through belief in his word – then we do our works of obedience to God.    

I Peter 1:23 – Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 

Ephesians 2:10 – For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. 

The Scripture is quite concise in stating that Noah, in building the ark to save his family, his house, from drowning, presented a visible sign to the world he had been saved by God’s grace, and the rest of mankind was indeed condemned to physical death because they did not do the same and, indeed, Noah did become heir of the righteousness which is by faith.  But what kind of faith did Noah have that saved his soul?  Did he work his way up to heaven to get the promised seed to come down?  Did he descend into the deep to being up the promised seed from hell?  Did his works to help the seed save him by his manual work on the ark?  Describe the RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH IS BY FAITH that caused him to become the heir of it.  WHAT WOULD IT SAY IF IT COULD TALK?

Hebrews 11:7 – By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of THE RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH IS BY FAITH. 

Romans 10:6-10 – BUT THE RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH IS OF FAITH SPEAKETH on this wise, Say NOT in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) [7] OR, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) [8] BUT WHAT SAITH IT? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; [9] THAT if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. [10] For with THE HEART man believeth unto righteousness; and with the MOUTH confession is made unto salvation. 

A man can save his physical life and the physical lives of his house under a lot of circumstances by the works of his hands.  But the salvation of his soul and the souls of those of his house can only be saved by faith in the seed of God, Jesus Christ.

Noah made a boat with his physical hands that lifted up on the waters of the flood and saved the physical lives of his household.  But God’s spiritual hands made a Son that was lifted up, so that men and women might be drawn up to him and have their spiritual lives saved forever.

John 3:14,15 – And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: [15] That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 

John 12:32 – And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. 

Ephesians 2:4-6 – But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, [5] Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) [6] And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 

The works of Noah built an ark that saved his physical life and the lives of his house by water, which lifted all eight of them up above the rest of mankind that died on the surface of the earth.  It is used as a “figure” of physical life being spared in order to compare it with spiritual life being spared by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  What baptism “figures” is what saves the soul, and it “figures” the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.

He lived his life for us, he gave his life for us, he was buried for us, he was resurrected for us, he ascended into heaven for us, and he intercedes for us.  Water baptism does not save us, but what it pictures does save our souls if we believe it.  Water baptism is a figure of what saved us before we ever went into the water.  

I Peter 3:21,22 –The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: [22] Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him. 

If we did not believe what John 11:25,26 states before we entered the water, it was a waste of our time.

John 11:25,26 – Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: [26] And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? 

We merely pictured the death, burial, and resurrection we believed had saved us before we entered the water, and we entered the water in obedience to the one from whom we had previously received the gift of the Holy Spirit, as did the Gentiles at Caesarea. 

Acts 10:47,48 – Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? [48] And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days. 


 PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 312

August 23, 2008

An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews – Part 6

Appropriate For What Christians Are Facing In These Last Days

Don’t Draw Back From Walking by Faith in Christ!

II Timothy 3:1,12,13 – This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. [12] Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. [13] But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

Hebrews 11:8 – By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

In Parts 1 and 2, of this line by line exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews, I laid out 10:32 to 39, which are the keynote verses behind the purpose of the writing of the entire epistle. In Parts 2 through 5, I began to lay out the lives of the many Old Testament elders found in the eleventh chapter of the epistle, which were examples the writer used to encourage the readers to not “draw back from a walk of faith in Christ,” but rather to make a spiritual effort to walk in faith through every type of obstacle placed before them, just as their elders had done before them. I will include those verses on which I previously exposited in Hebrews 10:32 to 11:7 for your consideration in examining 11:8.

Hebrews 10:32 to 11:8 – But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; [33] Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used. [34] For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. [35] Cast not away therefore your confidence which hath great recompence of reward. [36] For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. [37] For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. [38] Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. [39] But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. [1] Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. [2] For by it the elders obtained a good report. [3] Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. [4] By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. [5] By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. [6] But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. [7] By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. [8] By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

Abraham began his walk of faith into a place he would one day receive for an inheritance because he believed God’s promise that all the families of the earth would be blessed in his seed. His obedience was not what saved him – he obeyed because he already had faith in the one the Scriptures call “the God of Abraham.” All those, both Jew and Gentile, who exercise faith in the seed of Genesis 3:15 to save them, are exercising faith in the seed of Abraham, who was before Abraham.

Galatians 3:28,29 – There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. [29] And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

John 8:58 – Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

Genesis 3:15 – And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Colosians 2:9,10 – For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. [10] And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

Galatians 3:6-9 – Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. [7] Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. [8] And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. [9] So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

Galatians 3:13-16 – Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: [14] That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. [15] Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet IF IT BE CONFIRMED, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. [16] Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. (Christ fulfilled the Law at Golgotha)

Genesis 15:6 – And he (Abraham) believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

Romans 4:1-13 – What shall we say then that Abraham, our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? [2] For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. [3] For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. [4] Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. [5] But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. [6] Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, [7] Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. [8] Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. [9] Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. (He lived before the law of Moses)

Galatians 3:16-18 – Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. [17] And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. [18] For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

Romans 10:13 – For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.


PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 313

August 24, 2008

An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews – Part 7

Appropriate For What Christians Are Facing In These Last Days

Don’t Draw Back From Walking by Faith in Christ!

II Timothy 3:1,12,13 – This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  [12] Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. [13] But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 

Hebrews 11:8 – By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

Having begun, Abraham never “drew back” from a life of walking by faith in God’s promises.

Hebrews 10:38 – Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him

Abraham’s faith was real in that it had substance in the things it hoped for, and his going out to receive a place he had never seen for an inheritance, is the evidence of a walk by faith, and not by sight.

II Corithians 5:7 – (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

Hebrews 11:1,2 – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. [2] For by it the elders obtained a good report.

Abraham is called the Father of our faith, and is one of the great examples of an Old Testament elder who did not draw back from a lifetime walk by faith in God’s promised seed, thereby giving the soul of God pleasure, rather than no pleasure because he failed to walk it by faith.  Abraham is cited for the benefit of the reader to understand that such a walk can be made if one’s faith in God does not “draw back” into keeping the law, so as to help God finish a work he has already completed in Christ by the power of the cross.

I Corinthians 1:18 – For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

John 19:30 – When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. 

II Corinthians 5:17-21 – Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away behold, all things are become new. [18] And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconcilia-tion; [19] To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of recon-ciliation. [20] Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. [21] For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 

Colossians 2:9,10 – For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. [10] And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:    

Hebrews 11:9 – By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 

He dwelt in the land of promise without ever inheriting it during his physical life, living with Isaac and Jacob, not as permanent residents of a land they had inherited, but as nomads in tents in a strange country owned by others.  Is it not true that we, as spiritual believers, are spiritual sons and daughters of Abraham, now living as strangers on a planet we shall one day inherit by the promises of the God of Abraham?  Are we not expected to walk by faith in Christ, the seed of God, to the end of our physical lives?  The question is not should we, it is will we – and the theme of the epistle to the Hebrews is the continual exhortation to do so, citing example after example of those who did.

Abraham did not understand precisely what the ruling city in this land God has promised him would be like, but he knew it would be a real city, and would have real and stable foundations to it, because it would be build by the God who had promised him an inheritance.

Hebrews 11:10 – For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. 

We now know a lot more about that city, which is the kingdom complex and ruling city of the millennial and heaven reigns of Abraham’s seed, Jesus Christ.  Daniel, who came long after Abraham, gave the first graphic description of it, and John gave detailed characteristics of it to close the Scriptures.  That is one of the reasons the New Covenant is a much better covenant that the Old Covenant the elders of Hebrews 11 lived under.

Hebrews 11:37-40 – They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; [38] (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. [39] And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: [40] God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. 

Daniel 7:13,14 – I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. [14] And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. 

Hebrews 10:35-37 – Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. [36] For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. [37] For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. 

The promise reward is dwelling in Messiah’s immediate presence where he positions himself in the millennial and heavenly kingdom cities.  The phrase “and will not tarry” does not refer to the chronological time of his coming, but to the manner of his coming when he does, in the twinkling of an eye.

I Corinthians 15:52 – In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 

The word “quickly” in Revelation 22:12 is an adverbial modifier used as a descriptive adjective, and refers to the manner, not time, of his coming.  It will be so quick that people will have no time to repent.

Revelation 22:11-14 – He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. [12] And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. [13] I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. [14] Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 


 PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 314

August 25, 2008

An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews – Part 8

Appropriate For What Christians Are Facing In These Last Days

Don’t Draw Back From Walking by Faith in Christ!

II Timothy 3:1,12,13 – This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. [12] Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. [13] But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

Hebrews 11:11 – THROUGH FAITH also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child WHEN she was PAST AGE, BECAUSE SHE JUDGED HIM FAITHFUL WHO HAD PROMISED.

It was her spiritual faith in a faithful God that caused him to give Sara both spiritual and physical strength to conceive the seed promised by God to Abraham. It was a work of God, not of Sara. It was physically impossible for her to conceive a child at her age, but God made the impossible possible by faith in his faithfulness. Sara did not “draw back” from a walk of faith in God’s promise of a seed as she grew older, because she believed he who promised was faithful. She was used as an example to the readers that they should do the same.

Hebrews 10:23 – LET US HOLD FAST the profession of OUR FAITH WITHOUT wavering; (FOR HE IS FAITHFUL THAT PROMISED;)

Hebrews 6:10-15 – For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. [11] And we desire that EVERY ONE OF YOU do shew the same diligence to the FULL assurance of hope unto THE END: [12] That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. [13] For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, [14] Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. [15] And so, AFTER he had patiently endured, he obtained THE PROMISE.

The Epistle to the Hebrews has a central theme – stay faithful to the one who saves you and keeps you by his power, no matter what you must endure to the end. Why? BECAUSE HE IS FAITHFUL!

He will absolutely be faithful to fulfill all the many great and precious promises he has made to the faithful, and it is by these great and precious promises that we walk by faith, partaking more and more of Christ, and the things of Christ, as we make the journey, the walk of faith in Christ. It is this journey that the Epistle to the Hebrews keeps encouraging them not to “draw back” from, but rather to walk it in faith, adding the things it lists as been added by partaking of Christ.

II Peter 1:3-9 – According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: [4] Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. [5] And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; [6] And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; [7] And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. [8] For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I Peter 2:2-5 – As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: [3] If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. [4] To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, [5] Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 2:22 – In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Romans 12:1-5 – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. [2] And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. [3] For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. [4] For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: [5] So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

Ephesians 5:26-30 – That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, [27] That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. [28] So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. [29] For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: [30] For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

Ephesians 3:21 – Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

       

PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 315

August 26, 2008

An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews – Part 9

Appropriate For What Christians Are Facing In These Last Days

Don’t Draw Back From Walking by Faith in Christ!

II Timothy 3:1,12,13 – This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. [12] Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. [13] But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

Hebrews 11:11,12 – THROUGH FAITH also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child WHEN she was PAST AGE, BECAUSE SHE JUDGED HIM FAITHFUL WHO HAD PROMISED. [12] THEREFORE sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.

“THEREFORE” is a conclusion to verse 11, which was covered in Part 8 – Because God was faithful to keep his promise to Abraham that his seed would become a vast nation of people, we have millions of Jews through his grandson Jacob, the man Israel, and from among those seeds came the single Seed, the man Christ Jesus.

Believers in all nations have been blessed by the gift of salvation God extended to them by God’s seed, his Son.

Genesis 22:15-18 – And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, [16] And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: [17] That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; [18] And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

Galatians 3:16 – Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

And among that great multitude of Jewish descendants were some of the elders of Hebrews 11:2 that lived by faith, and in so doing received a good report of God in this chapter.

Hebrews 11:2 – For by it the elders obtained a good report.

Their characteristics of the faith by which these elders lived follows in verses 13 to 16.

Hebrews 11:13 – These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

Even though they did not receive all of the promises in their lives, they lived lives that clearly proved they could see them spiritually in their hearts, and hugged them close to their breasts as being dear to them, confessing they were just passing through this life with hearts that were looking forward to the next. They did it all living by faith for what they could not see physically. Their lives had substance and gave evidence that could be seen by others that their faith was genuine.

Hebrews 11:1,2 – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. [2] For by it the elders obtained a good report.

Their lives visibly declare that they were looking for a country and a city that God would give them.

Hebrews 11:14-16 – For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. [15] And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. [16] But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

They did not understand in great detail what the city of the country would be like, but they believed God would keep his promise, his covenant, with them. Nor did they understand exactly how the Seed was going to come as their Messiah, their deliverer, as promised by God in Genesis 3:15.

Genesis 3:15 – And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

And they did not understand that the blood of Genesis 3:21 pictured the shed blood of Jesus as the Lamb of God, but they believed that somehow God would keep his promise to deliver them.

Genesis 3:21 – Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

The picture presented here is described in the definition of the Hebrew word “Kaphar,” which basically means “to cover, to provide a covering.”

The coats of animal’s skins pictured Jesus’ future flesh sacrificed to cover the newly inherited sin condition of Eve and Adam, and their innocent shed blood pictured the future sacrificed blood of Christ to wash away their sins, which originated from their newfound condition.


 PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 316

August 27, 2008

An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews – Part 10

Appropriate For What Christians Are Facing In These Last Days

Don’t Draw Back From Walking by Faith in Christ!

II Timothy 3:1,12,13 – This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  [12] Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. [13] But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 

Hebrews 11:13 – These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 

“These all died in faith” refers back to Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Sarah, mentioned in verses 3 to 11.  They are listed to exhort the readers and hearers of the Epistle in all ages to follow their example, specifically to exhort them to not draw back from a walk of faith in Christ, which some in the Hebrew body were already doing.

“Drawing back” has always been common in many local churches on an individual basis but, because of persecution, this local church seems to have been passing though may have may have been a mass exodus, and many were returning to their old way of worship under the Law.

The writer addresses the problem, advising the church they were doing this because they were developing nearsightedness like the individual in II Peter 1:9, in that their spiritual statue was supposed to grow in times of their persecution but, instead of adding to their faith virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love, they were drawing back from their first profession of faith.  They were not looking forward to the things promised, or the elders before them that endured, but were allowing the current persecution near them to be the only thing they could see immediately happening around them. The elders did believe the promises, and they should do the same.  The same is true for any of the Lord’s churches.  They must see the promises of God awaiting them “afar off,” and in so doing, to endure.

II Peter 1:4-9 – Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. [5] And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; [6] And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; [7] And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. [8] For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. [9] But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 

Neither were the Hebrews becoming more and more persuaded of the promises, as were the elders before them. And if one does not become more and more persuaded, after his initially profession, he may draw back from it.  One either becomes more persuaded or less persuaded with the passage of time, depending on the degree to which the word is studied seeking the things of the Kingdom of God.

Abraham, with the passage of time, after he left the land of his birth, seeking a land God promised him and the promise he would have a Son through Sarah, became more and more persuaded it was true.

Romans 4:20,21 – He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; [21] And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 

The Elders, who lived before those Hebrews to whom the Epistle was written, not only saw the promises “afar off, and were persuaded of them,” but they “embraced” them as a living part of the way they lived and endured in their everyday lifestyle, professing openly to those who would listen that “this was not their home,” but that they were strangers and pilgrims just passing along on their way through it.

I Peter 2:9-12 – But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: [10] Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. [11] Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12] Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. 

I Peter 1:5-8 – Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. [6] Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: [7] That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: [8] Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 


PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 317

August 28, 2008

An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews – Part 11

Appropriate For What Christians Are Facing In These Last Days

Don’t Draw Back From Walking by Faith in Christ!

II Timothy 3:1,12,13 – This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  [12] Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. [13] But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 

Hebrews 11:13,14 – These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. [14] For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 

The problem the writer of the book of Hebrews faced, as he wrote to them, was one that needed an encouraging word of exhortation to endure through the discouraging time the church was experiencing, which was a time of seeing some of its members “drawing back” from a walk of faith in Christ. This is one of those things that can depress an entire church – when they see a member forsake assembling with it, and walk no more by faith with Christ. 

All of “the elders” in Chapter 11 had faults, but the one thing they all had in common was the completion of a walk of faith to the last breath, as opposed to “drawing back” from doing so.  They received and believed the future promises of God as thought they could already see them as completed afar off.   The fact that they were persuaded of them, embraced them, confessed them, and sought a country they believed God had prepared for them, was the reason they did not “draw back,” and the writer uses their example to exhort the Hebrews to continue their walk of faith in Christ, and not to “draw back” under the powerless burden of the Law.     

Returning back to the worldly material “country” out of which God led you into his spiritual “country” of his promises is the battle all believers face after they have been initially saved by grace.

Hebrews 11:15 – And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 

Those described in verses 13 and 14 remain faithful due to an ever deepening belief in the reality of the spiritual promises of God.  They are those who “let” the mind of Christ “work” and “grow” in them, being so mindful of the “country” promised them that their thoughts of it block out the temptations of the secular world in which they physically abide.  If their “minds” or attitudes had been drawn back to their old ways by a lack of interest in God’s word, which told them of God’s promises, it is quite likely they would have been drawn back into those old ways.  Whatever one’s mind is set on, to the degree of his or her affection in obtaining it, is where the mind is focused on the securing of it as the treasure desired.

Colossians 3:1-4 – If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. [2] Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. [3] For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. [4] When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. 

Luke 12:34-37 – For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. [35] Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; [36] And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. [37] Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. 


PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 318

August 29, 2008

An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews – Part 12

Appropriate For What Christians Are Facing In These Last Days

Don’t Draw Back From Walking by Faith in Christ!

II Timothy 3:1,12,13 – This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  [12] Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. [13] But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 

Hebrews 11:16 – But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. 

The assembly of the Hebrews had suffered severe trials of persecution and hardship because of their departure from the keeping of the law for salvation in accepting Christ as the Messiah, and in openly professing him as their Savior. The writer, by the leadership of the Spirit, keeps on reminding them of their new found promises of God in Christ, which did not consist of great prosperity in this life, but eternal promises in a kingdom of the God of the elders in Chapter 11 of Hebrews.

There are two future cities made available for believers to dwell in, one on the present earth in the Millennium, and another in the Heaven Age which follows it.    

The dominion and city in the Millennium is described in Ezekiel 40 to 48.

Ezekiel 40:2-4 – In the visions of God brought he me into the land of Israel, and set me upon a very high mountain, by which was as the frame of a city on the south. [3] And he brought me thither, and, behold, there was a man, whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed; and he stood in the gate. [4] And the man said unto me, Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon all that I shall shew thee; for to the intent that I might shew them unto thee art thou brought hither: declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel.

Ezekiel 43:1-5 – Afterward he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh toward the east: [2] And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory. [3] And it was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, even according to the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city: and the visions were like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face. [4] And the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east. [5] So the spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and, behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house.

Ezekiel 48:31-35 –And the gates of the city shall be after the names of the tribes of Israel: three gates northward; one gate of Reuben, one gate of Judah, one gate of Levi. [32] And at the east side four thousand and five hundred: and three gates; and one gate of Joseph, one gate of Benjamin, one gate of Dan. [33] And at the south side four thousand and five hundred measures: and three gates; one gate of Simeon, one gate of Issachar, one gate of Zebulun. [34] At the west side four thousand and five hundred, with their three gates; one gate of Gad, one gate of Asher, one gate of Naphtali. [35] It was round about eighteen thousand measures: and the name of the city from that day shall be, The Lord is there. 

The dominion and City in the final Heaven Age is given in Chapters 21 and 22 of Revelation.

Revelation 21:1-4 – And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. [2] And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. [3] And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. [4] And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 

Revelation 21:14-17 – And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. [15] And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. [16] And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. [17] And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. 

Revelation 21:22-24 – And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. [23] And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. [24] And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. 

Hebrews 11:16 – But now they desire a better country, that is an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God for he hath prepared for them a city. 

The degree or depth of a saved person’s faith is meant to grow from the day of salvation to the day of physical death or changing of the body at the Lord’s coming.  We are saved by faith smaller than a mustard seed, and kept forever by God’s power that saved us.  How much our saved soul’s faith grows in Christ as it lives its life in the flesh will be judged by Christ at his judgment seat, and will determine where we live in the Millennial and Heaven in juxtaposition to where Christ dwells.  I believe the lives our souls live in the flesh, after they are saved by grace through faith, determines where we live in heaven and what we are given to do in service to him.

Galatians 6:7 – Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 

Revelation 22:12 – And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. 

Galatians 2:16-21 – Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. [17] But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. [18] For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. [19] For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. [20] I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. [21] I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. 


PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 319

August 30, 2008

An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews – Part 13

Appropriate For What Christians Are Facing In These Last Days

Don’t Draw Back From Walking by Faith in Christ!

II Timothy 3:1,12,13 – This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  [12] Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. [13] But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 

The Hebrew writer, knowing their “drawing back” under the law from their profession in Christ as Messiah, which was occurring among them on a large scale under heavy trials and persecutions, uses an elder the Hebrews deeply respect as an ultimate example of faith, the father of their faith, the great Abraham.

Hebrews 11:17-19 – By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, [18] Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: [19] Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure. 

The Hebrews, to whom the Epistle was written, knew full well the promise of the “Seed” Messiah and the Land Grant they had been promised by God through the seed of Jacob and Isaac from the loins of Abraham in Genesis 15:18.  And they were quite aware of the trial Abraham endured, as his faith was tested in being asked to sacrifice the only son he had received from Sarah’s totally barren womb, by the promise of Genesis 15:4-6.

Genesis 15:18 – In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: 

Genesis 15:4-6 – And, behold, the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. [5] And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. [6] And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness. 

And now here, late in his life, a man who has seen God give impossible birth from a barren womb, is about to be tested to the ultimate, namely, God says, give me back this son I promised you by sacrificing him to me.  The account of the testing is recorded in Genesis 22 in great detail, verse 5 makes it clear Abraham believed the lad would be restored to him if he sacrificed him, and verse 10 shows he would have sacrificed him in the belief God would restore Isaac to life.  Believers of all ages since the cross who believe God did not hold back his own hand from sacrificing his own Son for our sins, have been from death to life in his Son.  It is the blessing of our salvation in God’s Seed, his Son Jesus, in whom all the nations of the earth have been blessed.

Hebrews 11:19a –Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead;    

Genesis 22:5,10,18 – And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you, [10] And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. [18] And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. 

Galatians 2:20,21 – I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. [21] I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.