Insights into Hebrews: Part 2

By Lloyd Ellefson

God wants to have a Father-son relationship with us. He has made this possible by placing us into Jesus Christ, the Son of God! "To which of the angels did He ever say, `This is My Son, today I have begotten Thee'? And again, `I will be a Father to Him, and He shall be a Son to Me'? (Hebrews 1:5) God has not called us to be servants; their position is not permanent, and they do not receive an inheritance. Neither do they have a relationship with their employer that is equal to the father-son relationship that sons enjoy. God has called us to be sons! In contrast to servants, sons have a father-son relationship, their position is permanent and they do receive an inheritance!

In the scriptures, adoption means coming into sonship after having been under the tutelage, guidance and supervision of servants. It does not mean taking into the family, a child that is born of other parents. Spiritually, it means coming out of the slavery of the law into sonship in Christ. When the Father by His Spirit declares that we are His sons, and we by the Spirit respond by saying, "Abba! Father!" we know that we have come into sonship! This was illustrated in the life of Jesus at His baptism. After His baptism, He received the Holy Spirit, and the Father called Him His Son. It was at this time that Jesus received His adoption. He came out from being under the law. The law no longer directed His activity! From that moment He was led by the Spirit - even into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Jesus, being led by the Spirit, began His ministry, and that is how our ministry is to begin.

The authorization to leave the slavery of the law brings us into wonderful freedom! "The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever." (John 8:35) To come out of the law a certain maturity is required. A child is placed under the care of servants when it is young, but when he comes into maturity, he is placed over the servants. The father says he is now old enough for the servants to listen to him. As long as we are servants or slaves to the law, we have no inheritance, for servants only earn wages!

It is Christ who makes us free, for He "is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes." (Rom. 10:4) That is why Paul said, "You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace." (Gal. 5:4) Falling from grace means falling back into the works of the law (not hell). The works of the law put us into a place of striving and straining, thus destroying our righteousness by faith in Christ.

"And when He again brings the first-born into the world, He says, `And let all the angels of God worship Him'." (v.6) Notice that it says the first-born was brought into the world. This means He had already been begotten before He was brought into the world. The word ANGEL means messenger, and is found in the words EVANGEL and EVANGELISM. We want to be careful not to fall into the traditional ideas of angels being winged creatures. In the scriptures, angels are nowhere described as being winged creatures. Sometimes God had angels take on human form and they became visible messengers. God "makes His angels winds, and His ministers a flame of fire." (v.7)

After the writer talks about the angels, He again refers to the Son and His unshakeable kingdom-throne. The Lord has promised to shake both the heavens and the earth. Both the outside and the inside will be shaken, and everything that can be shaken will be removed. A shaking is taking place in the heavens and in the earth, causing the traditions that have stifled the word of God to be removed. We have to be loosened from our traditions, and get rid of them, so that we can get a new understanding and a new way of looking at things. This is exactly what God intends for us. We are to keep only that which cannot be shaken!

God is a God of the living! "For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read that which was spoken to you by God, saying, `I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? God is not the God of the dead but of the living." (Matt. 22:30-32) The fact that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are alive today, means they have been resurrected. Therefore, resurrection cannot be for the physical body and only for the end-time! Jesus said, "I am the resurrection" and "before Abraham was, I am." Since Jesus is a life-giving Spirit, He must have raised them.

Jesus said, "You don't know the scriptures and the power of God." Jesus was speaking to some unregenerate people who did not believe in the resurrection. Obviously He was trying to get them to believe that God raised the dead, for Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were already raised up. There are two resurrections - one unto life and the other to condemnation. Let us not accept the traditional idea that resurrection is for the physical body.

Jesus said that He is the truth! Truth does not consist of a set of rules, dogmas and doctrines. Christ is the truth! This has to get beyond the letter of the word that dwells in our carnal mind. In Romans 8 it says that the carnal mind is at enmity with God. The carnal mind always fights spiritual realities, because it is in death; it cannot understand life! Since it cannot hear what the Spirit is saying, the spiritual word will die in the carnal mind; it will not be brought to life. We are living at a time when the life-giving Spirit of Christ is making us alive to the scriptures and to know who we are in Christ. Christianity is a heart condition, not a mental condition! We must listen with our heart.

Repentance is a change of mind. John the Baptist, who was born in the time of the Aaronic priesthood, symbolized repentance. Like his father, He should have become a servant in the temple, but God had other plans for him. God took him out of the priesthood and put him in the desert - read about him in Isaiah 40 and in the New Testament. When John the Baptist was calling Israel to repentance, he was not only telling them to repent of their sins, evil, lusts, and works. The law had been telling them all along, what they should do and what they should not do, in its THOU SHALT and THOU SHALT NOT. It was imperfect for it depended upon our flesh to perform its decrees. It can only tell us what to do and what not to do, but it cannot help us to fulfill it; it does not give us any strength! John the Baptist's call to repentance was more than turning away from sin! He told the Jews to turn away from their own ideas and beliefs about God. He came to put an end to the performance of the flesh! The new covenant does not depend upon the flesh; in it God says, "I WILL PERFORM IT!"

Jesus came as the express image of the invisible Father; He was perfectly and expressly imaging the invisible God! He came as "the Word made flesh", but the people did not see Him as the Word or as God. They said He was a blasphemer! Why did they say that? Because they had another God, another imagination, another image of God built up in their minds! They needed to turn away from their false, immoral image so that God could give them a new mind. They needed to find out who God and Christ really are, so they would not continually crucify Him. It was the natural mind that took the laws and the things of God, and used them to crucify Jesus! Isn't that shocking?!

In the Old Testament the #1 son always got a double portion of the father's inheritance. This was to enable him to help out his brothers, if for some reason, they were in danger of losing their inheritance. Jesus, the first-begotten, received the Spirit in full measure, so that He could help us. He makes us brand-new creatures, having the mind of Christ!

"But of the Son He says, `Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever' (to the ages of the ages) `and the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom'." (Heb. 1:8) The flag, banner or scepter of Jesus is righteousness. A better translation of the word RIGHTEOUSNESS is RECTITUDE - something that is made right, or is right. The grace of God does not come as a COVERING for our sin, but as a DELIVERANCE from our sin! It does not come as a BLESSING to the old man; it comes as DEATH to the old man. Our victory is in death to the old man, and resurrection into a new life! It does not consist of polishing up the old man, or trying to induce him to be good. We have become a new creature in Christ Jesus, and the Spirit is telling us who we are - not who we used to be. The scriptures tell us that Jesus was divested of His earthly body. After His death the veil in the temple was ripped, signifying the release of Jesus Christ from the flesh. Because Jesus Christ is our forerunner, we know that in Him we too are released from the flesh.

"Thou hast loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Thy God, has anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy companions. The Lord in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Thy hands; they will perish, but Thou remainest... as a mantle Thou wilt roll them up; as a garment they will also be changed." (vv.9-12) This is a quotation from Isaiah 51 and Ps. 102. If heaven is our destination, where will we be when the heavens perish? God has not destined us to be in heaven, but in Christ. The only place that is safe when the heavens perish, is Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "Abide in Me, and I in you." He is our hope of glory! He is always the same, and He will not fail! If we are in Christ, we will zip through the heavens with Him. "He that descended is the same also that ascended far above all heavens." We don't know how many heavens there are, but we know that Paul was caught up to the third heaven. The natural man wants heaven, and the spiritual man wants Christ!

The earth is ruled by the heavens, both literally and spiritually. Rain, floods, snow, winds, etc., determine what happens on earth. Rain waters the earth, and the seed that has been lying dormant in the earth begins to sprout. The heavens and the earth together form a world or COSMOS. This Greek word means a harmonious or orderly arrangement of things. In 2 Peter 3:3-13 we read about three worlds; one of them has been destroyed, and one is being destroyed; the third will never be destroyed. This passage states that in the last days scoffers will come; they will follow their own lusts, declaring that nothing has ever changed, and that everything will continue as it always has. They feel that they can live as they please - God will not notice, and He won't do anything about it. Mockers do not speak the truth. But we know that during the harvest the chaff and wheat are separated.

In John 4:35 Jesus said, "Do you not say, `There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest?' Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest." Since this was spoken before Jesus had died, no one had as yet been saved and filled with the Spirit, so the harvest cannot refer to people being saved. In Matt. 13:39 Jesus said the harvest is at the end of the age. We know that there are different ages, and there is a harvest at the end of every age. So what was harvested at the time Jesus was on earth? It was the law, wasn't it? The law came to fruition with John the Baptist. When we hear the law correctly, it destroys our attempts at producing our own righteousness, thereby showing us our need of a Savior! The Jews clung to their law and traditions. They wanted to be righteous by obeying the law. Since Jesus brought an end to the law for righteousness, the Jews were very upset with Him! Their "righteous indignation" got them to crucify Him!

Scoffers are willingly ignorant of the fact that the first world (heavens and earth) was destroyed by the word of God. Since the ground and the sky were not destroyed, something else must have been. In the days of Noah, God destroyed the world system, but this earth and its vegetation remained. Beginning with Adam, humanity lived without any laws, restrictions, and guidance; they just lived according to their own desires. God destroyed that system by water judgment. The flood symbolizes water judgment; the waters of the Red Sea engulfed Pharaoh and his army; the crossing of the Jordan River by the Israelites was a judgment against their old government; water baptism is a judgment of the Adamic man. Jesus said, "Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (Jn. 3:5b) Water symbolizes judgment - the water flooding us and destroying the rebellious natural man. Faith then comes in and we are born of the Spirit.

In the regeneration, God brought the seed of Noah into a new world. However, it also became polluted. "But the present heavens and earth by His word are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men." (2 Peter 3:7) This is system #2. Our second world is being dealt with by the fire that is in the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist said, "I indeed baptize you with water (judgment of the flesh) but Jesus will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." Fire separates the gold from the dross. Similarly, a separation occurs at harvest time when the grain is separated from the stem, leaves and chaff which helped it to grow and mature. These were needed, but after they had served their purpose, they were burned. The seed which was hidden in the ground has its exact reproduction in the seed of the harvest.

The seed which was planted is Christ! When these earthly things no longer appeal to us, we are separated from this earth! We realize that we are aliens here. As Christ's nature takes over in our lives, the forms of truth are removed, as Chr ist the truth is embraced, and Christ is revealed in each one of us! Our life is hidden with Christ in God; we have been destined to be conformed to His image!

The third world is explained in verses 12-13. "Looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning..." Our spiritual battle is against the carnal mind. In the old dispensation people did not fight against the carnal mind; they only wanted to be victorious over the deeds of the flesh; their objective was to improve their external behavior. But now we have been empowered to win the battle against the natural mind which is the cause of evil deeds!

"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please." (Gal. 5:16-17) Natural weapons are ineffective in our warfare against the flesh. God has given us spiritual weapons, like righteousness, truth, peace, faith, salvation, the word of God (which is the sword of the Spirit), praying in the Spirit, and petitions for all the saints. These are mighty through God, and are able to bring down all the imaginations and things that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God! Let's use these God-given spiritual weapons! So it is a blessing when our heavens (the evil powers that rule through the natural mind) pass away.

"But to which of the angels has He ever said, "Sit at My right hand, until I make thine enemies a footstool for thy feet? Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister to those who shall be the heirs of salvation?...He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne." (Heb. 1:13-14; Rev. 3:21) Imagine, the overcomers sit with Christ on His throne! Notice, that in our fight against the desires of the flesh in our earthly walk, we stand firm; at the same time we are in the heavenlies, where we sit with Christ! We rest in His finished work! Angels do not have the privilege of sitting with Him on His throne! They are ministering spirits sent to minister to those who will inherit salvation. Overcomers have the same nature Jesus has, for they are partakers of His divine nature!

"For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it." (Heb. 2:1) The word of salvation has to be received by faith. The Spirit has to inject life into the letter of the word. This word was first spoken by the Lord, and it was then confirmed to us by those who heard. We have to give earnest heed to this word because it cannot be altered! Even angels' words were unalterable! Whatever they spoke, happened. When Zacharias would not believe that his wife would become pregnant, the angel said he would not be able to speak until his son was born. It happened as the angel said! If the angel's word was unalterable, how much more Christ's word! His word is greater!

"God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will." (Heb. 2:4) A sign points to something that is greater than itself. If you just stay with the sign, you won't get anywhere; you won't get to something greater! Once we see the greater, we have an entirely different way of looking at the sign. Jesus said, "An adulterous generation seeks after signs." Are you a sign-seeker? Do you follow those who have signs, those who do miracles? Miracles are to follow those who believe! We do a lot of things backwards.

In verse 5 it mentions a future world - one that is to come. "But one has testified somewhere, saying, `What is man, that Thou rememberest him? Or the Son of Man, that Thou art concerned about Him?'" (v.6) Who is man and who is the Son of Man? Are they different? Jesus came as the Son of Man, and He came again as the Son of Man, and He is coming again as the Son of Man! (Matt. 24) If you don't know who the Son of Man is, you are missing the appearing of Jesus just like the Jews missed Him the first time. They were waiting for the coming of the Messiah, but they did not recognize Him when He came. So they are still waiting! If Christians do not know who the Son of Man is, they are also missing Him. He is here, but they do not realize it!

Let's look at who the Son of Man is. To understand who He is, we have to go back to Genesis and compare the man of Genesis 1 with the man of Genesis 2. In Gen. 1:26 God said, "Let Us make man in Our image according to Our image, according to Our likeness." Here God reveals Himself as ELOHIM, a word that denotes plurality. It has the meaning of "One who creates" or "One who works". In Genesis 2 He describes Himself as the LORD GOD or JEHOVAH GOD. This name identifies the character of God, and stands for the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God. Notice that the serpent did not call Him JEHOVAH GOD, because he would not acknowledge that God is a righteous God. He just called Him ELOHIM. It was the Lord JEHOVAH, who judged the people in Noah's day. Since He does not change, we must! Those who would be right or become right with God, have to be changed from their own righteousness to His righteousness. If we are to be conformed to His image, we need to change. He will never cover us in our unrighteousness, for He cannot deny Himself. God has made provision for changing us by sending the Holy Spirit, and He is the Christ.

"God created man in His own image...male and female He created them." (Gen. 1:27) According to this, the image of God is male and female (it does not say man and woman). Read to the end of the chapter. This man, created in the image of God was good and without sin. He did not receive any laws or restrictions! No serpent is mentioned. This account of creation is quite different from the account in Gen. 2:4ff where it begins with, "These are the generations of the heavens and the earth...Now no shrub of the field had yet sprouted, for the Lord God (Jehovah Elohim) had not sent rain upon the earth; and there was no man to cultivate the ground."

In chapter 1 man was created, yet in chapter 2 there was no man until God formed one. There are various views about this seeming discrepancy, but I will only mention one here. The account in Genesis 1 was prophetic of the corporate last Adam, the Son of Man, who would come into the seen realm as Jesus Christ. He is "the second man", the man from heaven. (1 Cor. 15:47) God spoke of the unseen realm as though it had already appeared in the seen realm. Just as He said to Abraham before Isaac was born, "A father of many nations have I made you". The last Adam is known as the Son of Man. So in Genesis 1, God created the spiritual man. Man's order is: first the natural, then the spiritual. (1 Cor. 15:46) However, God sees everything in its true perspective. He knows that the spiritual is first, for everything comes out of the Spirit.

Let's compare the man of Genesis 1 with the man of Genesis 2.

Gen. 1: 1) God (ELOHIM) created man in His own image.
2) This man was told to multiply and fill the earth.
3) This man was given rulership over fish, birds,
cattle and every living thing that moves...
4) Every green plant and green tree were given
him for food.
5) No restrictions were placed upon him.
6) He was not placed in a garden.
7) Of him God said, "It is very good."

Gen. 2: 1) The Lord God (Jehovah Elohim) made him.
2) He was not created, but formed out of the dust of
the earth that had already been created.
3) He received the breath of life and became a
living soul. (The last Adam, the spiritual man,
is a quickening or life-giving spirit.)
4) He was not given dominion over every living
thing. He was told to cultivate the garden and
tend it.
5) A restriction was placed on him. He was given a
law. There was one tree from which he was not
to eat.
6) He was placed in a garden.
7) God did not say, "It is very good."
I believe that this earthy man carried the image of the spiritual man of Gen. 1. When you study the scriptures, you find many references to the OLD MAN and the NEW MAN, e.g. "Put off the old man, put on the new." Read Ephesians chapters 2 and 4, and Colossians 3. It is important that we know who these men are so we don't get them mixed up.

In our experience we live in the Adamic humanity first of all. Adam did not come down from heaven; he was formed out of the dust of the earth. The angels of God did not ascend and descend upon the Adamic man. However, God gave the law to the Adamic humanity. Although the Israelites had been chosen by God, they always failed to keep the law. They were a complete failure. Then the Son of Man came to "seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19:10) The Son of Man was not lost; He came to seek and to save a different man, the Adamic man, because he was lost! He is the man who brought us death. "For as through one man sin entered the world..."

The Son of Man is not the Adamic man. To Nathanael Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you shall see the heavens opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man...And no one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven, even the Son of Man which is in heaven." (John 1:51; 3:13) It was the Son of Man who came down from heaven! Are you beginning to see that the Son of Man is the spiritual man? That is the spiritual humanity we are living in as Spirit-filled people!

"Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man shall give to you, for on Him the Father, even God, has set His seal." (John 6:27) The Son of Man is giving us food which endures to eternal life. Jesus said, "I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he shall live forever..." (John 6:51) Jesus constantly called Himself "the Son of Man" - not "the Son of Adam". He took on the Adamic flesh, but not the sin. He took on the seed of Abraham and identified with us. He identified with us so much, that when Jesus died, you and I died; when He was buried, we were buried together with Him; when He was raised, we were raised together with Him; and when He sat down in the heavenlies, we sat down together with Him; and when He is coming again we are going to appear together with Him. "For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory." (Col. 3:3-4)

We have been put into Jesus Christ; we are united with Him; we are one with His Spirit! Anyone who oppresses or persecutes a Christian, does this to Jesus. Jesus said, "Paul, why do you persecute Me?" This is a foundational truth that gives us understanding as to the coming of the Lord, His purposes, and our dwelling-place. "For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea; because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath..." (Rev. 12:12) It makes a great difference where our dwelling is. Since we are spiritual beings, we have been caught up into the heavens with Christ!

"I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh." (John 6:51) We cannot eat the flesh of the Adamic man. Jesus came to destroy all the vain imaginations of our heart and to give us the mind of Christ, so the Spirit can teach us who Christ is, who God is, and who we are. The Jews could not understand this because they were taking it out of its spiritual context. Therefore they argued about it. If we bring these words down into the physical realm of wafer and wine, we think Jesus will come again in the flesh and drink it anew with us. Jesus stripped Himself of the flesh, and then went into the heavens.

Jesus often said, "I came from My Father and I am going back to My Father." Where do you think His home is? His home is with the Father. Jesus lived because of the Father, and by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Jesus took on physical flesh, but that was not His real being. His real being came from the Father. So when we eat the flesh of the Son of Man, we are receiving of the Father.

"He who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me." (v.57) We need the same kind of spiritual food in order to live. Just as Jesus lived by the Father so we live by Him. As a matter of fact, Jesus wants to eat together with us! "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me." (Rev. 3:20) Isn't that exciting! He identifies with us; we eat what He eats! He lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God, and so do we! Since Christ fully identifies with us, we should also fully identify with Him! "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing."

The more we learn to know God, the greater our assurance in Him grows. As we see what He does, how He works with His creation and in us, who He has made us to be, the more we trust Him! We have a living expectation! God bless you. Amen.

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