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Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 10: The Eternal Inheritance
Presenting the first part of Hebrews chapter 9 we felt that we should elaborate on the common nature of sphinxes and cherubs, the importance of which should not be understated. While the first sphinx-like creatures appeared in Egyptian monuments as early as the 4th dynasty, which is perceived to have begun around 2600 BC, by 1450 BC the sphinx was employed as the symbol by which the Israelites had signified the presence of Yahweh their God, in the inner chamber of the temple and on the ark of the covenant itself. Then after the Israelite settlement of Canaan, variations of the Hebrew cherub, or sphinx, began to appear throughout the lands surrounding the Mediterranean, as well as in the architecture of the Mesopotamian nation-states. So the spread of these cherubs, or sphinxes, seems to coincide with the spread of the early Israelites and their influence throughout the ancient world. The sphinx, or cherub, seems to be one of the oldest Aryan religious symbols, and it is no mistake or coincidence that it was used to represent the presence of the God of Israel. To us, the use and spread of the sphinx, or cherub, in this manner also seems to represent the promise that Yahweh would call His son out of Egypt, the primary reference being to the children of Israel, which is found in Hosea 11:1.
Where Paul mentions the ark of the covenant, we also made it a point to demonstrate that the ark was never present during the period of the second temple, and down to the time of Christ, or even to this very day. We did that to make another point. When presenting Hebrews chapter 8 we illustrated the fact that the kingdom of Judah, as well as Israel, was divorced from Yahweh God. So just because the few from Judah who returned to Jerusalem had built a new temple and continued in their traditions does not mean that the divorce from the kingdom itself did not occur. The people of second-temple Jerusalem had never properly constituted a kingdom, since they were ruled by Levites rather than the rightful kings of Judah, and for most of their history they were under the yoke of three of the different beast empires (Persian, Greek and Roman) of the prophecy of Daniel. Furthermore, since there was no ark of the covenant in the temple, then there was no mercy seat, and there were no tablets of testimony which represented the nuptial agreement between Yahweh and Israel recorded in the book of Exodus. So during the second temple period, the sacrifices could not have been effectual, according to the law which required those things for propitiation from sin. Therefore the people of Judaea, those of the circumcision, were actually existing under the same conditions that the Israelites of the dispersions were living under, which is alienation from God with no propitiation for sin. As we have said earlier in this series of presentations, the entire purpose of the 70-weeks Kingdom, as it is described in Daniel chapter 9, was to bring forth the Messiah, and in that same manner Paul explains here that the entire purpose of the Old Covenant itself was in preparation for the Messiah, Yahshua Christ, who would exhibit the true way to life.
So focusing on these smaller details, we did not want to lose sight of the more important larger picture which has been drawn by Paul of Tarsus from the beginning of this chapter. The apostle seems to have rather passionately described the trappings of the tabernacle in the Old Covenant dispensation as if he also had a sentimental attachment to the symbols, rituals and traditions of the nation. Doing this, perhaps he is on a better footing with his readers when he tells them that these things were only “a parable for the present time”, which reduces the thousand-year dispensation of the Levitical priesthood to the level of a lesson to be learned by men, as Paul himself had called it. Paul then concludes “11 But Christ coming to be high priest of the coming good things, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made by hand (that is, not of this creation,) 12 nor by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood, entered once for all into the holy places, procuring eternal redemption.”
Now as Paul proceeds, he shall go on to elucidate other aspects of this very circumstance, continuing with the theme which he began at the start of this chapter:
13 For if sprinkling those who are defiled with the blood of goats and bulls and ashes of a heifer sanctifies for purity of the flesh, 14 by how much more shall the blood of the Christ, who through the eternal [D has “Holy”; the text follows P17, P46, א, A, B and the MT] Spirit has offered Himself blameless to Yahweh, purify our [א and the MT have “your”; the text follows A and D] consciences [literally “conscience”, singular] - apart from dead rituals - for which to serve Yahweh who lives? [A has “...to serve a living and true God?” Compare 1 Thessalonians 1:9]
The act of expiation under the Old Covenant served to relieve one’s consciousness of the guilt of sin. But as Paul inferred here, this is a merely fleshly expiation, as opposed to the propitiation in Christ. The propitiation being completed, one could suppose oneself to be returned to the favor of God. But under the Old Covenant, no matter the number of sacrifices, men never ceased from sin, and the people in their self-righteousness vaunted themselves above their brethren. Justifying themselves with their sacrifices, the people neglected their obligations to love their brethren. This is an over-simplification of the entire circumstance, but it was expressed by Christ Himself where on more than one occasion he quoted from Hosea where the words of the prophet said “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” So Christ is recorded as having said, in Matthew chapter 12, “7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.”
Under the New Covenant, expiation for sin is not required, as Christ is the only propitiation. However He does require His people to love their brethren, and to keep His commandments. Love is keeping the commandments of God, as the apostle John wrote in his first epistle: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:3). John repeated that theme several times in his epistles. Therefore the children of Israel must know, that under the system of Old Covenant they held off the wrath of God by making expiation for sin, while under the New Covenant they gain the love of God by loving their brethren. In turn, they express that love for their brethren by keeping the commandments of God. As Christ is recorded as having said in John chapter 14: “21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” The sacrifice of Christ represented the love of God for His people, where He died on their behalf, the devotion of His life on the altar of God in service to His brethren. In this manner the blood of Christ is far superior to the blood of the Old Testament sacrifices, where men are shown the true path to the love of God, in turn by devoting their lives to the brethren.
Furthermore, it must be known that the common morality founded in the commandments of God in the Scripture is not for the health of the individual only, but for the health of the community. When a man sins, he sins against the community not only for what he has done, but also for what he has neglected. The Israelites under the Old Covenant never ceased from sin, so the entire community was ultimately destroyed, the righteous along with the wicked. As we read in Ezekiel chapter 21: “Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I am against thee, and will draw forth my sword out of his sheath, and will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked.”
Repeating verses 13 and 14, so that we may discuss other aspects of the passage: “13 For if sprinkling those who are defiled with the blood of goats and bulls and ashes of a heifer sanctifies for purity of the flesh, 14 by how much more shall the blood of the Christ, who through the eternal Spirit has offered Himself blameless to Yahweh, purify our consciences - apart from dead rituals - for which to serve Yahweh who lives?”
In our commentaries on Paul’s epistles to the Romans and Galatians, and especially in Galatians chapter 2, we have asserted that by the phrase works of the law Paul meant to refer not to the commandments, of which the transgression is sin, but to the rituals and sacrifices and ceremonies of the law. Here our assertion is vindicated, and where Paul mentions works in this context, for this reason we translate the word as rituals, as we also had in those other epistles.
Many foolish commentators have contended that Paul taught men to do away with the law itself, but if that were true, he would not have spoken of the need to abstain from sin, since he himself said in Romans chapter 5 that “sin is not imputed when there is no law.” Then in Romans chapter 6 he wrote “15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” Further on, in Romans chapter 7, he said “Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” Although there are many other examples in Paul’s writing, this progression of statements in Romans proves that Paul upheld the commandments of God, as he exhorted men not to sin, and informed them that sin is known by the law.
Here we should also put our lives into Christian perspective. Even many Identity Christians place far too much value on their fates and trials in this life, when they should be focused on loving their brethren and their fate in the life to come. And if we think lightly of a life to come, then there is no point in even trying to understand Christianity at all. If Paul of Tarsus can reduce the entire thousand-year dispensation of the Levitical priesthood to the level of a parable, then we must understand that the lessons learned by us here in this life are of more value than this life itself, since there is indeed a greater purpose to our being here than this life alone. For that reason, among other things Christ had said “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17). For the Christian, death is an entrance into life, and therefore the meaning of this life can be reduced to serve us as a parable.
The Old Testament rituals were required by Yahweh God for temporary propitiation so as to avoid punishment for sin. But they themselves did not remove sin. Rather, we may esteem them a part of the greater lesson, that man cannot save himself, and therefore man should seek to be obedient to God. Therefore Paul continues:
15 And for this reason He [Christ] is a mediator of a new covenant, so that from death resulting in redemption of the transgressions against the first covenant, those having been invited would receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
Rather than “those having been invited”, the King James Version has “they which are called”, a translation which leaves the impression that perhaps the calling may be ongoing, or even occur at some point in the future. The phrase οἱ κεκλημένοι is a Substantive formed from a plural participle of the perfect tense. In other words, it describes a plural entity which had already been called, and not one which may be called at some point in the future. The root verb καλέω (Strong’s # 2564) is to call, summons or invite, and therefore we chose invite. As Paul cited Jeremiah in Hebrews chapter 8, the new covenant was made with the house, or family, of Israel, and the house, or family, of Judah, and nobody else was ever called or invited to be a partaker.
This Paul had also written in Romans chapter 8 where he said “28, But we know that to those who love Yahweh all things work together for good, to those who in accordance with purpose are called. 29 Because those whom He has known beforehand, He has also appointed beforehand, conformed to the image of His Son, for Him to be first born among many brethren. 30 Moreover, those whom He has appointed beforehand, these He also calls; and those whom He calls, these He also deems worthy; while those whom He deems worthy, these He also honors.” In Amos chapter 3 we read the same purpose which Paul explains here of Christ, where the Word of Yahweh says: “1 Hear this word that the LORD hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying, 2 You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” So Paul says here that the death of Christ is for the “redemption of the transgressions against the first covenant”, and there is no other reason given for His death, as this is the reason that Christ died for sin. Since only Israel had the law, only Israel was imputed with sin, and only Israel was redeemed in Christ, and only Israel has the promise of the eternal inheritance.
The last 26 chapters of the book of the prophet Isaiah are addressed to the Israelites as they were scattered, having been written as the deportations of Israel were underway. In chapter 41 Isaiah explicitly informs us who was called and who was chosen, where the Word of Yahweh says: “8 But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. 9 Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.” So once again, only those scattered Israelites of the houses of Israel and Judah may constitute “those having been invited” who “would receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.” Throughout his epistles Paul informs us that all of the promises of God are fulfilled to the people who were under the Old Covenant, the ancient children of Israel. Denominational Christianity, claiming to derive many of its doctrines from the epistles of Paul, consistently denies what Paul had written.
As Moses was the mediator of the Old Covenant, which Paul infers in Hebrews chapter 8, now Christ is Mediator of the New Covenant, and in several ways he explicitly states that the new covenant is made with those same people who failed to keep the old covenant. The children of Israel are the heirs of the covenant, but there are some denominational churches which attempt to designate Christ as the heir of the New Covenant, and that is not true. Then they claim that anyone who believes in Jesus can be an heir with Him no matter their race or origin, and that is not true. If it were true, then in effect God would have made a covenant with Himself alone, and the promises to Abraham would be nullified and meaningless. Christ may be the heir of all things, as Paul had attested in Hebrews chapter 1, but He is not the heir of the covenant, except in the sense that He as first-born is therefore chief among the heirs of the covenant.
In Galatians chapter 3 Paul said: “15 Brethren, (I speak as befits a man,) even a validated covenant of man no one sets aside, or makes additions to for himself. 16 Now to Abraham the promises have been spoken, and to his offspring. It does not say ‘and to offsprings’, as of many; but as of one: ‘and to your offspring,’ which are anointed.” The denominational churches claim that Christ is the single seed of promise, but that is not true. Isaac is the seed of promise, as Paul explains in Romans chapter 9, “7 nor because they are offspring of Abraham all children: but, ‘In Isaac will your offspring be called.’ 8, That is to say, the children of the flesh, these are not children of Yahweh, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.” In that passage of Romans 9, the singular Greek word for seed, σπέρμα, is used collectively of a plurality of children, and so it is in Galatians chapter 3 where Paul contrasts groups of children.
In both Galatians 3 and Romans 9 Paul is narrowing the children of the promise down to the children of Isaac, and then to Jacob. In Galatians 3:15 the many excluded seeds are those of Ishmael, the sons of Keturah, and Esau – which Paul explains in Romans 9. These discounted seeds are “children of the flesh”, but the promise was only carried through Isaac and Jacob, for various reasons seen in the accounts of Genesis. So we see in that passage of Romans 9 that there are children of the promise in Jacob, the plural collective seed, and not merely a single child.
Further on in Galatians chapter 3, Paul also said that the covenant was confirmed in Christ, explaining that Christ is the mediator, and that it was given to Abraham. There he said in verse 18: “For if from law, the inheritance is no longer from promise, but to Abraham through a promise Yahweh has given it freely.” This meant that the keeping of the Old Testament law was not a requirement to receive the inheritance. So Abraham is the recipient, or heir, of the covenant, and the promise is passed on to his seed through Isaac and Jacob. That the heirs are the collective offspring of Abraham is evident in Galatians 3:20 where Paul said “And the mediator is not of one, but Yahweh is one.” So there is more than one individual being delivered the covenant by the mediator. Paul then made a conditional statement which expresses a factual implication where he said in Galatians 3:29 that “But if you are Christ's, then of the offspring of Abraham you are heirs according to promise.” Therefore if one is not of the offspring of Abraham having the promises, then one is not of Christ. Explaining the promise to Abraham in Romans chapter 4 Paul confirms this, where he had attested that “then the promise is to be certain to all of the offspring, not to that of the law only, but also to that of the faith of Abraham, who is father of us all”. The children of Israel in their dispersions had not kept the law, but they were still the recipients of the promise.
Abraham was indeed the forefather of Hebrews and Romans alike, and also of the Galatians and the other recipients of his epistles, all of whom had descended from ancient Israelites. Then Paul speaks of Abraham in that same place in Romans 4 and says “who contrary to expectation, in expectation believed, for which he would become a father of many nations according to the declaration, ‘Thus your offspring will be...’”, and Paul had taught this very thing to all of the people to whom he had written epistles, that they were the literal descendants of the Old Testament Israelites, and for that reason were they the heirs to the covenants of God. In the formative centuries of modern Europe, from as early as 1600 BC, the promises to Abraham were slowly being fulfilled, that his seed would become many nations. This is regardless of the fact that other related peoples were already inhabiting parts of Europe, something which is described in Genesis chapter 10. Paul continues in relation to the testaments:
16 (For where there is a testament, it is necessary to endure the death of the testator. 17 A testament is certain in death [literally “deaths”], since never would it avail when the testator lives.)
The word which was translated as testament on two occasions here is διαθήκη (Strong’s # 1242), which is covenant nearly everywhere else that it appears. The word is used with both meanings, covenant and will, in secular Greek writings as well as here in this epistle to the Hebrews, where the context clearly exhibits the usage. The word testator is from a verbal form of the same word, which is διατίθεμαι (Strong’s # 1303).
Here Paul employs the word διαθήκη in the sense of a will, as the word διατίθεμαι as it is used here refers to someone who is making a will. There is contention among some commentators that the equivalent Hebrew word, beriyth, (Strong’s # 1285) does not have the same signification. Even if that was true, it is immaterial since Paul may only be taking advantage of the Greek use of the term while averring that Yahweh God had to die in order to fulfill the covenant promises. Paul does, after all, employ the Septuagint in his citations of the Old Testament.
However on the other hand, there are indications in Scripture that the eldest son, or the designated heir, did by custom inherit the covenants made by his father, and therefore being enforced they serve under the expression of a will. This is evident in 1 Kings chapter 15, where in the King James Version the word for covenant is translated as league. There it is expressed that the sons of David and Hiram inherited the covenant made by their respective fathers. It is also evident in the succession of kings from David to Solomon and beyond, based on the covenant which David had made with the princes of Israel in 2 Samuel chapter 5, where the word for covenant is again translated as league. Thus the word beriyth, where it is used in relation to the concepts of the covenant and the promises of inheritance, must have also had the signification which Paul uses here in relation to the Greek word διαθήκη.
Yahshua Christ is God manifest in the flesh, and unless this primary concept is understood, neither this passage here in Hebrews nor the opening passage of Romans chapter 7 can be understood. Neither can many passages in the prophets be understood, such as Hosea 2:19-20 where Yahweh promises to betroth Israel forever, but in the New Testament Yahshua Christ is the bridegroom. As Paul explains in Romans chapter 7, Christ being Yahweh God in the flesh had released Israel the wife from the judgments of the law by dying so that she would be released from the law of the husband. Therefore He is both Father and Son.
The old covenant was only one way by which Yahweh chose to organize and preserve Israel in order to keep the promises to Abraham. The promises made under the old covenant were conditional upon Israel’s behavior, and Israel failed. Because Israel sinned, Yahweh is under no obligation to uphold His end of the bargain, as His promises to Israel in Exodus chapter 19 and beyond were all conditional. But the promises to Abraham were unconditional, and as Paul had explained in Galatians chapter 3, they could not be annulled by the law which came several centuries later. So the new covenant is not dependent on the old covenant, nor is it derived from the old covenant. Rather, both the old and the new covenants represent different stages of the keeping of the promises to Abraham by God, and are methods by which He chose to organize and preserve the children of the promises. And just because some men have attempted to include other people in that promise does not change the intentions of God, since the promises are only intended for Abraham’s legitimate seed. Likewise, wicked men also attempted to admit the enemies of God among the Israelites of the old covenant, and they also failed. The punishment for the same act has not changed under the new covenant, which Christ calls “blasphemy of the Holy Spirit”.
So here is where Yahweh had to die: He was compelled to keep the promises to Abraham, and this has a two-fold perspective. After the manner in which covenants were made in the ancient world, the parties to the covenant were bound to death if they failed to keep their oaths, in a ceremony conducted when they passed through the divided pieces of an animal. So we read in Genesis chapter 15: “3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. 4 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. 7 And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. 8 And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? 9 And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. 10 And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. 11 And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away. 12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. 13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. 15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. 16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. 17 And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. 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...”
This act of passing through the pieces of a divided animal to keep a covenant is mentioned again in Jeremiah chapter 34. There it is described that the men of Jerusalem had made such a covenant with God, and that they would be destroyed because they broke it, where we read: “17 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Ye have not hearkened unto me, in proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother, and every man to his neighbour: behold, I proclaim a liberty for you, saith the LORD, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine; and I will make you to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth. 18 And I will give the men that have transgressed my covenant, which have not performed the words of the covenant which they had made before me, when they cut the calf in twain, and passed between the parts thereof, 19 The princes of Judah, and the princes of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, and the priests, and all the people of the land, which passed between the parts of the calf; 20 I will even give them into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of them that seek their life: and their dead bodies shall be for meat unto the fowls of the heaven, and to the beasts of the earth.”
The promises of Genesis chapter 15 only represent some of the promises made to Abraham, but they were made without condition, and Yahweh had passed through the parts of the divided animal, but Abraham did not. So there is no condition upon Abraham, nothing is required of him, and everything is required of Yahweh. So Yahweh God cannot back out of fulfilling these promises for any reason, unless He would break His promise to Abraham. Either way, Yahweh had to die: He had to die by His Oath if He failed to keep His promise, and He had to die by His law if He wanted to keep His promise. Of course, Yahweh chose to die in order to keep the promises to Abraham, and at the same time to reconcile Himself with Israel, by releasing the wife from the law of the husband so the nation avoided the penalty of death which it faced under that law. Otherwise the law at Deuteronomy chapter 24 forbids such reconciliation, as the husband cannot be reconciled to a divorced wife once she has been with another man, something which would be an abomination to God. Furthermore, the law having been fulfilled with the death of the Husband, Yahweh being eternal met the conditions of the law while having the opportunity to be reconciled with Israel the wife in the promised new covenant.
And here, based on the meaning of the Greek words διατίθεμαι and διαθήκη. Paul takes the explanation one step further. He is certainly correct that the covenants of God could not be fulfilled unless God Himself died as a man, which is what He had done in Christ. The death of God in Christ ensures the inheritance of Creation is left to Abraham according to the covenants which God made with Abraham. But the acquisition and maintenance of that inheritance is assured through Christ, who is both a descendant of Abraham and Yahweh God himself. Only in that understanding can it be explained according to the law of God just how Christ had died so that anyone of Israel could be forgiven for their sins, and how God had died to ensure the covenant promises describing the inheritance of Abraham. Once it is fully understood, this multidimensional meaning of the death of Yahweh in Christ is an awesome aspect of the Word of God.
Paul continues by contrasting the covenants, where in relation to the blood and death of Christ in the new covenant he says:
18 Whereupon neither had the first been consecrated without blood. 19 For each commandment spoken by Moses to all the people according to the law, taking the blood of calves and goats [P46 wants “and goats”; the text follows א, A, and C, the MT which varies slightly, and also D which has “of goats and calves”] with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, he sprinkled both the Scroll itself and all the people 20 saying: “This is the blood of the covenant which Yahweh has enjoined to you.”
Here Paul cites Exodus 24:8. Reading the wider passage, we shall see that the fulfillment of the old covenant required a profession of obedience from the people: “6 And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. 7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient. 8 And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.” So Paul continues with his description:
21 And the tabernacle and then all the vessels of the service he sprinkled with blood in like manner. 22 And almost anything is purified in blood according to the law, and apart from bloodshed there comes no remission.
Notice that Paul said that almost anything is purified in blood according to the law. The things which could not be reconciled through atonement were commanded to be destroyed, for which reason some sins required the death of the sinner. So apart from blood, either in expiation or in death, there was no remission for sin.
The ultimate sin of the children of Israel was their fornication and idolatry, both physical and spiritual intermingling with the gods and people of other nations. So it says in Jeremiah chapter 2: “13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” It also says in Hosea chapter 5: “7 They have dealt treacherously against the LORD: for they have begotten strange children: now shall a month devour them with their portions.” These two passages are describing the same sins. These sins of idolatry and fornication could not be expiated under the law, as the law demands the death of the sinner. All of Israel had sinned, and therefore all of Israel were under the penalty of death. But if Yahweh destroyed all of Israel, He could not keep the promises made to Abraham, which superseded the old covenant. So He died for Israel, fulfilling the law of the husband by releasing the wife from its penalties, so that He could make a new covenant in Christ and betroth Himself to Israel through Christ. Doing this, He is able to forgive and reconcile Israel, while keeping the promises to Abraham and keeping Himself to His Own law, which is more important to Him than it has been to men.
In this manner is the fulfillment of the law, the prophets as well as the promises to the fathers. So it is not that Christ came to end the law or to merely replace the old covenant. Rather, by precisely keeping the law Christ exhibited the elements of the law which transcend the old covenant. And Christ did not come to keep the old covenant, but rather He came to keep the Abrahamic covenant which also transcends the old covenant. So it says in chapter 1 of Luke: “71 That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; 72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; 73 The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, 74 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, 75 In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.” These words were attributed to Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist. As for the Jews, it is they who killed John the Baptist, who killed Zacharias, and who killed Christ, and they despised the offer of mercy and the promises to the fathers, so therefore they must be among the enemies from which Zacharias had hoped to be delivered.
Now, speaking of the blood required for remission of sins, Paul wrote:
23 So it is a necessity indeed, for these patterns of the things in the heavens to be purified by these means [literally “purified in these”], but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ entered not into holy places made by hand, representations of the true, but into heaven itself, to appear now in the presence of Yahweh on our behalf.
In chapter 3 of his first epistle, the apostle John wrote: “1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 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. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” So being sons of God, although “it doth not yet appear what we shall be”, we must know that the ceremonial paradigms of the old testament congregation were only a model, or pattern, of the things in the heavens, but they were not the heavenly things themselves. However being sons of God, where Christ said in Luke chapter 6 that “40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master”, we must know that He has brought us further along the path to making those better sacrifices of which Paul speaks.
Under the laws of the old covenant, men who sinned made reparations to their brethren and offered sacrifices to God hoping for propitiation for their sin. With Christ in the new covenant, men express their love for one another by keeping the law and make their sacrifices to their brethren by helping to provide for their fleshly as well as their spiritual needs. As it is written in Luke chapter 19, the sinner “Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. 9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.” Under the sacrificial system the result is that men seek to justify themselves, while a Christian should seek to edify his brethren, understanding that his sins shall be forgiven, as Paul continues to explain that this has been done once for all of Israel:
25 Nor that He should present Himself often, just as the high priest enters into the holy places each year with another’s blood; 26 since it was necessary for Him to suffer often from the foundation of the society, then now once in the consummation of the ages He has appeared for an abolition of wrongdoing through His sacrifice.
We are going to present verses 25 and 26 in segments, as there are several important aspects to Paul’s words which must be considered carefully:
25 Nor that He should present Himself often,
Christ did not have to present Himself often, but, as Paul shall explain, only once for all time.
...just as the high priest enters into the holy places each year with another’s blood; 26 since it was necessary for him to suffer often from the foundation of the society,
Where it says “necessary for him to suffer often”, our New Testament had erroneously capitalized the word him, which relates to the high priest, not to Christ. We have just made the correction, and have also removed a dash from the puncuation, deciding that we do not require the additional emphasis.
The high priests of Israel had to enter into the holy places often, as they were commanded to do so once each year, from the foundation of the world, or society. The King James Version used the word world here as a translation of the Greek word κόσμος. This serves to demonstrate that the world is not the planet, but only the organization of the children of Israel into a society, as we usually translate κόσμος in the Christogenea New Testament. In other words, according to these words written by Paul of Tarsus, the world of which he speaks was founded when the Levitical priesthood was organized and given the law. So the world which Paul describes is only the world of the children of Israel, and according to Scripture, because no one else was given the law, the high priests were only making sacrifices on behalf of the children of Israel.
Now, as a digression, we must say that in fact, for all those who would insist that we follow the King James Version, in Job 37:11-12 we read “11 Also by watering he wearieth the thick cloud: he scattereth his bright cloud: 12 And it is turned round about by his counsels: that they may do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth.” So according to such reasoning, the world is in the earth, but the world is not the earth itself. With that we would certainly agree.
In the final clause of this passage, Paul contrasts the high priest who had to perform the sacrifices often to the Christ who had only to perform His sacrifice once:
...then [meaning at Paul’s time, speaking generally of the time of Christ] now once in the consummation of the ages He has appeared for an abolition of wrongdoing [or “sin”] through His sacrifice.
The first three words, “then now once”, are taken from the literal meanings of three Greek words, νυνὶ δὲ ἅπαξ, which in the original word order is “now then once”. However the Greek word δέ is always written second in the order of a clause, and at the same time it marks the beginning of a clause, whereby in our language we must give it the first place. By this we also know that here we have a new clause, which must be understood in contrast to the clause which precedes. So for that reason, the phrase “from the foundation of the society” belongs with the previous clause, and not with this clause. Most denominational translations have that aspect of the translation correct, although they nevertheless fail to understand the meaning of the previous clause.
The meaning which Paul assigns here to the sacrifice of Christ is substantiated in part by the prophet Daniel, who wrote of the purpose of the 70-Weeks kingdom that would culminate in the coming of “Messiah the Prince” that it was “to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” The certainty of the fulfillment of this prophecy in Yahshua Christ is found in the history of first century Judaea and the crucifixion itself, as Daniel went on to prophecy of the cutting off of the Messiah, the duration of His ministry, and the destruction of the city in the aftermath. All of this happened within the framework of time which Daniel’s prophecy had also provided, and therefore no other Messiah can ever be expected.
27 And inasmuch as it is reserved for men to die once, and judgment after that, 28 so also Christ had been offered once to make contribution for the errors of many. He shall appear a second time apart from errors, to those who look to Him for preservation. [A and 0285 insert “through faith” at the end of this verse; the text follows P46, א, C, D, and the MT.]
Just as Paul had written to the Corinthians in chapter 15 of his first epistle to them, that “Just as in Adam all die, then in that manner in Christ all shall be produced alive”, so he states here to the Hebrews. In the promises of preservation to Abraham, the old Adamic world had passed away. Nearly all of the Adamic nations of Genesis chapter 10 were already passed away or no longer recognizable by the time of Christ. But by the time of Christ, the promises to Abraham had been fulfilled, and people with names not found in the Old Testament, such as the Germanic Galatae, the Parthians, and the Romans, had come to dominate the world. These, as well as some others, were the seed of Abraham through whom the Adamic race was promised preservation and ultimate salvation.
Paul explains the bigger picture in Romans chapter 5, where he writes that “12 For this reason, just as by one man sin entered into the Society, and by that sin death, and in that manner death has passed to all men, on account that all have sinned: 13 (for until the law sin was in the Society; but sin was not accounted, there not being law; 14 but death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned resembling the transgression of Adam, who is an image of the future. 15 But should not, as was the transgression, in that manner also be the favor? Indeed if in the transgression of one many die, much greater is the favor of Yahweh, and the gift in favor, which is of the one man Yahshua Christ, in which many have great advantage. 16 And not then by one having sinned is the gift? Indeed the fact is that judgment of a single one is for condemnation [a reference to Christ Himself], but the favor is from many transgressions into a judgment of acquittal. 17 For if in the transgression of one, death has taken reign through that one, much more is the advantage of the favor, and the gift of justice they are receiving, in life they will reign through the one, Yahshua Christ.) 18 So then, as that one transgression [of Adam] is for all men for a sentence of condemnation, in this manner then through one decision of judgment [the decision of Christ to die for His people] for all men is for a judgment of life. 19 Therefore even as through the disobedience of one man the many were set down as sinners, in this manner then through the obedience of One [Christ] the many will be established as righteous. 20 Moreover, law entered in addition, that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, favor exceeded beyond measure, 21 that just as sin reigned in death, so then favor shall reign through justice for life eternal, through Yahshua Christ our Prince.”
So the promises to Abraham were made for an even greater purpose: that God could eventually demonstrate His righteousness to the entire Adamic race, and restore that race to the destiny for which it was originally created. The original appointment of men to die is found in the original transgression, as part of the resulting punishment explained in Genesis 3:19: “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” But at that same time, the Adamic race was promised a return path, and the preservation of that path, in that same chapter of Genesis where it says a little further on: “22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: 23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”
The Tree of Life is Christ, and in the end it is the only tree found in the city of God, described in Revelation chapter 22, as He explains in John chapter 15 that He is the vine, and tells His disciples that they are the branches. The cherubim, or sphinxes, are as ancient as the fall of Adam, and they guard the path by which Adam may ultimately return to the garden of Eden, which represents communion with God, and in turn is represented by the inner chamber of the temple of Yahweh. Thousands of years later, the temple and the ark of the covenant wherein the law was kept were adorned with those same cherubim, because ultimately, the keeping of the law of God is the path back to Eden and communion with God. The cherubim were placed at the east end of the garden, because that is where the sun rises, which is also a symbolic prophecy of Christ.
That man dies and is then judged demonstrates the continued existence of the Adamic spirit on an ethereal plane, for which Christ was said by Peter as having preached the Gospel to the dead while in the bowels of the earth. But to achieve reconciliation with God, only Christ – being a man as well as being God Himself – could enter into the heavenly places on behalf of man. As Paul describes in 1 Corinthians chapter 15, the resurrection is obtained by those having that eternal spirit. Those of the surviving Adamic race, the children of Abraham through Jacob Israel who have expectation in Christ, will indeed see victory in Christ at His return, at which time the ultimate communion and the consummation of all of these covenants shall be achieved. That is the eternal inheritance.