Hebrews 10:19, 25
“Having therefore boldness, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.”
This was a strange message for the converted Jew. The way into the holiest was closed to the Jewish people, the reason being that the blood of animals could not atone for sin.
The common people in a past economy were barred from the Holy and Most Holy Place. Only the priests could enter the holy place, and their visits were limited. Only the High Priest could enter the Most Holy Place but once a year.
It was unthinkable, in fact it was impossible for anyone except the High Priest to enter God’s awesome presence.
In our dispensation all this has changed. Every believer, as a priest can enter into the immediate presence of a thrice holy God, with confidence, through the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We do not come into the presence of any of the world’s celebrities. We enter, with confidence, into the presence of the Sovereign of the universe.
To help us to more fully appreciate our privilege, let us contrast the stringent preparations made by the High Priest on the day of atonement.
This was held each year on the 10th day of the 7th month. IT WAS A MOST SOLEMN DAY—ALL WORK WAS FORBIDDEN—AND A STRICT FAST WAS IMPOSED ON ALL THE PEOPLE—THE NATION’S ACTIVITIES CAME TO A STANDSTILL.
The annual Day of Atonement reminded the Israelites that the daily, weekly, and monthly sacrifices were not sufficient to atone for their sin.
Note how thorough the preparations were for this yearly atonement.
The priests were first cleansed, then the brazen alter was cleansed, thirdly, the sanctuary was cleansed by blood. In other words, life had to be taken, before God could be approached.
On this great day the High Priest took off his official robes and put on a simple white garment.
Watch now the strenuous efforts made by the High Priest to enter through the veil, into the presence of Almighty God.
1. First of all, he offered a bullock as a sin-offering for himself and the priesthood.
2. Secondly, he took a censor full of burning coals of fire from off the alter before the Lord, and two handfuls of finely ground fragrant incense and took them behind the curtain. Verse 12
The High Priest then puts the incense on the fire, the smoke of the incense concealed the Mercy Seat and the glorious presence of God, so that he would not die.
At this point he dipped his finder in the bull’s blood and sprinkled it on the Mercy Seat.
No other priest was allowed in the Holy Place from the time Aaron went into the Most Holy Place to make atonement, until he came out having made atonement for himself, his household, and the nation of Israel.
3. Thirdly, the High Priest also sacrificed a He-goat as a sin offering for the people. He took some of this blood into the Most Holy Place and sprinkled it upon and before the Mercy Seat, thus atonement was made for the sins of the people.
4. Finally, after purifying the Most Holy Place, the Holy Place, and the alter with the blood of the bullock and the goat, the High Priest then took a second goat, laid his hands upon its head and confessed the sins of the people.
This goat was called the “Scapegoat,” of the “Escape goat,” which was then taken into the wilderness and released, where it symbolically carried away the sins of the people.
Aren’t you glad you do not have to go through all this physical preparation to enter into God’s presence?
But in a spiritual sense, according to our text, there are certain stringent preparations to be made before we can enter God’s thrice holy presence.
First of all we can only enter God’s presence by the blood of Jesus. Describe the value of the blood.
Redeemed by precious blood-Ephesians 1:7
Washed from our sins by blood-Revelation 1:5
Justified by blood-Romans 5:9
Sanctified by blood-Hebrews 13:12
Made peace through blood-Colossians 1:20
Made nigh by the blood-Ephesians 2:13
Enter the Holiest by the blood-Hebrews 10:19
Secondly, we enter “by a new and living way.” V. 20
“New way” in contrast to the old was which we have just described.
It is a “newly made way” by a “newly slain” sacrifice.
A new way?—1,000 years is as a day to God.
We enter God’s presence not only by a New Way, but also by a “Living Way.”
This again was a strange message for the new Jewish converts. In the past, all animal sacrifices had to die. The worth of the sacrifice was in its death. Rivers of blood flowed, etc. DEATH was all around.
After the Temple was dedicated and God took up residence among the people.
“Solomon offered sacrifice before the Lord.” 2 Chronicles 7:5
22,000 oxen—120,000 sheep. Death. The way of death.
The Sin Offering
When the Israelite brought his sacrifice, knowing that this was his one and only hope of living in the favour of God, he laid his hand on its head, his sin was immediately transferred to the animal, and in his presence it was killed, and he left the presence of death knowing that his sins were covered.
The way of death—this went on year after year in a man’s life. Describe the scene at the alter.
Now, praise God it is a “Living Way.”
The Lord Jesus died, but was resurrected—He is alive—He is in God’s presence.
This new and living way into God’s presence, “Christ has opened for us through the veil, that is to say Hid flesh.”
Let us now consider the VEIL OF THE TEMPLE. Exodus 26:31-33.
The Veil was a beautiful piece of work. The colors wrought into it in the shape of the Chrubin was transcendently beautiful. The background was white, the colors wrought into it were blue, purple, and scarlet.
The curtain or veil was 15 feet square.
This curtain was so stoutly woven together that two pairs of oxen attached to either edge and driven in opposite directions could not tear it asunder.
Describe the rending of the veil in Matthew 27.
The veil was rent in two at the hour of the evening sacrifice. That hour was three o’clock in the afternoon. At that hour the evening sacrifice was on the alter in the Temple. At the same hour the Passover lamb was being sacrificed in the court of the Temple.
It was at this time that the Lord cried, “It is finished,” and the veil was rent from top to bottom.
Verse 20 reminds us that the veil between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place is a type of the body of the Lord Jesus.
In order for us to have access into God’s presence, this veil had to be rent.
That is, the Lord’s body had to be broken in death. “NOT A BONE WAS BROKEN.”
We cannot draw near to God on the merit of our Lord’ sinless and beautiful life. We can only draw near through the rent body, His vicarious death and precious blood.
It is only through the mortal wounds of the Lamb, that we can come into God’s presence. Every time we speak to God in prayer, or worship Him in the beauty of holiness, we should remember that the privilege was bought for us at a tremendous cost, by Jesus our Lord.
Verse 21—“And having a High Priest over the house of God” Note two things here.
1. When entering God’s presence, we should do so with confidence, because of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus. Verse 19.
2. We should also have added confidence knowing that we have a high Priest there.
Ch. 9:12, By His own blood He entered in once into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”
The Lord Jesus is described as the Great High Priest in Ch. 4:14. His ministry before God assures us of a constant welcome by God. 1 John 2:1, “If any man sins we have an advocate with the Father.”
Now notice at this point five practical exhortations that spring from the provision Jesus has made for our communion with the Father.
Verses 22 thru 25
1. Let us draw near to God. V22
2. Let us hold unswervingly to our hope in Christ. V23
3. Let us consider how we may encourage fellow-believers to manifest love towards one another, and to engage in doing good works.
4. Let us not give up the assembling of ourselves together. V24
5. Let us exhort and encourage one another in the faith. Especially in view of the Lord’s coming. V25
These exhortations were so necessary to these early believers. Some were falling by the way, others were reverting back to Judaism. There was a need to encourage and love each other, especially in view of the nearness of the Lord’s return.
If believers of the first century though the Lord’s coming was near, how much nearer is the rapture today.
In verse 22, there is a fourfold description of how we should be spiritually prepared to enter the throne Room.
1. We Should Draw Near With A True Heart
A true heart is a sincere heart. A heart that is undivided in its allegiance. A heart that is all for God—a single heart.
The Israelites of Isaiah’s day and the Lord’s day drew near to God with their mouths—they honored Him with their lips—they uttered words that appeared to compliment God—but alas, their heart was far from Him. Matthew 15:8
We can only approach God in the holiest if our heart is true—sincere—undivided—a heart that is exclusively occupied with God.
In this framework note the instructions given relative to the Lord’s Supper.
2. We should draw near in full assurance of faith. That is, we should draw near with absolute confidence in the promises of God, in the efficacy of the blood of Jesus, and the Priesthood of Christ.
We should draw near with a firm conviction that our sins and iniquities are gone, and will be remembered no more, and that we have a royal welcome into the presence of the Omnipotent and Omniscient God.
3. Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscious. This condition can only be brought about initially by the New Birth. When we trusted the Lord as our savior, we appropriated the value and worth of His blood.
Figuratively, as we draw near to God we sprinkle our hearts with the blood of Jesus; just as the Israelites sprinkled their doors with the blood of the Passover Lamb. This sprinkling cleanses us and liberates us from an evil conscious.
4. We should draw near with our bodies washed in pure water. To instruct ourselves in this important truth, let us consider the Laver. Ex. 30:17-21.
The Laver was made of brass, it was made from the mirrors of the women.
The Laver was an important vessel in the service of God, in the Tabernacle. Note its position.
The Laver was constantly filled with water, and the priests were commanded to wash their hands and feet in it before fulfilling their priestly duties, in the Holy or Most Holy Place.
They had to wash daily that they die not.
LET US NOW CONSIDER THE PRACTICAL SIDE OF ALL THIS.
The mirror or looking-glass in Scripture is a symbol of the WORD. James 1:23-24.
The water in the Laver would also represent the WORD. Ephesians 5:23-24. When the WORD is read prayerfully it cleanses and purifies. Jesus said to His disciples, “You are clean through the WORD that I have spoken unto you.” John 15:3
He who would serve or worship God must purify himself at the Laver. He must examine his heart in the light of God’s Word; he must confess his sin.
For a believer to be spiritually health and in a fit state to commune with God, he must take a bath every day in the Word of God.
We must have our body washed with pure water. This is figurative language, i.e. Our body represents our life. The pure water refers to the Word of God and also the Holy Spirit.
1. Ephesians 5:25-26, Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word.
2. John 7:37-39 refers to the cleansing of the Holy Spirit.
We are cleansed once and for all from all sin and guilt by the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
Ephesians 1:7, “In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sin.”
We are cleansed repeatedly from the daily defilement of sin by the Spirit, through the Word. See John 13.
The words “washed” and “wash” are two different words in the original language. In the first instance the word “Washed” should be rendered “bathed,” a complete ablution.
“Wash” on the other hand is the usual word in the N.T. for washing the hands or feet. The imagery here is of an Oriental returning from the public baths to his house.
In his walk home his feet would become dirty, and require washing, but not his body.
The believer, in trusting Jesus is cleansed from all sin “once and for all.” Hebrews 10:1-12.
But as we walk through this dirty world we become defiled (dirty), and we need to come daily and confess our sins; in other words we need to wash our feet, so that our fellowship remains unbroken with the Father and the Son.
The blood of Jesus answers forever to God our guilt of sin. But we need constant cleansing from the defilement of sin. The order of approach has always been—
1. The brazen alter or sacrifice.
2. The layer of cleansing.
Christ will not have communion with a defiled saint. But He can and will cleanse him.
We could summarize the four requisites for entering God’s awesome presence as SINCERITY—ASURANCE—SALVATION—SANCTIFICATION.
As there is only one way to be saved, so there is only one way to approach God.
There is only one way into the holiest. Hebrews 10:22—“Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscious, and bodies washed with pure water.”
A young princess went to visit her rather legal queen grandmother. She dashed into her grandmother’s presence, and jumped on her knee. The queen promptly dumped her on the floor and said, “Now come in as a princess should.” The chastened princess left the room and entered the queen’s presence, curtsied, and requested permission to sit on her grandmother’s knee, and was welcomed with open arms.
In this connection see Leviticus 10, Nadab—Abihu. STRANGE Fire. Consider also Uzziah.
Before we can draw near to pray or worship we must do so with a pure heart.
We can honor God with our lips—but we worship in our heart. True worship is heart worship.
Matthew 15:7, “This people draws near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. In vain do they worship Me.”
These people, like many in our own generation give lip service, but do not have a heart commitment.
We have been mentioning a lot about the Heart. What is the Biblical meaning of the heart? Three references.
1. “And God saw—that every imagination of the thoughts of man’s heart was only evil continually. The thoughts of his heart refers to the mind—the intellect.
2. Genesis 6:6—“It grieved the Lord that He had made man, and it grieved Him in His heart.”
“grieved him” This would speak of the emotions.
3. Genesis 8:21—And God said, “I will not curse the ground anymore for man’s sake.” God said, “I will not” this speaks of the will.
Scripturally them, the heart is the Intellect—Emotion—and the Will. This would represent the whole man.
With this explanation, the question arises, What is a true heart?
A true heart is a pure heart that expresses total devotion to Christ. A heart in which there is no divided allegiance. A heart that expresses total commitment to the worship of God in the beauty of holiness.
To attain this spiritual condition we must surrender our Intellect—our emotions—and our Will to Jesus Christ. Romans 6 “Yield yourselves to God.” Etc.