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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Derek Prince » Derek Prince - An Eternal Transaction

Derek Prince - An Eternal Transaction

Derek Prince - An Eternal Transaction
TOPICS: Hebrews Bible Study, Eternity

I believe we closed our last session at Hebrews 9:10 which, on your outline, is on Page 9/3. We'll continue now with verses 11–14 and we'll be consistently following the outline all the way through. First of all, I'll translate verses 11–14 from the Greek and my translation will not be elegant but it's designed to give you an idea of what is really being said. Then we will pursue the note outline. But Christ having come as high priest of good things that have happened... But there's an alternative translation, a different word which means "that are to come". I think it's not necessary to go into a lot of that. Either it means Christ has already done it or He came to bring to pass things that had not yet happened when He came.

I don't want to get involved in that because it's not a point of major significance.... through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation order; neither through the blood of goats nor or bulls, but through His own blood, He entered once for all [it's an emphatic word] into the holy place [the Holy of Holies], having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who were defiled, sanctifies to the purity of the flesh [or the physical body], now much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself blameless [or without spot] to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve [or to worship] the living God?

Now we'll go back to the outline for those verses. This is another example of the continual process of contrasting which we find throughout this epistle. At this point the writer sums up five aspects of the superiority of the new order which he has just talked about in the previous verse. We'll just look at them, this is a continuing exercise in analysis. I do believe everyone that really faithfully goes through all this, no matter how many years it may take, at the end you'll have a much more analytical mind than you had when you started. I've been trained in analysis, it was my background. I have to tell you that this is a tough exercise for me. If you find it a little complicated at first, don't despair. You're probably making much more progress than you really know.

My observation is, in this kind of study it's only later you realize how much you've received. It's a process of ingestion and digestion and then you begin to experience the benefits. The five points or aspects of superiority of the new order. First in verse 11: Christ entered the sanctuary in heaven, not the mere copy of it on earth. Second in verse 12: He entered through His own blood, not that of animals. Third, also in verse 12: the redemption He obtained was eternal and not just for one year. This is a point that is continually being brought out. The sacrifices of the old order only availed for one year until the next sacrifice became due. But Christ has now obtained eternal redemption. That means not merely for the rest of time but for eternity as well.

Verse 14, He offered Himself and not just some substitutionary animal through the eternal Holy Spirit, not through a carnal commandment, thus transcending all limitations of time. I want to pause on that for a moment. It's extremely vivid for me because of an experience in my own life. The second time I ever attended a "gospel" service, and I didn't know what a gospel service was at that time, at the end of the message the preacher said anybody who wants this, whatever "it" was he was talking about put up your hand. I'd been to one two days previously where the Holy Spirit had put up my hand for me, much to my embarrassment. I thought to myself, You couldn't expect that to happen twice, so this time, having no clear idea of what "it" was really all about, I put my own hand up. Each time I was the only person that made any response.

Afterwards the preacher, who was a different preacher from two nights previously, came to me and he looked at me, and I looked at him and I think he already realized he had a problem on his hands. He asked me two questions, very sensible questions. The first one was, "Do you believe that you're a sinner"? My background was in philosophy, my specialization was in definitions, so the obvious way for me to answer that question was to go through all the accepted definitions of a sinner, which I did quickly in my mind, and every one of them fitted me exactly! I said, "Yes, I believe I'm a sinner". Then he said, "Do you believe that Christ died for your sins"? I looked at him and I can remember the answer I gave exactly. I said, "To tell you the truth, I can't see what the death of Jesus Christ 19 centuries ago could possibly have to do with the sins I've committed in my lifetime".

And for me that was a very real, logical problem. I think the man was wise; he didn't try to argue with me. I'm sure he prayed for me. The Lord left me to solve that with Him alone. Well... I then experienced the new birth, the new order, the new creation, but without any intellectual understanding of what was happening to me, without any doctrinal basis for what I was doing. I began then to study the Bible to find out what had happened to me. I realized the Bible was the only book that could answer that question. In due course, studying the Bible, I came across this passage in Hebrews 9:14, "through the eternal Spirit". That might not mean much to most of you, but to me it was the perfect answer to the question.

You see, the word eternal doesn't mean just existing for a long time, it means out of time, in a different order of being. I then saw intellectually that the sacrifice of Christ, because it was in the eternal realm, could comprehend the sins of all men of all ages: past, present and future. I knew that it had done so in my experience but it was only when I found that verse that I had a clear intellectual grasp. Probably most of you would never be bothered with that problem. But it is actually a genuine problem. Jesus died 19 centuries ago, what could that have to do with the sins that you've committed? The answer is, He offered Himself through the eternal Spirit. The transaction that took place on the cross transcended all the limits of time and space. It was an eternal transaction.

The Holy Spirit is called "the eternal Spirit". I think that's very illuminating. When we are in the Holy Spirit, in a certain sense, we are set free from the limitations of time. I've discovered, for instance, that something that is said in the Spirit is almost timeless. I remember an occasion, and it doesn't matter which, in which somebody quoted to me something that another Christian had said to him. The person who quoted it to me didn't have any idea of what the other person meant. The moment I heard it, I saw it's true. So, something that is said in the Holy Spirit, in a sense, never dies; it's eternal, it's not subject to the limitations of time. I think you'll find in your experience when you are what John called "in the Spirit on the Lord's day," I think you find that time begins to have a different significance. Scientifically, they tell us, and this really baffles my limited mind, that if you travel at the speed of light, time ceases to operate.

The quicker you travel, the slower time goes. You know that, I'm sure; you're all scientists and physicists and so on! I'm not. For instance, if people could be projected in some space capsule out into space, they could be away three generations, come back and ask, "What's for breakfast"? They wouldn't realize they'd been away more than 24 hours. See? So, the Bible says, and it got there first, time is a mystery. It says it in the book of Revelation. I don't remember the exact chapter, but it says "time shall be no more, this will be the end of the mystery which God has created". I'm not attempting to tell you all about that mystery, I'm just pointing out that where the Bible makes contact with the mystery, philosophically and logically what it says is perfect. That, in a sense, is a miracle. Through the eternal Spirit.

You see, through the eternal Spirit you can sit here and Calvary can become real to you as if it happened five minutes ago. That's the ministry of the Spirit. One of the things I observed was, when I came to know the Lord in this way through the Holy Spirit, as a boy probably 15 years earlier I had been obliged to learn Bible stories at preparatory school. I used to get very good marks, I had a very good memory. They had ceased to have any significance for me, they were not in the forefront of my mind. But the moment that I was in touch with the Holy Spirit, it was as if I had heard them all yesterday. The people who knew me who knew I had not been at church goer or been interested in religion for years were just amazed that suddenly I could quote the Bible to them.

That, again, was the eternal Spirit, the timeless Spirit. We're returning to our outline for the fifth aspect of superiority of the new order which is in verses 13 and 14. "His blood cleanses our conscience from dead words and not just our flesh from ceremonial uncleanness". The cleansing of the conscience is something that reappears in chapter 10. It's one of the requirements for entry into the Holiest which we'll find in due course when we get to chapter 10. We have to have our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience. I don't know how it is with every one of you but if you have experienced the blood of Jesus ministered by the Holy Spirit, you should have no trouble in your conscience. You should know without a doubt that nothing is held against you in the records of heaven, that your past is absolutely clear. It makes a lot of difference.

Let me add that I believe the Holy Spirit is the only agent who can sprinkle the blood of Jesus. I've heard people in Pentecostal circles, there could be other circles, speak about applying the blood. I'm not saying that's wrong, but unless it's by the Holy Spirit it won't happen. The blood is not under human control. It's the Spirit of God alone that can apply the blood and He does not apply it until we've met God's conditions. He's very jealous of the application of the blood. In 1 Peter 1 it says that we were ordained of God to sanctification through obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus. Obedience comes first. The Holy Spirit does not minister the blood to the disobedient. Now we're going to go on with verse 15. Hebrews 9:15. And for this reason He is mediator of a new covenant, so that a death having taken place for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Notice again, the objective that we're working towards all the time is what? Inheritance, that's right. Which is also, what two other words go with it? Rest and perfection. You find if you put these three together, this is the continual thrust of Hebrews. It will not permit us to stop short of our inheritance in which we find our rest and perfection. Because the first covenant could not bring us into our inheritance or into rest or into perfection, therefore Jesus became the mediator of a new covenant. It states in that verse two features of this transaction which are important, so I'm looking again at the outline on Page 9/3, 9:15. Christ thus became mediator of a new covenant with two results.

I've already pointed out earlier that we cannot have access to God without a priest. There is no way of access. We cannot bring Him gifts, or sacrifices without a priest. Also, there is no way that God can enter into a covenant with man without a mediator. There has to be a mediator. The mediator of the first covenant were the angels and Moses because it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. But the mediator of the New Covenant is the Son of God, Jesus Christ who is also the high priest. The two results are these: First of all, He paid the redemptive price for those who had transgressed under the Old Covenant. Second, to those called of God He opened up the promise of an eternal inheritance, including rest and perfection.

Let me make a statement here that I made somewhere and I don't know whether it was in this place and somebody came up, and asked me about it afterwards. I made it casually because I assumed that everybody would be familiar with it, but it seemed that not everybody was. There are basically, and by no means totally, three different kinds of problem of wrongdoing with three different characteristic words. Number one is sin. Sin is defined in Romans 3:23 as coming short of the glory of God. Sin, in a sense, is failure, it's missing the mark, it's not achieving the purpose for which we were created, which is the glory of God. As I said a couple of nights ago, anyone who does not live for the glory of God has no right to live. There is no other justifiable reason for living. Sin is a failure to achieve the purpose for which we were created.

Then there's the word which we have here which is transgressions. Transgression means stepping over a known limit. It's rather like the word trespass. They're used interchangeably. Trespass is stepping out of a permitted area into an unpermitted area knowing you're doing it, knowing where the line is. Where there's no law there's no transgression, but once there's a law, that means not only is there the possibility of sinning but there's also the possibility of transgressing, which is breaking a known law knowing the law exists. None of you here, I'm sure, have even thought of doing such a thing. You see the speed limit that says 35 and you're speedometer says 40. What are you doing? You are transgressing, that's right. We are transgressing. I must admit that it does sometimes happen to me!

The third word is in most translations translated iniquity. It's also translated lawlessness. Iniquity or lawlessness is doing your own thing no matter what. "I don't care what anybody says, I'm going to do it". That's iniquity or lawlessness. You'll find, for instance, Jesus says in Matthew 24:12: "Because iniquity [or lawlessness] shall abound, the love of the majority will grow cold". That, I believe, is a period in which we're living. Abounding iniquity or lawlessness. People could care less, they don't mind what the law says, they don't mind what people think, they're going to do their own thing anyhow. That's iniquity. We're talking here specifically about transgressions because we're talking about people who were under the first covenant, the covenant of the Law. Where there's no law, remember, there's no transgressions. That doesn't mean there's no sin, the two things are not the same.

I would like to go into this a little more fully. To me, it's an extremely important statement that Jesus paid the redemptive price for those who had transgressed under the Old Covenant. I'd like to turn to Romans 3:24–26. As I said last time, the problem when I get into Romans is it's difficult to get out again. Romans 3:24–26. Since we've just been talking about sin we might as well begin with Romans 3:23 which says: ...for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God. Notice, that's the nature of sin. Sin is like an arrow shot at a mark which falls short of it, it doesn't make it. There need not necessarily be any deliberate disobedience or any iniquity or lawlessness. It's just we didn't make it. It's true of the whole human race. Nobody ever made it except Jesus. Seeing we have sinned, God is going to do something about it.

Let me say, the problem God has is not the problem that's attributed to Him in contemporary culture. The problem that contemporary culture seeks to put upon God is, "How can You be so unkind as to punish sinners"? Let me tell you, that isn't God's problem the least bit. A lot of Sunday school teachers and people nowadays are trying to exonerate God from the guilt of punishing sinners. That's a complete misapprehension. God's problem is not how to punish sinners; it's how to avoid punishing sinners. Here is the passage where the solution God has is stated. ...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified [acquitted, counted righteous, my definition which isn't mine originally, justified: just–as–if–I'd never sinned] That's what justification is being justified as a gift [or freely]...

Well, wait a minute. I'm going to read another version. Because the NASB is not good. I'm turning to the NIV. I don't mean the NASB is not good generally, but its translation of that passage is not clear. The NIV takes risks but when they come off, it's very successful. Sometimes they don't come off. What I mean by that is it departs from the exact wording. Here's the NIV. ...for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely [it cannot be earned]. Do you understand? by his grace [and grace is always free] and it can never be earned. through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. In other words, we have the same word "redemption" as in Hebrews 9. ...God presented him [or set him forth] as a sacrifice of atonement.

The word there that's used in Greek is the same word that's used for the mercy seat. That's the Greek word for the mercy seat, the thing that covered the ark and had the cherubs on either end of it. Jesus is, in a certain sense, the mercy seat; He's a place where heaven's justice and heaven's mercy meet. The problem of justifying the unrighteous was resolved. God set Him forth publicly thereby vindicating His own righteousness to the entire universe. The problem that God had to solve was, for many centuries He had witnessed people sinning and not visited them with final judgment. I'm sure the angels were saying for a long while, "How come? How is this"? It seems to me that God didn't let anybody into His secret plan. He didn't let the angels into His plan, He didn't let the devil into His plan; otherwise the devil wouldn't have been the one to bring the plan to fulfillment.

See? Because it was the devil that actually produced the solution. But, when Jesus died on the cross, that vindicated God's righteousness. Jesus paid the penalty for all the sins that God had overlooked for many, many centuries. Let's try and read that again. God presented him [Jesus] as a sacrifice of atonement [or as a mercy seat], through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished. That's the crux of the question, how could God go on century after century leaving sin unpunished? God didn't tell anybody, as far as I know, what He was going to do about it. But He had His plan. His plan was one word, Jesus.

Verse 26: He did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies the man who has faith in Jesus. That's God's problem. How can He be just and justify the sinner? The problem was resolved by the death of Jesus. There was no other way to resolve the problem. We go back now to Hebrews and we come to a very critical and rather difficult passage which is verses 16–17. It could well be we'll take a good part of the rest of this session, and maybe some of the next. First of all, I'll translate those two verses and then we will look at them.

Hebrews 9:16–17. For where there is a covenant, it is necessary to... It's very hard to translate that. To prove that that's not the word. It's necessary that the death has taken place of the one who made the covenant. How do they say it here? "There must of necessity be the death of the one who made it". That doesn't say it all. Let's see what they say in this one. Hebrews 9: 16. Isn't that right? But you see, this version, the NIV, doesn't say "covenant," it says "will". That creates another problem we'll come to in a minute. "In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it".

Now that's very easy for us to understand, because we all are familiar with the fact that a will or "the last will and testament" of a person does not come into force until the person has died. Sometimes it's a complicated, legal process to prove that a person really has died. Then, as you may know, there are some times when it's question of who died first, the husband or the wife. So, death is a critical factor where there's a will. But, the problem is that the word will is really a kind of interjection of modern thinking, it isn't the word that's actually used.

Now we're going back to Derek Prince. Are you ready? I often give spontaneous translations when I'm preaching. Sometimes people come up, and ask me where it's in print. The answer is nowhere. For where there is a covenant, there must of necessity be established, is perhaps the best word. the death of the one who made the covenant. For a covenant is valid [or in force] when people are dead, since it is of no force [or has no validity] as long as the one who made the covenant lives. The word that we're dealing with is the standard Greek word for covenant and it corresponds to the standard Hebrew word berith. You may not know it, but you've probably heard of the B'nai B'rith. That means "the sons of the covenant".

That's the same word. It's the word that we have in our Bible in the first and second part of the Bible, the Old Testament, the New Testament. The word is covenant. It would be better to translate it the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. And indeed, in the German, Scandinavian versions and others, that's how it's translated. German I'm not sure but Scandinavian I know. Now, what we've got to... What has to be clarified is the relationship of death to a covenant.

You understand, if we use the word "will," there's no problem. Everybody knows a will is only in force when a person who has made the will has died. But when we think of a covenant, normally we don't think that way, which is because we don't think the Bible way. Analyzing these two verses forces us to investigate the Bible picture of a covenant. We're going to do that. Reason number one is because I like doing it! Reason number two is because if I can do it rightly it will be a source of tremendous illumination to you. Things that you have probably never been able to put into place will fit in place.
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