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Volume 20 - Page 101 of 195 Index | Zoom | |
Love and accepted service (12: 25 - 13: 6).
pp. 41 - 47
The epistle now draws to its conclusion. Much that these Hebrews had prized and
valued as permanent has been shattered and is passing away. This element is introduced
in the opening chapter. Speaking of the creation, the works of the Lord's hands, it says:
"They shall perish, but Thou remainest" (Heb. 1: 10, 11). This finds its echo in
Heb. 12: 27: "The removing of things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that
those things that are not shaken may remain."
All through the epistle there is the exchange of the passing for the permanent. The
law concerning the Aaronic priesthood is disannulled and gives place to Christ, the Priest
after the power of an endless life (Heb. 7: 16-18). The tabernacle made with hands
gives place to the true tabernacle not made with hands, which the Lord pitched and not
man (Heb. 8: 1, 2; 9: 24). The old covenant is not found faultless, and is ready to
vanish away, giving place to the new covenant of which the Lord is the Mediator
(Heb. 8: 7-13; 9: 15). The sacrifices and offerings of the old system pass away in the
presence of that one sacrifice offered once for all (Heb. 10: 1-14). The Hebrews were to
learn that the Mosaic law was transient, and that the kingdom that remains and which
cannot be moved is found alone under the sway of the true King-Priest, of the order of
Melchisedec, Jesus Christ the Son of God.
Flowing from the contemplation of these solemn issues comes a series of practical
exhortations. The first is: "Let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably
with reverence and godly fear; for our God is a consuming fire" (Heb. 12: 28, 29). The
words: "for our God is a consuming fire" are taken from Deut. 4: 24, and come in a
context of deepest solemnity. Chapter 4: opens with a warning concerning adding to or
diminishing from the Word of God, and then refers to the evil of Baal-Peor. What took
place there is described in Numb. 25: The close relationship between idolatry and
immoral practices will explain the sudden reference to marriage, &100:, in Heb. 13: In
Deut. 4: 11, 12 also is the reference to the mountain that burned with fire, and "the voice
of the words".
The Hebrews would be warned that the service of God was not something within the
authority of man to arrange. God Himself had set aside the visible, external and typical;
let them therefore remember that acceptable worship would now be concerned with the
heavenly, the true and antitypical. The word "acceptably" is euarestos. It occurs as
"With such sacrifices God is well pleased" (Heb. 13: 16).
"Working in you that which is well pleasing" (Heb. 13: 21).
These references look back to the example of Enoch, and to the divine comment:
"Without faith it is impossible to please Him."