Insights into Hebrews: Part 5

By Lloyd Ellefson

All the promises of God have their fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only heir of God, and therefore the heir of everything God has! That means that neither Jew nor Gentile can be an heir - regardless of their earthly or spiritual standing. Since Jesus Christ is the only heir, and we are in Him, we are joint heirs with Him! We have been baptized into the body of Jesus Christ! "For as many as may be the promises of God, in Him they are yes; wherefore also by Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us." (2 Cor. 1:20) All the promises are YES in Him to the glory of God. "Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God." (2 Cor. 1:21) It is God who puts us all together.

God gave the revelation of Jesus Christ to John in signs, or signified to him. (Rev. 1:1) That which is signified, is given in signs. We have to be consistent in our interpretation. If we think some things will be fulfilled literally in the natural realm, some things in the spiritual realm, we will have all kinds of problems in our interpretation.

If we don't understand the WAYS of God (we are not speaking of His works), we will have trouble understanding the thrones, the 144,000, how people can be living on the land, the sea, and the air, etc. "For this reason, rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea...!" (Rev. 12:12) All people live in one of these three levels or states of being. Their consciousness is in one of these levels of understanding. Those who are in Christ Jesus are living in the heavens. In Matt. 24:31 we read that the Lord will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. His elect do not live according to earthly reasonings and desires; those who do, are living in the earth realm. When He comes, the tribes of the earth will mourn. (v.30) They will mourn because they are not part of the elect. It is very important to see that we have passed through the waters, through the earthy testimony, and have been raised up to be a spiritual testimony of Christ, living in the heavens.

Jesus Christ is the day of the Lord. Let's look at the meaning of the word DAY as used in the scriptures. In Genesis 1:5 God called the light DAY, so day is basically a measure of light, not of time. God is not in our time frame, but His workings in us come to us in days, seasons and times, because that is where we are at. In 2 Peter 3:8 we read, "But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." I believe that one thousand years represents the measure of understanding God gives us within a certain time frame - a measure of light or illumination of God's Spirit. The day of the Lord has no night in it, just like our day would not have any night if the earth were not turning between us and the sun. We would then see the sun all the time because it shines continuously. The light of the day of the Lord shines all the time, and it comes to us in measures. The Lord is the light, and His life is the light of men. Therefore there is no shadow nor darkness in Him.

We have been living in darkness and in fear of darkness. Now God is drawing us into His light and into the consciousness of His eternal day. So often when people look at the day of the Lord, they only see it as tribulation, distress, and Jacob's trouble coming on the earth. That is not for Christians. We are not called into Jesus Christ to be partakers of the wrath of God. Tribulation is for those who are living in darkness. "Woe to you who are longing for the day of the will be darkness and not light." (Amos 5:18) The pillar of fire that led the Israelites out of Egypt and to the promised land was light to them, but darkness for the Egyptians. It is darkness to unbelievers, and light to believers. Therefore, instead of looking for a future fulfillment of the day of the Lord, we recognize that His light is already shining in our hearts!

"And so we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts." (2 Peter l:19) When the morning star arises in our hearts, the day begins to dawn. So the day of the Lord comes in our hearts! Have we been looking for it in the wrong place? In 1 Thess. 5:5 we read, "For you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness." We are born of light because we are born in Christ. We are not children of the night.

We are so used to the many carnal interpretations of the scriptures, that it is difficult for us to believe the truth when it is presented to us. When the Spirit begins to instruct and enlighten us, we may feel as though we are on shaky ground and question what the Spirit tells us. Understanding that the Spirit brings life, while carnal interpretations bring death, helps us to discern the truth.

In our previous message we saw that God rested on the Sabbath after He created man in His image. This Sabbath is not an ordinary Saturday. An ordinary Saturday would bring it down into a shadow, because the natural Sabbaths are called shadows of things to come in Col. 2:16b-17. If we live in the shadows we are under the law. When we talk about days and the Sabbath day, we are talking about the light of six days and the light of the Sabbath day. If we are ruled by natural days, they gain power over us and we are still under the law, and are slaves to the law.

Jesus Christ said that the Son of Man is Lord also of the Sabbath, and that man was not made for the Sabbath but the Sabbath was made for man. (Mk. 2:27-28) The law is a shadow of things to come; therefore we should not be under it. The law used to be our tutor, but now we have been raised over the law, and the law is under us. In Christ we have a new position!

"There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience" (unbelief). (Heb. 4:9-11) Unbelief is our big problem, the fruit of unbelief being disobedience. Jesus Christ has forgiven our sin, and given us the Spirit so we can live a powerful life, but unbelief continues to be our major problem. Eve had the same problem - she did not believe God! Instead, she believed the devil! The devil contradicted God and said that she would not die; she would become like God if she ate of the forbidden fruit. Believing the devil means we are not believing God! The result is disobedience, and disobedience proves our unbelief!

"For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart." (Heb. 4:12) Here we have a description of what the word of God does. As I researched this subject I found that the scriptures are not called the word of God. The apostles spoke the WORD. Every time Jesus referred to Old Testament writings, He referred to the scriptures, or said, "as it is written". In the epistles, the apostles referred to the scriptures in the same way.

God speaks spiritual, invisible words to us. Natural words can be read; spiritual words are beyond the natural. Jesus said, "You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me." (Jn. 5:39) The scriptures are a testimony! Jesus is the real Word, and the scriptures bear witness to this fact. Because the Jews thought they had eternal life in the scriptures, they were unwilling to come to Him that they might receive life. (v.40) This thought is prevalent today as well.

God always uses two or three witnesses, and the scriptures are one of the witnesses. The tabernacle in the wilderness was called the tabernacle of witness. (Nu. 17:7-8; Acts 7:44). It carried two witnesses - a pot of manna, and Aaron's rod that budded and bore ripe almonds overnight. It was a shadow of the tabernacle or temple of God we now are. We become witnesses when the Holy Spirit governs our life, and we speak the words God gives us to speak. The Pharisees questioned the authority of Jesus, claiming that He was only one witness testifying of Himself. (Jn. 8:12-18) They were referring to the law which required at least two witnesses. Jesus told them that the Father who sent Him also bore witness of Him. Jesus only spoke the words which the Father gave Him to speak, so there were two witnesses coming out of the mouth of Jesus.

We also want our words to bear a double witness, otherwise they are dead words. When the Spirit is alongside our words, we have a double witness, for it brings another testimony. If we say, "The Lord bless these words", we are confessing that they were not alive when they came out of our mouths. In order for our words to be a double witness, we need to speak the words God gives us. The Holy Spirit then breathes life into them. The testimony given through the anointed words is a double witness (the spiritual witness coming through natural words). That is the way Jesus witnessed. He always had the Father bearing testimony to His words.

The word of God is sharper than a two-edged sword. Although it does not say it is a sword, it does have the ability to pierce better than any sword could. It pierces as far as the division of soul and spirit. We may wonder why it is necessary to divide the soul and spirit. So often humanity wants to put together what God divides, and wants to divide what is to be united in Christ. It is important for us to know what is spiritual and what is soulish. The scriptures say that each kind produces after its kind. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." (Jn. 3:6) Children of God are not half flesh and and half spirit. They are either one or the other.

"A good tree cannnot produce bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree produce good fruit." (Matt. 7:18) These are two different trees. Good fruit comes from a good tree, and bad fruit comes from a bad tree. Nor can a good tree alternate in its fruit-bearing, producing good fruit, then bad, and then good again. The word of truth must be rightly divided.

It is impossible for Jesus Christ to minister sin! His life in us does not have one sin! If we believe that our life is hidden with Christ in God, and that we are a new creation in Christ Jesus, we have a life within us which does not have any sin - nor can it sin. This is hard for us to believe, for sometimes we think we are good, and at other times bad. If we identify with the new person within us, we agree with the scripture that says our life is hidden with Christ in God. If we think we are sinners, we identify with being in the old man - the person we were before we became a new creation. It is impossible to be both!

This challenges us to identify with who we really are. Paul said, "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me." (Gal. 2:20) Paul was bearing testimony to the fact that the Christ in him was actually his life. He did not identify with his former self, because he recognized that he was a new man, a new creation!

"And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do." (Heb. 4:13) We cannot hide things from God! He discerns the thoughts and the intentions of the heart. Therefore it is useless to try to hide anything from God! By confessing our sins to God we are not telling Him anything He did not already know. We are merely confessing that we know we committed sin. There is nothing that can be hidden from God! Hypocrites are people who pretend to be better than they are, and even try to cover up who they really are. God said that in our flesh there is absolutely no good and never has been, and that we never did want God. (Rom. 3:9-18) We may try to convince ourselves and others that we are not what God said we are, but we cannot fool God! It is no use arguing with God because He has won every argument He ever got into.

God looks at, and deals with the intentions of our heart. He does not look at outward things that are done to impress people. If our church attendance, giving, and outward demeanor are only done for outward show, they will not impress God. Although we may not have committed any obviously bad deeds, we may have tucked a lot of bad thoughts in our mental computer. No one else may know about them except God! As we grow in the Lord, we begin to see our faults and those of others much more clearly.

As thoughts and intentions are discerned, they can be judged. Jesus said that all judgment has been given to the Son. (Jn. 5:22) We were baptized into Jesus Christ, the Son of God. God has given Christ as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills all things, or who fills all in all. (Eph. 1:22-23) He is the fulness of love, judgment and righteousness. We are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, so the fulness of these things, which includes His judgment, will be ministered to His body. This judgment is prompted by God's love, because God wants the very best for us. "For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God...And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner?" (1 Peter 4:17-18) Judgment then will begin right here at the house of God, by the word of God which is sharper than a two-edged sword.

Let's see how this judgment takes place. In the scriptures it talks about Christ - His appearing and His coming. It also says that He will bring about destruction. "And from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may smite the nations...And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat upon the horse..." (Rev. 19:15a,21a) The sword that comes out of His mouth will be used to destroy. That is the only sword a Christian has any right to use. I believe the sword of the Spirit came forth from Peter's mouth when he spoke at Pentecost. That was the first sermon spoken in the Spirit; the keys of the kingdom were used to open the kingdom to the Jews. And what happened? They were pierced in their hearts! So the sword that comes out of Christ's mouth will be used to destroy His enemies and put the nations in subjection to Him.

"The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh..." (2 Cor. 10:4) Since our weapons are not of the flesh, we have no weapons for a carnal war! Jesus Christ never advocated war. How can a spirit-filled Christian ever think of killing someone? I was in the army before I knew better; but now I know that it is totally futile to fight for Christ, or on behalf of God - flesh against flesh. Our power is through the throne! There we cast down our images and imaginations! An imagination is a conception or an idea which has come out of the reasonings or thoughts of man; an image of God which has not come from God by revelation needs to be cast down!

Jesus did not get His idea of God from the Old Testament like many of us do. When He quoted from the law, He said, "You have heard: an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth"; then He said, "But I say unto you...`Love your enemies...Pray for those who perecute you...Give him your coat also if he wants your shirt...Do not resist him who is evil'." Two images of God are portrayed here, and we may wonder which is the right one - the image of God in the law, or the image of God in Jesus Christ? Jesus brought us the exact, true image of God! (Heb. 1:3)

Only in Christ can we find the perfect and unadulterated image of God! All other images are distorted by human nature, natural thinking, visual conceptions, etc. Christ is the perfect image of the invisible God! Therefore we can put away any image of God which is other than Jesus. We can rely on the fact that the teachings of Jesus are exactly who God is and what God wants us to be like. That is why we are special and unique people. We are not fighting a carnal war and therefore God has not given us carnal weapons. Our warfare is not against people. Our battle is against fleshly desires, and it is not fought with earthly weapons. We are to see others according to the way God sees them and us!

"Therefore from now on we recognize no man according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer." (2 Cor. 5:16) Jesus died to free us from the law and the condemnation of the law - from the condemnation of sins that were in us. So why would He condemn us! He is the ONE who is justifying us! Jesus said, "Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father." And He always keeps His promises! The one who accuses us is Moses. (John 5:45) God wants us to know that it is the law that accuses us. Rom. 8:1 states this very clearly: "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." His life-giving Spirit does not condemn us! We mistakenly think that the condemnation of the law is the condemnation of Jesus Christ. When we do something wrong, it is most unfortunate that we usually think that God is angry at us. If Jesus does not condemn us, do you think God will condemn us?

In Gal. 2:19 Paul states, "For through the law I died to the law, that I might live to God." The law is the ministry of death to our own righteousness. If we think we can please God by our own righteousness we have a wrong idea of God. We have a wrong mentality. This is the mentality we are to repent of. Biblical repentance is more than merely turning away from our sins; it necessitates turning away from our wrong idea about God! It means changing our mind about all our natural thoughts about God!

No one had the right idea about God before Jesus came! There were many who studied the scriptures, prophesied, followed the law, and thought they knew God. Yet these were the very people who crucified Jesus! Obviously they did not recognize God in Jesus Christ. That is an indictment on both Jews and Gentiles. Unless we see that Jesus is the exact expression of God, we will also crucify Him today.

Our thinking must not be formed by the world's thinking! We need our minds changed, as well as our whole idea of what God is doing on the earth. When God talks about doing battle, He is not talking about killing people. Killing the flesh does not destroy a spirit - no matter how many are killed. It does not even affect the battle! As a matter of fact, the one who killed is in a worse position before God than the one who was killed. Therefore, the passage in Rev. 19:15, which speaks about the sword coming out of the mouth of Christ to kill the nations does not refer to a physical battle, but to a spiritual battle!

Jesus could have called upon a whole legion of angels to help Him when He went to the cross. He could have spoken a few words and scattered His enemies. When Jesus went to the cross, God was not only watching over Jesus and directing Him, but He was within Him. "Namely, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation." (2 Cor. 5:19) How did He reconcile the world to Himself? He let mankind trample on Jesus, spit on Him, mock Him, and crucify Him. But during this excruciatingly painful ordeal God was in Christ! It's incredible that God allowed man to do that to Him! What a longsuffering God we have! He suffered in order to draw us (His enemies) to Himself, that He might have a Father-son relationship with us! He does away with His enemies by doing away with the enmity - not by killing His enemies! He will draw all humanity to Himself with His love! This reveals the Father's innermost intentions toward us!

Two criminals were crucified with Jesus, one on either side of Him. Of the three, Jesus was the first one to die. He had finished His work; He was not hanging onto His physical life. He was not worried, for He knew God would raise Him from the dead. It is the flesh man that clings to this life.

"Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need." (Heb. 4:14-16)

Notice that our high priest has passed through the heavens (plural). HEAVEN denotes rulership; HEAVENS denote realms of rulership. Since Jesus has passed through the heavens, He has vanquished all rulership that is against Him. If we are not living in victory, we are not living in the power that is available to us! Our spiritual battles are in heavenly places, "against the rulers, against the powers, against the age forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Eph. 6:12) Our warfare is not against people. Our warfare is against the darkness and wickedness of this age. The darkness is in our natural mind, "because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God, for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so." (Rom. 8:7) It does not understand spiritual realities, so it is always striving against them. The natural mind contains the principalities and powers of darkness, and these principalities and powers work in darkness, for they do not have the light of Christ. When light comes, they cannot work, for Christ is the great light! Our high priest, Jesus the Son of God, has passed through the heavens victoriously. This gives us the confidence to hold fast our confession.

We are to draw near to the throne of grace with confidence! How do we do that? Where is his throne? Up in the sky somewhere? A throne denotes the place from where a king rules. His throne is in the new creation man. This man is a spiritual heavenly being, veiled by the flesh, but not part of the Adamic man. Christ's residence and nature are not in the flesh, for nothing good dwells in the flesh. His rest is in the spiritual man. He wants us to receive His grace, and it is available to us at all times! There is no shortage of grace in Him! He is working in us by His grace until WE SHALL HAVE BECOME the fullness of all the perfection and righteousness that the law demands!

Do you know that the river of God is also in us? Do you know that the bride of Christ is actually made in heaven and she is coming down to earth? Coming down to earth means that this knowledge of who we are appears in our consciousness! We are the bride of Christ and we are actually a part of the city, the new Jerusalem. The new government proceeds out of the new Jerusalem. That bride is the heavenly bride, because Jesus has passed into the heavens, and He is a heavenly being.

In Eph. 1:18 Paul prayed, "...that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints." Walking is difficult if we do not know our destination, and we cannot see where we are going. Therefore it is important to have our eyes opened by the knowledge that is in Christ! The Holy Spirit leads us into all truth and He is now building us up by His knowledge! Once this knowledge gets into our spirits, we will experience greater victory. It brings us greater understanding of spiritual realities and releases us from our affinity for the things of the world. This is not achieved by striving, wailing and groaning, but by spiritual growth.

We want to grow up into Christ! He gives us an understanding of who we are in Christ, and what God has accomplished through Christ. We know that His life is the light that displaces the darkness of satan and the antichrist. Now that we know Christ, we have a measuring stick - the plumb line. We can now discern truth from error.

Father, as Your children we bow our heads before You. How little we know about Your infinite wisdom! We know that You are not only giving us wise words and knowledge, but You have made Christ to be our wisdom, so that in Him we have the wisdom of Your throne. Therefore, we do not have to worry, because the wisdom of God dwells within us. Thank you that we don't have to store it like humanity does, for within us is the One who has all knowledge and wisdom! Thank you that you have promised never to leave us nor forsake us! We thank You Father and we praise You. We pray that we might retain these things and that they may bear fruit. It is such a tremendous thing to see beyond the veil! Amen.

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