|FOUR BLESSINGS OF THE NEW COVENANT
HIS GLORY REIGNS
Oct 2 2009 08:00 AM
It is my firm opinion that the epistle of Hebrews doesn't make any sense if you are not familiar with the tabernacle
because the entire letter is based on the tabernacle and on the priesthood. I have heard it said that Leviticus is the
Hebrews of the Old Testament or that Hebrews is the Leviticus of the New Testament, whichever way you would like to
word it. In Hebrews 10 we see a clear application of what we have been learning:
which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an high priest over the
house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with
pure water." (Hebrews 10:19-22)
These verses name four great blessings of the new covenant and the four chief requirements of the true worshiper. I
will elaborate on the four blessings that are listed.
The Holy of Holies Opened Up
What an incredible privilege! It staggers my powers of expression that we have this direct access into the immediate
presence of almighty God. The barrier to this access is man's sinful, fleshly nature. But this was dealt with on the
cross, as it states in Romans:
sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:" (Romans 8:3).
The law could not do it because there was not anything wrong with the law. Paul said that the law is holy and just and
good (see Romans 7:12). Every commandment of the law was right. Still, I could look at those tablets of stone and all
the other writings of the law and say, "I'll do it," but there is something in me that says, "Oh no, you won't. In fact, the
harder you try to do it, the worse you will fail." Paul stated it this way:
would not, I consent unto the law that it is good...I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with
me." (Romans 7:15-17, 21)
The moment I try to keep the law, my carnal, rebellious nature asserts itself, and the harder I try to be good, the worse I
am. I discovered this at age fifteen when I was confirmed in the Anglican Church. I really decided that it was time for me
to be a lot better than I had been for a long while. I said, "This is it. I'll be confirmed, brush my teeth, go to communion,
and I'll be good." I was never so bad as immediately after that confirmation.
The problem is self-confidence. "Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his
arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD." (Jeremiah 17:5). When you say, "There is the law; I am doing it," you
are putting confidence in yourself and you come under a curse. "Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this
law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen." (Deuteronomy 27:26). If you are going to be under the law, you
have to do all the law, all the time. If you can't do that, it is of no avail. If you break one point of the law once, you are a
law breaker forever. It's either all or nothing.
I recognize the law is good. There is something in me that says, "That's right; that's the way I should be living." "For I
delight in the law of God after the inward man" (Romans 7:22). But there is something else in me - a rebel.
law of sin which is in my members." (Romans 7:23)
The word captivity means "prisoner of war." Paul was saying, "I set out to fight for God and I end up on the wrong side,
fighting against Him. I am a prisoner of war. I do not do it deliberately: it is something that takes me captive. I cannot
our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin." (Romans 7:24-25)
That is a poor translation. A better one would be: "Left to myself, I can serve the law of God with my mind, but with my
fleshly nature I am a slave of the law of sin and I cannot change it." So, what is the remedy?
The law couldn't change my nature. It told me what to do, but it couldn't give me the power to do it.
sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:" (Romans 8:3)
He condemned sin in whose flesh? In the flesh of Jesus. God dealt with sin in the body of Jesus. His body became the
sin offering. That is where sin was dealt with, once and forever. When we appreciate that, we are free from the
bondage of guilt of sin.
So, going back to the passage in Hebrews, we read:
Our fleshly nature is the veil, crucified in the body of Jesus. We cannot pass through that veil to come near to God: the
veil has to be taken away. The fleshly nature has to be dealt with. It was dealt with in the body of Christ. When His
flesh was torn on the cross for our sins, the veil was torn as well.
The temple was built in the same pattern, the triune structure, as the tabernacle: the outer court, the Holy Place, and
the Holy of Holies. The temple was simply more substantial and permanent. In accordance with divine ordinance, the
Holy of Holies was separated by this tremendously glorious, thick, impenetrable curtain. But when Jesus died on the
cross, just outside the city of Jerusalem, something happened to the curtain in the Holy of Holies at that precise moment:
rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent." (Matthew 27:50-51)
Let there be no doubt about where the initiative came from. It came from God, and not from man. The curtain was torn
from the top to the bottom. The way was opened into the Holiest through the death of Jesus because in His flesh on the
cross, God condemned and put away sin. Now, the Holy of Holies was opened up for us.
Boldness in the Blood of Jesus
We refer back to Hebrews 10 for the second blessing of the new covenant:
which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh." (Hebrews 10:19-20)
The word boldness is not primarily subjective, but objective. In other words, it is not that I have an emotional boldness;
it is that I have a legal boldness that comes from having an absolute, indisputable right of access. Whether or not I feel
bold is secondary. This is important to understand. The word boldness here is somewhat misleading. It is more of an
unquestionable right of access through the blood of Jesus.
In Leviticus, we have the old covenant ceremonies for the appointed day on which the high priest was allowed to enter
the Holy of Holies - once a year, on the Day of Atonement. Today the Jews call it Yom Kippur, the day of covering - still
a day of fasting and mourning for Orthodox Jews. The entire chapter is another tremendous presentation of the truth of
entry into the holiest, but I want to deal specifically with the blood of the sin offering.
himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself: And he shall take a
censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the LORD, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten
small, and bring it within the vail." (Leviticus 16:11-12)
Notice that it is the blood from the altar and the incense from the altar that must be united for access through the veil.
seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not." (Leviticus 16:13)
This was no empty religious ceremony. This was life or death - for the priest and for the whole nation. If at any time the
priest was not accepted, the entire nation lost its standing before God. He was their representative.
before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times." (Leviticus 16:14)
The number seven tells us that it is through the Holy Spirit. In the same way, Jesus, "through the eternal Spirit offered
Himself without spot to God" (Hebrews 9:14). The blood was sprinkled on and before the mercy seat. Actually, there
was a train of blood all the way through the tabernacle. Without blood, there is no access.
We see the parallel in the New Testament. The atonement of Jesus was not terminated on earth; It was consummated
in heaven. This is clearly stated in Hebrews:
veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of
Melchisedec." (Hebrews 6:19-20)
Here, we are not talking about the earthly tabernacle; we are talking about the tabernacle in heaven. Jesus has
entered within the veil. A forerunner is a representative, someone who says, "There are others coming after me. From
now on, the way is open for them to follow me." Jesus is our forerunner. He has entered within the veil.
Then, further on in Hebrews, the Scripture says,
A better translation is "good things that have actually been accomplished." In other words, in contrast to the law, which
had only types and shadows and promises and patterns, this is real - it really happened.
made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own
blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us." (Hebrews 9:11-12)
Jesus took His blood with Him into the Holiest.
heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these." (Hebrews 9:23)
The heavenly things had to be purified, but not with the blood of bulls and goats.
itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:" (Hebrews 9:24)
How did Christ enter into the Holiest? With His own blood. And this becomes even clearer when we turn to the twelfth
chapter of Hebrews:
This is not the earthly Jerusalem. We have come, not physically, but by the Spirit.
innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in
heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect..." (Hebrews 12:22-23)
That is you and me. Our headquarters is in heaven. Are you enrolled in heaven in the Lamb's Book of Life, or are you
just on the roll of the church? It is all right to be on the roll of the church, but it is not sufficient.
that of Abel." (Hebrews 12:24)
Abel's blood was sprinkled on earth. What did it call for? Vengeance. Jesus' blood is sprinkled in heaven. What does
it call out for? Mercy. If you can believe that the blood of Jesus is always speaking on your behalf in the very presence
of God, this is a tremendous truth. If it weren't, you would never get to heaven. God, as Judge, would never bring you
there. Even Jesus did not enter heaven without His blood. It is the only access; through the blood of Jesus sprinkled in
The New and Living Way
The third of the great blessings of the new covenant is the new and living way - which is Jesus. Jesus becomes the way;
He becomes the truth; He becomes the life; but He is the way all the way through. The way that Jesus went in is the way
that we go; there is no other way. It is a way of self-denial, obedience, sacrifice, and death. That is the new and
follow his steps." (I Peter 2:21)
The steps of Jesus are the new and living way. What is the first step when you want to follow Jesus?
and follow me." (Matthew 16:24)
Self-denial. That doesn't mean just giving up radishes for Lent! That's fine, but it isn't self-denial. Self-denial is saying
no to the ego. When self says, "I want," self-denial is the ability to say, "No." When self says, "I think," self-denial says,
"No." What you think is not the least bit important. If what you think still matters, you have not denied yourself.
Denying yourself is saying no to that old goat inside you.
Likewise, self-denial is not giving up the vile sin. That may be needed, but self-denial is denying the ego, the "I" that
asserts itself and makes itself important, demanding that the world center around itself: what I want, what I think, and
what I feel. It is all irrelevant as far as God is concerned.
The first step in actually following Jesus is saying no to all that. If any man will take up his cross, let him deny himself. In
Matthew 26, we have the climax for self-denial:
pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt...He went away again the second time, and prayed,
saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done." (Matthew 26:39,
Every new move in God begins with the repetition of, "Not as I will, but as You will." Jesus didn't just renounce His will
once. Every time He was confronted with the choice between His will and the Father's will, He repeated the
renunciation, "Not as I will, but as You will." That is the new and living way.
The wonderful thing about this is that when you set your heart on following God, you rejoice. Though it sounds hard, it
fills you with joy. But if your heart isn't set on following God, then all you can see is the unpleasantness of it.
make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." (Hebrews 2:10)
Jesus was made perfect through suffering. He is our leader. We are made perfect in the same way that He was made
perfect - through the sufferings that come from obedience. From saying, "Not as I will, but as You will" (Matthew 26:
39). Not from the suffering that comes from disobedience. That type of suffering does not purify you, refine you, or
make you perfect.
"He who sanctifies" is Jesus. "Those who are being sanctified" are you and I. And the "one" of whom we all come -
Jesus and you and I - is the Father. So we are sanctified by the Father in the way that Jesus was made perfect. It is the
Jesus way that leads to sanctification, holiness, and perfection. That is the way.
him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared." (Hebrews 5:7)
The New English Bible says, "Because of His humble submission He was heard." His prayer was heard. That is the
spirit of access to God. Jesus is the perfect pattern. He was heard because He feared. This is the root answer as to
why prayers are not answered. I can give you half a dozen other reasons, but God has showed me that this is the root.
You can teach people all the principles of getting their prayers answered, but if their attitude is wrong, the principles
don't work. The attitude comes first. He was heard because of His humble submission.
He found out what it was to obey by suffering as a consequence of obeying.
The same way He went is the way - the new and living way.
Jesus was God, is God, and always will be God. And He became man, finally and forever. Do not forget, He is still a
man. "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." (I Timothy 2:5).
When He emptied Himself, He didn't do it conditionally; He just emptied Himself. He was obedient unto death and, as it
says in Philippians 2:9, "Therefore God also has highly exalted Him." Having emptied Himself, He had to earn His way
back to that place of exaltation. "Therefore" indicates that His exaltation was the result of His obedience. If He had
disobeyed, He would never have gotten back. So He is the perfect pattern of development, maturity, and perfection.
He had to be made perfect as a man through obedience - so leave the theology to one side and just obey.
We Have a Great High Priest
What do we have so far? We have the Holiest opened to us. We have an objective right of access through the blood.
And we have a new and living way to avail ourselves of this access. Now we have a Great High Priest waiting there for
us. Who is He? He is the High Priest in two respects.
hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which
the Lord pitched, and not man." (Hebrews 8:1-2)
First of all, He is a minister of the sanctuary. Has it ever occurred to you that the high priest in Israel had to know quite
a bit? He had a lot of rules to observe. He had to know how to kill the animal, what to do with the liver, the legs, the
heart, the head, and the skin. He had to know on which side of the altar to sprinkle the blood. All the way through,
there were a great many precise requirements that had to be complied with. Jesus is the minister of the true sanctuary.
When He went in, He did everything right. He met all of God's requirements as a priest all the way through. Because
He did everything right, our access is guaranteed.
Second, He is the mediator of the new covenant:
transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal
inheritance." (Hebrews 9:15)
He ministers the benefits of His sacrifice to you and me by the Holy Spirit. He imparts to us - He works out in us as we
follow in this way - what is required in each phase of access. He is the one who makes the covenant work in you and
me. Having done all the groundwork, having gone in to God, He turns around and does everything that is needed in
everyone who obeys Him to make our access perfect. He mediates the covenant.
Thus, we have the four blessings of the new covenant. First, the veil is torn and the way is open. Second, we have an
objective legal, unquestionable right of access through the blood. Third, we have a living way to go in, the way that
Jesus went: obedience, self-denial, sacrifice, and the death of the old man. Jesus said that whoever loses his life will
find it (see Matthew 10:39). The Greek word used there for life is "soul." You have to lay down that soulish ego and
say, "No." Then you will find the way inside. And fourth, we have a Great High Priest who knows exactly what needs to
be done, and does it perfectly.
ENTERING THE PRESENCE OF GOD, by Derek Prince, Copyright 2007, Whitaker House.
|LIFE IN JESUS-MINISTRIES