Saturday, March 25, 2017

HEBREWS 9:11-14

"But when Christ appeared
as a high priest of the good things to come,
He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle,
not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation;
and not through the blood of goats and calves,
but through His own blood,
He entered the holy place once and for all,
having obtained eternal redemption.
For if the blood of goats and bulls
and the ashes of a heifer
sprinkling those who have been defiled
sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh,
how much more will the blood of Christ,
who through the eternal Spirit
offered Himself without blemish to God,
cleanse your conscience from dead works
to serve the living God?

"But when Christ appeared..."

Everything changed.  I used to sing an old song called "When Jesus Came." 
It was about blind Bartimaeus, and there was the line, "all tears are swept away."

Andrew Murray says, "Four thousand years after man's loss of fellowship with God in paradise had to pass.  Fifteen hundred years the veil had to hang with its solemn injunction not to draw near.  Thirty-three years the Son of God Himself had to live on this side of the veil.  But at length, once for all and for ever, the way was opened...He entered in, the Second Adam...God is not content that we should serve Him with a veil between."

"through His own blood"

Andrew Murray goes on to say, "To Moses God had said that He gave the blood upon the altar to be an atonement, because the blood is the life...And the shed blood?  That means death.  More than that, it means an unnatural, a violent malice or by justice...He was slain, a sacrifice unto God, because He was the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.  Death is inseparably connected with sin, and the curse which God pronounced upon it." (the curse? think Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden)

"When Jesus, as the Second Adam, tasted death for all; when, in Gethsemane, He with strong crying and tears besought His Father that the cup might pass from Him; when on the cross He cried, 'My God! My God!  Why hast Thou forsaken Me?  He tasted death in all its bitterness, both as the terrible fruit of sin, the revelation of what sin is in its very nature, and as the penalty God had attached to it."

But, "It was in the blood of the eternal covenant that God brought again our Lord Jesus from the dead; the blood was the power of resurrection...It was through His blood He cleansed...and entered the Holiest on our behalf.  In those heavenly places our sins were in God's book...for the sake of the blood the sin was blotted out, and access given to Him, and in Him to us, to appear before the very face of God."

"There are in Scripture two aspects of Christ's death--that of atonement and that of fellowship.  He died for us, for our sin, that we need not do."  What was the Garden about?  Fellowship.

"How much more?

"He offered Himself unto God...without spot (blemish) (fault)" 

John Wesley said, "'purge our conscience'--Our inmost soul, from dead works--
From all the inward and outward works of the devil...

"His self-sacrifice was complete and perfect, and His blood, even as the blood of a man, was, in God's sight, inexpressibly precious.  It was the embodiment of a perfect obedience...The blood of man is of more worth than that of a sheep.  The blood of a king or a great general is counted of more value than hundreds of common soldiers.  The blood of the Son of God! it is in vain the mind seeks for some expression of its value...the infinite worth of the blood that gave it such mighty power--first, in opening the grave, and then in opening heaven."

Queen Elizabeth laughing at her husband.

I watched on video Muslims protesting in England after the terrorist attack in front of Parliament as they held a banner with an image of the seat of England's government with a mosque overlaid.  Then when asked about the queen, he said, "She will have to convert or leave."  Then I saw a poster, "Not my Mum!"  Not only the prime minister, but the life of the queen is upheld in spite of terrorists threats to take over.  Oh, how much more is the value of Christ than any king or queen!  (Though the Muslims were allowed to rant, street preachers of the Gospel were recently arrested and imprisoned for speaking the Truth from the Word of God in public there.

Okay, that's a lot of Andrew Murray.  But he expresses so much better than I can of the beauty of the blood and the power of the blood.  Umm, remember the old hymn, "Power in the Blood"?  

Jesus went home.

"He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle
not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation."

As for opening heaven, I've been thinking of how thin the veil is between heaven and earth.  It is in a sense, the veil that Christ tore as He went through to sit at the right hand of the Majesty on high.  The very thought of death and dying has tricked us into thinking that it is such a difficult way to pass through that heavy curtain.  However, the veil between us and heaven is almost see-through, so permeable, fluttering in the wind of the Holy Spirit.  It is only one step away.  When you breath your last breath here, your next will be in heaven.  Christ tore that veil in two.  The thought of death is the last trick Satan tries to play on us, to think upon it with only horror.  Yes, I don't want to go yet, and I don't wish pain upon me or anyone else in the dying, but on the other side is a glorious reception.

Here's a part of a poem from my very old and favorite devotional,
"Gems of Devotional Poetry from the Great Writers"

"Though in the paths of death I tread,
With gloomy horrors overspread,
My steadfast heart shall feel no ill;
For Thou, O God, art with me still:
Thy friendly crook shall give me aid,
And guide me through the dreadful shade."

And a few lines by Whittier...

"And now my spirit sighs for home,
And longs for light whereby to see,
And like a weary child, would come,
O Father, unto Thee."

Ezra in time out

This makes me think of my saintly mother who was taken back in her last few years as Alzheimer's walked her backwards in life to her past, and she was in her heart once again a child.  She took her time to leave us as her intelligence clung to the here and now still able to sing hymns in three part harmony though not knowing who, me, she was singing with.  It was amazing because she had basically quit speaking with words otherwise.  Finally,  she was swept away to that place, lost to us in a waiting room waiting to cross over as a weary child to go to the Father.  In the meanwhile, little things bothered me like seeing her poke around and having to eat refried beans in the rest home.  My mother hated refried beans, but it no longer mattered to her, only to me.  Her spirit sighed for home.  

Finally, a few lines from Mary Cousins...

"O Christ, what burdens bowed Thy head!
Our load was laid on Thee;
Thou stoodest in the sinner's stead,
Didst bear all ill for me.
A Victim led, Thy blood was shed;
Now there's no load for me...

A cleansed conscience, white as snow

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