Hebrews Lesson 35 December 1, 2005
NKJ Lamentations 3:22 Through the LORD's mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
We are in Hebrews 3. We have taken the time in the last few weeks to deal with a couple of the crucial issues for interpreting Hebrews 3, which is a historically difficult chapter to interpret and understand. As I have pointed out many times, so much so that you are probably tired of hearing it but you will hear it a thousand times more, Hebrews is a written sermon. It was probably originally given as an oral message. It was written down and edited some and developed a little bit. The structure is built around these warning or exhortation passages or what we might call application passages. It challenges believers to take the principles that are taught and put them into practice in their lives. The readers of the book of Hebrews, those who were the original recipients, were Jews who were living in the land of Israel before Judah was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. They were being pressured because of persecution, because of rejection, because of the hostility from other Jews to leave Christianity and go back into Judaism and into temple worship. The writer of Hebrews is writing them challenging them to hang tough despite the opposition, the adversity, the difficulty, the rejection, the hostility, or whatever it might be. Don't give up in the midst of the battle. The Christian life is a battle. It is a struggle. The rewards go to those who persevere, those who endure, and those who hang in there when the going gets rough. Each of these sections of the book ends with an exhortation and challenge. You have a didactic section that breaks down certain key doctrines and principles building on Old Testament passages then concluding with ever lengthening warning or application passages.
This section that began in back in 2:5 focused on Jesus Christ as our pioneer in sanctification. He was tested as we are. That was to provide the basis not only for Him to qualify to go to the cross but also to set the pattern, and to set the precedent to be the pioneer or pathfinder for the spiritual life. It prepared Him to be a high priest who commiserates with us in our weaknesses because He too being a true human being is one that has suffered and been tested in every category as we are. Because of His faithfulness He is the one who is over the house in His humanity as a Son in authority. That brings us up very quickly to 3:7 where the writer draws a conclusion.
NKJ Hebrews 3:7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you will hear His voice,
He goes to Psalm 95:7b-11 to quote a warning passage that the writer of Psalm 95 is writing to his generation. The writer of Psalm 95 is writing much later than the events that were given in Exodus. So there was the situation in Exodus where the Exodus generation (that occurs from approximately 1446 to 1406 BC) spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness before they all died out. Then you leap over time to the generation that the writer of Psalm 95 is addressing. He brings the warning from the 15th century BC into his generation.
He makes an application there in Psalm 95 that you as a believer today in this generation have a decision to make. That decision is, are you going to harden your heart in unbelief or are you going to trust God, or fail in the same way that the Exodus generation failed? So the writer of Hebrews then goes to that application section of Psalm 95, quotes these verses and applies them to his generation. He addresses these Jewish believers of approximately 63-65 AD.
So this contemporization of Psalm 95 is just as applicable today. It is a warning to each of us each day. Today are we going to be on a positive volition track? Are we going to listen to the Word of God and are we going to apply it? The consequences are serious.
In the past couple of weeks we looked at the details with the Exodus generation. We traced their failures – the different times that they expressed unbelief as they left Egypt and went through various testings in the desert with the battle with the Amalekites, crossing the Red Sea, then going to Sinai, then after Sinai the grumbling and complaining related to logistical grace related to the problem of food and God's provision of manna. They had the same food day after day and water and all the other tests they went through. The tests culminated in their major failure at Kadesh Barnea. Following Kadesh Barnea there were a couple more incidents of failure. The last major failure was that Moses' failure. Rather than speaking to the rock, he struck the rock in anger. God nevertheless in His grace still provided water for the people. That whole scenario of the testing of the nation from the time that they left Egypt up through Kadesh Barnea and Moses' failure is the backdrop for this warning. They failed in unbelief.
The point that we had to develop is, were they believers or not? So I went back through the passages demonstrating that yes, they were believers. This was a generation that in many places is said to trust God. It was a generation of believers, but a generation of believers that was unwilling to follow the Lord and trust Him for everything that He promised. That was exemplified in their major failure. This is the warning. Because they failed, they were prohibited from entering into that promised rest of the Promised Land that God had promised them. One other issue that is at the heart of this whole section from 3:7 down through the end of chapter 4 is the issue of rest.
Rest has three ideas in this passage. The first we saw is His creation rest - the rest of God on the 7th day of the original creation week when He ceased His work. It was not because He was tired. It wasn't because He was worn out. It wasn't because He stretched His powers to the limit. God doesn't get tired. He doesn't grow weary. He is omnipotent. He ceased His work. He had completed the project. There was the creation rest which then stands as paradigm for the other rests in Scripture.
The second rest is the Promised Land rest. This is the rest that God had promised the Exodus generation that as they entered the land they would enter "My rest". This would be a time when they would be free from attacks of external enemies and God would provide richly in prosperity for them in the land characterized as a land flowing with milk and honey and a land of tremendous abundance if they would trust Him. Of course they failed. They were not allowed to enter into what the Scripture says is "My rest." It is the Promised Land rest as well as the creation rest before it that foreshadowed the ultimate rest, which is the Millennial Kingdom rest. That is the backdrop of these warnings for our generation. The Exodus generation failed to enter God's rest because of unbelief – not an unbelief that kept them from salvation or justification salvation but an unbelief that kept them from experiencing the full blessings that God had provided for them potentially in terms of their spiritual life. This challenge is brought over to the Church Age believers. The Old Testament saints forfeited those contingent blessings in time. If that happened to that generation because they disobeyed Moses who was merely a human leader, how much more serious is it going to be for Church Age believers who are under the authority of a greater leader, the Lord Jesus Christ? We have a greater promised destiny to rule and reign with Him in the Millennial Kingdom.
Hebrews 3:13 gives us the challenge for every believer to exhort or challenge one another daily.
NKJ Hebrews 3:13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
Notice the repetition of that word "today". This is immediate. This is serious. This is something we dare not grow lax in. We need to pay attention to this every day because we don't know when the Lord is coming back. It could be tomorrow. It could be tonight. It might be ten years from now. Not only do we not know when the Lord is coming back, but we don't know when the Lord is going to take us home. So we need to be serious about the priority of our spiritual life on a day to day basis.
So the writer of Hebrews says to exhort one another daily – a continual activity. The Greek is parakaleo. It is the present active imperative second person plural which means that it is addressed to the entire congregation. Y'all as we would put it down South. Y'all exhort one another. This is that reciprocal ministry within the body of Christ. Believers aren't islands unto themselves. Paul says in Romans 12 that we are members of one another in the body of Christ. We have reciprocal responsibilities that are part of our priesthood and part of our ambassadorship. This isn't telling you to run around the church and encourage everybody with some trivial or trite or cliché phrase. This has to do with the fact that within the parameters of our associates, our friends, our family, and those whom we know, we are to encourage one another in the midst of difficulty and struggles and adversity so that we don't give up in the battle in the spiritual life.
So the word exhort is from the Greek word parakaleo. The preposition para means along side, close to, next to and kaleo means to be called along side. It has the idea of coming along side someone to encourage them, to help them, to aid them, to strengthen them in times of difficulty and in times of adversity. This is not something you do occasionally. The text says that it is daily. This is part of the spiritual life of every believer in relation to other believers. Encourage or challenge one another daily. Strengthen each other daily. You do that through doctrine by reminding folks of promises and application of doctrine.
There is a sense of urgency – a sense of immediacy – that if you slip today and are carnal today then you can compound it tomorrow by staying out fellowship and you can start that downward slide, that slippery slope into harsh carnality very easily.
The word for harden is the Greek word skleruno. It is an aorist passive subjunctive indicating the potentiality of this. It is possible for any of us to fall into this state – to become resistant to truth, to be stubborn to the application of doctrine, to be unyielding. We get stuck in doing things our way. Things seem comfortable. Human viewpoint seems to work for us. We get stuck in these patterns of unbelief through the deceitfulness of sin. That word is apate which means deception or delusion. Sin is self deluding. We think it is working for us. We think it actually helps. It makes us feel better sometimes. Sometimes it seems to produce the outcome that we desire. This is the problem with sin. It is deceitful. When we are living life in carnality operating on the sin nature we are deluded. We are delusional. We are divorced from reality. So we are challenged to encourage one another. Why? The explanation follows.
NKJ Hebrews 3:14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,
This isn't the same as being in Christ. This isn't positional truth. This is really a potential. Our partnership, the destiny that God has set up is a contingent blessing in eternity. This blessing that God has set up for us is to rule with Him, Jesus Christ, in the kingdom as kings and priests. But we have to be trained for the job. We have to be ready for it. There is an ongoing training process. That is called our spiritual life in time. We are being trained now to develop the capacity, the wisdom, the doctrinal orientation, the grace orientation in order to be prepared to lead, to make decisions, and to administer the kingdom with Christ during the Millennial Kingdom. If we stick with it!
If there is perseverance, not in the Calvinist sense of the perseverance of the saints that teaches the concept that if you are a real believer you won't fall away that you will continue to be obedient all of your life - but in the sense that you stick to it. It is the old concept of stick-to-itiveness in the Christian life. This is the same principle that James emphasizes in James 1:2-4 which we looked at. We are to count it joy when we encounter various trials because we know that the testing of the doctrine in our soul produces hupomone. It produces endurance, perseverance, and steadfastness.
The writer of Hebrews is emphasizing the same kind of theme that the writer of James is emphasizing. That is, don't give up. Don't be distracted by the details of life. Don't be distracted by your job. Don't be distracted by your career, marriage, friendship, social life and all the different things we have today. Just think of what it must have been like 100 years ago, 200 years ago, or 300 years ago when you didn't have television and entertainment and all of these other distractions that we have in life today. You lived in your home. You worked someplace that took you about 20 minutes to walk to. You walked home. You didn't have all of these different things that took up your time and took your attention away. Of course you didn't have electricity so you couldn't read your Bible late at night. We know that there are certain benefits to modern time. But you don't have those fundamental distractions. So we are to endure. We are to be steadfast to the end and not lose sight of the real reason that we are here on planet earth in phase two of the Christian life. That is to be trained for the future. We have to have that future orientation. So the writer of Hebrews continues.
NKJ Hebrews 3:15 while it is said: "Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion."
Again he quotes Psalm 95. Three times in this section he quotes Psalm 95. He will do it again in 4:7. Whenever the Holy Spirit repeats something twice we need to pay attention. When he repeats it three times in this short of a space the Holy Spirit is taking out a 2 x 4 and banging on us right between the ears to make sure we understand the seriousness of this. So again he repeats Psalm 95:7. The example for us is this negative generation of the Exodus. That is held up as a negative example for us throughout the Scripture.
NKJ Hebrews 3:16 For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses?
He draws a principle. Who having understood what the Exodus generation had, the potential they had, who having heard that would rebel? But they did. The whole generation with the exception of Caleb and Joshua - everybody else rebelled. With all that they had, with all that they saw, with the miracles that the witnessed. They heard the voice of God. Can you imagine that? At the base of Mount Sinai they heard the voice of God. It blew their hair back. Before that, they had seen God part of the Red Sea. They had seen the plagues in Egypt. After they left Sinai, they saw God provide for them with the manna with the water from the rock and in many different ways. They witnessed these miracles, yet it didn't make a bit of difference.
We often think if only God would do something in somebody's life that they would hear the gospel. We forget that in the Exodus event we had all of these believers and they saw all of these things and it didn't make a bit of difference.
Then you come over to the New Testament and you see the Gospel of John and all of the signs that He did so that people would know who He was and you still have massive rejection. Miracles are not going to provide a basis for evangelism. They may provide a basis for condemnation at some point, but they do not provide a basis for evangelism. The reason I make that point is that every decade or so someone comes out with some new theory on how we could expand the church and lead a lot of people to Christ if we would believe in miracles and trust God. Then God would perform more miracles and more people would come to the Lord. That never happened in the Bible, so why do we think it's going to happen now?
NKJ Hebrews 3:17 Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness?
God was angry with them for 40 years. The concept of God's anger is a concept that relates to an anthropopathism. An anthropopathism is a word or phrase related to human emotion that is applied to God in order to understand God's policies, plans and purposes for man. It doesn't mean that God actually possesses that any more than when you say the eyes of God or the nose of God. These are called anthropomorphisms. God doesn't have eyes like we have eyes. He doesn't have a nose like we have a nose. The same thing applies to certain emotions that are applied to God. God is not a sinner. God doesn't get angry as we do. But it expresses the harshness of God's justice and discipline on man.
We use a similar phrase as an idiom when we talk about going into court and the wrath of the court. The criminal felt the wrath of the judge. The judge wasn't necessarily angry. Nobody wants an angry, emotional judge. But we do want a judge who is objective. When the judge throws the book at somebody that is often referred to as the wrath of the court. That is the same way this terminology is used in Scripture relating to God. He is omniscient. That means He knows all the knowable. Ten billion years ago He knew the Jews would want an idol built at the foot of Mt. Sinai. He didn't just find out about it that day and get mad at them. If this is an emotional thing then that meant that God was emotionally angry with Israel for all eternity. That doesn't really make sense. These are graphic terms, idioms that are used to express the seriousness of God's justice and the intensity of His condemnation on Israel. So for 40 years He disciplined them when they were in the wilderness.
When they were in the wilderness down there on Sinai Peninsula they weren't traveling very far. You would think walking around for 40 years you could cover the State of Texas two or three times. But they are in an area that wasn't much larger than Harris County, maybe twice the size. It was a small area. They are burying 15,000 to 18,000 people everyday if you work out the averages. So they are spending a lot of time having funerals. They are not making a lot of forward momentum. They are just wandering around in a small area waiting for that generation to die off before they could enter into the land.
That generation felt the condemnation of God because they would not trust God. It was the sin of unbelief. The word there translated anger is prosochthizo which means to be grieved, offended, provoked or angry. It's again an anthropopathism for the judgment of God against man.
NKJ Hebrews 3:18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey?
Here His rest refers to the Promised Land. It doesn't refer to the creation rest. It doesn't refer to millennial rest. It refers to Promised Land rest. So He swore that they would not experience that contingent blessing in time of entering into the Promised Land. It was because of their unbelief.
NKJ Hebrews 3:19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
There are consequences to our spiritual failures. We can be forgiven. God forgave them. We saw that in Numbers 15 after they disobeyed God and they expressed their unbelief. They followed the ten spies rather than Joshua and Caleb. Afterward the text says that God forgave them. But there are consequences for sin. There is a difference between forgiveness and the removal of consequences. Sometimes when God forgives us He removes the consequences. Sometimes He forgives us and the consequences remain. Sometimes the consequences are such that they can't be reversed. So you still have to live with the consequences of that particular sin. Now we look at this generation and we realize that they stand as an example for us. They are used as an example for us in many places in Scripture. So I want to take some time to review how the Exodus generation is an example to us throughout the Scriptures. We go to I Corinthians 10:6 to get the foundation for this doctrine.
NKJ 1 Corinthians 10:6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.
He refers to the things that occurred to the Exodus generation. We will look at the context of the previous 5 verses as we go through this doctrine.
He refers to the things that happened to the Exodus generation. In other words, we are to learn from their mistakes and not go through the same mistakes. Unfortunately most of us aren't like that. No matter how much we watch other people and we see them fail, we think for some reason that it doesn't apply to us. We can do the same thing and somehow it won't affect us and we won't go through the same consequences.
In this verse we see a word translated "examples". This is the Greek word toupos. The u or upsilon is often transliterated into a y. That is where we get our word type. It is an antiquated word now. You don't see too many people talking about types. A type is an example. It is something that is a picture or a model of something that would come later on. The word toupos originally had the idea of striking something in the sense of striking a mold or hitting something with a blow so that it left an imprint. So you have two words that are developed, that is the type (the original mold) and the impression that is made from it. It is called the anti-type or the anti-toupos. So you have the type which is the original model, mold, or pattern that foreshadows something. It is a shadow image that foreshadows or teaches something usually in the future. For example in the Old Testament you had a classic type of Christ who is the Lamb of God. It was to be unblemished – without spot or blemish. That was to picture His impeccability. He was fully qualified to go to the cross. That is the simple concept of a type.
There are many types in the Old Testament. There are unfortunately many preachers and theologians who have tried to make a type of everything in the Old Testament a type. You ought to read Arthur Pink who wrote "Gleanings in Genesis" and "Gleanings in Exodus". He gleaned the whole Bible. I had somebody recommend "Gleanings in Genesis" to me years ago when I was in college. I think I read about half of it. Everything that happened somehow pictured or foreshadowed something in Christ. That is taking the concept of typology to the extreme.
You have to be careful. Some people reacted to that and don't want to make anything a type. No there are types. It is a legitimate interpretive hermeneutical aspect of the Scripture. We see it right here in I Corinthians 10:6. The Exodus generation was a type. It foreshadowed something. As I have pointed out in the past, we see that the nation of Israel itself – certain things that happen in the corporate body of the nation Israel - is a picture of what happens in the individual life of New Testament believers. The national failure of Israel at this time where they don't go into the land and don't experience the promise of God, the contingent blessing of the promised rest is a type or picture of what can happen in the individual life of a Church Age believer who fails to endure and persevere, to grow toward spiritual maturity and jeopardizes his contingent blessings for eternity in terms of his ruling and reigning privileges during the Millennial Kingdom. So we find that God uses Israel often as a type for the Christian life, specifically in this generation. It is used again and again in this way. Let's look at some examples.
- The Exodus The death of Christ is described in Luke 9:31 as an exodus. It uses the Greek word exodus. That is where we get it. It is a transliteration of the Greek word to depart, to go somewhere.
NKJ Luke 9:31 who appeared in glory and spoke of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.
He spoke of His departure, His exodus, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. That would refer to His work on the cross, resurrection and ascension. The concept of the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt is a picture of Christ's exodus from the earth.
- The Passover A second use of Exodus event is a type of something that comes later in the life of Christ is that Christ is our Passover. He is the true Passover Lamb that was sacrificed as a substitute for our salvation. The Passover lamb is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ as our Passover Lamb.
NKJ 1 Corinthians 5:7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.
It is a confession of our sin and sanctification. So you have to understand the dynamics of the Passover in Exodus to understand how Christ is our Passover. Specifically this is with a reference to His work as the sacrificial lamb, the Passover Lamb.
- The Lamb as a type of Christ. Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. John 1:29 This statement was made by John the Baptist. When John the Baptist saw Jesus walk down to the Jordan River he looked at Him and said, "The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." All of the Jews who were there understood exactly what He meant. There was no question in their minds that he was taking the Passover lamb imagery and applying it specifically to this man who was walking down. The rabbis had taught that it was a passage, a symbol, an imagery of the Messiah. So when John the Baptist said this it was a profound statement. That crowd was falling allover themselves looking to see who he was talking about. The same imagery was picked up by Peter.
NKJ 1 Peter 1:18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,
NKJ 1 Peter 1:19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
He is specifically connecting the work of Christ on the cross to the image, the type, the shadow image, the picture that was provided all those years as the Jews celebrated the Passover.
- The wilderness. Following the Exodus from Egypt, Israel entered into the wilderness. Israel's experienced hostility of the wilderness where they were totally dependent on God for their survival in the midst of all kinds of military opposition, environmental hostility. They were dependent upon God. In the same way the Church Age believers are living in a hostile environment. We are living in a warfare situation. We are no different from the special ops guys over in Iraq who are out there running around behind enemy lines disguised, living in the culture, living off the land, surrounded by potential enemies. We are in the same way. We are in a hostile environment. We need that support base that comes from the encouragement of other believers. That is why the writer of Hebrews says that we are to encourage one another as long as it is called today. We are living in that same hostile environment. So the nation Israel as they go through the wilderness experience is a picture of the church and Church Age believers living in a hostile environment. This idea is picked up by Stephen in his final parting message before he was stoned by the Sanhedrin in Acts 7:37-38.
NKJ Acts 7:37 " This is that Moses who said to the children of Israel, 'The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear.'
NKJ Acts 7:38 "This is he who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the Angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers, the one who received the living oracles to give to us,
This is he who was in the congregation or assembly in the wilderness, talking about how Jesus Christ in His pre-incarnate state was there continually present with the assembly of Jews (not the church) in the wilderness. He was the angel who spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai. It was the Lord Jesus Christ in His pre-incarnate state who was there to sustain them in the midst of all their adversities and all of their trials in the Old Testament. In the same way the Lord Jesus Christ as our high priest is continuously praying for us and interceding for us. He has provided the Word of God for us and all the principles in the Word of God for us as well as His precedent setting application of the Word during the incarnation as the resource for us to handle any adversity as we live in the midst of the world or the cosmic system. He prays for us as He prayed in John 17 which is Jesus' high priestly prayer.
NKJ John 17:15 "I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.
We are not to go off and live on a mountain top somewhere in a monastery separated from whatever is going on in the world, but we are to be in the cosmic system but living for Christ as ambassadors.
- The baptism of the Israel into Moses is a picture of the identification of the believer with Jesus Christ. There are 8 baptisms in the Bible. Three of them are wet baptisms or ritual baptisms. There is the baptism of John the Baptist, the baptism of Jesus, and the believer's baptism. Those were all wet. Then there are 5 dry or real baptisms. There is the baptism of the cross, the baptism of fire, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the baptism of Moses, and then there is the baptism with Noah. Those were all dry baptisms. In the baptism of Moses and the baptism of Noah in II Peter 3 - those are dry baptisms. The people who got wet died. So you have to distinguish which baptism is being talked about and the significance and meaning of the word. Baptism itself, the Greek word baptizo, means to plunge, to immerse, or to dip. But it is not limited to its literal meaning. It was the act of plunging or dipping something into something was to signify something. It had to do with identification and initiation. Whatever was dipped or immersed into something else was identified with it. It is also indicated that it was entering into a new state or new circumstances. It was an initiatory rite. For example when the Greek Hoplite soldier got out of boot camp at his graduation exercise, he would take his sword and dip it or baptize it in a bucket of pig's blood. This did two things. It identified the weapon with blood and violence. From now on he was going to be a warrior. It was an initiation that he was ready to do this. He had completed his training. He was now ready to go into battle. So baptism always had this picture of identification with something and initiation into a new state. In I Corinthians 10:1-2 we have the baptism with Moses.
NKJ 1 Corinthians 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,
Under the cloud meant that they were being led by the Shekinah glory that appeared as a pillar of cloud in the day and a pillar of fire at night. Passing through the sea is a reference to passing through the Red Sea on dry ground after which the soldiers and chariots of Pharaoh were drown and wiped out.
All of the Jews who passed through the sea following the leadership of the Shekinah glory were baptized or identified with Moses. By passing through the Red Sea they were following Him and trusting Moses, identifying with his faith. This is the initiation right of the nation. When they crossed through the Red Sea they have passed through the waters there in a new state. They have identified themselves with Moses indicated by the Greek preposition eis. That identification with Moses was by means of the cloud. The Shekinah glory led them.
"And by means of the sea." Of course they didn't get wet. They are now identified with Moses in terms of his faith. So the Exodus generation provides a picture for us of baptism by means of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament because we are identified with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. That initiates us into new life. This is seen in Romans 6:3-4. Paul writes.
NKJ Romans 6:3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
That is the same prep eis that is used in I Corinthians 10:2 . We are identified with Christ Jesus and were baptized into His death. At the instant that you trust Christ as your Savior you are identified with Christ in His death. According to verse 4 we are buried with Him through baptism. Even so we should walk in newness of life. There is an initiation into a new life because we have been identified with Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. So the Jewish baptism with Moses is a picture, type or shadow image of what happens to every believer in the Church Age. We are identified with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection so that we have a new life – a new potential. The Jews came out of Egypt and they had a new potential. That potential was related to experiencing the blessing of God living in the land of milk and honey, the Promised Land that God was going to lead them to. That was a potential. The potential was contingent upon their trusting God. What happened? Again and again and again and again they don't trust Him. Finally it reaches a crisis point at Kadesh Barnea where it's the last straw. God says, "Okay. That's it. They will not enter My rest." They jeopardized their temporal continent rewards and they were taken away. The same thing can happen to us. That is why the writer of Hebrews is saying this. Our fifth point was that the baptism of Israel into Moses is a picture of the identification of the believer with the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Our "eating" and "drinking" of Christ is pictured by their eating manna and drinking water from the spiritual rock that was Christ. What in the world am I talking about here? You have to be a little cognizant of what is going on in the Scripture. First of all let's look at the I Corinthians 10:3 passage again. What I am saying is that we are to eat Christ's flesh and drink Christ's blood. That is what he says in John 6. That was pictured by the Jews eating manna in the wilderness and drinking the water that came out of the rock. That is indicated several times in the Scripture.
NKJ 1 Corinthians 10:3 all ate the same spiritual food,
They all ate manna. Manna is from the Hebrew word that means "what it is." They looked at it and said, "What is it? We've never seen anything like that." That is what they called it – what is it? Every morning they got up and went outside and collected the "what is it?" to have for breakfast. They all ate the same spiritual food and they drank the same spiritual drink. The physical water that came out of the rock had a spiritual significance just as the manna was a picture of something spiritual. God provides our ongoing day-to-day nourishment and sustenance in the spiritual life. That is explained in the fourth verse.
NKJ 1 Corinthians 10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.
That's the Lord Jesus Christ. He was there. He is the one who was always in their midst. He was the spiritual rock that followed them. So Paul shows that these events that happened to the Exodus generation picture these dynamic principles in the Church Age. This is what Jesus refers to when He stands out there in front of this Jewish crowd and says, "I am the living bread." They are thinking biblically. They knew their Old Testament. They knew what He was claiming. John 6:51 He was claiming to be that which was pictured by the spiritual food that the Exodus generation complained about.
He is not talking about physically eating Him. This is the problem that the Roman Catholic theologians got into in the early Middle Ages due to the influence of Aristotelian philosophy as their frame of reference. Instead of treating this as a figure of speech, as an idiom, they took it literally. Jesus used all kinds of idioms. He said He was the door, but you didn't find a door handle and hinges on Him.
He said He was the bread and anyone who ate of it would live forever. What He meant by that is that anybody can eat or drink. It is a non-meritorious action that any individual person can do. When you eat or drink something you are receiving it or accepting it. You are taking it into yourself. You are making it part of you. That which you eat and that which you drink provide nourishment and sustenance and strength for you. So the picture of eating bread is a picture of eating Christ – that is accepting Him by faith and trusting Him for salvation.
NKJ John 6:51 "I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world."
That is what happened at the cross when He paid the penalty for sins on the cross. But the Jews didn't understand this.
NKJ John 6:52 The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?"
They are thinking literally just like all of those confused Roman Catholic theologians down through the ages thought in a confused manner because they really didn't understand the Scripture. Jesus goes on to explain to them.
NKJ John 6:53 Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.
Now that has a powerful statement. As soon as he said Son of Man he is picking up Daniel 7. The Son of Man is a picture of the Son of Man who will come in the clouds in glory from the Ancient of Days in order to overthrow all of the human kingdoms and to establish His kingdom. All of a sudden it has this strong Messianic overtone related to the Millennial Kingdom. Isn't that what we are talking about in Hebrews 3 and 4? It is also what Psalm 95 is talking about.
NKJ John 6:54 "Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
Here the emphasis has shifted from the initial act of faith alone in Christ alone where you have life to the ongoing reception of Christ, the teaching of Christ, the thinking of Christ for ongoing spiritual life and spiritual growth. This fits with John's theology. John is the one who quotes Jesus as says in John 10:10.
NKJ John 10:10 "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
Giving life is phase one salvation. Giving life abundantly is phase 2 spiritual growth. So Jesus is expanding on the statement in verse 54. He is moving from the previous statement in verse 51 - if anyone eats of the bread they will have salvation- to now - if they eat My flesh and drink My blood, they will have eternal life, the full quality and blessing of that spiritual life that God promises for us in terms of the full experience of contingent blessings in time.
NKJ John 6:55 "For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.
He is our nourishment.
NKJ John 6:56 "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.
The phrase "abide" is a code word that is used again and again by Jesus in John to refer to ongoing fellowship and nourishment. It is fully developed in John 13. John himself, the Apostle John, in the first epistle uses it in that same way. So we see that even within this statement Jesus moves from phase one justification to phase 2 spiritual life advance as we feed on Him. This of course is reiterated in other passages such as Matthew 4:4.
NKJ Matthew 4:4 But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.' "
So the believer is kept going by constantly feeding on Jesus Christ.
NKJ 1 Corinthians 2:16 For "who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ.
We have the mind of Christ. So we have the Word of God. It is the basis of our advance and solving problems.
We are 80% of the way through and our time is up. I have 3 more points. We will pick up there next time as we transition into the fourth chapter. Just remember that there were no chapters in the original. There is going to be a smooth transition in terms of the argument that the previous generation couldn't enter that rest because unbelief. Therefore since the promise remains of entering His rest…. It means something different now, doesn't it? In the previous verse entering rest was the Promised Land rest. But for us now (present time) as well as the hearers or readers of this message, there still remained the promise of entering His rest. So he shifts the terminology, the meaning now to entering that millennial rest and all the privileges and rights that go with that for the believer who has been successful.
So we will come back and look at that next time.