The Message of Hebrews

The Message of Hebrews

Scripture: Hebrews 8:1
Date: 01/08/2022  Lesson: 2
Paul wrote Hebrews to strengthen the faith of the believers amid their trials. He reminded them (and us) that the promises of God will be fulfilled through Jesus, who is seated at the right hand of the Father, and who will soon take us home. In the meantime, Jesus mediates the Father’s blessings to us. So, we need to hold fast to our faith until the end.

The High Cost of the Cross - Paper or Digital Download

The High Cost of the Cross - Paper or Digital Download
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Doug Batchelor: Hello, friends. We want to welcome you to our Sabbath School Study Hour here at the Granite Bay Church, and we're so thankful that you've joined us today. We have a very exciting study. We've just begun to delve into the book of Hebrews and in a few moments we're going to be studying in chapter number 2, talking about the message of Hebrews. And we're very thankful that you joined us. We know that we have people who are not only here in our church facility, but we have a lot of people that are watching online. Some are watching live, some are watching the rebroadcast that goes out via satellite, and we just love hearing from you. We know we get the emails and messages from people that are studying the Word of God with us from around the world.

As always, we like to make some free additional resources available and, because of the nature of the book of Hebrews, we have a beautiful book that we think will inspire you and it's free. It's called "The High Cost of the Cross," written by Brother Joe Crews. If you'd like a free copy of that, it's Offer number 156. If you call in, you tell them Offer number 156, that makes it easy for those in the office to ship you the right lesson. And when you call, it's 866-788-3966. That's 866-Study-More. Now, if you're in the USA you can even text and ask for this lesson. You can download it and that would be the text of "SH080" to 40544. And outside the North America area, you can just go to study.aftv.org and then do SH080 and you'll receive a free copy of this lesson.

Well, in a moment we'll delve into the Word of God in our new study, but right now we're going to be blessed. You can see that we've got a little larger than normal special music program for you and we're very glad that the Granite Bay Orchestra and Choir are going to be able to share special music with us this morning.

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Doug: As I mentioned a moment ago, we're going to be dealing with the book of Hebrews. Hebrews, and we're going to deal with the second lesson. It's going to cover several segments of Hebrews, a very deep book. Before we explore this, it's good for us to pray together. Let's bow our heads.

Loving Father, You are the author of this book and we pray now as we come together to better understand Your will and what You're teaching, that You will bless and guide with the Holy Spirit and it's always our desire that we can better know You, Your will, and be better able to follow You as a result of our study. And this we pray in the name of Your Son, Jesus, amen.

All right, our lesson today is "Dealing With the Message of Hebrews." And we have a memory verse, and the memory verse comes to us from Hebrews chapter 8, verse 1. Hebrews chapter 8, verse 1, and if you have your lesson, you're welcome to read it out loud with me, and it says: "This is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens."

Now we're still early enough on in the lesson where it probably would be good to just do a little overview of what we're doing in the book of Hebrews. There's been a lot of discussion through history about who the author of Hebrews is. Now Paul, in many of his books, he starts right out of the gate and he says, "The apostle Paul, servant of Jesus Christ; Apostle Paul, prisoner of Jesus Christ." He introduces himself right at the beginning. The author of Hebrews never mentions his name, and so some have said, "Well, maybe it's not Paul." Earliest church fathers cited a reference that it was Paul, but there has been a lot of debate and critical discussion about that some have said, "Well, it was Apollos," who was certainly a mighty preacher. Paul said so himself. And others said, "No, it was Barnabas."

And there have been other theories that have been put forward, but the reason that Paul probably did not put his name on it is this is the letter to the Hebrews, Hebrew converts to Christianity. How did the Jews feel about the apostle Paul? If you want to know about that, you can go to the book of Acts and you'll find that Paul, when he went to the temple, they said, "Men and brethren, help. This is the one who is speaking against this holy place and the law of Moses, all through the world. He's turning the world upside down." And they started a riot. And they went and they accused Paul and they said he was worthy of death. And he had people that followed him all the way to Rome to accuse him. And so he was persona non gratis in some of the very devout Jewish community and so he thought, you know, in order for them to read this letter objectively, it might be better if I don't put my name on it. Let them read it and just evaluate it based on its worth and its content.

So that may be one reason that Paul doesn't put his name on it. But when you look at the themes in the letter and there's high points and there's areas that are highlighted, it's the same things that Paul highlights in Romans and Colossians and Corinthians and it's really got the spirit of Paul, you might say, all through the book. By the way, the spirit of prophecy says that Paul is the author of the book. So, based on the early church fathers and the comparative evidence, the style, and just the content of the book itself, we're pretty sure that Paul is the writer of it.

Now, who is he writing to? Well, he's writing to Hebrew believers and he's trying to explain to them, do not be discouraged that here we are, the people of God, that it looks like maybe the vision for his people has failed. We've been oppressed by the Babylonians, by the Persians, by the Greeks, and now by the Romans, and we thought by now the Messiah would come, and he's letting them know the Messiah did come and everything God promised in His Word has been fulfilled in Jesus. And Jesus is better. One of the operative words you're going to find over and over again in Hebrews is "Jesus is better." It's a better covenant, we've a better high priest, and everything is better, better, better, in the book of Hebrews through Jesus.

So, going into the first section here, and by the way, Hebrews is also probably one of the earliest books that was written. Some of the Gospels were, you know, maybe written 40 years after Christ, and John wrote his book much later. John, of course, lived to about 90 or 100, we don't know. But you can tell that Revelation was written after he was imprisoned. It was after the destruction of Jerusalem. Hebrews may have been written before the destruction of Jerusalem which was 70 AD. And so it's one of the earlier books in the Bible. I think everyone here knows that the books of the Bible are not arranged in chronological order.

Do you know how the books in the New Testament are arranged in your Bible? Of course, you've got the historical books, it's kind of like the Old Testament. That would be the history of Jesus: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts. It's telling the history of the church. Then you've got the writings of Paul and they go from the longest to the shortest. Romans is longer than 1 Corinthians, and the 2 Corinthians. You'll notice that they just keep getting shorter 'til you get down there to Titus and Philemon which is very short. So then it goes through the letters of Paul. They're arranged in order. They didn't know what to do with Hebrews and so that's why it ended up more near the end, even though it is a longer book.

First of all, one of the principal things that it's telling us here is Jesus is our King. It is not Caesar; it's Jesus. And it says the main point in Hebrews is that Jesus is the rightful ruler who is seated at the right hand of the Father. Talk about having a friend in high places. That's what Paul is trying to reiterate and encourage the believers with all through the book. Now, we're going to go ahead and go to Hebrews chapter 1. I'm going to read verses--chapter 1, verses 5 through 14 and in this I'll probably stop along the way and make a few comments. Hebrews chapter 1, verse 5 through 14, and this lesson actually goes into Hebrews chapter 1, Hebrews chapter 2, Hebrews chapter 5, and Hebrews chapter 8. And so, touching on different themes along the way. Beginning with verse 5: "For to which of the angels did He ever say: 'You are My Son, today I have begotten You'?" Now, he's quoting here from Psalm chapter 2. "And again: 'I will be to Him a Father, And He will be to Me a Son'? But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: 'Let all of the angels worship Him.'"

Now, here, Paul is making an important point that Jesus is better and higher than any angels. The Bible's clear. It tells us in Hebrews that man was made a little lower than the angels, but Jesus is much higher than the angels; in fact, it tells us that the angels of God worship Him. Now, why was this important? Because there were groups and sects within the Hebrew religion that were specialists on different angels, and they talked about worshiping angels.

Now, are we ever to pray to angels? Who are we to worship only? We're only supposed to worship God, the Son of God, and the Bible calls everything else a sin. When John fell down to worship an angel in the book of Revelation, what happened? The angel said, "See that you do not do it." He says, "I am of your fellow servant. Worship God." But did Joshua fall down before the Angel of the Lord and worship Him in the book of Joshua? He does, and He says, "Take your shoes off your feet."

Who was that Messenger, that Angel? That was Christ. We're only to worship God, amen? Not supposed to be worshiping angels. So he makes this very important argument in the beginning of the book, comparing Jesus to the angels and saying, "He is much better than the angels." It's why he's saying, "To which of the angels did He say, 'You are My Son, today I've begotten You'?" And he's quoting from the Messianic prophecies. And verse 7: "And of the angels He says: 'Who makes His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire.' But to the Son--" notice the contrast. "But to the Son He says: 'Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;'" quoting from Psalm 97, "'a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You,'" and what does the word "Christ" mean? Anointed, and Cristos means anointed, Messiah is Hebrew for anointed. "'Therefore Your God has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.'"

And you go to verse 10: "And: 'You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They'll perish, but You remain; and they will grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will fold them, and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not fail.' But to which of the angels has He ever said--"

Notice again he's contrasting Jesus with the angels. "'Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool'? Are they not all ministering spirits that are sent forth to minister to those who will inherit salvation?" The angels are created as the hospital staff for God in the plan of salvation. They are ministering spirits of the Lord. And so we don't need to--we don't need to worry about worshiping angels. You'll notice that something's happening in these verses here as you read Hebrews chapter 5. There's actually an enthronement, sort of a coronation that's taking place.

Notice first, God installs Jesus as the royal Son, Hebrews chapter 1. Second, God introduces the Son into the heavenly court who will worship Him; that's Hebrews 1, verse 6 and 8. While the Father proclaims eternal creatorship and rule of the Son: Hebrews 1:8 through 12. And then third, God enthrones the Son, the actual conferral of power over all the earth. You remember when Jesus rose from the dead. I know you weren't there, but, you know, you remember reading it. And Mary goes to grab Him by the feet and to worship Him, and He says--King James is an unfortunate translation. It says, "Do not touch Me." The word makes it sound like, "You're unclean, don't touch Me." It didn't say that. He said, "Do not cling to Me," or "Do not hold Me, because you can't cling to Me because I've got to go. I've not yet ascended to My Father."

So when Jesus rose from the dead, He had not yet ascended to the Father. He said, "But go and tell my brethren, 'I ascend to your God and My God, your Father and My Father.'" And so, Mary, she goes, and she tells the apostles. Later that night, Jesus appears and He says, "All hail." And they fall down and they worship Him. He receives their worship. What happened between Sunday morning and Sunday evening? On an eternal scale, Christ ascended to the Father and, you know, time in heaven is not the same as time on earth. I mean, it might have been a month in heaven. We don't know. We're just speculating, but something happened between the time He went up there and He came down in that He went before the angels, He went before the Father and all the unfallen creatures, and He was enthroned and, basically, it said, "Your sacrifice is 100% complete and adequate. You were successful and victorious. You've accomplished Your mission," and He was enthroned and that's why He came down and said, "I've got good news, peace. The sacrifice on your behalf was successful."

Now, the reason that's so important and this is borne out in Hebrews: we are living in enemy territory. One of the big questions people ask all the time, they say, "If God is good, if God is all-powerful, if God is loving, why is there so much suffering in the world today?" How many of you have heard somebody say that? "I would believe in God but if there was a God why doesn't He stop all this? Why do bad things happen to good people?" They always ask these, you know, kind of moral dilemma questions. They don't understand that if it wasn't for God, it would be much worse. It's because God has intervened and invaded a world that has been hijacked by the enemy. "This world is not my home; I'm just a-passing through." Some of you have heard that song before. This is enemy territory. We are ambassadors of another kingdom.

Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world." The Bible says: "Love not the world or the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." This world is at war with God. Now, let me just give you a few Scriptures that help bear this out. Who is the king of this world? People say, "Well, God is." Really? John 15, verse 19: "If you are of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." The world hates God because it's ruled by another power. John 12, verse 31: "Now is judgment of this world; and the ruler of this world will be cast out." Who is Jesus talking about, the ruler of this world? It's the devil. What does Jesus call him? "The ruler of this world." That's why it says in Revelation chapter 12: "Satan, the devil, was cast out who deceives the whole world."

Most of this world with the--it's the only reason you don't see the whole world is there are believers here who are not deceived but virtually all of the world is deceived by the devil. John 12:31--I'm sorry, John 14:30, Christ said, "I'll no longer talk much with you for the ruler of this world is coming and he has nothing in Me." He's speaking of who again? The devil. 2 Corinthians 4:4: "Whose minds the god of this age," who is Paul talking about when he says, "The god of this age"? The devil. "Has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them." Most of the world is blinded, they're deceived by the god of this age, the ruler of this world. Revelation 2, verse 13: "I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan's throne is."

Does Satan have a throne? Is it in heaven? Or is it on earth? He rules down here. "And you hold fast My name, and you did not deny My faith even in the days when Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells." Now, many believe that he's talking about Rome during this time. Of course, Rome back then was persecuting Christians quite a bit. Was it--Martin Luther, when he went to Rome, trying to find peace with God and he's climbing Pilate's staircase and he's praying on every step and he's going up on his knees, and he became so disenfranchised when he saw the wickedness and the hedonism in Rome. Instead of thinking that Rome was the gates of heaven, as the Church wanted everyone to think, Luther was basically saying it was the gates of Hades because of all the wickedness there. So, that makes sense with that verse.

Revelation 12:9, I read that to you. Satan deceives the whole world. Look at Luke 4, verse 6: "And the devil said to Him," when the devil was tempting Jesus, "'All this authority I will give You, and the glory of it,'" when He said, "Bow down and worship me," "for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomsoever I wish.'" The devil is telling Jesus, "This world has been delivered to me." Basically, it wasn't delivered; it was hijacked. You see, God gave the dominion of planet Earth to Adam and Eve. And He told--He told our first parents, "I've made you, basically, the god of this world. You're to take care of My garden, take care of the creatures, and you're the supreme being. You were made in My image and, just as I'm over the cosmos, you're over this planet." And everything would have been fine if Adam and Eve had chose to listen to God. But when they chose to not believe God and to listen to the devil, you become the servant of the one you obey. That's what Paul says in Romans chapter 6: "Whoever you obey, that's whose servant you are." If a person says, "Lord, Lord, Lord," and they're always obeying the devil, they're not the Lord's.

And so, when Adam and Eve surrendered the dominion of this world to the devil, they basically gave the keys of rulership of this world to the enemy during that time and Satan claimed it as his own. When God has a meeting in heaven and all the sons of God came to meet with the Lord, and this is the book of Job chapter 1 and chapter 2, and God says to the devil, "Where did you come from?" The devil says, "I've come from the earth, from walking up and down and to and fro in it." Why does he word it that way? He's basically saying, "It's my territory." And so, I've given you several Scriptures here. I--it kind of makes you--it's a little bit unnerving when you think that, you know, we're living in enemy territory. But this is the way the Bible portrays it. The devil claims this world as his own.

Look at John 16:11: "Now of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged." Look at Ephesians 6, verse 12: "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places." It's spiritual wickedness in heavenly places in this world.

Now the reason--ah, let me give you one more and then I'll stop. I don't want you to have nightmares. Colossians 2, verse 13: "And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven all of your trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us, taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers."

He's basically broken the handcuffs of the devil that he has on you. See, we're enslaved by the devil prior to salvation. It says: "Christ having disarmed principalities and powers, making a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it."

So I'm making this point and emphasizing this point is because through the book of Hebrews, it talks about angels. There are good angels, there are bad angels. But the one who has authority over all of the angels is Jesus. Did Jesus cast out fallen angels when He was on earth? He did. Did the fallen angels know who He was? Christ would be in the synagogue and then suddenly some demon-possessed man would stand up and say, "I know who You are, Jesus." When Paul's walking down the street, this demonic possessed girl said, "These are the servants of the Most High God." The demoniac that came to Jesus, he said, "Do not cast us out into the abussos, the nothingness," and they all knew Jesus from prior to His incarnation. They knew who He was.

Christ has authority over all the angels. Jesus is not an angel, He is not a created being. He is the Creator of the angels. Angels do not procreate. You never hear about one angel gave birth to another angel. Angels are created. When it talks about Lucifer, it says: "In the day you were created." People, other than Adam, all of us are born. Eve was born--she's kind of halfway born and halfway created. She comes out of man but God does the surgery. But, you know, angels are individually created as ministering spirits. They do not procreate. So Jesus is our mediator.

Now why do we need a mediator? Have you ever needed a mediator? You ever have an argument with somebody and you guys are so mad, you just can't talk to each other, so someone says, "All right, I'll be a go-between." You don't have to raise your hands. Sometimes in families, my mother and my grandmother did not talk for nine years. But my brother and I would talk to my grandmother and, of course, we had to talk to our mother. And so one day, my brother got on the phone with Grandma and says, "Here, talk to Mom," and he handed her the phone and they finally started talking again and they were able to patch things up. My brother served as a mediator.

And when God spoke the Ten Commandments, do you remember what the people said when they heard the voice of God? They told Moses, they said--people saw the thunder and the lightning, and the mountain's on fire, and the earth is quaking, and they were so terrified is an understatement, they said, "Tell the Lord not to talk to us anymore." Says, "You talk to the Lord, you tell us what He said." And so, Moses would go in between the people and God. He'd go up to God, he'd get the message, he'd come down, he'd deliver the message, the Ten Commandments, the plans of the sanctuary. He was the go-between.

And many of you have a stove or you had a stove in the old days. A stove knob there had three settings on it. It had low, then it had high, and it had one in between. What was it? Medium. And that word "medium" means because the in-between is the media, and so you have that wonderful story there in Mark chapter 9. It's called the Mount of Transfiguration where Peter, James, and John, they go up the mountain with Jesus. Jesus is transfigured before them. Moses and Elijah appear, and God the Father speaks, says, "This is My beloved Son," and Jesus goes from human to divine. He suddenly is glowing there on the mountain with divinity, and then the disciples are cowering, and then the heavenly visitors leave and they look, and Jesus is with them and His light has gone back to normal again. And there are seven individuals in that story. Three on earth: three humans; three in heaven that have the spiritual: Moses, Elijah, and God; and then one that day who goes from human to spiritual to human: He's the bridge.

It's like you see two electric points, you know. You ever seen an arc of electricity go between two points before? Shock. It's like Jesus is the--He's the connector between heaven and earth. So He is the mediator that brings the message. He said, "I am the one who's come down from heaven." The book of Hebrews is telling us that Jesus is our mediator.

Now you've got several examples in the Bible. I mentioned the example of Moses. You also have the example of Samuel. You can remember in the Bible when the people were not--they were not happy and they wanted a king. And Samuel was brokenhearted. He said, "You know, God is your king." But I think he was also hurt personally because as the high priest and the prophet for the nation, he was the mediator and they're basically saying, "We don't want you anymore. We want a king. And we don't want God to be our king. We want a king like other nations." And God was rather upset with them and there was thunder and lightning and the people said to Samuel, "Please pray for us that we do not perish." And he said, "I won't cease to pray for you," and he mediated. And you can see several examples in the Bible.

When Lot was carried away, no, I want to go to a different story. When the angels came to Abraham and the Lord, and He said, "Will I hide from My friend Abraham what I'm about to do to Sodom because of the wickedness that's come up to Me," what does Abraham do? He begins to intercede in behalf of those cities, mostly he's worried about Lot and his family. And he starts to negotiate with God: "If there's 40 righteous in the city, would you destroy it? What about 30? What about 20, 25, 15?" Then he goes down to ten. And so, what is Abraham doing there? He's mediating between the judgment of God and Lot who probably never should have moved to that city. And so, you know, we can see this theme all through the Bible of the mediator and that's to tell us or remind us that Jesus is the mediator.

Now, there are some churches that say if you want forgiveness you've got to go into a little wooden box and you confess your sins to the priest. And then the priest will go to God. Does the Bible teach that? If we--and I don't mean to be, you know, unkind or judgmental of people who believe that, but one of the essential messages of the Bible is we do not need to go through an earthly priest anymore. It is true in Bible times that people would bring their offerings and their sacrifices to the priest. We can go directly through Christ who is at the right hand of the Father. That's so incredible when you think about it.

I don't know if you've ever had friends in high places where you needed a friend to kind of get you in, so to speak, and it's paid off if you have a friend that had contacts. There's been a few times where we've had friends in high places and it was wonderful that you've got that connection. Well, when you know Jesus, you've got someone that has--you've got a friend in high places, amen? You can go to the Father through Christ. Jesus is our high priest. He's our mediator, He's also our defense attorney. Isn't a defense attorney sort of something like a mediator between you and the judge? You don't do the speaking. You speak to your attorney, your attorney speaks to the court and to the judge. He's doing the work of a mediator. Christ Jesus is our--well, He's our paraclete. He's our defense attorney. So Jesus is portrayed as our mediator.

And then you go to the next section here and it talks about Jesus is our champion. And you can read in Hebrews chapter 2, verse 14 and 15: "Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death are all their lifetime subject to bondage."

People go through their lives living in fear because they know this life is temporary. You're actually smart to know that. Some people kind of live oblivious to it, and they're in bondage of fear of death. But when you accept Christ, because Jesus has fought as our champion against the devil and He won, you don't have to be afraid of death because Christians don't really die. Christians go to sleep. Their next conscious thought is the resurrection and being in the presence of the Lord. So, He is portrayed as our champion here. You can look in 1 Samuel chapter 8, verse 19: "The people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, 'No, but we'll have a king over us, that he--we might be like the other nations, that our king might judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.'" And he says, "The Lord is your King."

Can you think of a story where Israel needed a champion to deliver them from their enemies? What's the first that comes to mind? "David and Goliath," I heard somebody say it. Look in 1 Samuel 17. 1 Samuel 17 and you look at verses 8 and 9. Said: "Then he stood and he cried out to the armies of Israel, and said, 'Why have you come out to line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine,'" this is Goliath, "and you servants of Saul? Choose out a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. If he's able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail and fight against him and kill him, then you will be our servants and serve us."

So, basically, the destiny of the nations would depend upon two principal combatants: Goliath and the Philistines are making a proposal. They're saying, "No sense fighting a war. If our champion beats your champion, then you're our slaves. Your champion beats our champion, then we're your slaves." Isn't this what happened with--now, do you know how David and Goliath ends? You know the story? I'm not going to spoil it for you, right? David defeats Goliath, and the Philistines then, it took a series of battles, actually, they were subjugated by the Hebrews and they paid taxes and they became their servants. But who is the champion of the lost world, and the fallen angels? It's the devil. Who is the champion of the church? Jesus.

You see, it was always so funny to me that when David went down to fight Goliath, they were probably taking bets around the campfire in Israel and I'll bet you that, pardon the pun, that the odds against David were pretty high. That they were giving 20 to 1 that Goliath would win. And then when David went down there and the giant fell down, and the whole army of Israel was, like, "Whoa, didn't see that coming." And then they see David hack off his head and hold it up in the air, and they think, "I don't think he's getting back up." And then the whole nation of Israel jumped up and down and rejoiced and shouted. What did they do? Nothing. But because their champion won, they won.

Now, do you see how this plays out with Jesus? If we are His child, if we're in His army, His victory becomes our victory. And we rejoice in that. Isaiah 42, there's a lot of language you see in the Bible of God going out in victory before His people. Isaiah 42:13: "The Lord shall go forth like a mighty man; He will stir up His zeal like a man of war. He shall cry out, yes, He shall shout aloud; He shall prevail against His enemies." God fights for us as our champion. Isaiah 59:15: "So truth fails, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. Then the Lord saw it, and it displeased Him that there was not--no justice. He saw there was no man," the people had no champion, no one to go out for them. "And He wondered that there was no intercessor," no mediator. "Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; and His own righteousness sustained it. And He put on breastplate--He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head; and He put on the garments of vengeance of clothing, and He was clad with zeal as a cloak. According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay, fury to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies; the coastlands He will fully repay."

And so basically, God is saying, "Is there not a man who will be a mediator? Is there not a man who will be a champion?" And when there is no man, He says, "Then I will go forth. I will be the mediator. I will be the champion for you." And that language there, it says where he put on a breastplate, that sort of hearkens up the language you find there in Ephesians, talking about "We wrestle against spiritual forces," and it says: "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you might be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."

Several times the Hebrews went out to battle and during the time of David and they would put on their armor, but when they fought with, alongside, and behind David, they never lost a battle. You know, they say in history, from what we know about Alexander the Great, Alexander the Great never lost a battle. That's pretty remarkable. I mean, even Napoleon lost battles and you think of the other great generals in history, they lost some battles, and Julius Caesar lost some battles, but then they'd come back ultimately and win. David never lost a battle. Jesus is the Son of David. And when we fight with Him, you know who's going to win.

Do you realize that you and God are always a majority? You know, so often in battles we think about how tall the enemy is or how many are in the enemy army. It's not a factor with God. You and God, even if all of your friends, even if members of the church forsake you, if you've got God with you, you and God are always a majority and you have nothing to fear. So he's telling us this in Hebrews. And then he enters into this very sacred section where he talks about Jesus is our high priest. You can look in Hebrews 5, verse 1: "For every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in the things pertaining to God, that he might offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. And he has compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is also subject to weakness."

Now, the earthly high priests, they interceded for the people. They mediated for the people, they offered for the people, they taught the people. But they also needed offerings and they needed teaching. They were human. "Because of this he's required as for the people, so also for himself, to offer sacrifices for sins." He had to offer even for his own sin. "And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was." Jesus is a better high priest in that He never needed to have offerings offered for Him. Now the Bible tells us in 1 Peter chapter 2, verse 9: "You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you might proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light."

And so, we are following a high priest, you know, there were priests and then there's the high priest, and we work along with Jesus in making atonement. What does that mean? As His witnesses, we want to take the people who are lost in the world out there, and we want to bring them to Christ. At-onement means you make them at one with Christ. They're separated from Him. So Jesus is that high priest. You can read in Psalm 110, verse 4: "The Lord has sworn and will not relent, 'You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.'" This is a prophecy about Jesus and it's referred to several times in the Bible. You can read there in Genesis about Melchizedek. Melchizedek was this ancient king priest. He's sort of a mysterious character.

The best theory that I've ever heard is that what priest of the Most High God living in Canaan, surrounded by pagans, would Abraham pay tithe to and say, "You are a priest of the Most High God"? You know, one theory I've heard is that during the time of Abraham, Shem, the son of Noah, was still alive. And because of the paganism and idolatry that began to proliferate there around the Tower of Babel as people scattered in Mesopotamia, Shem had heard--it was divinely revealed to him that God had called Abraham to what would be the Promised Land where they would worship Jehovah purely. And he and his family migrated there up into the hills around Moriah. There was a little hamlet there called Salem. It was a peaceful place and they called it Shalom. It means peace. And in the last days of his life, Shem, who was hundreds of years old, was the high priest of that country.

Now, that's a theory I think I read that Josephus says that, the ancient Jewish historian. I don't know, but you know, I've never heard a better theory. Who is that? Now that's also a type of Christ. It says he's king of righteousness, it tells us he's the king of Salem. Jesus is the King of righteousness, the King of Salem. When Abraham comes back from battle, Melchizedek brings forth bread and wine. What does Jesus give during the Last Supper to seal the covenant? There's this high priest who's giving bread and wine. Tithe is paid to Him. Normally, tithe is just paid to the priest. So it seems like he's a perfect type for Christ here in this story. And then we see Jesus is mediating a better covenant. You look in Hebrews chapter 8, verse 5: "Those who serve the copy and the shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said," God said, "'See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.'"

So in the same way that God gave Noah the plans for the ark, God gave Moses the plans for the tabernacle. It is a heavenly design. Amazing Facts just printed that magazine called "Divine Design." The whole design and layout of the sanctuary illustrates the plan of salvation in there. Hebrews 8, verse 8 through 12: "Because finding fault with them," and He's telling us that He's also the mediator of a better covenant. Notice, better high priest, better covenant. "Because finding fault with them, He says: 'Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah--not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant.'"

Notice the problem with the old covenant was they did not continue. The law was not the problem with the covenant. The problem was the people did not keep their promise. "'Therefore I disregarded them, says the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; I will be their God, and they will be My people. None of them will teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, "Know the Lord," for all will know Me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and to their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.'" See, the Bible tells us that one of the jobs of a priest was to teach and say, "Know the Lord." Malachi chapter 2, verse 7: "For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, and the people should seek the law from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts."

So he was not only a mediator, and Jesus is our mediator, he was not only a priest who would offer sacrifice, he was a teacher. These were the jobs of the ancient Levites and the priest. Christ is all of that and He is also, of course, our prophet. And you can read here in Leviticus 10, verse 8: "Then the Lord spoke to Aaron, saying: 'Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you, or your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die. It will be a statute forever throughout your generations, that you might distinguish,'" that you might know, "'between the holy and the unholy,'" when people drink they don't know that, "'between the clean and the unclean, and that you may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord God has spoken by the hand of Moses.'"

It's a pretty good argument that Christians should not drink. It says: "You can't teach very well." And if you're a nation of priests and if we're living in the time of the antitypical day of atonement, then that's a high calling on all believers, amen? Ezekiel 36 and here's my last verse. Ezekiel 36, verse 26: "I will give you a new heart," this is part of that new covenant, "and I'll put a new spirit within you; I'll take away the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I'll put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them."

How many of you would like to say, "Oh, Lord, I want that. I want that new heart. I want you to cause me. Seems like when I do it on my own, it's a real struggle, but if You would just change my heart and give me the desire and cause me to walk in Your ways, then living the Christian life would be a lot easier," amen? So as we get into this study of Hebrews, I think we're all going to be inspired. It's one of the most beautiful pictures of Jesus. It's got Jesus portrayed as Creator. He's our high priest, He's our Redeemer, He's our God, the one that we worship, and it talks about how everything is so much better. Everything in the Old Testament was pointing to the Messiah that was so much better than the symbols, the types and the shadows and the figures because Christ is the reality of all of that.

We want to thank you for joining us for study. We do have a free offer, some kind of come in a little bit late and they may not have heard it. Our free offer is "The High Cost of the Cross." We'll be happy to send this to you. Simply dial 866-788-3966 and ask for Offer number 156, and you'll be blessed by that. God bless you, friends. We'll look forward to studying His Word with you again next week.

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Announcer: "Amazing Facts" Changed Lives.

Female: Well, my conversion story is when I was in the Philippines, I just graduated as a nurse and afterwards I did not have any religion and one time I found myself inside a small church, Catholic church, in Manila, and before a big cross. And I was kneeling before and I could hear Jesus telling me to enter the convent, save myself and also my family. And I said, "Lord, I would like to follow You all the way." At that point, I seemed to be happy externally, but because inside the convent we don't read the Bible, we don't study about the Word of God. We prayed the rosaries, we also at the same time studied the lives of the saints and also our founders, and the encyclicals of the Pope and the Virgin Mary.

And so I do not know the truth and I had this torture of conscience, the guilty feelings that cannot be resolved. So I would confess to the priest in the confessional box, saying, "Father, forgive me. Since my last confession was last week. Since then I have committed the following sin including the root cause: why am I falling and falling in that same sin over and over again."

And still for 21 long years, I struggle and I struggle and I struggle. I realized that I was totally empty, I was totally helpless and hopeless. And so depressed and so desperate that I would like already to end my life. I was working for five years as dean of the University of San Agustin College of Nursing in Iloilo City, one of the islands in the Philippines.

After five years I received a commission from my parents to help my sister who is being a battered woman. This is one of the reasons why I came over to United States. It is because my sister needs my help. As I was working in the hospital in New York, my boss-- he was so gracious enough to give me an invitation to the Millennium Prophecy. As I was listening to Pastor Doug Batchelor's presentation, my heart really was beating so fast, and my mind, I'm able to grasp the truth, that this is the truth that I've been longing to hear all my life, that I have been seeking for so long.

My personal relationship with Jesus, I can see Jesus as my personal Savior. He is not only the Savior of the whole world but He is my personal Savior. He was the one who delivered me mightily from the depths of sin, from the miry clay. Pastor Doug Batchelor has been used by the Lord in my conversion. The Amazing Facts, I owe to them. The Lord really blessed this ministry and I'm so proud I was able to attend this Millennium Prophecy. My life has never been the same. It has given me the peace, the joy, that never--I have never tasted in my life, and now I am set free to be able to work for Him and to follow Him.

Announcer: "Amazing Facts" Changed Lives.

Male: I'd have to say that I had a wonderful childhood growing up. I went to a private school up until the 7th grade, 'til junior high. I believe it was at that point in junior high that my life began to change. Going from a Christian education into a public school was a big difference. There was a lot of secular influence, peer pressure, and for me it was the music. I started listening to heavy metal music. Every concert that would come to town, I was there. It had a profound effect on me.

I started using marijuana probably at the age of 14. I started drinking, using a lot of cocaine, and that led to methamphetamine and that completely changed my life. I dropped out of high school my sophomore year, and went to work. I would get off of work and we'd go into the bar until 2 o'clock in the morning. I'd get back up at 5 and I'd go back to it again, six, seven days a week. At the age of 20, I lost my dad to a heart attack. I didn't know how to handle the loss, so I tried to mask my pain with alcohol and drugs. Got three DUIs in one year, was arrested. They gave me a year in the county jail and the moment I got out, I went back to doing the same thing, hanging with the same people, the same crowd.

I was involved in a hit-and-run motorcycle accident and I was charged with a felony DUI. Even though at the time of the accident I was not under the influence, I still had methamphetamine in my system. At my sentencing date, I left the courtroom and I didn't come back and that left me with a felony warrant and I'd fallen asleep in a park and I woke up to a park ranger knocking on my window. I knew I was wanted and I knew that I was not going to just turn myself in. I turned to him and I made the comment, "Not today," and I took off. I led five different agencies on about a 35-minute chase, and I realized at the point that I wasn't going to get away and that this was going to end up either me killing somebody or myself. And so I made the decision to pull over. At that point, everything that I had, I lost.

I was sentenced to two years in state prison, and it was there that God got a hold of me. And it was through Amazing Facts Ministries. I remember listening on my radio to Pastor Doug Batchelor. I wanted to get to know the Bible. I wanted to know God. And so, my Aunt Marilyn sent me the "Amazing Facts Study Guides." And it was there that my relationship with Christ began.

I had called home and I knew my mother wasn't doing well but I didn't realize that she had cancer. She had about a 30% chance of making it through her surgery. She had told the doctors that she was not going to have chemo and she was not going to have radiation, that if her God was going to save her, then He would save her. I remember hanging up the phone to what I thought was my last conversation with my mom. I turned around, I got down on my knees, and I prayed to God. I said, "God, if You're there, please save my mother and wherever You lead me in life, whatever You want me to do, I am Yours." And I had a feeling of such peace that I knew that my mother was going to be okay, and that my life was going to change.

There are no words that I can adequately express to Amazing Facts and to Pastor Doug to say thank you to all those people who support the ministry. I am a product of your support. My life has changed because of this ministry, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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