The Efficacy of His Priestly Ministry

Scripture: Hebrews 8:1, Hebrews 7:25, Hebrews 10:19-25
Date: 06/21/2008 
Lesson: 12
The Bible reveals that Jesus has been ministering in the heavenly sanctuary on behalf of sinners since He left the earth two thousand years ago.
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Good morning. Happy Sabbath. We're so glad that you are joining us for another "central study hour," coming to you from the Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church right here in sunny Sacramento, California. I'd like to welcome our visitors, those of you who are joining us from across the country and around the world, listening on the radio, watching live this morning on the internet at, or watching 3 weeks delayed on the various networks. We're so glad that you are joining us this morning for music and for study.

I would like to make a special welcome to I cantori, who you will see behind me. They are all the way from pacific union college. And they have come to join us this morning and bless us with their music. So I know you're going to be blessed as you listen to them. Our first request this morning is 645, "God of our fathers.

" This is from elaine in golden valley, Arizona. This was her favorite, 645. We'll do verses 1, 2, and 4... I love that song. Thank you so much, elaine for requesting that.

Not many people have requested that, so that was exciting to see that this morning. If those of you who haven't written in with a song request, or you have, I know that everybody has them, go to our website,, click on the "contact us" link. And you can send in your favorite request. And we will sing that for you on an upcoming Sabbath. Our opening song, 86, "how great thou art" is a favorite of a lot of people here at central and those around the world.

This comes as a request this morning from alvin courwin and ellia in australia, maria in Canada, Daniel in england, abel in puerto rico, ally in malawi, amarachi in nigeria, ally in malawi, andanayos in saudi arabia, carol and kevin in florida, tina and don in Montana, claudine in New York, Michael and robert in Ohio, don and cindy in Pennsylvania, and alicia in england who is 7 years old. And she watches every week with her brother Joshua who is 11. So Happy Sabbath alicia and Joshua and everybody else who wrote in with 86. Verses 1, 2, and 4, "how great thou art..." Aren't you looking forward to that day, when we're in heaven and we're all kneeling at Jesus' feet and we're saying, "how great thou art!" And the angel choirs will sing. Oh, it'll be just like you guys, but even better.

You guys are really good, okay. Oh, I am looking forward to that day. Let us bow our heads for prayer at this time. Father in Heaven, you truly are great. And this morning we want to worship you.

We want to dedicate our lives to you. And we just want to thank you for saving us and giving us the hope of salvation, giving us a new life, a new heart this morning. I pray that you will come and live inside of us, that we'll be lights for you in this dark world and that soon one day, we'll be together in heaven, with each other and with our friends and our families. And we'll be worshipping at your feet forever and ever. We thank you so much for your love.

We thank you for just bringing us together this morning to worship you, in Jesus' Name. Amen. At this time, our lesson study is going to be brought to us by steven allred. He is our youth pastor here at central church. Welcome to Sabbath school this morning.

I want to draw your attention to our free offer first of all, "Jesus and his sanctuary." Call in to our number: -788-3966 for it. It's offer number 768, "Jesus and the sanctuary." Yesterday I was looking on And as I opened the page up, something caught my attention. It was a picture of some native south Americans. Some of them were painted in bright red and others were with different headdresses on, it looked like, pointing their bow and arrows up at the sky.

And the picture was taken from an airplane that had flown across a part of the amazon jungle there where-- the rainforest--where about where the border of peru and brazil intersect. And as they analyzed these photos, and as the people who had taken them began to think about who the natives that they were seeing below might be, they realized that these were probably one of the over 100 uncontacted tribes that still live in the amazon rainforest. Very interesting because if you're like me, I think that everyone in our world must be connected, right; we all know about each other. Everyone is able to turn the tv on and they can find out what's going on in the world, but yet today as we sit here today there are people who don't know about the rest of the world. Isn't that amazing? Amazing to think about.

And as I read this story yesterday, I looked at the pictures, I thought, wow, these are some people who have no idea that outside of their jungle is a world with billions of people. They've never seen a city or a skyscraper before. An airplane must be a really scary thing, right? Imagine having some noisy, flying thing come over your village, you know. They showed a picture. The picture had a--the picture contained the natives there as well as some of their homes where they lived, like a longhouse, a thatched-roof longhouse.

It was really interesting to look at. And as I thought about that, I thought these people have never seen some of the things that we live with every day. They don't know about automobiles or high gas prices. Do they? They don't know about shopping malls or supermarkets. And maybe they're lucky to not know about some of these things, right? And so it led me to think.

It reminds me that there are still people in this world who do not know Jesus. Isn't that right? But it's not just in the jungle, somewhere in south America that there are people like this. In fact, it is here even within our urban jungles. Isn't that right? That there are people who, oh, maybe they know about Jesus, but they don't know Jesus, right? Still people. Maybe it's in the cubicle next to yours at the office.

Or it's the person who lives down the streets a few doors. But there are people in our world, not only in these places where there are tribes that are uncontacted, but here as well that do not know Jesus. But yesterday I began to imagine. I thought, suppose that we were to go ahead and make contact with this particular tribe that was photographed there in the amazon. We were to land our plane somewhere not far away on a area that we could do that.

And somehow hike through the jungle and stumble upon this little village. And so we get there and surprisingly the natives are friendly. And we find that we can communicate fairly easily by using sign language. And we spend enough time, we begin to learn their dialect and soon we can communicate. And so we, as time passes, we begin to think how can we tell them that outside of their jungle, there exists a world of billions of people? And how can we describe to them what this world is like? And so we begin to think.

And we think, well, you know what? We'll get our laptop out that we've carried in with us. And we'll pop in a dvd of, I don't know, New York city or, you know, show them something of what the world is like. And so we play them a video. And they watch. And as they watch the video, the incredulous looks on their faces tell the story of what's going on inside of their mind, right? And then we think, well, what else can we do? And so we begin to build a little village out of sticks and mud maybe.

And we get our model cars out and we--you know, our little cars that kids play with? Matchbox. No what are they called? Yeah, you know, the little-- I used to have those when I was a kid. What? Hotwheels. Thank you. And we drive our cars.

And they begin to look. And they realize, we realize that they are beginning to understand a little bit more about this world that exists outside their jungle. They begin to believe. Did you know that we are like that tribe in the jungle, shut out from the rest of the universe, quarantined from the rest of creation? Like the amazon tribe, our ancestors once had knowledge of a larger world, but over time we become enclosed in our own little world. And all that we know as reality is the next tribe a few miles away in the jungle.

And we've heard about something far, far away called the ocean, called another group of people, called another civilization. But all we know is our own reality. And for us to believe that a world existed outside of our reality was unthinkable. For us to buy into a civilization, a universe cosmic reality that we had never seen seemed impossible. And so God decided to do something amazing.

And so before we talk about that, let's go back and let's talk about the beginning. We were created. Our first parents were created in a perfect world, but then they sinned. And after sin came into the world, we know what happened, God's first concern was for the restoration of the human race and the security of the universe. And he realized that the only way to do that was to allow a member of the Godhead to die.

And so in order for God to get our participation in this plan for humans to be involved, he informed our first parents of what he was going to do to save them and us, their descendents. And then he put in place a teaching device, a model, something that would help future generations to understand and to keep it before them perpetually what this plan of salvation was all about. And it was called the sanctuary, right? I want to read something from the book by steven haskell called, "the cross and its shadow." Listen to what it says, it says, "the patriarchs," those were the, you know, people like Noah and seth and methuselah and even Abraham and Isaac. "They lived near the Lord." They would actually talk with God. They would communicate with him.

"And they did not need many forms or ceremonies to teach them the one grand truth that sin could be atoned for only by the death of one who was sinless." They didn't need a lot of little teaching devices and model cars, dvds, because they could grasp it, it seemed like easier. "They only needed a rough altar and an innocent lamb to connect their faith with the infinite sin-bearer." But as time went on the jungle grew thicker. And inside that jungle, we began to lose sight of what it was all about. The darkness of sin came upon us. And shut off from heaven and from God and from truth, we forgot what it was all about.

And so it wasn't until after the Exodus from Egypt that God said, "you know what?" I gotta do something to get these people to understand what this is all about, right? And so again, steven haskell says this, he says, "as the Israelites were coming out of Egyptian slavery, because they could not grasp the truths without simple illustrations, God gave them the system of worship that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had followed, but in kindergarten form, just as we would use the kindergarten methods to teach children lessons which adults can easily comprehend. They had drifted so far away that they could not comprehend how God could live with them being invisible. And so God said, 'let them make me a sanctuary, that I can dwell among them.' And that sanctuary was a shadow of the one that was in heaven." And so let's look at it. In Exodus 25 is the verse that I just quoted part of. And let's go there, Exodus 25:9.

You know the verse. Actually verse 8 and 9, "let them," verse 8, "construct a sanctuary for me, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I am going to show you, as the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture, just so you shall make it." And so God showed Moses a picture of what he wanted him to make. Today I want to talk about just a few of the different parts of that sanctuary. Part of what it was made up of.

And if you read your Bible, and you read through the book of Exodus, you find that the very first piece of the sanctuary that was constructed was what? The ark of the covenant, right? The very center, the very heart of the sanctuary. That was the first part. It wasn't the walls. It wasn't the little tents, you know, that everything went inside of. It was the heart, the very center of this building, what it was all about.

It was the ark of the covenant. Now if you recall, something was inside the ark of the covenant. The ark of the covenant by the way was a box. It was not a very big box, but it was made out of acacia wood, covered with gold. And on top of it were two solid-gold cherubim, right, that were facing each other.

Their wings were touching at the top. And this box was--and something was inside of it. What was inside of it? The Ten Commandments. Yeah, I think some have drawn the conclusion and I've believed this for a while, but I don't know that it's actually true that there was also the pot of manna and aaron's rod that budded inside of the ark. If you read some verses, Numbers 17:10 and Deuteronomy 10:1-2 and Exodus 16:33, it seems as though those articles were placed near the ark.

I think some have drawn the conclusion from Hebrews 9:4 where Paul says they were--he gives the impression that they were inside of it, but I think he means they were in the most holy place there. According to 1 Kings 8:9, let's look at it, 1 Kings 8:9. Listen to what this ark of the covenant was all about. This is what it was all about. Kings 8:9, it says, "there was nothing in the ark except the two tablets of stone, which Moses put there at horeb.

" Wow. That was the purpose of this box. It was to hold inside of it God's ten commandment law, his way to live, his perfect law. There's another part of that box that was so essential, at least for us, right? 'Cause I don't know about you, but I'm not real good at perfectly keeping the ten commandment law. Are you? Well, God wants to get us to the place where we can obey his Ten Commandments perfectly, right? But that's something that comes--it's a growth process, isn't it? And so on top of that boxed with something called "the mercy seat.

" Isn't that nice to know. There was a mercy seat. In fact that combination of the justice of God's laws, Ten Commandments, and on top of it the mercy seat. I think it shows us a picture of who God is, who Jesus is. And so as we go throughout the sanctuary, we see these pieces of the sanctuary, the furniture, the different parts that show us Christ.

And so that was part of it. Then there was the golden candlestick. You know that in the holy place, the two compartments of course. And the most holy was the ark of the covenant. Then you step back and there was the holy place.

And in the holy place was a seven-branched candlestick. Jesus said to his church, you are the what? The light of the world, right? You're the light of the world. His church, though, is also his body. Is it not? But according to Jesus, he was the light of the world as well in John 8:12. And so the candlestick represents Jesus.

And when Jesus is not on this earth, his church. Isn't that right? That he shines to the world through. I think it's interesting that if you read through the book of Exodus and Leviticus, the lamps were trimmed both morning and evening. Isn't that interesting? The priests would come in. They would fill them up with oil and trim the wick and make sure everything was burning morning and evening.

I think it's another reminder that we need Jesus to trim our lamps every day so that we can shine for him. Of course, in the holy place was also another piece of furniture. And on it were stacks of bread, right? The table of showbread. Some translators say that this was called, "the bread of the presence." The bread of the presence of God. And it's interesting that if you go back to Exodus 16, God told the Israelites, "listen, on the Sabbath day, I want you to be careful.

Don't bake or, you know, do a bunch of cooking or extra stuff." But listen. It was interesting because when it came to the showbread, that's exactly what the priests were supposed to do. In fact, the showbread itself was to be made to be baked on the Sabbath day by the priest and the old bread was eaten by them. Very interesting. I think it's interesting the priests ate the bread on the Sabbath, because if we think of the bread being Jesus, right? Jesus said, "I am the bread of life.

" And Jesus said, "my words that I speak to you are spirit and life." Then as we spend time with God's Word on the Sabbath day, eating his bread, so to speak, the bread of His Word, perhaps like the priest, we gain an even greater blessing than spending time in the word on other days. What do you think? I like to think that. And then there was the altar of incense. This is probably one of my favorite pieces of furniture there in the old testament tabernacle. The incense used on this altar was a very special incense.

It was made with very special ingredients and was made very precisely. You can read about it there in the book of Exodus. The interesting part is that anyone in Israel who thought they wanted to make a little of their own of this stuff, you know, the bootleg variety, they would get cut off from the camp. It was pretty serious business. So you weren't to be caught making any counterfeit incense like this.

This incense was so special because it represented apparently the prayers of God's people ascending to heaven and the righteousness of Jesus mixed in with those prayers that made them sweet and holy. Don't you want Jesus to make your prayer like that? 'Cause I don't know about you, but sometimes our prayers aren't that pretty, are they? Sometimes our prayers are kind of selfish. We ask for a lot of things, which is okay. Sometimes we complain a lot, don't we? But Jesus says, "listen, I'm gonna mix in my righteousness with your prayers." Now, I like this. Listen to this, "morning and evening, incense was burned on the altar," morning and evening, again, every day.

And someone has suggested that this is where the habit came of gathering for morning and evening prayer, for spending time worshipping God in the morning, in the evening as a family or as an individual. And I like this. Josephus, that ancient historian, he says that, "the incense was offered as the sun was setting," picture this, "every night and in the morning as it was rising." Isn't that beautiful? Incense, as the sun was setting and as the sun would come up in the morning. Now somewhere out here we have someone with a verse, Revelation 8:3-4. Let's go ahead and look at that verse.

"And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer. And there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand." Wow. Check this out. This is about the altar that's in heaven, the one that the earthly one was a, you know, a little model of.

And look what it says, an angel comes, stands at the altar in heaven. I wonder what that altar must be like. It might be a massive altar, I don't know. And the angel offers on it this incense. And he adds it--i like that-- "to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne.

" And the smoke of the incense and the prayers goes up for God. Wow. That's your prayer. That's my prayer. That's getting mixed in with that incense that represents Jesus' goodness, his perfection, his life being mixed in so that our prayers, our life, our requests as they go up before God, our petitions, are made beautiful with his goodness.

You know, on that altar, on the horns of that altar, another very interesting fact is that the blood from the sacrifices was also sprinkled on the horns of that altar. And again, that blood representing the lifeblood of Christ that was spilled so that we could be forgiven and have salvation. And so as I thought about this, I thought, you know, how does this earthly sanctuary, as they asked in the lesson, how does it help us to understand what Christ is doing to save us right now? Can you see pictures of what he's doing to save us through these different pieces of furniture in the sanctuary? Can you catch a glimpse of what God was trying to do as he built that model there in the desert for the Israelites? He said, "I want to try to show you what I'm trying to do to save you." So as we move on, we're gonna go to Monday's lesson in our quarterly. And let's go to the book of John 1, because there in the book of John we find a verse that is very well-known. It's one that we can quote by heart.

John the baptist said it. He said it about Jesus. But I think it's a very pertinent verse. It applies to our topic in a very important way in helping us to understand what this was all about. The sanctuary wasn't just a fun thing to keep people busy back then, you know, to give them something to do while they were out in the desert there.

It wasn't something that God did, again, just to, you know, make sure that people brought their stuff, their lambs and their goats and their sheep and sacrificed it for him. What would have been the point of that? The point of the sanctuary was so that people could somehow catch a glimpse of God. It was so that somehow as they looked at each step of the different ceremonies of the sanctuary, they would maybe be able to catch a picture of Jesus, because that's who it all pointed forward to. And in John 1:29, look what it says, John the baptist, you remember him right? He was out there baptizing people. His whole purpose, the reason he lived was to be a messenger for Christ, to be a forerunner; the one who prepared the way before the Messiah.

And so here he is, verse 29, "the next day he saw Jesus coming to him." You remember, right? Jesus was going to be baptized. And he said this, he said, "behold!" Look at! "The lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" And as those Jewish people, they were good jews; they'd all been to the temple before. They knew about sacrifices and lambs and goats and all those different things. And they heard about it and they said, "that's the one that it all pointed forward to, Jesus the lamb of God, the one who takes away the sin of the world!" I'd like to think of the sanctuary as a giant, interactive video game. Because in our world of virtuality, right? In our world where things can be virtual--it doesn't have to be the real thing.

You know, pilots can practice flying on a computer without having to fly a real airplane and to get a pretty good feel for it, right? You can drive certain kinds of vehicles on a computer and practice to get ready to do the real thing. And I like to think that that's what the sanctuary was like. It was something that God did to get people ready, to understand what Jesus was going to do for us. The problem was is that people started to like the video game more than the real thing. They liked playing on the computer more than they liked the reality.

That happens today by the way too, right? The problem back then was the same thing. They got so into the symbols, that they forgot the reality. They forgot that it actually stood for something, and said, "hey, let's go sacrifice some lambs today." And they thought that's where it ended instead of the lambs being something that pointed to something else. You know, we can do the same thing, can't we? We can get into the forms, the motions. It's a little bit different, but we can still do the same thing.

But okay, so Jesus came. And you know what happened. When the real thing comes, you don't need the--that which is supposed to lead up to it. You don't need that which symbolizes it any longer because you have arrived at the reality. Listen to this.

This is on the lesson on page 140 in the teacher's edition. It speaks about when Jesus came and what happened. It says, "it was the hour of the evening sacrifice." This was, you know, something they did every day. "The lamb representing Christ had been brought to be slain, but the earth shakes. And with a rending noise," crshhh! "The inner veil of the temple is torn from top to bottom.

" That was a thick veil, by the way, right? Maybe 3 or 4 inches thick, imagine that. This veil is just crshhhh! "By an unseen hand throwing open to the gaze of the multitude a place once filled with the presence of God. In one fell swoop, this place where the shekinah had dwelt and where God had manifested his glory above the mercy seat, it is now open to public view." Never before. "The most holy place of the earthly sanctuary is no longer sacred." Then in dramatic fashion, the author of the Sabbath school lesson says, she brings the message home, speaking about Ellen white who wrote this, she said, "all is terror and confusion. The priest is about to slay the victim, but the knife drops from his nervous hand and the lamb escapes.

Type has meant antitype in the death of God's son. The great sacrifice has been made. It was as if a living voice had spoken to the worshippers, 'there is now an end to all sacrifices and offerings for sin. The Son of God is come according to His Word.'" I want to take a little detour for just a moment from our lesson and talk about this for just a minute, because you see, today some Christians still believe that there is significance for some reason in this old testament form of symbolism. Now I believe that we can learn much from it.

I believe that as we study it, we again see a clearer picture of Christ. But now that Christ has come and fulfilled these types; I do not believe that Christians are obligated still to observe them. It's interesting because a lot of Christians today, not necessarily within our faith, our congregation or in the adventist church, but a lot of Christians believe that the temple will be rebuilt over in Israel before Jesus comes back. Are you aware of that? And they think that before he comes back there will be some sacrifices made on the altar there. And somehow this is gonna be significant in fulfilling the end-time events, which I don't understand actually, because if we believe Jesus was the sacrifice, then why would building the temple again and offering more lambs that pointed forward to Jesus actually matter? So that's a question I have.

Other Christians, and some within our own faith--and I respect their viewpoint, but I disagree with it--believe that it is a salvational issue to observe some of the feasts and the ceremonies that were connected with the old testament sanctuary, such as the passover or the feast of tabernacles. And I think it's interesting because although I again respect those who I disagree with, I don't believe that it is completely logical to do this if we believe that Jesus was a fulfillment of the old testament sacrifices and ceremonies. In fact, in Deuteronomy 16, let me throw out a few verses here, verses 5 and 6, the Bible says that the Israelites were to celebrate the feast of passover not just any place, not in their own villages, not in some random city or place that they chose, but only in the place where God will put his name, which ended up being Jerusalem, right? And it's very interesting because those who believe that somehow the passover and some of these other feasts are on a level that is equal with the Sabbath, which is, you know, something that was established with creation, believe that those feasts were somehow celebrated all the way through the old testament wilderness sojourned, at least some folks that believe this apparently look at it that way. And yet it was not 'til they got to the promised land that they began to celebrate the passover anyway, and only in the place where God said he would put his name. And so therefore, if we really want to celebrate it today, we need to go back to Jerusalem and do it there.

And that's the only place you can do it. Another thing is that in Corinthians 5, it's really interesting because Paul clearly here points out that Jesus is the fulfillment of the passover. And I'm just talking about one feast today, not all of them. Corinthians 5, you know this verse, in verse 7 he said, "clean out the old leaven, so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ, our passover, also has been sacrificed.

" You can't have the passover unless you have the passover lamb. How can you celebrate the feast of the passover without sacrificing the passover, which was the lamb? And that represented Christ of course. And I think Paul summed it up nicely in Colossians 2 when he said, "let no man therefore," what? "Judge you in meat or in drink offerings or in respect to new moons or feast days or Sabbath days." And these are the Sabbath days that were connected with those feast days--go back to Leviticus 31--or chapter 23 actually I think it is-- which were a shadow of things to come, but the body is of Christ. Now my only problem with this idea is that if someone wants to celebrate the passover, I think it's fine. I think it's great.

Ellen white even mentioned that it would be well for us, God's people to have a feast of tabernacles. And she includes that in her telling in the book, I think it's "Patriarchs and Prophets," about how they celebrate it. She says, "you know, it'd be good to get together and remember what God has done for us and to celebrate joyfully. And yet, oftentimes it's presented as though this is an obligation, something that has--it's a salvational issue. And if you read Galatians 5--i know I'm talking fast and going through a lot of verses here.

Sorry. Galatians 5:1-5, let me read it to you. Galatians 5. Paul was speaking to the galatian church. He said, "listen, there are people coming in among you who are telling you," you Galatians, those of you who are gentiles, who have come to believe in Christ, "that in order to be saved, you need to be," what? Circumcised, right? And here's what he says, listen, Galatians 5:1, "it was for freedom that Christ set us free, therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

" Now listen, he says, "behold, i, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you." Oh, interesting. The assumption here is that they are receiving circumcision as though circumcision were going to benefit them in some way to save them. That's the assumption. So he's saying, "if you receive circumcision," as a way to get to heaven, "Christ is of no value to you," because you're trying to be saved by your circumcision, by your keeping of the ceremonial law, whether it be feast days or circumcision or whatever you want to put in there. Look what it says, verse 3, "again I testify to you that to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole law.

" Paul's not against circumcision. If someone wants to get circumcised, great. Right? But don't do it thinking that that's gonna get you to heaven, because it won't. And it's the same with any other kind of ceremonial observance. Verse 4, "you have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by the law; for you have fallen from grace.

" Some pretty strong words there. And so Jesus comes. And he says, "listen, I am the fulfillment of the model that I gave to Moses back in the wilderness." Let's go to Hebrews 8:1-2. Someone out here has that verse and is ready to read it for us. "The point of what we are saying is this: we do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary of the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man.

" Thank you. Paul helps us to get to the point of all this. He's like, "you know what? All this stuff about the sanctuary, all this stuff about, you know, sacrifices and offerings, the point is this. The point is that we have a high priest. That's the point.

And he's not on this earth. He's not--if you read, by the way, and I'm sure you have this week if you've been following along with the rest of the lesson, you read about how Jesus is not an earthly high priest. I mean if he were on earth, Paul says, he wouldn't be a priest, because no one in the line of--in the tribe of judah could be a priest. It wasn't part of the deal. Jesus wasn't a levite.

But he says, listen, he is a high priest up there because he is of the order of melchizedek. He's like you know what? This is the whole point. Now, what I like is this, because look what it says here. "We have such a high priest," verse 1, "who has taken his seats at the right hand of the throne of the majesty in heavens, a minister of the sanctuary and the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched, and not man." Now remember, an ordinary Israelite, if you and I were to live back in old testament times, and we were not a priest or a levite, we would never be able to see inside the ancient sanctuary, right? Not even the first compartment. They didn't have prededication tours like they do at mormon temples today.

Sorry, so we're kind of out of luck there, right? So never get to see inside, never know what it was really like. You could hear about it, but only the priests were able to go in there. And they would have to communicate with people outside. "Hey, this is what it's like." Secondly, only the high priest could go into the most holy place, right? Only he could go into that compartment. But now something has changed.

If you go back to Hebrews 4, look what happens? You know this verse. We've read it in our lesson studies in this past quarter at least once, maybe more than that. Hebrews 4, I like this, verse 14, probably one of my favorite passages in the book of Hebrews. "Therefore since we have a great high priest who has," gone, he's "passed through the heavens, Jesus The Son of God, let us hold fast our confession." Verse 15, "we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things like as we are, yet without sin." Now here's the punch line. Verse 16, "therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

" And if you believe that the throne is where the mercy seat is, if you believe that the throne is where God is, whether it be in the holy or most holy place, we are able now to go into the heavenly sanctuary in heaven, the sanctuary in heaven. Isn't that amazing? We are able to step inside of the curtain, the veil, and to see what happens inside of those sacred compartments. And so we ask the question. We're now looking at Tuesday's lesson here of course about our high priest. And the question that they asked in the lesson, they said, "though we do not know the exact form of Jesus' intercession for us, Scripture gives us some examples.

" And so I thought about those examples. What are those examples? How does Jesus intercede? One of the examples they gave was what? The example of Moses, right? Moses, children of Israel, he acted as an intercessor. When they had sinned, he comes before God, and says, "God, if it's the only way to get them to heaven is that I am blotted out of your book of life, then let my name be blotted out of the book of life if that will save them." Daniel 9, Daniel intercedes for the people of Israel. And you know the interesting thing is that people have pointed out that there is no record of Daniel himself being someone who--we don't know anything that he actually did wrong. Well, we know that he sinned, because he's a human being, right? But there's no record of that.

And so Daniel though intercedes. He's a type of Christ in Daniel 9. And he intercedes for his people, Israel. He says, "your people have sinned, God, and we," he includes himself, "have not repented. We haven't come back to you.

" And Daniel shows us how maybe Jesus would intercede for us. And then while on earth, Jesus himself in John 17, read the prayer, an amazing prayer he prays for us. In the lesson on Tuesday, Tuesday's lesson here, they gave five verses that I want to look at with you now. Hebrews 2:18, the question is asked, "what does our high priest do for us? What are some things that we know that he does for us?" And so they give these five verses. And they ask us to point out what each of these verses tell us about how our high priest ministers to us.

Alright, let's read it. Hebrews 2:18, it says, what does it say? "For since he himself was tempted," and by the way, in the previous verse it talks about him being our high priest, this is in that context, in that which he has suffered, he is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted." What is something, according to this verse, that our high priest does for us? What does it say? He comes to our aid. He succors. So he comes to the aid. And when do you need aid, when do you need help? It's when we are in trouble usually, right? Jesus is there for us when we're in trouble.

Can you say amen? Hebrews 7:25, another verse they give. Let's go to that one and see what it says there. Hebrews 7:25, "therefore he is able," again speaking of the context of him being our high priest, "to save," forever or "to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for--" what is something he does for us here? Saves us to the uttermost forever. You know, when Jesus saves you, if you choose to remain with him, he'll continue to save you. Isn't that good news? I'm not saying that once we're saved we can never change our minds.

What kind of a God would that be? You know what I'm saying? Some people teach that. That once you're saved that's it. You can't ever change your mind. Well, according to Jesus, he though can save us forever as long as we will allow our hand to be left in his, he'll save us. And he lives to make intercession for us.

Wow. Hebrews 8:3-10, next chapter, let's see. I read through this one and the summary I came up with--let's read actually the last verse, verse 10, "for this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel, says the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they will be my people." What's something he does for us here? Puts his law in our heart. That's good news. Because what it means is that we start to actually do it because we want to, right? It's part of--it's in our heart, 'cause we're doing it from the inside out.

Hebrews 9:11-14, another verse they give us. Let's see. I summed it up by saying he cleanses our conscience from dead works. In other words, from works that will lead us to death. Christ cleanses our conscience from those as our high priest.

Do you want your conscience cleansed? Guilt kills. Did you know that? I mean from a psychological standpoint it does. And from a spiritual standpoint it does, but Jesus can take that away. And not only the guilt in our minds, but also the actions that guilt either inspires or that inspired the guilt, right? Jesus can take those away as well. Let's pray for these things in our lives, right? Hebrews 10:11-17 is another verse they give.

It says, let's read it, "every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But he," in other words, those were just symbols of Christ, "but he having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward 'til his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by one offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified." And if you go on down to the verse 17, it says, "and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more." "I will write my law on their heart." God completes us by writing his law on our heart and forgiving us of our sins. Sometimes we try to do these things for ourselves though, don't we? We like to help ourselves out when we're in spiritual trouble, right? You know, when we're insecure about our salvation, what do we do? We say, "you know what? I gotta do something to, you know, get this right so I can make sure." Instead of going to Jesus and saying, "Jesus, would you save me?" You know, when we're feeling guilty, what do we do? "I gotta go do something else to make my conscience, you know, get this off my conscience," instead of coming to God and letting him clean our conscience, right? The lesson in the teacher's edition tells a story. It's sad, but it also illustrates what happens to us sometimes.

It tells this story about this preacher over in africa-- you gotta be careful with preachers--who told his congregation that he could walk on water. I mean, come on, Peter did it, right? Anyway, just like Jesus did. And so to illustrate the point, the story goes he took them out on a lake, or the ocean, and he was on a boat. And he said, "alright, I'm gonna step out in the water." And he did. True story.

And he sank. And not only that, but he drowned. That's the sad part. And of course everyone was horrified. And it's a true story.

I guess it happened a couple years ago here, 2006. What is it about our human nature that urges us to attempt to be God, right? These are the questions they asked in the lesson. "What is the difference between being God and being Christlike," right? Why is it important to know the difference between the two? It is important, isn't it? Sometimes we try to do, to be God in our own lives instead of trying to be like God, which is a good thing. But we try to be God instead. And then they ask the question, listen to this, "why is it so much easier for us to try to be God as opposed to being like Christ?" Is it easier? You know, it's like, "yeah, I want to be powerful in my own life.

I want to be in charge." Alright, we're gonna move on to Wednesday's lesson. Let's go to--just a couple more minutes here of Bible verses that we need to look at. Let's go back to Hebrews 4. We looked at that passage, but we didn't ask a question or two about it that I wanted to highlight today. Hebrews 4.

And this time let's look at verse 16, just verse 16. So the verse, we've read it already, but look what it says. "So therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." What promise do you see in that verse? What's a promise there? And you can speak up. What's a promise there? "You will obtain mercy and grace." Thank you. That's a promise.

Okay? Well, okay, how about this? What are we admonished to do? What does it say to get the promise we need to do in order to--? Come boldly, full assurance, confidence to this throne of grace. Wow. What hope, they asked, does this offer us? What hopes, even more than one hope does this offer us? What does it say there? We need help. Really it's implying by saying he'll give us mercy and grace. It's basically saying that you're probably gonna need it, right? And mercy is something that you need when you've been perfect, right? No.

It's when you've done something that you need mercy and forgiveness for, right? Grace is something that you need when you're feeling all powerful and strong, right? No. It's when you're feeling weak that you need grace. Isn't that right? And so it's basically telling us that when we fail, when we need him, when we're struggling, Jesus is there for us. And so how can you apply this verse? How can I apply it? How can we apply it to our lives? How do you draw near to the throne of God? Praying. Believing.

Spending time in the Word of God. Wow. So, boy, let's do it. I think, you know, God wants us to live with an optimistic sense that we as Christians have his presence in our lives. Don't you think that? I was thinking this last week.

I thought, you know, I want that every day all the time. Now, I'm not saying that Christians don't go through valleys and we don't struggle, because we do. And it doesn't make us--it doesn't mean that God has forsaken us, but I think God wants us to have that, that sense. And so moving on to Thursday's lesson, I liked what the lesson said here, because both Wednesday and Thursday said that they were going to ask the questions about what difference all this made. And so listen to what it says.

It says, "the knowledge and acceptance of Jesus as our high priest should make us kind and generous and patient." What do you think? Yeah, I think they're right. "The same traits he has manifested toward us, it should make us merciful and gracious in the same way he has shown mercy and grace toward us." This last week, I had a personal tutoring session in this particular area. I hurt someone that I care about very deeply. And yet in response for having hurt this person with my words, I received kindness and mercy. I received kindness and mercy.

And it made me want to be more like Jesus. I wanted to be more like Jesus. I wanted to be more like him in this way, don't you?

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