Serving Up Hebrew ‘Let Us’ – V Hebrews 12:1-2

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

Here, in the first two verses of Hebrews chapter 12, are two more servings of HebrewLet Us:

     Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so 
     great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every 
     weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, 
     and let us run with endurance the race that is set 
     before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and fin-
     isher of our faith, who for the joy that was set 
     before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, 
     and has sat down at the right hand of the throne 
     of God.

These two servings are predicated by what has been written before, especially in chapter 11, commonly known as “the Hall of Faith! The author of Hebrews…

  • …first describes what faith is in verse 1 – “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.Faith makes real what cannot be apprehended by our five physical senses!
  • …then, in verse 6, tells us what faith in action must begin to look like! – “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Starting in verse 4 and 5 and continuing in verse 7 through the end of the chapter are the brief records of Old Testament heros who lived by faith! Nineteen individuals are either named or implied, and in verses 32 through 40, many more unnamed saints are alluded to!

These are the “…great cloud of witnesses…we are surrounded by…! Not that they are sitting in heaven on the edge of clouds, watching our every move. They are not – and that is comforting to me, especially when I mess up! I don’t want my mother watching me when I blow it, and sin against God and/or man! But they are “…a great cloud of witnesses…” in that they have gone on before, and have shown us examples of how children of the Father should be living!

In light of this:

  • …let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily en-snares us….” And, wow! the things of this world can sure weigh us down as we try to live out the Christian life.
     I was called to give morning devotions to the students 
         in a small Christian school.  I told them two students 
         would have a short race (about 25 feet, since it was 
         indoors).  I chose a tall athletic-looking eighth grad-
         er as one contestant.  The other was a fifth grader, 
         much shorter and quite un-athletic. I then asked the 
         other students whom they thought would win.  “The big 
         guy!was the consensus!  So I began the “Ready, Set, 
         Go” only to stop at “Set.”  Then I went to an outside 
         door, opened it, and brought in a full-size cement 
         block!  After handing it to the eighth grader, I asked 
         again whom the other students thought would now win. 
         The consensus sure did change...as did the outcome of 
         the race!  The fifth grader handily won! 

         Of course the point was that which is pointed out in 
         Hebrews 12:1, “...let us lay aside every weight, and 
         the sin which so easily ensnares us....Then...let 
         us run...!

✞   What is the best way to...lay aside every weight, and the 
    sin which so easily ensnares us...?  We often can’t (or in 
    refusing to, won’t) see sin in our lives!  So, turning to 
    Psalm 139:23 and 24, pray these verses sincerely to God:

         Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and 
         know my anxious thoughts; and see if there is any 
         wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlast-
         ing.

    As it says in Proverbs 28:13, “He who covers his sins shall 
    not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will 
    have mercy.

Then you are ready to run the Christian race!

  • …and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us….This is important, because it is not a hundred meter dash. It is more like a marathon, which is 26.2 miles. You have to pace yourself! And what is the best way to pace yourself? I vote for Isaiah 40:28 through 31:
         Have you not known? Have you not heard? The ever-
         lasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of 
         the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His under-  
         standing is unsearchable. He gives power to the 
         weak, and to those who have no might He increases 
         strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, 
         and the young men shall utterly fall,  But those 
         who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; 
         They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they 
         shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and 
         not faint.

Let the Lord God set the pace for your Christian life!

  • There is a thirdLet Ushere in verse 2, but it is implied: “…let us…[be] looking unto Jesus….
     ✞   He is…the author and finisher of our faith….” Or, 
         as He said of Himself in Revelation 1:17, “I am the 
         First and the Last…of everything, including our 
         faith!
     As Jesus said in John 15:5, “...for without 
              Me you can do nothing...of importance to 
              God! 

But the flip side is what Paul wrote in Phi-
              lippians 4:13:  “I can do all things through 
              Christ who strengthens me.✞   Keep your eyes on Him throughout the race!

One more thing to think about from Hebrews 12:2: Jesus…endured the cross, despising the shame…[because of] the joy that was set before Him….” What was that joy that was set before Him? It was you and me, reconciled to God by His sacrifice, and successfully running the race (living out) the Christian life before us!

So in Him, focus, run, and win!

Serving Up Hebrew ‘Let Us’ – IV Hebrews 10:21-25

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

In Hebrews 10:21 through 25, there are three more helpings being served up of HebrewLet Us!

     ...having a High Priest over the house of God, let 
     us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of 
     faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil con-
     science and our bodies washed with pure water.  Let 
     us hold fast the confession of our hope without wa-
     vering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us 
     consider one another in order to stir up love and 
     good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves 
     together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one 
     another, and so much the more as you see the Day ap-   
     proaching.

The first two servings of ‘Let Us’ in verses 22 and 23 are pretty much a reiteration of what we studied in Serving Up HebrewLet Us– II from Hebrews 4:14 through 16:

  • Verse 14 – “…let us hold fast our confession.” And we discussed just what confession we were to hold fast.
  • Verse 16 – “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace…because Jesus has made the way for us!

Now, in chapter 10, there is an expansion of the first Let Us, and a reminder in the second!

  • Hebrews 10:21, 22 – “…having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
     ✞   Yes, we have a High Priest over the house of God!  
         Jesus Christ has gone into the Holy of Holies, not 
         the earthly model, but the original made by God 
         Himself in heaven! (See Hebrews 8:1-5). 

     ✞   Jesus tore...the veil, that is, His flesh...” 
         (Hebrews 10:20), making the way for us to “...
         come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may 
         obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of 
         need.” (Hebrews 4:16 – see Serving Up Hebrew Let Us– II). 

     As the high priest of the Old Testament had to 
         be cleansed by sacrifice before he could enter 
         the Holy of holies on the Day of Atonement (see 
         Leviticus 16:11-14), so are we now cleansed even 
         more thoroughly by the blood of the Lord shed 
         for us!  As it says in our featured Scripture:

Hebrews 10:22 – “...having our hearts sprin-
              kled from an evil conscience and our bodies 
              washed with pure water.We are so clean 
              by the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God that 
              the Father sees us as if we have no sin at 
              all! (See Isaiah 1:18; Ephesians 5:25-27; 
              Hebrews 10:17).

Hebrews 10:21 – In Christ, we can then enter 
              into God’s presence ...with a true heart in 
              full assurance of faith....

So, …let us draw near…!

  • Hebrews 10:23 – The secondLet Usis as reminder of what has already been said in Hebrews 4:14! (See above). Here is verse 23: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” Notice, two more things are here added to the statement of Hebrews 4:14 concerning holding …fast our confession…:
     Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without 
         wavering.......the confession of our hope....”  Paul says 
              in I Timothy 1:1, “...the Lord Jesus Christ, 
              our hope....What is hope?  It is much akin 
              to faith!  But faith adds to hope!  For it says 
              in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance 
              of things hoped for, the evidence of things 
              not seen.Hope can be kind of vague.  Faith 
              in what you hope for makes it real and solid!

              For instance, our view of heaven from our per-
              spective upon this earth can be rather hazy.  
              But faith in what the Word of God says about 
              it makes it very real!  I can hope I go to 
              heaven someday, but by faith in the promises 
              of God, I know I will be there!  For,...ab-
              sent from the body [is] to be present with 
              the Lord.” (II Corinthians 5:8).

     ...without wavering....”  How can we be with-
              out wavering in the confession of our hope?  
              By building up our faith!  And how do we do 
              that?  The answer is in Romans 10:17:  “So 
              then faith comes...by the word of God.Get 
              in your Bible – often, regularly, and intense-
              ly!  Your faith will be built up, and you will 
              not be wavering in your confession of hope!
  • Hebrews 10:24, 25 – The thirdLet Us’ of chapter 10 adds a horizontal dimension to our Christian walk!
         And let us consider one another in order to stir up 
         love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of 
         ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but 
         exhorting one another, and so much the more as you 
         see the Day approaching.

    There are a number of Scriptures that remind us that 
         we are not in this Christian life by ourselves! Here 
         are four:

         Romans 12:4, 5 – “...as we have many members 
              in one body...so we, being many, are one body 
              in Christ, and individually members of one 
              another....I Corinthians 10:17 – “...we, being many, are
              ...one body....I Corinthians 12:12 – “...as the body is one 
              and has many members, but all the members of 
              that one body, being many are one body, so 
              also is Christ.Ephesians 4:25 – “...for we are members of one 
              another.According to Ephesians 4:15, we, together, are to ...grow up in all things unto Him who is the head 
         — Christ....”  So...

     ...let us consider one another....”  We are 
              not to pry unnecessarily into another Chris-
              tian’s affairs, but we are to keep an eye on 
              one another concerning the living out of our 
              profession of faith!

     I have missed you in church for the last 
                  two weeks.  Is everything ok?How is your Bible reading coming along?Is there anything I can pray about with 
                  you?

You get the idea!

...let us...stir up love and good works....That can be quite a testimony in this sin dark-
              ened world! (See John 34, 35).  And that’s the 
              goal of keeping a helpful eye on one another!

     ...let us...not [be] forsaking the assembling 
              of ourselves together....Gathering together 
              for worship, instruction, fellowship, mission, 
              etc. is important!  That’s the purpose of the 
              Church, and it cost the Lord His life’s blood 
              to build the Church!

     ...let us...[be] exhorting one another....” 
              “C’mon!  Let’s go!  Let’s do it together!” 
              (See Paul’s example of exhor-tation in Colos-
              sians 1:10).

     Finally, in light of the Lord Jesus’ return, which is
         approaching nearer and nearer with each passing day, 
         we are to continue to do these four things (stared ★ 
         above) “...and so much the more as you see the Day 
         approaching.

Blessed is that servant whom his Master will find so doing when He comes.” (Luke 12:43).

Serving Up Hebrew ‘Let Us’ – III Hebrews 6:1-3

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

The next serving of HebrewLet us’ is found in Hebrews 6. Here are the first three verses:

     Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary 
     principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not 
     laying again the foundation of repentance from dead 
     works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of 
     baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of 
     the dead, and of eternal judgment.  And this we will 
     do if God permits.

…let us go on to perfection….Does this sound like we can reach sinless perfection this side of heaven, as some churches teach? No! For we are told in I John 1:8 (written to believers), “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” However, when we become a Christian we receive a new nature (see II Corinthians 5:17), “…born…of God…born again…” (John 1:12, 13; 3:3). And this new nature cannot sin! (See I John 3:9; 5:18). But, until we get to heaven, we still have our old sinful nature, and that nature can do nothing but sin, nothing but be in rebellion to God! The idea is to learn to let the new godly nature domin-ate, which can be quite a battle! Paul tells us in Galatians 5:17 (Easy-to-Read Version):

     The sinful self wants what is against the Spirit, and 
     the Spirit wants what is against the sinful self. They 
     are always fighting against each other, so that you 
     don't do what you really want to do.  

Paul describes his own battle of the two natures in Romans 7:7 through 25. But as the apostle found through much struggle, he shouts out in I Corinthians 15:57, But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

This is what the writer of Hebrews means when he writes, “…let us go on to perfection….” The Greek word is τελειότης (pronounced tel-i-ot’-ace) and meaning, “…(the state) [of] completeness (mentally or morally).” Strong’s Greek Dictionary. So, we are to go on to how God wants us to be – complete in Christ! When do we arrive in such total completeness? I John 3:2 has the answer:

     Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet 
     been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He 
     [Jesus] is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall 
     see Him as He is. 

When will He be revealed? When He comes again!

  • Acts 1:10, 11 – When Jesus had ascended into heaven, two angels appeared and told the disciples:
         Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into 
         heaven?  This same Jesus, who was taken up from 
         you into heaven, will so come in like manner as 
         you have seen Him go into heaven.
  • Zechariah 14:4 – “And in that day His feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives…,the very place from which He ascended into heaven!
  • Revelation 1:7 – “Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him….” (See Revelation 19:11-16 for a description of His glorious coming).

What will Jesus be like when He returns to earth? We don’t know exactly, because it is as it says in I John 3:2 above, “…it has not yet been revealed what we shall be….” But some things we do know:

  • In His resurrection body, Jesus was perfect, no longer subject to…
     ✞   ...the horrible beatings He took!

We are told in Isaiah 52:14 (Easy-to-Read Version),
              “It is true that many were shocked when they saw 
              him. He was beaten so badly that he no longer 
              looked like a man.But when He appeared to His disciples in the upper 
              room after His resurrection, He looked whole and 
              completely well – so much so they thought Him to 
              be a ghost! (See Luke 24:37).  However, He still 
              carried the scars of the crucifixion nails and 
              spearing (see John 20:27).

     ✞   ...death!Knowing that Christ, having been raised from
         the dead, dies no more.  Death no longer has dominion 
         over Him.” (Romans 6:9).

     ✞   ...the limitations of earthly physical life!

         ★   Jesus could appear (see Luke 24:36; John 20:19) 
              and disappear (see Luke 24:31) at will!

         ★   Gravity seems to have lost its hold on Him! (See 
              Luke 24:51; Acts 1:9).
  • In His glorified body, Jesus’ appearance was almost beyond description! (See Revelation 1:12-16).
  • He was sinless in His earthly human life (see I Peter 2:22), and certainly He will remain sinless in His eternal state!

And…we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” (I John 3:2).

In the meantime, God intends for us to grow more and more to be like Jesus Christ!

  • Matthew 10:25 – “It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master.
  • Romans 8:29 – “Whom He [God the Father] foreknew, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son….
  • II Corinthians 3:18 – “But we all…beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into that same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
  • Ephesians 4:14, 15 – “…that we….speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the Head — Christ….

This is the perfection, the completeness toward which we are to move! But, like the believers to whom the letter of Hebrews was written, too many of today’s Christians remain babes in Christ, still having to be bottle fed (see Hebrews 5:11-14), and not desiring to grow up into Him!

Now I will draw attention to something that has always baffled and bothered me. And it is mentioned in our featured Scripture of Hebrews 6:1 through 3. There are basic doctrines which we are supposed to have mastered early on in our Christian experience:

     ...let us...not lay...again the foundation of repentance 
     from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine 
     of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of 
     the dead, and of eternal judgment. 

There are six foundational doctrines mentioned:

  • …repentance from dead works….” Ephesians 2:8 through 10:
     For by grace you have been saved through faith, and 
     that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not 
     of works, lest anyone should boast.  For we are His 
     workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, 
     which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in 
     them. (see also II Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5).
  • …faith toward God….” John 6:29: “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” (see also Acts 16:30, 31; Romans 4:5; Galatians 2:16; Hebrews 11:1, 6;).

It is the next two which baffle and bother me!

  • …the doctrine of baptisms….” I know Jesus told His followers in Matthew 28:19 to “Go…and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit….But in Hebrews 6:2 it says we should have mastered…the doctrine of baptisms…,PLURAL!! How many baptisms are there? There is water baptism, the baptism of fire, the baptism of the Holy Spirit…. Are there more? Christians have been arguing about this basicdoctrine for centuries! I am still trying to fully discern this elementary principle…of Christ!
  • ….laying on of hands….” – I understand that the laying on of hands was practiced in Bible times for…
     ...ordination into an office of service (see Numbers 
         8:9-11; Deuteronomy 34:9; Acts 13:3; I Timothy 4:14).

     ...imparting Spiritual gifts (see I Timothy 4:14; 
         II Timothy 1:6).

     ...blessing (see Matthew 19:13-15).

     ...healing (see Mark 5:23; 6:5; 16:18; Luke 13:13; 
         Acts 9:17; 28:8; James 5:14).

     ...impartation of the Holy Spirit (see Acts 8:17; 
         9:17; 19:6).

While some churches and denominations practice laying on of hands for various occasions such as ordination, why isn’t it more widely practiced today for other reasons? For instance, many mainline churches do not practice anointing with oil for healing, as we are instructed to do in James 5:14 through 16.

  • …resurrection of the dead….How many resurrections are there? From my perspective (pre-tribulation rapture, pre-millennial return of Christ), I count four major resurrections:
     ✞   The resurrection of Jesus Christ – the basis for 
         all other resurrections! (See I Corinthians 15:20).

     ✞   The resurrection of believers at the Rapture! (See 
         I Thessalonians 4:14-17).

     ✞   The resurrection of unbelievers to face judgment at 
         the Great White Throne! (See Revelation 20:10-15).

     There seems to be a fourth resurrection at the end 
         of the Tribulation of those who died for their faith 
         during that terrible time of the antichrist’s perse-
         cution (see Revelation 6:9-11).  It may be that Old 
         Testament saints are raised from the dead at this 
         time.

There are also what could be called ‘minor resurrections’ where Elijah, Elisha, Jesus, Peter, and Paul raised individuals from the dead. There is also the puzzling Scripture of Matthew 27:52 and 53 when at the death of the Lord on the cross, “…and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints…were raised; and coming out of the graves after the resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.

  • …eternal judgment….” (See Mark 9:43-48; Luke 13:28; Revelation 14:9-11; 20:10-15).

I believe all of us need to not only…go on to perfection…,but we must also work on mastering the basics! So, Let Us…!

Serving Up Hebrew ‘Let Us’ – II Hebrews 4:14-16

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

Here are two more servings of HebrewLet Us’, from Hebrews chapter 4:14-16

     Seeing that 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 was in 
     all points tempted as we are yet without sin.  Let us 
     therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we 
     may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. 

The first is in verse 14 – “…let us hold fast our confession.” What is our confession of which we are to hold fast ?

  • The author of Hebrews has spent the first four chapters of the book showing the superiority of Jesus! The key word in this section is ‘better’.
     ✞   Jesus is a better expression of the mind of God 
         than are the Old Testament prophets!God, who 
         at various times and in different ways spoke in 
         times past to the fathers by the prophets, has 
         in these last days spoken to us by His Son...” 
         (Hebrews 1:1, 2).  

        Matthew 1:23, quoting Isaiah 7:14 tells 
              us, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, 
              and bear a son, and they shall call His 
              name Immanuel, which is translated, ‘God 
              with us.’In John 1:1 and 14 we are told, “In the 
              beginning was the Word, and the Word was 
              with God, and the Word was God....And the 
              Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.In John 14, Jesus is preparing His disciples 
              for His departure from them and back to hea-
              ven.  In verses 7 through 9 we find this 
              interaction:

                 Jesus said...“If you had known Me, you 
                 would have known My Father also; and 
                 from now on you know Him and have seen 
                 Him.”  Philip said to Him, “Lord, show 
                 us the Father, and it is sufficient for 
                 us.”  Jesus said to him, “Have I been 
                 with you so long, and yet you have not 
                 known Me, Philip?  He who has seen Me 
                 has seen the Father....”

        Colossians 1:15 – “He is the image of the 
              invisible God....According to Hebrews 1:3, He is...the 
              brightness of His [the Father’s] glory 
              and the express image of His person....Hebrews 1:8, 9 – The Father ...to the Son 
             says; “Your throne, O God, is forever and 
             ever....

You can’t get a better expression of God than God Himself!

      ✞   Jesus is ...so much better than the angels, 
          as He has by inheritance obtained a more ex-
          cellent name than they.” (Hebrews 1:4).   

          ★   Angels, while very powerful (see II Kings 
               19:35), are but...ministering spirits, 
               sent forth to minister for those who will 
               inherit salvation....” (Hebrews 1:14).

          ★   Jesus created the angels!  As it says in 
               Colossians 1:16 and 17: 

                  For by Him all things were created 
                  that are in heaven, and that are on 
                  earth, visible and invisible, whether 
                  thrones or dominions or principalities 
                  or powers.  All things were created 
                  through Him and for Him.  And He is 
                  before all things, and in Him all 
                  things consist. (see also Ephesians 
                  3:9; Revelation 4:11).   

      ✞   Jesus is better in His humanity than any other 
          human being!

          ★   Every other human being is tainted with sin! 
               (See Romans 5:12; I Corinthians 15:22).

          ★   For only He had no sin to mar His being! 
               (See II Corinthians 5:21; I Peter 2:22; 
               I John 3:5).

          ★   Only He could be the sinless sacrifice!  
               He isThe Lamb of God ...slain from the 
               foundation of the world...who takes away 
               the sin of the world.” (John 1:29; Reve-
               lation 13:8).

      Hebrews 2:14, 15 – “Inasmuch then as the 
               children have partaken of flesh and blood, 
               He Himself likewise shared in the same, 
               that through death He might destroy him 
               who had the power of death, that is, the 
               devil, and release those who through fear 
               of death were all their lifetime subject 
               to bondage.    ✞   Jesus is better than Moses in the work of redemp-
          tion!

      As pointed out in Hebrews 3:2, both were 
               faithful to God in their respective min-
               istries!  ...Moses was indeed faithful 
               in all the house [Israel] as a servant...
               but  Christ as a Son over His own house, 
               whose house [the Church, His body] we are
               ...” (Hebrews 3:5, 6).

          ★   Moses led the children of Israel out of 
               slavery in Egypt! (See Exodus 3:9, 10).

          ★   Jesus Christ leads people out of slavery 
               to sin and into the freedom of eternal 
               life! (See John 8:34-36; 10:10).

Since the Lord Jesus Christ is better than all that God had revealed before; since He is the best; and having initially put our faith in Him as our Savior – …let us hold fast our confession… of our faith in Him! Do not return to the old and inferior ways in which you used to live…the ways of the failed Old Testament religion in which Jewish Christian tried to obey (see Romans 3:20; Hebrews 7:19); and the ways of the world out from which the Gentile believer came (see Romans 6:19-22).

  • The second serving of Hebrew Let Us’ is in verse 16, and it is for the believer who is holding fast his or her confession! – “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace….
     ✞   ...for two reasons (according to the second half of 
          verse 16):  

     Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of 
              grace, that we may obtain mercy....Mercy is 
              generally defined as not giving us what we de-
              serve!  What do we deserve?  God’s condemnation, 
              under which we abide if we only have the old 
              sinful nature (see John 3:36).  As Paul wrote 
              to the Ephesian Gentiles in Ephesians 2:12, 
              “...you were without Christ, being aliens from 
              the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from 
              the covenants of promise, having no hope and 
              without God in the world.Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of 
              grace, that we may...find grace to help in time 
              of need.Mercy can be described as giving us 
              what we do not deserve!  As Jesus said in John 
              10:10, “I have come that they may have life, 
              and that they may have it more abundantly.The first mention of life would mean eternal 
              life!  Abundant life must refer to life here 
              and now, for obviously, eternal life in heaven 
              with the Lord would be abundant!  To what abun-  
              dance then is the author of Hebrews referring?  
              It is the fruit of the Spirit abundantly mani-
              fested in our lives –...love, joy, peace, 
              patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 
              gentle-ness, self-control ” (Galatians 5:22, 
              23 – English Standard Version).

     ✞   Why are we as believers told to...come boldly before 
          the throne of grace...?

         ★   Because Jesus has made the way!  He is the eternal 
              High Priest who entered the Holy of Holies through 
              the ripped veil (See Hebrews 10:19-22), and we can 
              follow Him there!

         ★   Because He, according to Hebrews 4:15, is the One ...who can... sympathize with our weaknesses...
              [for He] was in all points tempted [tested, tried] 
              as we are, yet without sin.Jesus has been there 
              and done that, and (as they say) bought the tee 
              shirt!  Actually, He purchased the whole wardrobe 
              of which He now offers us His own robe of right-
              eousness to wear! (See Isaiah 61:10; Zechariah 
              3:1-5).

         ★   Jesus, being God, is powerful enough to give us 
              everything we...need according to His riches 
              in glory...” (Philippians 4:19).

So come boldly before the throne of grace! Eat heartily of HebrewLet Usin these two servings from Hebrews chapter 4!

Serving Up Hebrew ‘Let Us’ – I Hebrews 4:1, 2, 11

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

Catchy title, huh? It might refer to a Jewish side salad or a chef salad if ‘Let Us’ was spelled ‘lettuce! But it is definitely ‘Let us! I got this idea from Bill Gibson, a retired United Methodist pastor and dear friend who is often called to preach in churches without their own regular pastor. Bill has been doing a series from the book of Hebrews, based on the words “Let us….” which appear thirteen times in the New King James Version. My wife Hope and I got to hear just one of those messages. And it was so interesting that I decided to do this series on Serving Up Hebrew ‘Let Us’!

Twice in Hebrews chapter 4, verses 1 and 11 we find the words “Let us….” (I also include verse 2):

     Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, 
     let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of 
     it.  For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well 
     as to them, but the word which they heard did not profit 
     them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it 
     ....Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest 
     anyone fall short after the same example of disobedience.

The writer of Hebrews (we can’t say for sure who wrote the book) is emphasizing the facts of Jesus Christ mixed with a healthy dose of faith! He points back to the Israelites who were destined to wandering forty years in the Sinai desert, “…because of unbelief.” (Hebrews 3:19). It happened at Kadesh Barnea (see Numbers chapters 13 and 14).

  • God had planned a marvelous rest for His Old Testament people!
     ✞   Rest from the rigors of slavery in Canaan! (See 
          Exodus 6:6).

     ✞   Rest in their own homeland, described as “...a 
         land flowing with milk and honey...” (Exodus 3:8 
         – see Deuteronomy 8:7-9).

     ✞   Eternal rest with the Lord!  Many conservative scho-
         lars believe that the first book of the Bible to be 
         written is Job.  If this is true, then Job reflects 
         a very early view of eternal life!  This is how Job 
         describes it in Job 19:25 through 27 (International 
         Standard Version):

             As for me, I know that my Vindicator is 
             alive.....Even after my skin has been 
             destroyed, clothed in my flesh I will see 
             God, whom I will see for myself. My own 
             eyes will look at Him—there won't be any 
             one else for me!—He is the culmination of 
             my innermost desire. 
  • Twelve spies were sent into Canaan to reconnoiter the land God had promised to be Israel’s homeland. Ten of the twelve brought back a negative report:
        The land through which we have gone as spies is a land 
        that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom 
        we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the 
        giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); 
        and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so 
        we were in their sight. (Numbers 13:32, 33).

And all Israel succumbed to unbelief in God’s good promises, and they rebelled! (See Numbers 14:1-4). As quoted above in Hebrews 2:2, “…but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.” So God told them, “They shall not enter My rest.” (Hebrews 4:3, 5 – see also Psalm 95:11). Faith in God and His Word is the key – whether it is the ancient Israelites about to enter therestof the Promised Land or modern day people seeking the restof eternal life in the Lord Jesus Christ!

Let’s look a bit closer at the two “Let us…” in our featured Scripture:

  • Hebrews 4:1 – “Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.In Jesus there are two degrees of rest:
     ✞   The complete and perfect heavenly rest!  

Luke 16:25 – “...now...Lazarus [the crippled 
              beggar]...is comforted...in Abraham’s bosom 
              [paradise]....Revelation 14:13 – “Blessed are the dead who 
              die in the Lord...that they may rest from 
              their labors....Revelation 21:4 – “And God will wipe away 
              every tear from their eyes; there shall be 
              no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and 
              there shall be no more pain, for the former 
              things have passed away.✞   The rest Jesus makes available in this life to those...who labor and are heavy laden...” when we “Take 
         [His]...yoke upon [us]...and learn from [Him]...” 
         (Matthew 11:29).

     ✞   The rest from the bondage on sin! As Jesus said in 
         John 8:34 and 36, “Most assuredly, I say to you, 
         whoever commits sin is a slave of sin….Therefore if 
         the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

All three degrees of rest are attained by faith in the promises of the Lord Jesus Christ!

  • Hebrews 4:11 – “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall short after the same example of disobedience.
     ✞   We might think concerning disobedience as overtly 
         disobeying what God directs us to do!

     ✞   But disobedience is just as much not having faith 
         in what the Lord says!

Now here is a question for you to ponder: How often do you, Christian, Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…? (Colossians 3:16).

  • How often do you read your Bible? (See Isaiah 34:16).
  • How often do you study God’s Word? (See II Timothy 2:15).
  • How often do you commit to memory portions of Scripture that stand out to you? (See Psalm 119:9-11).

How else are we going to know what the Lord says, so we can put our faith in His Word?

God forbid that we, as did the ancient Israelites, come up short in our faith so that we will not enter God’s rest !

Remember To Remember! – III Deuteronomy 24:18

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

Deuteronomy 24:18 is the fourth of five times in this last book of the Pentateuch where Moses admonishes the Israelites to “…remember that you were a slave in Egypt….” Here is the whole verse: “But you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you from there; therefore I command you to do this thing.” What thing was Moses commanding them to do? In the verses preceding our featured Scripture, there are admonitions given of how to interact with fellow Hebrews concerning…

• …divorce and remarriage (verses 1-4).

• …war and a newly married man (verse 5).

• …what cannot be taken as debt collateral, and how it should be done (verses 6, 10-13,17).

• …kidnapping and its penalty (verse 7).

• …what to do in cases of leprosy (verses 8, 9).

• …treatment of a hired servant and his pay (verses 14, 15).

• …capital punishment applied only to the perpetrator, and not to near relatives (verse 16).

• …“You shall not pervert justice due the stranger or the fatherless…” (verse 17).

And the basis of all this godly conduct? Here is verse 18 from the Easy-To-Read Version: Remember, you were poor slaves in Egypt. And the LORD your God took you from that place and set you free. That is why I tell you to do these things for the poor.” As they had been harshly treated as slaves in Egypt, the Israelites were to remember their slavery and never treat others as they had themselves experienced!

How does it relate to us as Christians? As described in Remember To Remember – I and II:

  • Egypt represents the world, all the sinful attractions of the world, and our too-often ungodly choices and actions as a result of still being in the world!
  • We are then warned never to return to embrace the things of Egypt/the world!
     ➔   Egypt (see Exodus 13:17; 14:13; Deuteronomy 17:14-16).

     ➔   the world (see Colossians 2:20-23; Hebrews 6:4-6; 
          I John 2:15-17).

…BUT…

  • …we are told never to forget from where we were redeemed! For we also were in slavery…to sin and Satan! (See John 8:34-36; Romans 6:16-23).

There is a balance we must maintain in this remembering! You see, according to Jeremiah 31:31 through 34, God promised a new covenant He will make with His people:

     I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their 
     hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My 
     people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and 
     every man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they 
     all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest 
     of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, 
     and their sin I will remember no more.

So important is this new covenant, which was made available in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on Calvary’s cross, that it is quoted twice in Hebrews, 8:8 through 12, and 10:16 and 17. Because God does not waste space in His Word, to repeat something three times must mean it is vitally important! I wrote about this early on in Gems For Living (see Forgiven And Free – V, April 12, 2013; and The Great Exchange, March 27, 2013). Briefly…

  • Jesus so totally paid for our sins that when we accept Him as our Savior, we are declared clean! Our sins are gone, never to be brought up before us by God again!
  • Instead of being clothed with the filthy rags of our sins (see Isaiah 64:6; Zechariah 3:3), we as Christians now wear the robe of the very righteousness of Christ Himself! (See Isaiah 61:10; Zechariah 3:4, 5; II Corinthians 5:21).

The balance we must maintain, mentioned above, is that while we are told to remember our ‘Egypt ’ from which we were redeemed, we are not to dwell on our past sinfulness! For God has forever forgotten our past sins and will never again bring them up to accuse us!

Why are we called to remember our past of sinful slavery when God chooses to forget? We, as Christians, still have that sinful nature as well as our new Christ-like nature (see Romans 8:5-11; II Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 5:16, 17). If we do not put down the old nature and live in the new, we will enslave ourselves again to sin, and treat our fellow human beings in that same shameful way!

This is what Moses is emphasizing in the verses preceding our featured Scripture. Remember to Remember your past – not so you will continually beat yourself up with your past sinful failings, but to recall from where you have come, realizing that others need your testimony and example also…

  • …to help them escape enslavement to the world, sin, and the devil!
  • …to encourage them in living out their Christian lives, treating others as they would want to be treated! It is called ‘The Golden Rule’ (see Matthew 7:12).

Remember To Remember! – II Deuteronomy 15:15

The world is sinking in sin!

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

Our featured Scripture, Deuteronomy 15:15, is one of at least 12 in this book where Moses told the Israelites to remember events in their rescue from Egypt and 40 year journey in the Sinai wilderness: “You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you….

In the last Gem, we were in the process of learning the meaning of Egypt in the Bible. When this ancient nation of pharoahs and pyramids is…

  • …considered in a positive light, it is a land of refuge, education, prosperity, and pow!
  • …negatively considered, Egypt stands for slavery, death, and the pagan godless world!

Previously we looked at two examples, Abraham and Lot. Let’s continue:

  • Joseph was sold into slavery, first to the Ismaelites (see Genesis 37:28), and by them to “…Potiphar, and officer of Pharoah and captain of the guard…in Egypt….” (Genesis 37:36). He was wrongly incriminated in a false claim of attempted rape by Potipher’s wife, and thrown into prison! (See Genesis 39:6-20). Although Joseph finally rose to greatness as prime minister of Egypt, his slavery and mistreatment were a forewarning of what would happen to the Hebrews in that kingdom!
  • Yes, the descendants of Jacob prospered in Egypt for a few generations. But,…there arose as new king over Egypt who did not know Joseph…” (Exodus 1:8), or all the good he had done for that country! So the Egyptians enslaved and oppressed Jehovah’s chosen people!
     ✡    The world is diametrically opposed to God and His 
          children! (See John 15:18, 19; 17:14-16; James 4:4; 
          I John 2:15-17).

     In II Corinthians 4:4, Satan is called “...the god 
         of this age (or world in the KJV)....” In Luke 4 
         is recorded the three temptations the devil placed 
         before Jesus. The third temptation is in verses 5 
         through 7:

             Then the devil, taking Him up on a high moun-
             tain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world 
             in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, 
             “All this authority I will give You, and their 
             glory; for this has been delivered to me, and 
             I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if 
             You will worship before me, all will be Yours.”

Notice: “…all the kingdoms of this world…and their glory…are under
Satan’s control!
Or how else could he have realistically offered it? So
Egypt is also under the evil one’s control, as is the whole world!
As the
apostle John wrote in I John 5:19, “We know that…the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.

It is written in Deuteronomy 17:16, “You shall 
         not return...to Egypt...again.So we Christians 
         are not to go back and embrace the world! (See 
         I John 2:15-17). We are to be in the world, tes-
         tifying of Christ’s sacrifice, but not of it! 
         (See John 17:14-18).
     In Mark 8:34, Jesus told His followers, “Whoever 
         desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, 
         and take up his cross, and follow Me.         ➪   The purpose of the cross is for crucifixion!  
              The only reason why we are to take up our 
              cross, and follow Jesus, is to die to self 
              so we can live for God!  

     As Paul testified in Galatians 5:14, “But God 
              forbid that I should glory except in the cross 
              of our Lord Jesus, by whom the world has been 
              crucified to me, and I unto the world.
  • I mentioned above Deuteronomy 17:16. In the context of that verse, Moses is giving the LORD’s instructions to the Israelites knowing that in the future they will desire a king to rule them (see I Samuel 8:4, 5).
         When you come to the land which the Lord your God is 
         giving you...and say, “I will set a king over me like 
         all the nations that are around me,” you shall surely 
         set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses.
         ...But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor 
         cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, 
         for the Lord has said to you, “You shall not return 
         that way again.” (Deuteronomy 17:14-16).

Also in verse 17, God further states, “Neither shall he [the king] multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.Yet Solomon, called the wisest man ever (see I Kings 4:29-34), did all those things – horses from Egypt (see I Kings 10:28, 29), foreign wives (see I Kings 11:1-8), and great quantities of silver and gold! (See I Kings 10:14, 27; II Chronicles 9:22). The combinations of all these things, contrary to God’s warning in Deuteronomy 17 (above), derailed Solomon’s spiritual life! And returning to Egypt for horses and chariots certainly played a part his downfall!

So will returning to the embrace of the world bring down the Christian! (See James 4:4).

Remember To Remember! – I Deuteronomy 5:15

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

David Akinwale is a medical student and a lifestyle blogger. He has some good stuff on his website, David Says…. But I take issue with the opening statement of his February 12th, 2016 blog:

     People say it is very important to keep in mind things 
     you’ve done in the past so that you can have an evidence 
     for what your life turns out to be. I say history is 
     nothing but history. What you have done in the past has 
     absolutely no role to play in your future. We have all 
     done things or been through situations that we are not 
     so proud of or happy with, which is part of life.   

Yes, we can focus too much on our mistakes of the past! But, “What you have done in the past has absolutely no role to play in your future…”?! This is not my understanding of what God has written in the Deuteronomy 5:15:

     And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, 
     and the Lord your God brought you out from there by a 
     mighty hand and by an outstretched arm.... 

God told the Israelites they must remember their past and His deliverance from Egypt! But first, let’s consider what Egypt represents in Scripture.

  • In a positive light, Egypt represents…
     ✡   ...refuge – Abraham (then called Abram) and Jacob 
         at different times both went down to Egypt with all 
         their family and belongings.  Both found refuge 
         from famine (see Genesis 12:10; 45:4-11).  Joseph, 
         with Mary and Jesus, also fled to Egypt to escape 
         the murderous fury of King Herod the Great! (See 
         Matthew 2:13-16).

     ✡   ...education – And Moses was learned in all the 
         wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words 
         and deeds.” (Acts 7:22).

     ✡   ...prosperity – While the rest of the Middle East 
         was ignorant of the coming seven-year famine...

             ...throughout all the land of Egypt...in the 
             seven plentiful years the ground brought forth 
             abundantly....Joseph gathered very much grain 
             as the sand of the sea, until he stopped count-
             ing, for it was without number. (Genesis 41:45-
             47, 49). 

     ✡   ...power – History and archeology tell us that Egypt 
         was a very powerful nation during much of the Old 
         Testament period!
  • In a negative light, Egypt represents…
     ✡   ...slavery and oppression – The Egyptians enslaved 
         the Hebrew people for generations (see Exodus 1:8-
         14; 5:5-19).

     ✡   ...death –Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Heb-
         rew midwives... ‘When you...see...the Hebrew women 
         on the birthstools, if it is a son...kill him; but 
         if it is a daughter, she shall live.’” (Exodus 1:15,
         16).  But when the midwives didn’t obey Pharoah, new 
         orders were given:  “Every son who is born you shall 
         cast into the [Nile] river, and every daughter you 
         shall save alive.” (Exodus 1:22).

One of the most forceful negative representations of Egypt is that it represents the pagan Godless world!

  • When Abram was in Egypt to escape famine (see above), there is no Scriptural record of him worshiping God the whole time he was there!
     ✡   Twice the patriarch built altars to worship 
         Jehovah before he went to Egypt! (See Genesis 
         12:7 & 8). 

     Upon his return to Canaan, he sought out the 
         second altar he had built,...between Bethel 
         and Ai...And there Abram called on the name of 
         the LORD.” (Genesis 13:3, 4).
  • Lot, Abram’s nephew, had gone with his uncle into Egypt.
     Both men, each being wealthy with flocks and herds, 
         had to go their separate ways because, “...the land 
         was not able to support them...for their possessions 
         were so great that they could not dwell together.” 
        (Genesis 13:6).

     Abram graciously gave Lot first choice of where to 
         dwell (see Genesis 13:9).

             And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain 
             of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere 
             (before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) 
             like the garden of the Lord, like the land of 
             Egypt as you go toward Zoar.  Then Lot chose 
             for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot 
             journeyed east. And they separated from each 
             other. (Genesis 13:10, 11).

What was it that attracted Lot to choose all the plain of Jordan? It was that it reminded him of Egypt! Apparently he was infatuated with Egypt! And where is the vast plain Lot chose for himself? It is the site of the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah that God destroyed! (Genesis 19:27-29). It is now under the Dead Sea, one of the most desolate places on earth!

Lot lost everything: his house, his city, the neighbors, his own sons-in-law (they thought he was joking when he warned them of the coming destruction – see Genesis 19:14), his wife (turned into a pillar of salt as she longingly looked back to Sodom – see Genesis 19:26), his reputation! He ended up getting drunk and impregnating his two daughters who then bore children who each fathered tribes which would be Israel’s perpetual enemies!

Back when tobacco companies were allowed to advertise on television, R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company came up with a catchy jingle to sell Salem menthol cigarettes.

You can take Salem out of the country,
BUT…
You can’t take the country out of Salem!

I am sure dating myself by remembering this 1968 ad. However, it can readily be applied to the experience of Lot!

You can take nephew Lot out of Egypt,
BUT…
You can’t take Egypt out of Lot!

We will continue evaluating Egypt in our next Gem.

What Hath God Wrought? – III Numbers 23:19-23

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

Here again is Balaam’s prophecy from Numbers 23:19-23:

     God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, 
     that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do?  
     Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good.  Behold, 
     I have received a command to bless; He has blessed, and 
     I cannot reverse it.  He has not observed iniquity in 
     Jacob, nor has He seen wickedness in Israel.  The Lord 
     his God is with him, and the shout of a King is among 
     them.  God brings them out of Egypt; He has strength 
     like a wild ox.  For there is no sorcery against Jacob, 
     nor any divination against Israel.  It now must be said 
     of Jacob and of Israel, “What hath God wrought?”

Two chapters before, in Numbers 21:4 through 9, we find the last of the Israelites’ eight sinful rebellions before the prophet spoke these words from the high place of Pisgah (see Numbers 23:14).

     Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the 
     Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul 
     of the people became very discouraged on the way.  And 
     the people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why 
     have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wild-
     erness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul  
     loathes this worthless bread.” (Numbers 21:).
  • No water? Think back! In Numbers 20:2 through 13, God had just provided abundant water from the rock, even though Moses had disobeyed the LORD and had gotten into trouble! (See What Hath God Wrought? – II).
  • No Food? Hadn’t God been providing manna,…bread from heaven…” (Exodus 16:4), “…angel’s food…” (Psalm 78:25) for the last 40 years?
  • But the big sin (if you can classify ‘big’ and ‘little’ sins) is found at the end of verse 6: “…and our soul loathes this worthless bread.You, Israel, loath the LORD’s gracious provision?
     ✡   He didn’t have to rescue you from Egypt! (See Exodus 
         6:5-7).

     ✡   He didn’t have to send you forth with the riches of 
         the Egyptians! (See Exodus 12:35, 36). 

     ✡   He didn’t have to miraculously open a way through 
         the Red Sea, and drown the whole Egyptian army when 
         they tried to follow! (See Exodus 14:22-28).

     ✡   He didn’t have to guide you to the Promised Land of 
         Canaan! (See Exodus 6:8).

     ✡   He didn’t have to lead you personally in a cloud by 
         day and a column of fire by night! (See Deuteronomy
         1:33).

     ✡   He didn’t have to miraculously prevent their clothes 
         and shoes from wearing out for forty years! (See 
         Deuteronomy 29:5).

And God didn’t have to forgive them again and again as they trekked for forty years in the Sinai wilderness! But He did and, even though they felt His wrath and His discipline, they had made it thus far!

What discipline was meted out for their complaining and loathing of God’s gracious provision of manna? “So the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died.” (Numbers 21:6).

  • Numbers 21:7 – “Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, ‘We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you; pray to the LORD that He take away the serpents from us.’ So Moses prayed for the people.
  • Numbers 21:8, 9 – “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.’ …and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

Of course, this bronze serpent on a pole typifies Jesus being lifted up on the cross. As it is written in John 3:14 and 15, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

But back to the main question raised when Balaam uttered his prophesy: He [God] has not observed iniquity in Jacob, nor has He seen wickedness in Israel.How is this possible in light of all the sin and rebellion the Israelites produced? We looked at only eight such events in the last three Gems. There were more!

The answer is the Lord Jesus Christ!

Back on March 27th, 2013 I posted a Gem entitled The Great Exchange, taken from II Corinthians 5:17: “For He [the Father] made Him [the Son] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

  • Jesus, crucified on Calvary’s cross, took our sins upon His holy self, completely paying for every sin I, and you, ever committed! In Zechariah 3:1 through 5, Joshua, the High Priest is pictured as standing before the LORD dressed in filthy clothes. But God commanded in verse 4, “‘Take away the filthy garments from him.’ And to him He said, ‘Behold, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.’
You see, being divested of our filthy garments of 
         our own righteousness (see Isaiah 64:6) is only 
         half of the transaction Jesus made possible by His 
         sacrifice!  For He was made...to be sin for us...”!

The other half of the transaction is, “...that 
         we might become the righteousness of God in Him.Joshua, the High Priest not only had his filthy 
         garments removed, the LORD also told him, ...I 
         will clothe you with rich robes...of God’s own 
         righteousness! 

     This is further pictured in Isaiah 61:10:   

             I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul 
             shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed 
             me with the garments of salvation, He has cov-
             ered me with the robe of righteousness, as a 
             bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and 
             as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.  
  • So in Jesus Christ, by faith in the crucified and risen Lord, we stand before God as perfect and sinless…because we are wearing His own righteousness!

In the Old Testament, it is the same way! Those who believed God’s promises of a coming Savior Messiah were counted as righteous before Jehovah! And their belief was demonstrated in their participation in the blood of the sacrifices which covered their sins until the Christ would forever take them away!

Now I know that not all of the two to three million Israelites who wandered in the Sinai desert were true believers. But Moses was! And his intercession more than once saved the nation! (See for example Exodus 32:11-14; Numbers 11:1-3; 21:1-9).

But the basis of truth in Balaam’s prophesy; that God…has not observed iniquity in Jacob, nor has He seen wickedness in Israel…” (Numbers 23:21), is that the Father was looking at Israel through the lens of the righteousness of His Son!

Are you wearing the robe of righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ? If you are, then the Father…has not observed iniquity…nor has He seen wickedness in…YOU!