Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament epistle which was written unto the Hebrews. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the first ten verses of the ninth chapter. When you come to this particular passage of Scripture you find the author building upon a reality which they began writing and speaking of in the previous chapter. One of the most fascinating realities found within the entire epistle written unto the Hebrews is this pervasive line of thought that everything in Christ is better. As you continue to read the epistle which was written unto the Hebrews you will find the author positioning Christ as being absolutely supreme and sovereign over absolutely everything that has been created and everything that will be created. The author of this epistle began the epistle by emphatically declaring that God spoke in divers manners and at sundry times unto the fathers through the prophets, but has in these last days spoken unto us by and through His Son. What’s more, is that the author immediately transitioning to making an emphatic statement and declaration that the eternal Son is by far superior and better than the angels. If you continue reading the epistle you will find the author write and speak of Jesus the Christ as the great High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. This particular author described Jesus as having a priesthood which was altogether different from the Levitical priesthood which was manifested and present under the Old Covenant, and would go on to boldly declare that the priesthood of Jesus was far superior and greater than even that of Aaron who was ordained, appointed, and anointed as the first high priest during the days of Moses. Moving on a little further and you will find the author even declaring Jesus the Christ as being sovereign and superior over even Moses to whom the Lord spoke face to face, and unto whom the Lord gave both the pattern of the tabernacle, as well as the Law atop Sinai in the wilderness. As you continue on in the epistle you will find the author describing Jesus as being far greater and far superior than even the Old Testament sacrifices which were offered daily upon the altar at the Tabernacle as commanded in the law of Moses.
One of the greatest realities found and contained within the epistle written unto the Hebrews is that of Christ being so much better than everything that was found within the Old Covenant. As you read this particular epistle you will find the main and underlying premise being that of positioning Christ Jesus as being far superior than the entire Old Covenant with all of its shadows and types and patterns. Pause for a moment and consider that very reality—the reality that Christ is far greater and far better than anything that was found within the Old Covenant. I am sitting here right now and I am gripped and captivated with and by the reality that when we speak of Jesus the Christ, we must recognize and understand that everything is better with Christ. Not only is Christ better, and far greater, and far more superior than anything within the Old Covenant, but He is also far greater and far better than anything in this world. I fear there are countless men and women who are living their entire lives as though this reality were not at all true. There are men and women who are living their lives as though Jesus Christ is not the single greatest reality to have ever been manifested within their hearts and lives. There are actually men and women among us in the pews of our churches whose lives have not reflected and do not reflect the awesome reality that Jesus Christ is far greater than anything that is present within this earthly and natural realm. If I am being honest I must declare that there have been countless times within my life when I have lived my life as though Jesus Christ is not far greater than anything this world has to offer. I know for a fact that I have lived my life as though Jesus Christ is not far superior than anything I can pursue with my natural senses. I have spent a considerable amount of time living my life pursuing those things which are far beneath and far less significant than Jesus the Christ. I have allowed earthly, temporal, natural and worldly desires and pleasures to interfere with Jesus Christ being the single greatest reality that has ever been found within my heart and life. I have spent countless days pursuing anything and everything but Jesus the Christ—a complete affront and assault to the reality that Jesus Christ is truly superior in every possible way. I can’t help but be reminded of the words which the apostle Paul wrote concerning Jesus Christ in the first chapter of the epistle which he wrote unto the saints which were at Colossae:
“And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unproveable in his sight: if ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His bod’s sake, which is the church: whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God; even the mystery which has been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints: to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: whom we preache, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: whereunto I also labour striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily” (Colossians 1:21-29).
If you continue reading in this particular epistle which was written by the apostle Paul you will find another reference to Jesus Christ which should bring us face to face with the reality that He is far superior and far better than absolutely anything and everything in this world. Consider if you will the words which are found in this passage beginning with the eighth verse of the second chapter:
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power: in whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:8-15).
The reality of the beauty that is found within he person of Jesus Christ is further found in the second chapter of the epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the saints at Philippi. If you begin reading with the first verse of the second chapter, you will find a powerful testament to the tremendous beauty that is found in Jesus who is the Christ. Beginning with the first verse we find and read the following words:
“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:1-11).
EVERYTHING MUST BOW IN THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST! EVERYTHING MUST BOW BEFORE JESUS! What I absolutely love about the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the second chapter of this epistle written unto the Philippian congregation is that he emphatically declared and proclaimed that everything and everyone must bow before Jesus, and everything and everyone must confess that He is Lord to the glory of the Father. I can’t help but be absolutely captured and captivated by what is found within this passage of Scripture, for I can’t help but but be reminded that absolutely everything must bow and be brought low before Jesus. It would be very easy to read this particular passage of Scripture and immediately allow your mind to wander to those around you without at all taking a look within your own self. What I mean by this is that it is absolutely necessary and imperative that everything within your life bow down and be brought low before Jesus who is both Christ and Lord. Absolutely everything you are, absolutely everything you hope to be, and absolutely everything within your life needs to be brought low and humbled before Jesus who is both Christ and Lord. In all reality, I would dare say that if anything and everything within your life cannot be brought low and cannot and will not bow before Jesus the Christ, then Jesus is neither Christ nor Lord within your heart and life. What I so absolutely love about this passage of Scripture is that it brings us face to face with the awesome reality that absolutely everything will one day bend the knee before Jesus the Christ, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is the Christ and Lord to the glory of the Father. I am convinced that one of the hardest realities within our heart and life is to bring everything we have and everything we are under the lordship of Jesus the Christ. One of the hardest things within our hearts and lives is to allow everything we have and everything we are to come under and come in alignment with the reality that Jesus Christ is absolutely supreme and sovereign over anything and everything within our lives. There is absolutely nothing within this world, and absolutely nothing in the earth that can even remotely compare to the beauty, the wonder, the splendor, the majesty and the grandeur that is found in the person of Jesus Christ. I am reminded of a scene which takes place in heaven—one which the apostle John saw while he was on the isle of Patmos. Consider if you will the scene as it unfolded in heaven and as the apostle John recorded it within the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ:
“And I saw in the right hand of Him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book ,and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: Bbehold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the elders stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beats and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth,a nd such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped Him that liveth for ever and ever” (Revelation 5:1-14).
The most powerful truth contained within all of the epistle written unto the Hebrews is that Jesus Christ is far better and far superior than anything and everything in heaven, in the earth, or even under the earth. There is not a single soul in heaven or on the earth, nor any angel in heaven, nor any cherubim, nor any seraphim, nor any principality, nor any ruler that is greater than and superior to Jesus the Christ. The statement that I. keep coming back to as I’m sitting here right now is that not only is Christ better than absolutely anything and everything in heaven and everything in the earth, but everything is better with Christ. LIFE PLUS CHRIST IS BETTER! I am absolutely captivated and gripped with and by the reality that everything within our lives is far greater and far better with Christ. Please note and please understand that what I am speaking of, and what I am referencing is somehow that Jesus Christ will magically make our lives all the better, and that there cannot and will not be any further struggles, trials, troubles, suffering, hurt, pain, and the like. I would urge you to consider the words which the apostle Peter wrote in the fourth chapter of the first epistle he wrote unto the diaspora during the days after the ascension of Christ, and after the early church had been established. Beginning with the twelfth verse of the fourth chapter we find the following words:
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:12-19)
If you continue reading in the same epistle—specifically in the fifth chapter—you will find the following words which were written by the apostle: “Yea, all of you be subject tone to another, and be clothed wit humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing the same afflictions are accomplished in your breathren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen and settle you. To Him by glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 5:5-11). These words bring us face to face with the reality that not only should we not consider it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to us. SURPRISED BY THE STRUGGLE! SURPRISED BY THE SUFFERING! SURPRISED BY THE CONFLICT! What we must recognize and realize when reading the words which the apostle Paul wrote is that we should not be surprised when we walk through any fiery trial which is to try us—to try our faith in order that the perfect work of God might be accomplished within our lives. What’s more, is that we must not forget that the same afflictions are accomplished in our brethren which are within and throughout the world. Two of the greatest dilemmas we as the saints of God face is being surprised by struggle, and being selfish in the struggle. What I mean by being surprised by struggle is somehow thinking and believing that we have been promised a life absent struggle, a life absent conflict, and a life absent trials. What’s more, is that there are some of us that would dare think and believe that Christ within our lives somehow eliminates any and all struggle, conflict, suffering, battle, trial, trouble, and the like. Even more than this, we tend to be selfish with our struggle and conflict in that we think we are the only one who is going through what we are dealing with. What I mean by being selfish with our struggle is not recognizing that there are countless other saints and followers of Christ within and throughout the world who are experiencing the very same conflict and struggle we are. We dare not, we cannot, we must consider—even for a split second or a single moment—that we are alone in the struggle, and alone in the conflict. Consider if you will the words which the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews writes:
“Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted” (Hebrews 2:17-18).
“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16).
“But so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: but this man, because He continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefined, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore” (Hebrews 7:22-28).
Having come face to face with the absolutely incredible reality that Jesus the Christ and Lord is far greater and far superior than anything in heaven, or on the earth, or under the earth, we turn and direct our attention to that which the author of the epistle unto the Hebrews wrote in the latter half of the eighth chapter, and the first half of the ninth chapter. If you begin reading with the seventh verse of the eighth chapter you will find the author writing concerning a certain fault which was found in and with the first covenant—a fault which of necessity warranted a ministration of a better covenant. Beginning with the seventh verse of the eighth chapter we find the following words:
“For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, He saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: and they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayed and waxeth old is ready to vanish away” (Hebrews 8:7-13).
If you continue reading in the epistle written unto the Hebrews—specifically, that which is found in the ninth chapter—you will find the author continues to build on this concept of the Old Covenant being inferior to the New Covenant which was introduced through the person, the work, the ministry, and the blood of Jesus. Having already spoken unto the reality of Jesus obtaining a priesthood after the order of Melchizedek, which is far superior than that of Aaron and the Levitical priesthood, the author now begins to write and speak concerning the Old Covenant itself, which although it came with great glory, was not meant to endure forever. There would come a day when the Old Covenant would be done away with, and a new covenant would be introduced and implemented—a reality which both Jeremiah and Ezekiel both saw and prophesied. What we find in the ninth chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews is a description of the pattern, the shadow and the type of the Tabernacle of Moses which was implemented first in the wilderness, and would remain until the days of Eli the priest and his sons Hophni and Phineas in Shiloh. The author—in the ninth chapter of this particular epistle—writes of two distinct parts of the Tabernacle. The first part of the Tabernacle was the sanctuary, which had within it the candlestick, the table, and the shewbread. After the sanctuary was a second part of the Tabernacle—one that was hidden and concealed behind and beyond a veil, and one that only the high priest could advance beyond once a year. Within this innermost part of the Tabernacle, which is called the Holiest of all and/or the Holy of Holies was the Ark of the Covenant, which had atop it the Mercy Seat where the two cherubims faced each other with their wings spread forth one to another. It would be there beyond and there behind the veil the glory of God would manifest in the midst of His people, and it would be there behind the veil where the Lord would speak from the Mercy Seat. It would be in this second innermost part of the Tabernacle that the high priest could enter in only once a year, and even then not without blood—first for his own sins, and second for the sins of the people. The author of the epistle unto the Hebrews declared that the Holy Ghost was signifying through the pattern of the Tabernacle that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was yet standing. In other words, so long as the first Tabernacle stood standing in the midst of the earth, the way into the holiest of all could not and would not yet be made.
It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this, for it paints a powerful picture concerning Jesus the Christ—one that would become clearer as the ninth chapter progresses. If there is one thing we must take from that which is written and that which is contained within this passage of Scripture it’s that the Tabernacle was a shadow, a type, a symbol and a pattern of that which was to come—that which was to be manifested in and through the person of Jesus Christ within and upon the earth. Not only did the Tabernacle point to the beauty and supremacy of Christ, but the Tabernacle also paved the way for that reality to be made manifest within our hearts and lives. We dare not, we cannot, we must not miss or lose sight of the reality of this, for we need to truly understand that which Christ did for us—namely that He accomplished once what all the sacrifices and offerings from the time of Moses until the time of His sacrifice upon the cross could not and did not accomplish. Christ through His one single act of sacrifice and obedience upon the cross of Calvary accomplished in six hours what centuries and millennia of sacrifices had not and could not accomplish. When I write and speak of Jesus Christ as being better than that which is in heaven, and that which is in the earth, I absolutely and unequivocally mean it. We dare not live our lives completely independent of the reality that Christ is not vastly better and so much better than anything and everything within our lives. In all reality, we need to get our heads out of the proverbial sand and wake up to the reality of just how beautiful and better Jesus Christ is—this author and mediator of a new covenant which was made manifest in His blood through His selfless sacrifice upon the cross of Calvary two thousand years ago.