WE ARE STILL IN HEBREWS 7 IN THE MIDST OF STUDYING VERSES 11-19. THIS WEEK WE WILL LOOKING CLOSELY AT JUST TWO VERSES, VS. 18 AND 19…
NAS Hebrews 7:11-19 Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the Law), what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be designated according to the order of Aaron? For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also. For the one concerning whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no one has officiated at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests. And this is clearer still, another priest arises according to the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become such not on the basis of a law of physical requirement, but according to the power of an indestructible life. For it is witnessed of Him, “Thou art a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.” For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.
THESE VERSES IN CHAPTER 7 CAN RIGHTLY BE TERMED “PROGRESSIVE REVELATION.” “PROGRESSIVE REVELATION” IS A TERM THAT IS NOT FOUND IN THE BIBLE BUT IS KNOWN WELL TO SERIOUS STUDENTS OF SRIPTURE. THE TERM BASICALLY MEANS, WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE BIBLE, THE GRADUAL ADVANCING OF THE READER’S UNDERSTANDINDING OF A SUBJECT AS IT HAS BEEN AND IS BEING REVEALED. In other words, some topics – words or truths – are first introduced and then later, at a point sometimes much later, more information clarifying the topic is given. Progressive revelation is the doctrine in Christianity that the sections of the Bible that were written later contain a fuller revelation of God than the earlier sections. For instance, the theologian Charles Hodge wrote: “The progressive character of divine revelation is recognized in relation to all the great doctrines of the Bible…. What at first is only obscurely intimated is gradually unfolded in subsequent parts of the sacred volume, until the truth is revealed in its fulness.”
A GOOD EXAMPLE OF PROGRESSIVE REVELATION IN SCRIPTURE IS THE PROGRESSIVE REVELATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. Most would agree even the complete revelation of the mysterious Holy Spirit found in Scripture leaves believers somewhat mystified and wanting even more knowledge, but that is a subject for discussion of another time. Let it be simply said that the reality and great worth of progressive revelation does not guarantee satisfaction every time. As practically everyone who studies the Bible has learned, the Third Person of the Trinity is an immense challenge to even the most dedicated and capable student. The Holy Spirit’s first mention in Genesis 1:3 clearly indicates this…
NAS Genesis 1:2 And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.
PROGRESSIVELY, THE BIBLE BRINGS US ADDITIONAL REVELATION WHICH GIVES US MUCH NEEDED EDUCATION UNTIL WE ARE ABLE TO AT LEAST BEGIN TO INTELLIGENTLY DISCUSS THIS MOST CRYPTIC SUBJECT.
OF COURSE, ONE COULD RIGHTLY ARGUE THAT ALL LEARNING IS THIS WAY, REGARDLESS OF THE SUBJECT. AND THAT’S TRUE, GENERALLY SPEAKING. BUT the Bible is a single book; it specific, contained literature, and, unlike any unlike any other book in the world, it is supernaturally inspired; it is God’s holy Word.
THROUGH PROGRESSIVE REVELATION THE HOLY SPIRIT GOES IN OUR UNDERSTANDING FROM A SEEMINGLY IMPERSONAL ELEMENT MOVING ACROSS VAST OCEANS TO A PERSONAL BEING LIVING INSIDE BELIEVERS!
NAS John 14:17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in (ἐν [en]) you.
THE TEACHING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE UPPER ROOM IS ESPECIALLY PROGRESSIVE – This is the first of several passages on the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room Discourse. Up to this point in John’s Gospel, little has been said about the Holy Spirit. The words to Nicodemus (3:5–8) were private and 7:39 pointed ahead to Pentecost. The Holy Spirit is to be the Counselor. In a sense He has now replaced Jesus’ physical presence; and He mediates God to believers. The Spirit is in a believer forever (cf. Rom. 8:9). He is also the Spirit of Truth (lit., “Spirit of the truth”; cf. John 15:26; 16:13) and thus would guide the apostles. He is invisible (the world cannot accept Him because it neither sees Him nor knows Him), yet He is real and active. Without a radio, radio waves go unnoticed. The Holy Spirit is unnoticed by the unsaved who have no spiritual life. The disciples had some experience with the Spirit (doubtless in preaching and miracle-working) but now His working would be much more intimate. Why did Jesus say that the Holy Spirit will be (fut. tense) in them? Because IN OLD TESTAMENT TIMES THE SPIRIT CAME ON (IN CONTRAST TO POST-PENTECOST INDWELLING – TAR) SOME BELIEVERS FOR SPECIAL ENABLEMENT, BUT AFTER PENTECOST HE IDWELLS EVERY BELIEVER PERMANENTLY (Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 12:13). – Bible Knowledge Commentary
NAS Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.
THIS WAS ALL NEW INFORMATION. NO ONE HAD HEARD THIS BEFORE. THIS WAS PROGRESSIVE REVELATION.
IN THIS WEEK’S BLOG WE WILL FINALLY COMPLETE THE PENULTIMENT SECTION IN CHAPTER 7. I’VE TITLED THIS WEEK’S STUDY, “A BETTER HOPE.” IT IS A FITTING TITLE, AS THE PHRASE COMES FROM THE CONCLUDING VERSE IN THE PASSAGE, V. 19.
JOHN MACARTHUR WRITES AUSPICIOUSLY OF VERSES 18-19, “HERE IS THE CLIMAX OF THE TEXT.”
“’SETTING ASIDE’ PERTAINS TO DOING AWAY WITH SOMETHING THAT HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED. It is used, for example, of annulling a treaty, a promise, a law, a regulation, or of removing a man’s name from a document. THE WHOLE PARAPHERNALIA OF THE SACRIFICIAL SYSTEM, THE WHOLE CEREMONIAL SYSTEM, WAS CANCELLED, DONE AWAY WITH ENTIRELY. GOD ASSURED ITS END IN A.D. 70, WHEN HE ALLOWED THE TEMPLE TO BE DESTROYED.
“THE OLD SYSTEM COULD REVEAL SIN. IT COULD EVEN COVER SIN, IN A CERTAIN WAY AND TO A CERTAIN TEMPORARY DEGREE. BUT IT COULD NEVER REMOVE SIN, AND SO ITSELF HAD TO BE REMOVED. It brought nothing to conclusion. It gave no security. It gave no peace. A man never had a clear conscience. BUT THE PRIESTHOOD OF JESUS CHRIST MADE ALL OF WHAT ISRAEL LOOKED FORWARD TO A REALITY. IT BROUGHT ACCESS TO GOD.
“PETER TELLS US…
NAS 1 Peter 1:10-12 As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful search and inquiry, 11 seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven– things into which angels long to look.
“IN OTHER WORDS, THOSE OLD TESTAMENT SAINTS ONLY SAW SALVATION FROM A DISTANCE. They were neither fully certain nor secure until Christ came. THEY TRUSTED IN HOPE, LOOKING AHEAD FOR A CONSCIENCE FREED FROM SIN. BUT NOW WE GO INTO GOD’S PRESENCE AND WE CAN SIT DOWN BEFORE HIM AND, WITH THE APOSTLE PAUL, SAY, “ABBA, FATHER.” WE HAVE ACCESS TO GOD.” – MacArthur
NAS Galatians 4:6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
I CALL YOUR ATTENTION TO THE WORD “NOW.” Although this is MacArthur’s choice of words and not Scripture’s, certainly the context of the writer of Hebrews’ current argument can leave little doubt that the writer is speaking about the present.
THE NEW COVENANT IS NOW. IT IS A PRESENT REALITY.
NAS Hebrews 10:19-22 Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
“LET US DRAW NEAR” NOW!
HAVING STUDIED AND TAUGHT THE BIBLICAL LANGUAGES FOR MORE THAN 35 YEARS AND WELL AWARE OF THE DIFFICULTIES AND FREEDOMS OF GREEK AND HEBREW GRAMMAR, I HUMBLY BUT CONFIDENTLY ARGUE THAT THE WRITER CANNOT LOGICALLY BE TALKING ABOUT THE NEW COVENANT BEING SOLELY A FUTURE REALITY. IT MAKES LITTLE SENSE THAT HE IS TALKING ONLY ABOUT A POINT IN THE FUTURE WHEN CHRIST RETURNS! THERE ARE NO FUTURE TENSE VERBS THAT HAVE A FUTURE DIMENSION. I BELIEVE WITH LITTLE RESERVATION, THE TIME FRAME HE IS COMMUNICATING IS PRESENT!
“NOT ONLY HAS THE OLD COVENANT BEEN ANNULED, BUT IT HAS BEEN REPLACED BY ‘THE BRINGING IN OF A BETTER HOPE, THROUGH WHICH WE DRAW NEAR TO GOD.’ Lane remarks, ‘THE NEW COVENANT CAN BE DESCRIBED AS “BETTER” BECAUSE IT IS EFFECTIVE: THE APPROACH TO GOD IS GUARANTEED BY JESUS IN HIS OFFICE AS ETERNAL HIGH PRIEST.’” – Andrews
THE BEST DEFINITION OF HOPE I HAVE FOUND IN THE BIBLE IS THIS PASSAGE FROM ROMANS 8…
NAS Romans 8:20-25 For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
“HOPE” IS CONFIDENT EXPECTATION, CONFIDENT EXPECTATION THAT GOD WILL SOONER OR LATER ENTIRELY FULFILL HIS PROMISES TO US.
THAT’S BEAUTIFUL, IS IT NOT?
WHEN I SAY THAT I BELIEVE THE NEW COVENANT IS NOW AND BEING ENJOYED BY CHRISTIANS TODAY, I DO NOT DENY THERE IS A SIGNIFICANT FUTURE DIMENSION HAVING TO DO WITH THE COMPLETE FULFILLMENT THAT EVERY CHRSTIAN IS PROMISED. As has often been rightly said, much that is Christianity may be described in terms of the glorious promises God graciously makes and also delivers as, “ALREADY, NOT YET.”
“IN APOSTOLIC THINKING, HOPE IS THE KEEN ANTICIPATION THAT THE PROMISES WILL BE FULFILLED. THE ‘BETTER HOPE’ OF WHICH THE WRITER SPEAKS IS THE FINAL OUTCOME OF THE NEW COVENANT, WHICH BRINGS NOT ONLY RIGHTEOUSNESS AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO BELIEVE, BUT THE PROSPECT OF AN ETERNITY OF GLORY, PEACE AND JOY IN THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST.” – Andrews
IT IS CORRECT, I BELIEVE, TO BOTH SPEAK OF BEING NOW IN THE NEW COVENANT AS LEGITIMATE INHERITORS, PRESENTLY ENJOYING THE BLESSINGS AND SECURITY OF THE NEW COVENANT AND AT THE SAME TIME STILL ANTICIPATING THE FINAL FULFILLMENT OF THE NEW COVENANT. “ALREADY, NOT YET.”
”FURTHERMORE, IF PROPERLY CULTIVATED, THIS HOPE ENABLES US ‘TO DRAW NEAR TO GOD.’ Nothing facilitates our fellowship with God and the enjoyment of His felt presence, more than the contemplation of His eternal glory and the things that…
NAS 1 Corinthians 2:9 but just as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him.
“We ought to exult with the apostle John…
NAS 1 John 3:1-3 See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
“HOPE IS NOT ONLY A SOURCE OF PEACE AND JOY, BUT ALSO A POWERFUL MOTIVATION TO HOLINESS.” – Andrews
– Professor Thomas A. Rohm