Derek Prince - Jesus Will Appear A Second Time
We have arrived at Page 9/4. We have just completed a study of verses 16 and 17. We'll begin with a quick reference to verses 16 and 17, then we'll go on with the rest of this chapter and we move then to chapter 10 tonight without fail. I'm reading now from the New American Standard, I'm not bothering with the translation from Greek. For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives. We pointed out in the last session that there's a certain confusion in English because the same word in Greek, and incidentally, the same word in Hebrew is translated two different ways. It's translated "testament" and "covenant".
We all understand that a testament, or a will is only valid when the person who made the will died. But when we are using the word covenant, our thinking doesn't go that way because we don't think in line with the Bible. I pointed out to you that the Bible very clearly brings this out all through. I did mention last time specifically that when I first began to study the Bible in Hebrew, which is a good many years ago now, I had a system by which I used three different colors: blue, green and red. How many of you can remember what the blue was for? Covenant, that's right. Covenant is followed by green, which is sacrifice, which is followed by red, which is shedding of blood. And what does the shedding of blood speak of? A life laid down.
I'm not really sure how many of you are with me. I think we'll go that route just once more quickly by way of review. A covenant requires a sacrifice. A sacrifice requires the shedding of blood. The shedding of blood speaks of a life laid down. We have the same principle already in the book of Genesis: where there is a covenant there must of necessity be the death of the one who makes the covenant. But the death, in a certain sense, at that point in God's ongoing revelation was symbolical. We looked at this in two covenants that God made with Abraham. One in Genesis 15, which God calls "a" covenant, and the other in Genesis 17, which God calls "My" covenant. We pointed out that the first one corresponds to the covenant that God made with Israel at Sinai, the covenant of the Law which brought Israel into the Promised Land but did not guarantee them permanent possession and which promised nothing to Abraham.
The second covenant is the one that was made through the Lord Jesus Christ and it promises, first to Abraham and then to his descendants, everlasting possession of the land and it has a change of name for Abraham. His name was changed from Abram to Abraham. Sarah's name was changed from Sarai to Sarah, the change of name indicating something that God did in them. Then, it promised Abraham an heir of his own body, who was Isaac. It was sealed by the rite of circumcision, which is the key to the blood. It's, in a sense, a mystery because there's no life at that time laid down. It's God's way of foreshowing that ultimately the blood of that covenant would come from Abraham's own descendant, the one who in Galatians 3 is called the "seed of Abraham," that is, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now we're not going to dwell on that, but we're going to move on. We're going to read verses 18– 22. I'm going to translate them from the Greek to the best of my ability. It will not be a polished translation but it will probably help you to get a grip on what's being said. Beginning at Hebrews 9:18: Wherefore not even the first [understood] covenant was inaugurated without blood. Why is the "wherefore" there? Because where there is a covenant there must be a death and so the blood speaks of the death. You see? See that "wherefore"? I've said this so many times I'm embarrassed but it's really important.
Whenever you find a "wherefore" or a "therefore" in the Bible, stop and ask what it's there for. Otherwise, you'll miss the connection. The connection is between the life laid down and the blood. Verse 19: For when every commandment according to the law had been spoken by Moses to all the people, taking the blood of calves and bulls, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, he sprinkled both the scroll and all the people, saying, "This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you".
Notice the covenant has to have blood because it has to have a sacrifice. Verse 21: Also the tabernacle and all the vessels [or instruments of service] likewise he sprinkled with blood. And we may say, everything according to the law is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness [or remission]. We're going to pause there. It should have been the blood of calves and of goats. I got one word wrong there, it doesn't make any difference to our present study. Going back to our note outline, chapter 9:18–20. Accordingly, the first covenant, at Sinai, was sealed by the blood of sacrificial animals. Those were the lives that were laid down. The blood sprinkled on the book and the people bound the people to the covenant. Everything that was involved in the covenant had to be sprinkled with the blood.
And verse 21, likewise the tabernacle and its utensils were sprinkled with blood and thus incorporated in the covenant. You see, everything in the covenant had to be sprinkled with the blood. Where there was no sprinkling of blood, the covenant was not valid. We look for a moment, keep your finger in Hebrews 9 and look for a moment at Matthew 26:28. We need to read verse 27. This is at the Last Supper of Jesus with His disciples. And He took a cup and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you;..." Notice "all of you". Everybody involved in the covenant had to be sanctified by the blood. "...for this is My blood of the covenant, which is to be shed on behalf of many for forgiveness of sins".
And you see there the blood of the seed of Abraham that was implicit in Genesis 17 is brought out into the open. But all through we have this principle: wherever there's a covenant there must be a sacrifice. Wherever there's a sacrifice there must be bloodshed, which speaks of a life laid down. That's an abiding, unchanging principle all through the Bible. Alright, now looking at the note outline for chapter 9, verse 22. Wherever there has been sin, blood is required for cleansing and forgiveness, signifying a life laid down. There are two examples which you could turn to. Ezekiel 18:20. We'll only read the first little sentence of verse 20. Ezekiel 18:20. It says in my translation: "The person who sins will die". I say in my translation because the Hebrew word is actually the word for "the soul": "The soul that sins, it will die".
The word soul is often translated "person" throughout the Bible, but the root word is soul. Wherever there has been sin, the soul has to die. And you remember what we said last week? The life of the soul is in the blood. The death of the soul is represented by the blood. That's the unvarying penalty and consequence for sin. That's very, very important. It's totally universal. The soul that sins, it shall die. There's no other possibility. We need to grasp that. Now in the New Testament, a very familiar verse, I'm sure, to many of you. Romans 6:23. For the wages of sin is death... That's right. So wherever sin has been committed, justice, God's justice, absolutely requires death. There is no forgiveness of sins without the shedding of blood because the penalty has to be paid.
We sometimes in our current culture misunderstand justice. We think justice is simply making sure that innocent people are not punished. That's part of it, but it's not all of it. Justice is equally making sure that the guilty are punished. God's justice cannot permit anybody guilty to go unpunished. There has to be a penalty paid, there has to be a life laid down; therefore blood has to be shed. Now the mystery of the gospel, and the secret hidden wisdom of God which He kept hidden from ages and generations is Jesus Christ became the substitute for every sinning soul, and He laid down His life. He poured out His blood on the cross. I used to be a professional logician and I'm always blessed by the complete logic of the Bible.
Logic is like a computer. If you put the right thing in you'll get the right thing out. Of course, there's always the possibility of human error. But as far as a computer is concerned, if it's working it just produces the right result. When you feed all the facts that we have looked at tonight into the computer of logic, the conclusion is settled. There is no other possibility. Some people think, it seems to me, that the Bible is a very fanciful, mystical sort of book. There is much that's mystical in the Bible but basically it's founded on perfect logic. Actually, the way to get results from God is to take His Word, and apply it with perfect logic. It's also the way to stir the devil up, let me tell you that.
You may sometimes wonder, What did I do that got everybody mad with me? The answer may be simply you took God at His Word and acted on it. That stirs up everything everywhere. But what I want to emphasize is don't be afraid of being logical. I personally believe the most successful teaching and preaching ministries are basically logical. God is logical. He cannot deny Himself, He's never inconsistent. Now we're going to go on with chapter 9, verses 23–26. I will translate it first, and then we will look at it.
Hebrews 9:23–26. There was necessity therefore that on the one hand the copies of things in the heavens be purified with these things [that's the blood of bulls and goats], but the heavenly things themselves with greater sacrifices [or better sacrifices] than these. For Christ [or the Messiah] did not enter into the sanctuary that was made with human hands, which are mere copies of the true ones, but into heaven itself, now to appear [or be revealed] before the face of God [or in the presence of God] on behalf of us. How far was I going to go? Through 26. nor that He should offer Himself many times, as the high priest enters into the Holy of Holies each year with blood that is not his own. Since it would then have been necessary for Him to suffer many times since the foundation of the world; but now as it is once at the consummation of the ages for the putting away of sin through the sacrifice of Himself He has been manifested.
I give into in the orders of... It seems a strange sentence, but that's the order in which it comes. In a way, it's more emphatic. Let me say it again. "But now as it is once at the consummation of the ages for the putting away of sin through the sacrifice of Himself He has been manifested". Let's look at the outline. We come back to something that the writer of Hebrews is so very fond of which is one of his comparisons. This is not one of the major comparisons, this is a summary of a previous comparison. He reiterates the comparison between the two tabernacles and the two covenants. There are four points as I state them here.
In verse 23 the earthly sanctuary was cleansed by the sacrifice of animals, but the heavenly by the sacrifice of Christ. In verse 24 Christ did not enter a manmade sanctuary, but heaven itself. And also in verse 24 Christ is not confined to a tiny compartment of the tabernacle. That compartment, the Holy of Holies, was ten cubits every way. It was fifteen feet wide, long and high. A very small area for it to be the goal of everything that the high priest did. Jesus didn't enter into a fifteen foot cube. He appeared before the very face, or presence of God Himself as our representative, on behalf of us. Then in verse 25 Christ did not make yearly offerings that never finally dealt with sin, but once, at the consummation of the ages, by offering Himself, He fully and finally removed sin.
You'll notice that there's a tremendous emphasis on the word "once" all the way through. Once for all, once, once, once. He only had to do it once. The phrase "at the consummation of the ages" in a way, from our human standpoint, is somewhat surprising, because nearly two thousand years have elapsed and we haven't come to the end. But viewed from God's perspective, as you know, in 2 Peter 3 it says, "One day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day". By that scale of reckoning there have been two days since that great event.
You could compare for a moment, if you wish, the opening verses of Hebrews, Hebrews 1:2. Hebrews 1:2. God in these last days has spoken to us in the person of His Son. "In these last days". You can go further back if you like, we could turn there for a moment. Don't forget to keep your finger in Hebrews 9 and turn to Acts 2:16–17: Acts 2:16-17: ...this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: "And it shall be in the last days," God says, "that I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all mankind".
Peter was referring to what had just taken place on the Day of Pentecost. Peter, like the writer of Hebrews, says from that time onwards we're in the last days; we're at the consummation of the ages. The word "consummation" means bringing everything to its conclusion together. I think God's plan for the ages is like a symphony and I am no musician. But basically there's a sort of general principle, as I understand it, in a symphony. There are certain themes that are worked out. When you get to the end all the themes recur, and are brought together in one grand and usually rather noisy climax. That's how God is working toward the consummation of the ages. All the themes that have been going on in redemption's history will be brought to their fulfillment at this consummation.
If you care to analyze it, you'll find that everything that was started in Genesis is consummated in the book of Revelation. That is another example. Just one other thought. One of the emphases of the writer of Hebrews is that of removing sin. It's not just that Jesus paid the penalty for sin but He removed sin so that when the process is complete God is never going to be vexed with the faintest trace of sin anywhere in heaven or on earth. As I understand it, and this is my personal opinion, there will be one place where there will be sin and that will be in the lake of fire. That's God's incinerator. But that's neither in heaven nor on earth. It's in outer darkness, you understand.
Sin will have been forever banished from God's universe by the sacrifice of Jesus. That, I believe, we saw pictured in a particular part of the ceremony for the Day of Atonement. How many of you can recall? There was one unique feature of the sacrificial ceremonies of the Day of Atonement which spoke of removing sin. That was what? The scapegoat, that's right. The scapegoat carried their sin away and never came back again. There's so many aspects to the sacrifice of Christ but this is one that's very seldom spoke about but it's here emphasized in Hebrews.
Going on now to the last two verses of chapter 9, that's verses 27 and 28. And inasmuch as it is appointed to men once to die and after this judgment;... Let me point out there, that really sets aside any theory of reincarnation. Man is appointed to die once and after that, not reincarnation but judgment. If you don't make it the first time there's no second chance. ...so also [the Messiah], having been offered once to take away the sins of many... Notice the phrase "to take it away". ...for the second time without sin will appear, to those who are eagerly awaiting Him unto salvation. Basically, that's the same way it's translated in the NASB.
Let's look briefly at the note outline, verse 27 and 28 on Page 9/5. if you've got lost somewhere on the way Humanity has two universal appointments: death, then judgment. I've said to people many times, "You may fail to keep every appointment in your lifetime, but there will be two you will keep". Christ has two corresponding appointments: first, to offer Himself once for sin; second, to appear without sin, for those who are waiting for Him. I always think it's timely to emphasize that one of the conditions spoken of throughout the New Testament of being ready for Christ's return and being accepted by Him when He does return is being eagerly awaiting His return.
I know there are different eschatological views which means, if you don't understand it, different views of the way things are going to end. But, whatever your eschatology, it should leave you with this attitude: eagerly awaiting the return of Jesus Christ. And if the choice were such, and I'm not sure that it is, I'd rather have the wrong eschatology and the right attitude than the right eschatology and the wrong attitude. It's the attitude that's going to count. Also, I have to say, my personal opinion is it's going to take Jesus in person to clear the mess up! I think the church has got a lot to do but there are some things that God has reserved for Him to do. When you begin to contemplate the vast extent of human misery in the world today, ten million people every year dying of starvation just to start with, the cruelty, the ignorance, the sickness; I think our hearts are somewhat impervious if we don't long for the return of Jesus.