In all its terms and
meaning, all that we could desire, and
we believe all that Thou dost desire, would be fulfilled... Not as
a part of
our programme, but from our very hearts we say, "Lord, Break Thou
the bread of
life to me." Thou art the Bread of Life. Give us of Thyself
this morning. May
there be a true ministration of Christ in this hour. Send Thy
Spirit, Lord, in
a new way to us. Open our eyes that we may see Thee, Lord.
Answer this prayer
for Thine own name's sake, amen.
The Letter to the Hebrews, chapter one, verses one and part of two: "God, having of old time spoken unto the fathers in the prophets by divers portions and in divers manners, hath at the end of these days spoken unto us in His Son, Whom He appointed Heir of all things...." And the peril running immediately alongside of our reading of those words is the peril of familiarity. What I mean is this: that after more than sixty years of being actively in ministry of the Word, therefore closely acquainted with the Scriptures, these words are more alive and more meaningful today than ever. So it ought to be. My trouble is that I haven't long enough to live with these words, and with this letter.
You ought not to know your Bible, in a certain sense, you ought, and we ought, to be coming to it every time as though we did not know it. And it ought to be to us like that: something which we really, after all, do not know. I cannot convey to you my own sensing of this. I can only make a statement like that, as to how it ought to be. I'm not coming back to you with some addresses which I have made up out of the letter to the Hebrews. The trouble is, the difficulty, is to convey that sense of immensity, vitality, urgency that is present with me in this letter, as in other parts, of course. It must come to you in that way and that is why we pray: "Oh, send Thy Spirit, Lord, now unto me that He may touch mine eyes and make me see beyond the sacred page." Beyond the sacred page - that is where we have to see. We see the letter, we see the page, we see the words, we know them. They are so familiar, but it is something in and beyond the actual writing, that we have got to see. The Lord help us this morning.
Now having repeated those words at the beginning of this letter, and I trust that you have already grasped the significance of the introductory words which are really a comprehending of the whole letter or the truth that is in the letter, I trust you have seen the two things that comprehend this letter. In times past: fragments, pieces, portions, bits, aspects. Now: all that and much more gathered up together, comprehended, brought together in completeness. No more different portions, no more different times, no more different ways, but now, one time, one way, one all-comprehendingness. It is all here. Fulness is reached. This is the other time, the subsequent time, the ultimate time of fulness, completeness.
So this letter brings us the ultimate fulness of all things in the Son, not only comprehending, not only fulness, but finality. This is the ultimate, the end; there is nothing beyond this. It is the end of all God's speaking. God, Who did speak, but in those many different ways, forms, methods, has now spoken finally, fully and finally; nothing beyond. We ought to be impressed with that, you know.
I don't know what you are looking for, what you are expecting, what you are praying for. God has given all that you could ever ask or pray for. It is present, it is now. He has no more revelation to give, only of what He has given. Revelation now and henceforth, is not new truth, it is only light on the Truth. Are you clear about that? That's where we are then, with these first words comprehending the letter.
Now I want you just to go over to chapter twelve of this letter, just to pick out again our governing words. Remember what we said yesterday about the two, two, all-inclusive, governing words which are running right through the New Testament? Chapter twelve, verse eighteen: "For ye are not come...." Ye are not come. I'm not going further with that this morning. Ye are not come - then what? Verse twenty-two: "But ye are come...." Not - but. And I'm not going to follow on with neither of what is said in connection with those two words here. Not this morning, that comes later, the Lord willing, as we get into that tomorrow. But here you have in these two statements, verses 18 through 21, a comprehending of all that has been. It is very comprehensive as we shall see; and then it's ruled out, finalized, with this word "not." Then with verse twenty-two, the introduction of another great order of things; wonderful, beyond... beyond our fathoming.
am not exaggerating, dear friends, when I say that I could go on
for a whole
year here on verses twenty-two and onward. The fulness and
profundity is so great
because it comprehends the Bible. But leave that for the time
being. It is this
great divide between the "not" and the "but". The
not and the but...
and as I said at the beginning yesterday, we are at this time
what we have come to in the advent of Christ and His Cross. What
we have come
to, what we are.
I wonder if you will ask this simple question, "What are you?" I wonder what your answer or answers would be. Perhaps you would say, "Well, I am a child of God. Well, I am a Christian." All the answers would be manifold. Now, this morning I want to focus all that as the Lord enables, to tell you what we are.
then is the great, great divide between the "Not" and the
as concentrated in this one letter. Other letters are very far
great and comprehensive; but in this letter, the particular
meaning is that all
that lies on the two sides of the Cross is concentrated
in this letter called the Letter to the Hebrews.
Now, to get right to our business, you notice that I am not dealing with the detail, only with the general statement. Under the not - "ye are not come to..." - under that "not," you have the constituting of the former Israel. You are taken to Sinai, and at Sinai the former Israel was constituted a nation. They were a people, a rabble, a multitude before, and a mixed multitude at that; now, here at Sinai, they are constituted the ancient Israel, the former Israel. They were Hebrews made into Israel. Hebrews, Jews... now Israel as a nation. I know the name goes back before that, Israel, as to the person - Jacob's new name and his family - but here they are constituted as a nation out from the nations, separate from the nations, distinct among the nations, a nation called collectively 'Israel'.
in history, something new among the nations, something new in
this world, on
this earth. A new beginning of God: God's act, God's doing. I
need not take
time to quote the Scriptures: "I have chosen you," says
the Lord. "You
are My people," implying, "You are the result of My action in history."
The first word is "God," and that word always stands right at the head of every new movement of God. God. God! Genesis: "In the beginning GOD..." - God in action at the beginning. It is God taking the initiative; and this people is the result of the Divine intervention in the history of this world with a Divine action, His Own prerogative, wholly, completely, uniquely of Himself. God in creation: a new beginning.
is the Old. You come to the New, and the New opens with the
Gospel by John: "In
the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the
Word was God"
- "In the beginning... God"! But this is another new
movement, "a new
creation" is here indicated,
pinpointed, and it is described. "In the beginning God
(Genesis 1:1,26). Here in John a new
humanity and mankind is brought into view under a "Not"
and a "But."
"Which were born, not of flesh, not of the will of man" - "Not
It's in the plural. Why is it in the plural? All right, we will
not assay to
tackle our liberal theologians, but the Holy Spirit is always
very exact and
correct, and when the Holy Spirit causes it to be put in a way
that you almost
overlook it, hardly struck by it, and He puts it this way, "not
not of Joseph and Mary. That is the mingling of bloods, isn't
it? That is the
ordinary, natural mankind, the mingling of bloods, two sexes. "Not"
is a direct application to the virgin birth. Not all that "but of God"!
These are born not that way. As the people of God, they are not born that way. You are never born a Christian. You are never born naturally a child of God. You never inherit Divine Life by natural birth. Well, it goes without saying, "but of God." God's act! God's act to produce a new mankind, a new and different humanity never produced by the will of man, never produced along natural lines at all, but... not, "but of God" a new humanity, a spiritual race. Not a natural race at all, a spiritual race.
But then, what? What is the implication both of this letter, comprehensively, and of the New Testament, as a whole? What is it? A new Israel.
A New Israel
is what this letter is saying to Hebrews,
Hebrews: not those Hebrews of history, a new Israel has come in.
I think you ought to note, if you haven't, it is a very simple thing, of course, everybody should be familiar with it; but I am very glad to notice that in a late translation and interpretation of the Bible, especially the New Testament, called "The Amplified," I am very glad and happy to note, on this as I am going to mention in another connection presently, that wherever the name "Christ" is mentioned in the New Testament, in that place, right through this Amplified New Testament links with the name and word "Christ-Messiah." Messiah. It never divides between Christ and Messiah. It puts them together, they are one because, as you know, "Messiah" is the Hebrew of which "Christ" is only the Greek, meaning to say, "The Lord's Anointed." The Lord's Anointed. Keep that in mind. The Christ is the Messiah. The Messiah in the history of Hebrew mentality, concept and expectation, the Messiah of the old Israel is the Christ of a new Israel. One name, same name, same meaning, but carried over now; and so wherever you read the word "Christ" in your New Testament, don't forget the hyphen, say "Messiah."
It is most impressive if you read that version: every time you come on the mention of "Christ" and then it says, "Messiah." I say: "impressive." Does it impress you? Do you see the meaning? Do you see the significance? Do you see what this is driving at? A new Israel because this is, shall we say, a "new" Messiah? Is that quite correct? It is the One Messiah, it is the old Messiah; and here this letter is saying all of the old Israel's hopes, expectations, conceptions, of their coming Messiah - all that ever they had associated with that name of the Coming One, Messiah, is taken up in Christ, comprehended in Christ. He comprehends and fulfills it and goes beyond their conception; and, as we shall see, beyond their acceptance.
Well, it is a new Israel, not that one of their limited, narrow, exclusive conception, mentality, or even expectation. Much, much greater and much bigger than all that which the old Israel ever hoped for, looked for, expected, prayed for. Much bigger indeed, and we will come back to that in a minute. It is a new Israel beginning with (and I must use the word, though it is not quite exactly right) the "new" Messiah, the Christ, the "Christos," the Anointed One.
Now this, as we have said, is a new act of God. A new act of God is the Messiah, the Christ, and a new act of God is the new Israel; and there are two governing, dominating features and factors in this new Israel as the act of God. Two aspects: the Resurrection of Christ, God's act, God's unique act. The Resurrection is God's specific, peculiar act in history. It is the act of God. God raised Him! God raised Him! Not resuscitation: resurrection; and, of course, God saw to it. God saw to it that there was no doubt whatsoever that He died, that He was dead. So far as He, as a man was concerned: dead and buried. And if you are in the grave for three days and three nights, you have pretty good ground to conclude that that person is dead. All right! No resuscitation, no breathalysing, no, nothing of that. He is dead. He died. And now only God... only God and the intervention of God can make for anything further. He is God's Act, in His Resurrection.
But then, the other aspect of this act of God is Pentecost. Pentecost was God's act. God did it! The intervention of God by the Third Person of the Trinity, the intervention of God in history to bring as from death, as from death this new race... this new race. I do wish that all people who are so interested in this word "Pentecost" would recognize really what Pentecost was. They limit it to this and that and something else, "This is Pentecost". The Lord save us from this restricted conception. Pentecost is the act of God in bringing to birth a new, altogether new, humanity. And if your Pentecostalism or experience (forgive me using the very phrase) doesn't mean that there is a new humanity of a different order that is God's doing and not the result of any kind of soul, psychic, or any other force produced by the energy of man, it is not something that you have to stand back and say, "It's God; and it is God producing a new kind of humanity, unique, different. God's act!" Resurrection and Pentecost are one thing as God's act, firstly in the One Son and then in the sons to be. That is all very simple I know, but I am working on toward the object.
Now then, you come back to your New Testament, and especially to begin with to the Book of the Acts; and what have you in the Book here? The gradual dawning, the gradual dawning, upon the apostles (yes, the apostles) and then upon the believers; the gradual dawning of what has happened, what has happened, what the meaning of Christ was. It is dawning... it is the faint rays seemingly of a new day just coming up over the horizon and shooting across the sky, and in their consciousness something happening. Notice, in the beginning, they still continued to go up to the temple, in the ordinances of the temple, the ritual of the temple, the time of prayer at the temple. They are still going up, but something is happening, something is spreading over their sky, and that fades out. It fades out! They are losing that attachment. They are losing that mentality. They are meeting in homes, wherever they can meet: not meeting in the temple any longer. No, it is not a sudden thing that has happened that they make a sudden break. I say it is the dawning of the meaning of a new day.
is so real, so clear; they don't put it into any system of
teaching and say,
"You must come out of that denomination. You must come out of
that system. You
must leave that order of things." No, it
is just happening. Something is happening, and they are finding themselves out.
And note this
that I am going to say: first of all, it is not a physical separation. It is not a physical
separation, first of all,
it is an inward spiritual separation. I will put it this way:
themselves out before they are out! They find that they no
longer belong. No
one has ever told them that they must leave their denomination,
their mission; their this, that, and the other organization. No,
You know, in the old creation, God commenced from the outside; and in the new, always from the inside. And in this spiritual dispensation it is that you just find yourself somewhere, perhaps where you never intended to be. Peter never intended that he quarreled and argued with the Lord about the house of Cornelius, "No, Lord, not so." All right, Peter, what has happened to you? Don't you know what has happened to you? You are going to know, and Peter does come to know, doesn't he? Oh, he will write later on, he'll write about the spiritual house of God. Well, do you see what I mean? Something has dawned, has broken. It is a new day, and the dawn has come in, and the light is growing, growing. That's the first movement.
Oh, dear friends, do take hold of it! It is an organic thing. It is a movement of Life within. It is not legal, "Ye must" or "Ye must not" - "You must leave this and leave that in order to come to God's fulness." It is not that at all. I say, stay there until you cannot for your very life's sake, for your very walk with God's sake, for your very knowledge of the Holy Spirit within. Stay, stay. "Come out-ism" is a dangerous thing. That is not how it was. It was from the inside. It is the way of the Holy Spirit, the initiative of God, the act of God, the dawning of a new awareness that "Something is happening to me because it is happening in me." I know what that means. I have had crises like that. I have had crises like that when I knew that something had happened to create a divide, and "Now, Lord, what am I to do? If I take action, look what will happen." And so I stuck and on a false pretext went on. At the end of some months, I found myself like this - I was not in it. "No, that is not where I am finding the Lord. That is not where Life is," and I have gone back to the Lord and I have said, "Lord, what am I to do?" He said, "So many months ago, I took you out in spirit. Now perhaps you will have to follow in body." Oh, don't you put a teaching on that. Don't take hold of that and crystallise it into a doctrine. It is a spiritual movement because this is a spiritual dispensation.
That commenced, as I have said, at the beginning of the Book of the Acts, and before you are through that book, what will you find? You will find that the light has been growing and growing; and you are having in the letters that are compassed by that book (all these letters, every one of the Pauline letters is compassed by the Book of the Acts, isn't it? And others) you'll find that in all these letters which come out, you have the growing revelation of what? Of what had happened, what has happened; what the meaning of the resurrection of Christ and the advent of the Holy Spirit really meant. It is a growing revelation, not of some new thing as a thing, but of what was at the beginning, at the root of things.
So God is moving (so to speak) backward, in order to move onward; and you have this growing revelation under these two words, "Not - But." An inward thing "Not - But." The Day is moving on. It'll come, it'll come to its glorious consummation when what happened at the beginning is found in the consummation, the "New Jerusalem, coming down from above" - the sum of this new thing that happened with the coming of the Lord Jesus. And we will be coming back to that in Hebrews later on. But you are marking the way, the consummation of the initiation, the growing light, transforming the mentality.
Oh, I have the New Testament you see, right present, all of it in mind as I am speaking. The growing light - increasing understanding of what this new dispensation means: growing. You will have many, many exact statements in the growing light which has grown from the day when he first had Christ revealed in him; as he said. Growing light... Paul didn't have it all at once; it was growing all the time, the growing light, as he will say presently, "The Jerusalem which is beneath is in bondage. Cast out the bondwoman." Not that Jerusalem, "but the Jerusalem which is above is our mother." Our mother. You see the language and what it means? And is it not impressive and significant that it is at the end of the letter to the Galatians?
Do you know what the Letter to the Galatians is about? Think again. Well, it's along this line of contrast of the "not" and the "but", isn't it? Not circumcision; not, not, not; but, but. And at the end of that letter he uses this so significant phrase in Galatians 6, is it 16? It doesn't matter very much, it is right at the end of the letter: "the Israel of God," the whole Israel of God. The new Israel. That, that throws light upon the whole letter, you see. One Israel is gone, the old Israel is gone! That is the argument of the letter, isn't it? That is why he got into such trouble. That is why this letter is such a battleground! That Israel: no more... not, but now another with its Jerusalem headquarters above, its birthplace above, (I'll come back to that later). The Israel of God; a new Israel entirely.
Well, now, I must get on... We must, dear friends, (and this is a very vital point in our consideration or in what the Lord is trying to say to us) we must recognise the new dimensions of God in this thing that has now come in on the "but" side.
The Dimensions of God
was the tragedy of the old Israel? Of course, the tragedy of the
finally, is their dismissal. Their dismissal: "The kingdom of
be taken away from you, and given to a nation bringing forth
the fruits thereof."
That happened and it stands today. The kingdom of heaven taken
away - not for
that Israel, but for another! The tragedy of Israel, of course,
is that they
are dismissed from the dispensation, or the dispensational
movement of God. These
years... it has lasted for two thousand, how many more years we do
probably, not so long... you leave that alone.
Here I am going to upset a lot of you: you leave Israel alone for the time being. You will get into terrible confusion if you get down on this earth with an earth touch in these things. Some of us have lived through things - we remember the Kaiser (forgive me, that is not an attack upon any nation or people) but we do remember him going to Jerusalem and having a new door broken into the wall of Jerusalem so that he never went in through any of the old gates of the old Jerusalem, but because of who he was, who he was, a new gate must be broken in the wall for him. And people fitted that into prophecy, see? And said, "Therefore, the Kaiser is... So-and-so, the Messiah!" All right, say no more. Was he?
When General Allenby entered Jerusalem and brought the Turkish rule to an end, the prophetic school laid hold of it, brought it down to earth and said, "The end of the time of the Gentiles." How long ago was that? Was it? Was it? Mussolini. A dear man of God but caught up in this kind of thing, went from Belgium to Rome to see Mussolini to say to him, "You are the last Caesar to reconstitute the Roman Empire." Whereupon Mussolini had a great statue made of himself, statue made of himself, the last Caesar and a great relief map of the revived Roman Empire with ten kingdoms behind his statue. The last Caesar of the revived Roman Empire? We need say any more? What about him? God help the last Caesar.
You see, and you go on like that; confusion, if you come down onto this earth. Leave it alone and see what God is doing, and God is doing a spiritual thing, not a temporal thing.
could take an hour to enlarge upon that last phrase, "not a
temporal thing." Do
you see, in the sovereign activities of God, now He is
confusing and breaking down all temporal
representations of His heavenly kingdom? Men are trying to set
churches after New Testament order. You have never had more
confusion in local
churches than you have today! They are trying to set up things, constitute things, Christian
institutions, Christian organizations, and they are all in confusion and don't know what to do with
one another. As
Billy Graham said, "The psychiatrists are chasing one another
around to give
some explanation of their own troubles." Well, that may be
exaggeration, but do
you see what I mean? God is breathing upon every temporal representation in order to have a spiritual expression of Christ! That is the heart
of what we are
saying, and that is what is here.
Now I was saying, we must recognize the dimensions of this that has come in with Christ and into which we have come. The spiritual dimensions are diverted from Israel's tragedy, Israel's tragedy... yes, of being set aside in this dispensation. But why? Why? Have you ever answered why? The answer is in one word, friends - exclusivism: "We are the people. Truth begins and ends with us. You will never be able to get anywhere with God if you are not circumcised. Except ye be circumcised, ye cannot be saved. The nations are dogs, are dirt." (Poor Jonah, poor Jonah was caught in this.) "We are the people. We are the beginning and the end of all God's work. You have got to come on to our ground, be on our ground, or you are out." You never will be on God's ground if you do not come up out of that. I could enlarge upon that, of course.
Exclusivism - and God never meant that when He took them out of the nations, made them a distinct people, constituted them His Own peculiar people. He never meant that. He only meant to plant them in the nations to show the nations what a God He is, WHAT A GREAT GOD HE IS! And this, this startled and stunned Jonah; that God could ever think in mercy upon anybody outside of Israel; Nineveh.
And so you have it all the way through haven't you? And that is the trouble in the New Testament with the Lord Jesus: it is the exclusivism of Judaism that is the battleground. The battle in the life of the Apostle Paul was that, was that! He was hammering at this brick wall of Jewish exclusivism, and all his sufferings are because of that.
This new Israel is so much greater than the old because Christ, this Messiah, is so much greater than their conception of a Messiah. The immense dimensions of the New Israel! We have got to recognize this, and resist exclusivism where Christ is concerned, as we would resist a plague; where Christ is concerned. I am not talking about fundamental truths and the personality of Christ; I am talking about the greatness of this One Who is introduced, hath spoken at the end in His Son, Whom He appointed Heir of..." an exclusive party? - "ALL things." That is Paul's great word all the way through isn't it: "all things... all things, all things," and in the end, "to sum up all things in Christ." And if I need to safeguard, I am not talking about universalism. I am talking about God's ultimate realm and sphere where it will be nothing but Christ. The rest will be outside altogether; wherever that outside is, it will be outside and not inside. "For without..." - that is the last word of Revelation, "For without are the dogs, (and so on), and everything that makes a lie." That is false, that is out, that is gone. Within: of the all things... Christ. Well, there we are.
Now, what is the governing concept here in this letter right at the beginning? "Has spoken at the end of these times in Son." There is no article - "in Son." What is the meaning of Son or sonship? Always fulness. Always fulness! The fulness of the Father is in the Son, Divinely conceived. The Son is the fulness of the Father: the Firstborn is the fulness and takes up all that is of and in the Father. Fulness! Then, as we have said, sonship is finality, is finality. And then as to this letter, as to the whole revelation, sonship as here revealed, explained through this letter, and in the first chapters particularly, superiority! Using that word in its right sense.
Do you notice
of this Son? "Appointed Heir of all things." This
catalogue here of things?
Superior to Moses. There you have it.
Superior to Joshua. If Joshua had brought them into the
rest, there would
be no more: he
didn't, therefore, he never reached finality. Superior
to Joshua, this One, this Son, to
to Joshua, to... angels?
angels... and think of the angelic ministries right through the
ministries, visitations, deliverances, activities! One angel in
one night, by a
breath of his nostrils wiping out a whole, mighty army;
one angel. Think of it all... and the old covenant was mediated by
angels, it says.
This letter is arguing about the angels who ministered the old
covenant. Yes, superior
Superior to Aaron and all his system and economy of priesthood. Superior to that; it comes under the "not." The tabernacle that was, this letter says "there was a tabernacle" past tense. There was a tabernacle and there was a Holy of Holies and a Holy Place; there was... Superior is Christ to all that, and what a place it had!
Superior to the old covenant, and this letter deals with the covenant, the old covenant, and "the day comes," quoting Jeremiah 31:31, "...the day comes, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant." This letter has a lot to say about the new covenant.
Superior to all the sacrifices... millions upon millions of sacrifices slain through the generations, and the river and ocean of blood of those sacrifices; immeasurable, humanly speaking, covering centuries. How vast! One Sacrifice only, One Shedding of Blood only, Superior to the whole lot! Superior to the whole lot, hundreds of years of sacrifices and blood shedding, and this One, single Sacrifice, shedding of blood: Superior to the whole lot.
NOT - BUT... this is what we have come to.
Well, so we go on; this is the letter, isn't it? How great then is sonship in Christ! How much vaster than any traditional or historical expression, representation, system, order, economy - we have come to this.
I must close somewhere. What is the consummate issue
of all this? Can
we bring it all, what we have said, and all that can be said,
and could not be
said, can we bring it down to one, inclusive, comprehensive
issue? We can! We
can; and oh, I don't know about you, you may have doubts as I
have about some
translations, new translations of the New Testament, but I do thank God for this Amplified. I do, because at
this very point
it has helped me as nothing else has helped me.
You see, I have studied theology. I have studied Christian doctrine. I know the doctrines of grace. I know the Letter to the Romans. I think I do, at any rate I am fairly well-acquainted with what is there and of what the theologians said about it, and the doctrinaires. And when you mention the Letter to the Romans, of course, Luther and all the rest spring into view with their phrase: "justification by faith," - "righteousness... by faith." Oh, I tell you, friends, that strikes me cold. It may not you. It may mean more than that to you, but to me as one who has, you see, had to deal with all this theology and doctrine and system of Christianity in its doctrines and so on, it is awfully wearisome.
is a very wearisome thing you know, isn't it? A deadly thing, I
think. But this
[Amplified] version has come to my rescue.
When I read and heard the word "righteousness," what did it mean? Well, you see, in the Old Testament, the symbol of righteousness is brass. In the symbolism of the Old Testament, the symbol of righteousness is brass. Brass? Oh, how hard is brass, how cold is brass! I am not interested in brass! Are you following? Do you understand what I mean? And that is what that word came to mean to me, even in the New Testament. It was all glorious teaching, but I am not talking about the teaching, I am talking about the phraseology, the terminology. What is it that is represented there? Now here my version has rescued me. Oh, I am basking in the sunlight of this every day now, rejoicing in this. What does it say? Wherever that word "righteousness" or "justification" occurs in the Amplified New Testament, you have: "Right standing with God." Right standing with God! Dismiss your theology. That is it!
That has been the quest of humanity from the beginning. It doesn't matter where you go, in the darkest heathenism, the most ignorant, unenlightened realms of humanity, right through, right through all the strata... the one thing, whether man will put it into words or not, whether it is in his phraseology or vocabulary, the one thing deep down in every human creature is to be in right standing with God. All these heathen rites, sacrifices, rituals, after all they are trying to find a place of right standing with, well, they say "God," and they have no right conception of Who God is or what God is. "He Whom they ignorantly worship" said Paul, "Him declare we unto you." To the Unknown God. Here it is.
I remember very early in my Christian life I tackled a monumental book, Professor Edward Caird's "History of Religion and the Greek Philosophists" ["The Evolution of Theology in the Greek Philosophers"]. Don't you tackle that, I nearly spun round. But in this magnus opus, Caird concentrated it all into one statement: "There is not a human being on this earth, of any race whatever, who does not have a consciousness of standing in relation to some supreme object of worship whom he calls god." Is that true? Of course it is, everywhere. The consciousness of standing in relation to a supreme object of reverence, and he calls that object "god." He doesn't know anything about that object, but he just calls it "god." Now then, here we are, the quest of humanity all through with greater or lesser enlightenment and understanding, or little or none, or much after all within, is the quest to be on good terms with this object called God; right standing with God.
Now we ought to start all over again with the beginning of Hebrews! Here is the One, the Son, the Son, and the great thing about this Son, and the glorious thing about this Son is He is in right standing with God. All this other in the past was an attempt to get onto right standing with God, and it never, never did it, it was a failure. The quest for right standing with God. Here is the Son, first of all, inclusively, comprehensively, the Beloved of the Father, the Beloved Son. "My Beloved Son," could you have terms that more gloriously express right standing with God? Right standing with God. Think on that. Dwell on that.
then the letter goes on, "in bringing many sons to glory";
and all the
rest of the letter, which we leave now, is the way of right
standing with God
in the Son.
Glorious letter! How great, comprehensive, wonderful, this is, it is. And that is only the fringe of it. We will get more into it later if the Lord wills, but I think you have really got enough for the time being. The Lord help us, we pray...
Oh, send Thy Spirit, Lord, now unto me, each one, that He may touch our eyes, make us see, make us see oh Lord, that the result of this hour in Thy Word would be, might be, that this people will really be able to say, not mentally, but in the heart, "I have seen the Lord, I have in some new, more wonderful way seen God's Son, seen what God is doing," and that we are able, Lord, to understand now what we are, what we are - God's new and final Israel. Teach us more of what that means, but set Thy seal upon this time.
Now, Lord, there is a little interval, and immediately this is closed now, these people are going to turn and talk about all sorts of things. Save us, Lord... the whole value of this can go in five minutes if we are not very watchful, very watchful in setting a seal against our lips, having the door of our heart kept. Lord, help us, for we are not here just for meetings and messages, we are here for life crises. You precipitate them, Lord, for Thy name's sake, amen.