Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Do NOT Quit God!

9 …. We are confident that you are meant for better things, things that come with salvation. 10 For God is not unjust. He will not forget (overlook) how hard you have worked for Him and how you have shown your love to Him by caring for other believers (saints), as you still do. 11 Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, to make certain that what you hope for will come true. 12 Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent (spiritual sluggards). Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance (patience)…. 18 So God has given both His promise and His oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie (false). Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. Hebrews 6:9-12, 18, New Living Translation 2nd Edition

In the Person and mission of the Lord Jesus Christ, the fullness of the living LORD and His Kingdom with God’s Holy Spirit, which is the POWER of God, had now come to earth (e.g., see Matthew 3:2, 16-17; Matthew 9:35; Matthew 12:28; Luke 4:43; Acts 2:22; Acts 10:38; Colossians 2:9-10). Because of the Kingdom’s arrival, the Lord Jesus Christ faithfully proclaimed repentance (turning away from sin and turning to His Father the living God) (e.g., Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:14-15; Mark 6:55-56). Faith in God found His Son Jesus Christ brings our GREAT salvation, which means restoration, redemption, and recovery (e.g., Matthew 4:23-25; Mark 1:32-34, 38-41; Hebrews 2:3-5). The Kingdom of God means primarily the rule of God and His divine authority as our true King and Judge on earth and in our whole hearts (e.g., Psalm 103:19; Isaiah 33:21-22; Daniel 4:34; Daniel 6:26; Luke 17:21). Sadly, the evil one and his cronies do not want anyone to receive God’s restoration, redemption, and recovery that comes with faithfully obeying the LORD God and His Word (e.g., see Matthew 13:19; Mark 4:15; Luke 8:12).

The unknown writer of Hebrews wanted all believers to know and understand more about the goodness and power of God’s Kingdom and God’s righteous ways (Hebrews 6:4-5; see also Matthew 5:6; Matthew 6:33). However, the unknown author of Hebrews rebuked and scolded some of his listeners for their sluggishness, apathy, and laziness in the matters of God and His righteousness (Hebrews 5:11-14; Hebrews 6:12; see also Matthew 13:15). These first-century believers had been Christians (followers of Jesus) a long time now and ought to be teaching others about the Good News of Jesus Christ and leading others to God and His Kingdom as commanded by Jesus (Hebrews 5:12; see also Matthew 28:20). However, some of these first-century believers instead were “backsliding” and needed someone to teach them over again the very basic principles in God and His Son Jesus (Hebrews 5:12; see also Hebrews 6:1-3).

The fundamental and basic teachings of utmost importance that EVERYONE must know and understand include:

1.   Repenting (turning) from evil deeds and placing our wholehearted faith in God found in His Son Jesus (e.g., see Acts 2:38-40; Acts 20:21; Hebrews 9:14);
2.   Baptisms that is ritual washing and cleaning rites (e.g., see Acts 19:4-5);
3.   Laying on of hands (the giving of blessing, power, and authority) (e.g., see Acts 6:6; Acts 8:17; Acts 19:6);
4.   Resurrection of the dead (e.g., see Acts 2:24; Acts 17:18, 31-32); and
5.   God’s eternal judgment and punishment (e.g., see Acts 10:42).

The author of Hebrews wanted believers of Jesus to move beyond these elementary teaching and press on towards the living God and His righteous ways (Hebrews 6:1-3; see also Philippians 3:12-14). As we faithfully and obediently live for God, we will become mature and strong Christians for God’s honor and glory (Hebrews 5:13; Hebrews 6:1; see also 1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17). Some translations encourage believers to move into “perfection” (e.g., see Hebrews 6:1, KJV).

The writer of Hebrews accused some of his listeners of acting “like babies” who can drink only milk and not solid food and strong meat (Hebrews 5:12; see also 1 Corinthians 3:2). Some biblical translations define “milk” as the first and basic “principles of the oracles of God” (e.g., see Hebrews 5:12, ESV) or “basic principles of God’s revelation” (e.g., see Hebrews 5:12, HCSB). Failure to mature is a serious sin. Our immaturity can lead believers of Jesus to be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching and philosophy that sound like God’s truth but are lies and trickery of the evil one (e.g. see 1 Corinthians 14:20; Ephesians 4:14; 1 Peter 2:2; Hebrews 13:9).

Instead, the writer of Hebrews encouraged ALL believers of Jesus to grow into maturity and live according to the righteous and good ways of God and no longer according to worldly and evil ways (Hebrews 5:14; see also e.g., Exodus 34:5-7; Galatians 4:3; Galatians 5:16-18, 22-23; Ephesians 4:15). In other words, the writer of Hebrews wanted believers of Jesus to grow into spiritual maturity and turn away from the childish and immature ways of the world, such as jealous, quarreling, division, selfishness, and hatred (e.g., see also, 1 Corinthians 3:1-3; 1 Corinthians 13:11-13; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 4:13; 1 Peter 2:1-3). The Lord Jesus instructed all people to accept and enter God’s Kingdom with childlike (simple) faith, but not to act and live childish and evil, which ultimately leads to God’s wrath (e.g. Mark Matthew 19:14; Mark 10:15; Luke 18:17; see also Romans 11:22). Although the living God “carries us along” to maturity, the living God also expects believers to do their part and not become lazy, slothful, and dull of hearing (Hebrews 5:11-12; see also Hebrews 6:12).

For instance, no farmer reaps a harvest by sitting on the porch looking at the seed. Instead, good farmers are busy plowing, planting, weeding, cultivating, and watering the soil. Similarly, true believers of Jesus will do likewise (e.g., see 1 Corinthians 3:5-23)! However, spiritual maturity comes with (1) patience and endurance, (2) seeking God and obeying His Word, and (3) practicing and doing God’s Word daily (Hebrews 5:12-14).

As we continually grow closer to God, the author of Hebrews explained that believers will gain spiritual maturity, wisdom, good judgment, and insight to discern and determine the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, and practice doing righteousness (Hebrews 5:13-14; see also Genesis 3:22; 1 Kings 3:9; 1 Timothy 4:7; 2 Timothy 3:15-17). Following the righteous ways of God found in His Holy Scriptures brings true wisdom (e.g., Deuteronomy 4:5-8; Proverbs 1:1-3, 7; Proverbs 9:10). Wisdom means honoring God, turning away from evil, and walking in the good commandments of God (e.g., Deuteronomy 4:2; Deuteronomy 10:12-13 Job 1:8; Proverbs 1:7; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). Even more, our spiritual maturity helps others to follow Jesus and grow, so that the whole body is healthy, growing, and full of love (e.g., see Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 4:11-12, 16).

Even more important, the author of Hebrews encouraged the people to continue in their faithfulness and obedience to the living God found in His Son, Jesus Christ (Messiah) (see Hebrews 6:4-8). Through our faith and obedience to the Lord Jesus, we discover and receive a foretaste of the good things of heaven, God’s blessings, and share in God’s Holy Spirit, which is the power of God (Hebrews 6:4-5, 7; see also John 17:21-23; 1 Corinthians 6:17; Ephesians 1:13-14). However, knowingly turning against the living God found in Jesus and turning once again to evil and sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth re-nails Jesus, who is the Son of God, again to Calvary’s Cross with all mockery, disgrace, and public shame (Hebrews 6:6; see also Hebrews 10:29; 2 Peter 2:20-21). Our genuine faith in Jesus Christ transforms our inward lives, motives, and hearts by the Holy Spirit to make us want to serve the living God (Hebrews 9:14; Hebrews 13:20-21; see also Philippians 2:12-14). Even worse, our rejection and deliberate disobedience to the living God and His righteous ways grieves God’s Holy Spirit and grace (Hebrews 6:6; see also e.g., Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 10:29). Such intentional sin and rebellion against the living God leads to God’s wrath and eternal condemnation (Hebrews 6:8; see also Romans 11:22; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8; Hebrews 10:26-27, 29-31).

Nevertheless, the author of Hebrews was optimistic and believed these first-century believers would produce the good fruit of righteousness that comes along with our salvation – repentance and faith in God found in His Son Jesus (Hebrews 6:9; see also Philippians 1:6, 10). A true and authentic believer of Jesus proves its worth by making spiritual progress and bearing good fruit for God's glory (e.g., see Matthew 7:15-20). The living LORD God is fair and just, and God NEVER forgets nor overlooks our hard work for His glory and honor (Hebrews 6:10; see also e.g., Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 25:8; Psalm 119:68; 2 Chronicles 19:7; Daniel 4:37; Revelation 15:3). The living God rewards His servants’ hard work, diligence, and faithfulness to Him and service and love to others (Hebrews 6:10; see also Matthew 10:40, 42; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; James 2:14-26). Therefore, the writer of Hebrews encourages ALL BELIEVERS to keep right on loving others, doing what is good and right, and to walk humbly with the living God found in His Son Jesus (Hebrews 6:11; see also Micah 6:6-8; Matthew 22:34-40; John 13:34-35; Philippians 1:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13; Hebrews 12:14-17). The living LORD God rewards and blesses our continual goodness, patience, endurance, and faithfulness to Him for His Namesake, His honor, and His glory, which leads to maturity (Hebrews 6:10, 12, 15; see also e.g., Matthew 5:3-16; Matthew 10:22; Matthew 13:23; Luke 21:19; Romans 5:2-5; Colossians 1:9-10, 23; Hebrews 10:36; Hebrews 12:1-2, 12; James 1:3-4, 12).

As an example of active obedience and endurance, the author of Hebrews uses Abraham’s faithfulness to God (see Hebrews 6:13-15). The living God promised Abraham that He would bless Abraham again and again, give him a son, and make him the father of a great nation of people (Hebrews 6:14; see also Genesis 12:7; Genesis 13:14-17; Genesis 15:5; Genesis 17:1-2, 4-6). Abraham believed God’s promises, and Abraham’s trust in God declared him righteous in God’s eyes (Genesis 15:6; see also Habakkuk 2:2-4; Romans 1:16-17; Romans 4:3, 9, 13, 18, 22). Father Abraham waited years on God’s promises until finally, God gave him a son Isaac just as He had promised (Hebrews 6:15; see also Genesis 21:5; Genesis 22:15-18). The book of Genesis reveals Abraham waited 25 years from the time God had promised him a son to Isaac's birth (see Genesis 12:7; Genesis 13:14-16; Genesis 15:4-5; Genesis 17:16; Genesis 21:1-3). Thus, the writer of Hebrews encourages God’s people to patiently wait for God to act in His timing, even when our needs seem too great to wait any longer. Abraham patiently endured, and he obtained God’s promise (see Hebrews 6:15)!

The writer of Hebrews provides ALL people two immutable and absolute facts about God (see Hebrews 6:17-18). First, the writer of Hebrews remains everyone that the living LORD God is faithful (e.g., see Exodus 34:6; Deuteronomy 7:9; 2 Corinthians 1:8; 1 John 1:9), and He keeps ALL His promises (see Hebrews 6:16-18). Even more, the living LORD God is ALWAYS faithful and true (e.g., see Psalm 31:5; John 14:6, 17; John 15:26; John 16:13). When the living God makes a promise and oath, and He cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18; see also Numbers 23:19; Titus 1:2). The writer of Hebrews wanted to encourage ALL PEOPLE to come to the living God for safety, strength, and grace (Hebrews 6:18; see also Hebrews 4:16). EVERYONE who repents of their sins and remain committed to the living God found in His Son Jesus and His righteous ways will find His salvation – recovery, redemption, and restoration – both now and for eternity (see Hebrews 6:18-19).

In chapter 6 of Hebrews, verses 4 through 6 contain a section that has caused great debate and difficulty amongst biblical scholars for generations. At issue is the biblical doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. The great debate centers around the possibility of a believer falling away. The writer of Hebrews declares that when we deliberately and knowingly reject and disobey the living God, we are crucifying once again the Son of God to our own harm and holding Him up to contempt, disgrace, and public shame (see Hebrews 6:6). The living LORD God disciplines not only sinners but also believers when one deliberately and intentional sin and disobey against Him and His righteous commandments (Hebrews 12:5-8, 10; see also Psalm 94:12; Psalm 119:67, 75; Proverbs 3:11-12). Besides, our genuine faith in the living God found in His Son Jesus brings God’s heavenly blessings and refreshment that should produce spiritual fruit (see Hebrews 6:7). Sadly, our unfaithfulness and disobedience to the living God produce thorns and thistles that leads to God’s punishment and wrath (see Hebrews 6:8). So, the writer of Hebrews repeatedly encourages EVERYONE to wholeheartedly and faithfully love and obey the living LORD God found His Son Jesus and NEVER turn and fall away from faithfully following the Lord Jesus – perseverance (Hebrews 6:11-12; see also Hebrews 3:6, 12-14; Hebrews 3:6, 14; 10:23, 35-39; Hebrews 12:14-17).

In fact, the Lord Jesus specifically taught His disciples to faithfully follow His Father, the living LORD God and God’s Word. Jesus’ parable of the sower describes four different scenarios of faithfulness and obedience to His Father, the living LORD God and His Word despite the evil’s allurement, seductions of worldly glory and riches, and the trials of hardship (e.g., see Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23; Mark 4:1-9, 13-20; Luke 8:4-8, 11-15). Sadly, sometimes hardship and difficulties come to those who love and obey God and His righteous ways (e.g., see John 15:18-21; Acts 14:22; 1 Thessalonians 3:3; 2 Timothy 3:12; Revelation 1:9). However, the Lord Jesus encourages EVERYONE to endure and persevere during suffering, difficulties, and hardship because He has overcome the world (e.g., see John 14:1, 27; John 16:33; Romans 8:31, 37-39; 1 John 4:4). Importantly, our committed and wholehearted faithfulness and obedience to the living God and His Son Jesus will lead to our eternal salvation and entrance into God’s Kingdom (e.g., see Matthew 5:10; Matthew 7:21; Matthew 10:22; Mark 13:13). Entrance into God’s eternal Kingdom cannot be found anywhere once God’s Son Jesus is rejected (e.g., see Hebrews 10:26-27).

To “have fallen away” means to commit apostasy. Apostasy occurs when one receives God and His Word and believe for a while, but in the times of difficulties or life’s worries, riches and pleasures cause them to fall away from God (Hebrews 6:6; see also Luke 8:13-14; 1 Timothy 6:9-10, 17). These people who fall away to not move onto maturity and God’s blessings.  

An example of “falling away” occurred with ancient Israelites on the border of God’s Promised Land (e.g., see Numbers 13:26-14:38). These ancient Israelites at Kadesh Barnea tasted the goodness of God yet turned back because of their unfaithfulness, fear, and lack of trust in God (see Deuteronomy 1:19-26). However, the Lord Jesus taught that those who persevere and wholeheartedly love His Him and His Father, the living LORD God, and obey His Word despite life’s worries, riches, and difficulties will grow into maturity and produce spiritual growth, forgiveness of sins, and entrance into God’s Kingdom (e.g., see Matthew 13:23; Mark 4:20; Luke 8:15, 21; John 15:5, 16).

Therefore, the author of Hebrews wanted EVERYONE to move forward and pursue the prize promised by God (Hebrews 3:1; see also e.g., 1 Corinthians 9:14; Philippians 3:14). As believers of Christ Jesus, our citizenship is in heaven (e.g., see Ephesians 2:19; Philippians 3:20-21). The writer of Hebrews encourages ALL PEOPLE to continually place their sincere hope and faith in the living God found in His Son Christ and to live holy lives (see Hebrews 6:19). The Lord Jesus is our strong and trustworthy Anchor and Lifeline for our souls because He connects and unites us with His Father, the living LORD God (Yahweh) in the heavens (Hebrews 6:19-20; see also Romans 5:1-2, 10; 2 Corinthians 5:18; Ephesians 2:18; Ephesians 3:12). Hence, DO NOT QUIT GOD!

20 Now may the God of peace …. equip you with all you need for doing His will. May He produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to Him. All glory to Him forever and ever! AMEN. Hebrews 13:20-21, New Living Translation 2nd Edition

Apologetics Study Bible: Understanding Why You Believe (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2012).
ESV Study Bible, English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008).
New Student Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992).
The Living Bible Paraphrase (Tyndale House, 1971).

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Jesus Christ Is PERFECT High Priest

1 Every high priest is a man (human) chosen to represent other people in their dealings with God. He presents their gifts to God and offers sacrifices for their sins. 2 And he can deal gently (compassionately) with ignorant and wayward people because he himself is subject to the same weaknesses. 3 That is why he must offer sacrifices for his own sins as well as theirs. 4 And no one can become a high priest simply because he wants such an honor. He must be called by God for this work, just as Aaron was. 5 That is why Christ (Messiah) did not honor Himself by assuming He could become High Priest. No, He was chosen by God, … 7 While Jesus was here on earth (incarnate, as human flesh), He offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the One who could rescue Him from death. And God heard His (Jesus) prayers because of His deep reverence (respect, honor) for God. 8 Even though Jesus was God’s Son, He learned obedience from the things He suffered. 9 In this way, God qualified Him as a perfect High Priest, and He became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey Him. Hebrews 5:1-5, 7-9, New Living Translation 2nd Edition

In the book of Hebrews, the unknown author gives everyone a history lesson on the Old Testament priesthood and the Lord Jesus Christ (Messiah and Hope of Israel) has become our PERFECT High Priest (see Hebrews 5:1-10). Now the Old Testament discussed the living God’s first agreement, also known as covenant or testament, between the living God and His people. In the Old Testament, there were rules and regulations for worship, and there was a sacred sanctuary called the Tent of Meetings or the Tabernacle where the living God dwelled on earth (Hebrews 9:1-2; see also Exodus 25:8).

Originally, the living LORD God selected and ordained a high priest from amongst the people (humans) to come inside and work the Tabernacle (Hebrews 5:1; see also Leviticus 21:10; Hebrews 7:28). This God-appointed high priest represented the people before the living LORD God, and he presented the people’s gifts to God and offered sacrifices for the people’s sins (Hebrews 5:1; see also Hebrews 8:3).

This high priest was only human (see Hebrews 5:1-2). As a human, the high priest dealt patiently and compassionately with sinful and wayward people who do wrong because he was also subject to the same moral weaknesses, temptations, and wrongdoing (Hebrews 5:2-3; see also Hebrews 7:28). That is why the high priest offered gifts and sacrifices for his sins as well as the people’s sins (Hebrews 5:3; e.g., see also Leviticus 4:3; Leviticus 9:7; Leviticus 16:6; Hebrews 7:27-28). However, the high priest’s gifts and sacrifices offered to the living God were only external, and these gifts, sacrifices, and rituals were not able to permanently clear the people’s conscience nor take away their sins (see Hebrews 9:9-10; Hebrews 10:1, 4, 11).

Moreover, the unknown author of Hebrews reminds everyone that no one can appoint oneself as a high priest just because one wants this great honor (Hebrews 5:4; see also Deuteronomy 10:8-9). Only the living LORD God calls and chooses all high priest for this privileged work, just as Aaron and the tribe of Levi were chosen (Hebrews 5:4; see also Numbers 18:1-7). Aaron was Moses’ brother, and Israel’s first high priest (see Exodus 28:1).

In the Old Testament, Aaron and the tribe of Levi were duly ordained and appointed by God to the office of high priest (e.g., see Exodus 30:6-10; Exodus 32:26-29; Numbers 3:6; Deuteronomy 21:5; 1 Chronicles 15:2; 1 Chronicles 23:13). In the past, some people have tried to appoint themselves the honor of God’s high priest only to receive God’s wrath and punishment (e.g., see also, 1 Samuel 13:7-14; 2 Chronicles 26:8, 16-21). Numbers 16 gives an example of an open revolt by two hundred and fifty well-known council members led by Korah, Dothan, and Abiram who wanted more people recognized as priests and received God’s punishment (see Numbers 16:1-7, 40). During the New Testament times, the Roman government selected the high priest by rewarding the priesthood to political favorites.

In the same way, the unknown author of Hebrews announces that the living LORD God commissioned, ordained, and selected His Son Jesus Christ to become His PERFECT High Priest for ALL humankind FOREVER (Hebrews 5:5-6, 9-10; see also Psalm 2:7; Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 1:1-3, 5; Hebrews 6:20; Hebrews 7:17, 21, 24, 28; Revelation 1:17-18). At His resurrection from complete death on Easter, the Lord Jesus ascended to the perfect Tabernacle in heaven to become our High Priest at the throne of grace FOREVER (e.g., see Isaiah 9:7; Hebrews 1:2; Hebrews 4:14-16; Hebrews 7:21, 28; Hebrews 9:11). No Old Testament priest ministered to God forever because each priest died and surrendered the office to his successor (e.g., see Hebrews 7:23-24). Like Aaron and his descendants, the Lord Jesus did not appoint Himself as High Priest, but He was appointed by His Father, the living LORD God – Yahweh (e.g., see Hebrews 5:5-6, 9-10).

The Lord Jesus Christ’s Priesthood is unique. As mentioned above, the Old Testament priesthood belonged to the order of Aaron and the tribe of Levi (e.g., see also, Hebrews 7:5). However, the Lord Jesus was born of the Seed of David from the tribe of Judah, and Moses never mentioned priests coming from Judah (Hebrews 7:14; see also Isaiah 11:1; Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:6; Revelation 5:5). However, the Lord Jesus’s Priesthood belongs to the order of Melchizedek (see Hebrews 5:10), and Melchizedek also was not a descendant of Levi (see Hebrews 7:6). The Lord Jesus became a priest, not by meeting the physical requirement of belonging to the tribe of Levi, but by His Father the living God in the order of Melchizedek (e.g., see Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 7:16-17).

Who is Melchizedek? This mysterious person named Melchizedek is mentioned in only two places in the entire Old Testament — Genesis 14:17-24 and Psalm 110:4. Melchizedek appeared one day in the life of Abraham (then Abram) and was never heard from again. He was a Gentile and not even an Israelite (Jewish) nor from the  tribe of Levi. Melchizedek knew nothing about the Temple nor the Old Testament law, for these came after his time during the time of Moses over four hundred years later. Nevertheless, Melchizedek worshipped the true and living LORD God.

Moreover, the book of Hebrews called Melchizedek both king of the Salem (now called Jerusalem) and a priest of the God Most High (Hebrews 5:6, 10; see also Genesis 14:18; Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 3:1; Hebrews 7:1, 17). Thus, Melchizedek was both a priest and a king – a dual office Only in the Lord Jesus and Melchizedek held BOTH offices of king and priest! Yet, the Lord Jesus is our King and High Priest (e.g., see Isaiah 9:6-7; Isaiah 11:5-9; Zechariah 6:12-13; Matthew 2:2; Matthew 27:11, 37; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 3:1; Hebrews 4:14-16). Even better, the Lord Jesus is also our great Prophet powerful in both word and deed (e.g., Deuteronomy 18:15, 18; Matthew 21:11; Luke 7:16; Luke 24:19; Hebrews 1:1-3). Therefore, the Lord Jesus holds all three roles – King, Priest, and Prophet. Truly, the Lord Jesus Christ (Messiah) – who is the Hope of Israel – is our TOTAL LEADER: a PERFECT King governing justly, a PERFECT Prophet revealing God’s truth, and a PERFECT Priest bring God and people together!

The Old Testament teaches that Melchizedek met father Abraham (Abram) and blessed him when Abraham was returning home after winning a great battle against the kings (Hebrews 7:1, 6-7; see also Genesis 14:18-20). Abraham took a tenth of all he had captured in battle and gave an offering to Melchizedek (see Hebrews 7:2, 4, 6). Abraham was the father of the Jewish nation and Levi, who was Abraham’s descendant. The book of Hebrews describes the priesthood of Melchizedek superior to the Jewish priesthood, who was made up of Levi's descendants. Melchizedek's priesthood was a type of Jesus Christ's priesthood (Hebrews 5:6, 10; see also Hebrews 2:17; Hebrews 6:20).

The name Melchizedek means “king of justice,” and king of Salem means “king of peace” (see Hebrews 7:2). Another translation defines Melchizedek as the “king of righteousness” (see Hebrews 7:2, NIV2011). There is no record of Melchizedek’s father or mother or any of his ancestors (see Hebrews 7:3). The book of Hebrews notes that Melchizedek has no beginning nor end to his life (see Hebrews 7:3). Melchizedek remains a priest forever, resembling the Son of God (Hebrews 7:3; see also Hebrews 5:6, 10). Accordingly, Melchizedek becomes a picture of our Lord Jesus who is both Priest and King forever (see Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 6:20). Like Melchizedek, the Lord Jesus is “King of Righteousness” and “King of Peace” (Hebrews 7:2; see also Isaiah 9:6-7; Isaiah 11:5-9).

Next, the book of Hebrews teaches that while the Lord Jesus lived and walked the earth as a human (Incarnation), He lead a prayerful and obedient life to His Father, the living LORD God of heaven and earth (Hebrews 5:7-8; see also Mark 1:35; Mark 6:46; Luke 5:16; Luke 6:12; Luke 9:18, 28; Luke 11:1). Particularly, Jesus was in great agony as He prepared to face death for the sins of the world at Calvary’s Cross (e.g., see Luke 22:41-44). The Lord Jesus Christ prayed with strong crying and agony of soul to His Father the living LORD God to protect and save Him from the His agony and death on the Cross (Hebrews 5:7; e.g., see Matthew 26:39, 42, 44; Matthew 27:46, 50; Mark 14:36, 39; Mark 15:34, 37; Luke 22:41-44; Luke 23:46; John 12:27). As He faced the Cross, the Lord Jesus knew He would be made sin in His body and separated from His Father (e.g., see Isaiah 53:4, 11; Romans 8:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 7:27-28; Hebrews 9:27-28; 1 Peter 2:24). Yet, Jesus recognized His Father the living God was Almighty, and all things are possible with Him (Hebrews 5:7; see also Jeremiah 32:17, 27; Matthew 19:26; Mark 9:23).

The living LORD God heard His Son’s pleads and prayers because of Jesus’ continual faithfulness, reverence, and obedience to His Father (Hebrews 5:7; see also John 5:30). The living God always responds to His faithful and obedient children (e.g., see Psalm 145:18-19; Proverbs 15:8, 29; Isaiah 59:2; John 9:31; James 5:16). As He lived and walked the earth, the Lord Jesus perfectly obeyed and fulfilled His Father’s moral laws and commandments (e.g., see Matthew 5:17-20; Romans 3:31; Romans 10:4; Hebrews 4:15). From birth to death, the Lord Jesus experienced all the same temptations, weaknesses, and sufferings as all humans and yet He never once rebelled and sinned against His Father, the living LORD God (Hebrews 4:15; see also 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5). Jesus always lived in full submissions to His Father’s will and calling (e.g., see John 6:38). Even though the Lord Jesus was the living LORD God’s only begotten Son (e.g., see Hebrews 1:1-2), He learned from experience to obey His Father, even if His obedience meant suffering and pain (Hebrews 5:8; see also Mark 14:36; Philippians 2:7-8).

Thus, the Lord Jesus proved Himself to be our PERFECT High Priest (see Hebrews 7:26-28). Because of His obedience to His Father, the Lord Jesus proved Himself to be the perfectly equipped as our High Priest (see Hebrews 5:9). Consequently, the living LORD appointed His Son Jesus Christ to become the Source and Giver of eternal salvation and righteousness to all who trust and obey Him (Hebrews 5:9; see also 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 2:10; Hebrews 12:2).  

Therefore, the Lord Jesus now calls ALL PEOPLE who call upon His Name for salvation to REPENT and TURN AWAY from sin and live for righteousness (e.g., see Acts 20:21, 24; Acts 26:15-18, 20, Romans 6:1-2, 11, 13; 1 Corinthians 15:34; Titus 2:12; 1 Peter 2:24). The Lord Jesus can save fully and to the uttermost EVERYONE who comes to God through Him (Hebrews 7:25; see also John 14:6). The Lord Jesus assures all believers (disciples) who call on His Name in REPENTANCE and OBEDIENCE forgiveness of sins with His Father, the living God (e.g., see Luke 8:21; Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38; Acts 4:12; Acts 5:31; Acts 10:34-35; 43; Acts 13:38-39). Through our continual faith and obedience to His Father the living God, Jesus Christ gives His people salvation forever (e.g., see Hebrews 7:27; Hebrews 9:12). Therefore, let everyone REPENT of our sins and TURN with wholehearted FAITH and OBEDIENCE to the living God found in His Son, Jesus Christ (e.g., see Hebrews 12:1-2).

The Lord Jesus lives forever to mediate and intercede with God on behalf of His faithful believers (disciples) (Hebrews 7:25; see also Romans 8:34; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 9:24). As believers in Jesus Christ, we can always run to our PERFECT High Priest at any time, in any circumstance, and find the help that we need (see Hebrews 4:14-16)! In the heavens, the Lord Jesus as our PERFECT High Priest is at the right hand of the living God interceding, mediating, and pleading with His Father for all believers for all who confess true faith and obedience in Him (e.g., see Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; Hebrews 9:24; 1 John 2:1).

Amazingly, the Lord Jesus is not only our GREAT High Priest, but He is also God’s final sacrifice for humanities’ sin problem (e.g., see Hebrews 7:27; Hebrews 9:12; Hebrews 10:10, 12-14). In the Old Testament system, every priest stood daily at his service, repeatedly offering the same gifts and sacrifices, which could never take away sins (e.g., see Hebrews 7:27; Hebrews 10:11). However, the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior became God’s once-for-all a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God for our sins on Calvary’s Cross (e.g., see John 1:29; John 6:51; Romans 4:25; Galatians 1:4; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 5:25; Titus 2:14). Now, our gracious High Priest gives salvation to EVERYONE who approaches Him in faith!

ESV Study Bible, English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008).
New Student Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992).
The Living Bible Paraphrase (Tyndale House, 1971).
Zondervan NIV Study Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008).
Wiersbe, Warren W. Bible Exposition Commentary – New Testament (Victor Books, 1989).

Monday, April 23, 2018

God’s Grace

14 So then, since we have a GREAT High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15 This High Priest of ours (Jesus) understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet He did not sin. 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find (receive) grace to help us when we need it most. Hebrews 4:14-16 (NLT)

One of the clear messages of the book of Hebrews is that Jesus is the Messiah (Christ) and the Son of the living God (Hebrews 1:1-3, 5-6, 8; Hebrews 3:6; Hebrews 4:14; Hebrews 5:8; Hebrews 7:28; see also, e.g., see Matthew 14:33; Matthew 16:16; Mark 1:1; Mark 8:27-30; Mark 14:61-62; John 3:16; John 20:31; Acts 18:5). For the living LORD God, who is the Creator of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them, in all His fullness was pleased to live in His Son, Jesus the Messiah (Christ) (e.g., see John 1:1-4, 14, 16, 18; Philippians 2:6; Colossians 1:19; Colossians 2:9). From Jesus Christ’s fullness, everyone who believes in Him and repents of their sins have received the living LORD God’s grace upon grace, blessings upon blessings, and an abundant life (e.g., see John 1:16; John 3:15-16; John 10:10; John 20:29, 31; Acts 14:15).

Even more, the inspired writer of Hebrews wanted everyone to know the Lord Jesus Christ is also our GREAT High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-15; see also Hebrews 2:17-18; Hebrews 3:1; Hebrews 5:5, 10; Hebrews 6:20; Hebrews 8:1, 9; Hebrews 9:11; Hebrews 10:21). As our great High Priest, the Lord Jesus has ascended, entered, and passed through the heavens to His Father, the living LORD God (Hebrews 4:14; see also Mark 16:19; Acts 1:2, 9-11; Ephesians 4:10). Now in the heavens, the Lord Jesus is seated at the right hand of His Father, the living LORD God (Hebrews 1:3, 13; see also Psalm 110:1-2; Matthew 22:43-44; Matthew 26:64; Mark 16:19; Luke 22:68-69; Acts 2:33-34; Acts 5:31; Romans 8:34; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3, 13; Hebrews 8:1; Hebrews 10:12; Hebrews 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22). At His Father’s right hand, the Lord Jesus is able, once and forever, to save everyone completely and forever who wholeheartedly comes to the living God through Him (e.g., see John 14:6; Acts 4:12). The Lord Jesus lives forever interceding, mediating, and pleading in His Father’s Presence for all faithful believers (e.g., see Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; Hebrews 9:24; 1 John 2:1).

Before ascending into the heavens, the Lord Jesus destroyed the veil or curtain that separated humanity from the living God and brought humanities’ peace and reconciliation with God through faith in Him (Hebrews 10:19-22; see also Romans 5:1-2). At Lord Jesus’ death, the massive thick curtain in the Temple was ripped in two that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place (see Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45). This thick curtain sealed off the Most Holy Place where the living God and His Glory resided from humanity (see Hebrews 9:2-7). No one except the Jewish high priest was allowed access to draw near God’s Presence in that Most Holy Place (see Leviticus 16:1-34). And the Jewish high priest was only permitted once a year on a special day, the annual Day of Atonement – Yom Kippur (see also Leviticus 23:26-32; 1 Chronicles 6:49). The unknown author of Hebrews looked on the miraculously torn curtain in the Temple as symbolic representing EVERYONE’S immediate free access to the living LORD God made possible by Jesus’ sacrificial death on the Cross (Hebrews 9:11-10:22; see also Ephesians 2:15-16, 18). Therefore, the unknown author of Hebrews encourages everyone to NEVER STOP BELIEVING, OBEYING, AND TRUSTING Jesus as our Messiah and the Son of the living God (Hebrews 4:14; see also Hebrews 2:1; Hebrews 3:6, 12-14; Hebrews 4:11; Hebrews 10:23, 36).

Furthermore, the writer of Hebrews declares that our GREAT High Priest the Lord Jesus sympathizes and understands all our human weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15; see also Hebrews 2:14). The Lord Jesus is not only God, but He also lived fully as a human while on earth, the God-Man (e.g., see John 1:1-4, 14; Philippians 2:7). Thus, the Lord Jesus was completely and fully God and fully man (e.g., see Philippians 2:6). Biblical scholars call the Lord Jesus’ visit to earth as the God-Man the “incarnation.” The incarnation means the living God became human in Jesus, the Man from Nazareth (e.g., Matthew 1:23; Matthew 21:11; John 1:1-2, 14; John 8:40; Acts 2:22; Galatians 4:4).

As He walked the earth, the Lord Jesus took the likeness and form of a human (e.g., see John 1:14; Romans 8:3). By becoming human, the Lord Jesus learned firsthand the temptations, testing, and sufferings that all people undergo. The Lord Jesus experienced and shared human weakness, infirmities, and temptations – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (Hebrews 4:15; see also, e.g., Isaiah 53:3; Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13; Hebrews 2:17-18; 1 John 2:16). Also, Jesus attributed to Himself such normal human features as a body and soul (e.g., see Matthew 26:26, 28, 38). Also, Jesus grew and developed along the lines of normal human development (e.g., see Luke 2:40, 52). During His earthly ministry, Jesus displayed common bodily needs: fatigue and weariness (e.g., see Matthew 8:24; John 4:6); hunger and thirst (e.g., see Matthew 4:2; Matthew 21:18; John 19:28); joy and sorrow (e.g., see Matthew 26:37; John 15:11); compassion and love (e.g., see Matthew 9:36; John 11:5); and anger (e.g., see Mark 3:5). Yet, the unknown writer of Hebrews emphasizes the Lord Jesus never once yielded and gave into temptations and testing by sinning against His Father, the living LORD God (Hebrews 4:15; see also 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 7:26; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5).

Believers of Jesus are called upon to imitate God and His Son Jesus and not yield to sin, temptations, and testing (e.g., see Romans 6:1-2, 11-13; Romans 12:1-2; Romans 13:14; Ephesians 5:1; Colossians 3:10; Hebrews 10:21-25). Instead, believers of Jesus are commanded to use our lives as God’s instruments of righteousness and produce good fruit and deeds in the world for God’s glory and honor (e.g., see Matthew 5:14-16; Romans 6:13; Romans 7:4; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Titus 2:12; 1 Peter 2:12, 24). The living God and His Son Jesus have given all believers through faith and obedience in Him the Holy Spirit – the Helper – with power to overcome testing and temptations (e.g., see John 14:15-18, 21, 23-24, 27; Acts 5:32; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Hebrews 2:18; 2 Peter 2:9). Even if one yields to temptations, testing, and sin, the living God also calls that one to repent, confess their sins, and turn to Him (e.g., see 1 John 1:9). The living God wants all people to know that His love, acceptances, and peace is available to all people through faith and obedience in His Son, Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ stands ready to give immediate and sympathetic help when believers are tempted (see Hebrews 4:15-16).

Therefore, the unknown writer of Hebrews encourages EVERYONE to come boldly, without fear, and with full confidence to God’s throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16; see also Romans 5:2; Hebrews 10:19). ALL PEOPLE can now boldly and confidently come into God’s Presence with freedom but also reverence to find God’s grace and mercy through our faith and obedience to His Son Jesus, our GREAT High Priest (Hebrews 10:19, 35; see also John 14:6; Romans 5:2; Ephesians 3:12). Our faith in God’s Son Jesus gives us our heart peace, friendship, and free access to the living LORD God of heaven and earth (e.g., see Isaiah 9:6; Luke 2:14; John 14:27; Romans 5:10-11; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Ephesians 2:14-15, 18; Colossians 3:15). At the throne of God’s grace, the writer of Hebrews declares we will find and receive God’s unending mercy for our failures and grace to help in time of need (see Hebrews 4:16). Therefore, the unknown author of Hebrews welcomes ALL PEOPLE to come to boldly yet reverently to God’s throne to find His grace and mercy!

What is grace? In the Holy Scriptures, God’s grace relates to God’s mercy, kindness, favor, and love for ALL PEOPLE (e.g., see John 3:16; Hebrews 4:16). The living LORD God’s very nature is grace, goodness, love, faithfulness, and mercy (e.g., see Exodus 34:6; Nehemiah 9:17; Psalm 86:15; Psalm 103:8; Psalm 145:8; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2). Believers of Jesus are called upon to imitate God’s nature through the fruit of the Spirit and walk in love, mercy, and forgiveness (e.g., see Matthew 5:7, 48; Luke 6:36; Galatians 5:22; 23; Ephesians 4:24, 32; Ephesians 5:1).  

In the New Testament, God’s grace is virtually equated with the Gospel message about His Son Jesus – the Good News. God’s grace is received by faith in what God has done in His Jesus (e.g., see Ephesians 2:5, 8-9). This is the Good News: the living God accepts, loves, and offers His salvation (restoration, healing, and refreshment) to ALL PEOPLE who genuinely REPENTS of their sins and wholeheartedly TURNS to Him by FAITH in His only begotten and unique Son the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior (e.g., see Luke 24:27; Acts 3:16-21; Acts 5:29-32; Acts 9:20, 22; Acts 10:34-43; Acts 11:18, 23; Acts 13:38-39; Acts 14:15; Acts 15:11; Acts 16:30-31, 34, Acts 18:24-26, 30-31; Acts 20:21, 24; Romans 3:23-25;). However, some wicked workers of evil have taken God’s grace and turned God’s grace into a corrupt gospel promising freedom to sin without judgment (e.g., see Jude 1:4). Even worse, some people have rejected God’s grace found in His Son Jesus and continued the pathway of sin, wickedness, and evil (e.g., Hebrew 10:26-29; Hebrews 12:14-15)

Yet, God’s true grace through faith in His Son Jesus sets us free from the bondage of sin (e.g., see Luke 4:18; Romans 3:24-31; Romans 6:18, 20, 22-23)! Even more, God’s grace is His power which strengthens our lives (e.g., see Hebrews 13:9) and brings God’s gifts for serving others (e.g., see Acts 6:8; 1 Peter 4:10-11). Furthermore, grace means thanks, as in the thanksgiving over a meal (e.g., see 1 Corinthians 10:30), in songs of praise (e.g., see Colossians 3:16), and an expression of “thanks to God” (e.g., see Romans 6:17, Romans 7:25; 1 Corinthians 15:57). The living LORD God of heaven and earth (Yahweh) searches the whole earth to strengthen and empower those whose hearts are blameless and fully committed to Him (e.g., see 2 Chronicles 16:9; Zechariah 4:6, 10; 1 Peter 3:12).

Amplified Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1987).
Apologetics Study Bible: Understanding Why You Believe (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2012).
Disciple's Study Bible (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 1988).
ESV Study Bible, English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008).
New Student Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992).
The Living Bible Paraphrase (Tyndale House, 1971).

Butler, Trent C. Holman Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1991).

Saturday, April 14, 2018

God’s Rest

1 Now, since God has left us the promise that we may enter His rest, let us be very careful so none of you will fail to enter. 2 The Good News (Gospel) was preached to us just as it was to them (ancient Israelites). But the teaching they (ancient Israelites) heard did not help them, because they heard it (Good News) but did not accept it with faith (dependence and confidence in God’s power, wisdom, and goodness). 3 We who have believed (trusted) are able to enter and have God’s rest…. 6 It is still true that some people will enter God’s rest, but those who first heard the way to be saved did not enter, because they did not obey (disobedience) …. 11 Let us try as hard as we can (diligence) to enter God’s rest so that no one will fail by following the example of those who refused to obey. 12 God’s Word is alive and working and is sharper than a double-edged sword. It cuts all the way into us, where the soul and the spirit are joined, to the center of our joints and bones. And it judges the thoughts and feelings in our hearts. 13 Nothing in all the world can be hidden from God. Everything is clear and lies open before Him, and to Him we must explain the way we have lived. Hebrews 4:1-3, 6, 11-13 (NCV)

Today, people have many jobs and responsibilities that at times feels overwhelming and crushing. However, the unknown and inspired writer of Hebrews offers everyone a solution to our never-ending and endless work. The living LORD God (Yahweh) offers EVERYONE His spiritual peace, salvation and inner Sabbath-rest when we turn to Him and His Son Jesus with our whole hearts by faith and obedience (Hebrews 4:1-3, 6, 11; see also, e.g., Jeremiah 6:16; Matthews 11:28-30; Acts 10:34-36; 1 John 5:3). In fact, one of the keywords in Hebrews chapters 3 and 4 is God’s rest through our faith and obedience in Him (e.g., see Hebrews 3:11, 18; Hebrews 4:1, 3-5, 8-11). The living LORD God is good, great, and glorious and most importantly the great King above all gods (e.g., see Deuteronomy 10:17; Psalm 47:2; Psalm 95:3-7; Psalm 135:5).

The unknown author of Hebrews wants everyone to know the wonderful Good News (also known as the Gospel) has been available to ALL PEOPLE since Creation (Hebrews 4:2-4; see also Genesis 2:2-3). From Genesis and to Revelation, this is the Good News: the living and true God offers His spiritual peace, righteousness, salvation, and inner Sabbath-rest when we humbly walk with Him by love, faithfulness, and obedience (Hebrews 4:2-3; e.g., see also Genesis 15:6; Genesis 17:1; Habakkuk 2:4; Micah 6:6-8; Romans 1:16-17; 2 Corinthians 5:7; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38; 1 John 5:3; Revelation 14:5, 12). Only our wholeheartedly love, faith and obedience to the living God lead to spiritual peace and God’s Sabbath-rest (Hebrews 4:2-3; see also John 14:15-16, 21, 23-24, 27; John 15:26; Acts 5:32). Rest was the goal God reached on the seventh day of creation (see Genesis 2:2-3), and Israel's goal after possessing the Promised Land (see Joshua 21:44; Joshua 23:1).

Nevertheless, our heart-harden rebellion, disobedience, and unbelief in the Everlasting God removes His spiritual peace and Sabbath-rest and bring God’s wrath and discontentment (Hebrews 4:3, 5-6, 11; see also Genesis 3:1-7, 20-24; 1 Samuel 15:22-23; 1 Samuel 16:14-15; Psalm 95:11; Hebrews 3:16-19). The unknown author of Hebrews reminds ALL PEOPLE of the ancient Israelites’ failure to receive God’s rest because of their lack of faith and disobedience to the living God (Hebrews 4:3, 6; see also e.g., Numbers 13:25-14:12; Deuteronomy 1:19-40; Psalm 95:7-11; Hebrews 3:7-11). The sin of Israel is stated in Hebrews 3:12 — “departing from the living God” (see also Acts 7:38-43, 51, 53).

The living God graciously delivered Israel from Egyptian slavery and oppression, loved them, and revealed His power and glory to Israel (e.g., see Exodus 12:31-41; Exodus 14:15-31; Exodus 19:1-6, 9, 16-20; Deuteronomy 4:10-13, 32-39; Deuteronomy 5:24-26; Acts 7:6-7, 17-19, 34-36). Although the ancient Israelites personally witnessed God’s power and glory, they failed to enter God’s complete rest because of their unfaithfulness, disobedience, and rebellion against Him (Hebrews 3:18-19; Hebrews 4:3, 6, 11; e.g., see Exodus 14:11-12; Exodus 15:23-24, Exodus 17:1-3; Exodus 16:2-3, 11-15; Numbers 11:4-9;  Exodus 32:4-6, 35; Deuteronomy 9:16). Sadly, the ancient Israelites’ hearts continually strayed and disobeyed the living God (e.g., see Deuteronomy 9:7; Acts 13:17-18; Hebrews 3:10, 17).

Then finally on the border of God’s Promised Land at Kadesh Barnea, the ancient Israelites became overcome with fear and did not trust in God’s power and glory (see Numbers 13:27-29, 32-33; Numbers 14:1-4, 10-11; Deuteronomy 1:19-21). Israel got to the border of God’s spiritual rest and promise at Kadesh Barnea, but they doubted the power and glory of God (e.g., see Numbers 13:26-29, 31-33; Numbers 14:1-4). Because of Israel’s repeated unfaithfulness and disobedience, God’s judgment fell on Israel in the wilderness at Kadesh Barnea (see Numbers 14:22-23). That entire generation of Israelites was condemned to die and not receive God’s rest, and only the new generation entered the land (Hebrews 3:11; see also Numbers 14:23, 26-35; Deuteronomy 1:35; Psalm 95:7-11; Hebrews 4:3, 5). Acts chapter 7 gives a summary of the ancient Israelites’ sin and rebellion against the living God (see Acts 7:1-60).

As a life lesson, our lack of faith and disobedience forfeit God’s blessings and spiritual rest (see Hebrews 4:6, 11). Biblical faith means to trust and rely on God in absolute trust and confidence in God’s power, wisdom, and goodness, even during times of testing, persecution, and suffering (Hebrews 3:6, 14; Hebrews 6:11-12; Hebrews 10:23, 35-39; see also e.g., Matthew 13:3-8, 18-23; Mark 4:3-8, 14-20; Luke 8:5-8, 11-15; James 5:10-11). To enter God’s spiritual peace and “Sabbath-rest” require an enduring faith, love, and obedience to the living God. Our wholehearted obedience in life is necessary for reaching heaven because genuine faith is obeying and enduring faith!

The living LORD God graciously offers ALL PEOPLE a second chance to enter His inner spiritual rest and heart peace TODAY through our repentance (turning from sin and turning to God), faith and obedience in His Son, Jesus the Messiah (Christ) (Hebrews 4:7; see also Matthew 11:28; John 3:15-17, 36; Acts 5:32, 42; Acts 10:35-36; Acts 11:15-18; Philippians 4:6-8). When anyone comes to Jesus Christ by repentance, faith, and obedience, you find God’s rest and salvation (e.g., see Matthew 11:28-30), peace with God (e.g., see John 20:21; Romans 5:1), and God’s Holy Spirit (e.g., see John 3:3-8; Acts 5:29-32). The Lord Jesus Christ is Life-Giver, Prince, and Savior (e.g., see Luke 2:11; Acts 3:15; Acts 5:31). The Lord Jesus Christ is calling and welcoming ALL PEOPLE to enter God’s spiritual rest and heart peace through repentance of sins and faith in His Father, the LORD God (Hebrews 4:7; see also Matthew 4:17; Luke 5:32; Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38-40; Acts 3:19-20; Acts 5:31-32; Acts 10:43).

The author of Hebrews warns everyone NOT to harden your hearts as the ancient Israelites did in the wilderness by ignoring God’s calling of salvation, restoration, and rest through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:7-10; see also Psalm 95:7-8). Consequently, the unknown author of Hebrews encourages everyone to faithfully and persistently do our best to trust and obey the living LORD God and His Son Jesus and not rebel and harden our hearts (see Hebrews 4:7, 11).

The book of Hebrews was written to people who were experiencing difficulties and persecutions because of their faith in Jesus Christ. The unknown author of Hebrews was encouraging everyone not to lose their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (e.g., see Hebrews 4:14; Hebrews 6:12; Hebrews 10:23, 32-34). Like runners in a race, the author of Hebrews was encouraging the people to stay on the path of obedience to the living God and His Son Jesus.  

Our faithful diligence and obedience to God is not salvation by works but active and enduring faith (e.g., see 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Galatians 6:9; Philippians 2:16; 2 Timothy 2:5; 2 Timothy 4:7; Hebrews 12:1). Not only the unknown author of Hebrews but all the biblical writers encourage ALL people to live a continually faithful, humble, loving, good, and obedient life to the living God and His Son Jesus (e.g., see Ephesians 4:1-3; 2 Timothy 2:15; Titus 2:7, 12-14; Titus 3:8; 2 Peter 1:10-11; 2 Peter 3:14). A true believer – follower and disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ – will faithfully love and obey God, love one another, and do good deeds (righteousness) (e.g., see Matthew 22:37-40; John 13:34-35; Acts 10:35-36; Galatians 6:2; 1 Corinthians 9:21; James 2:8). Doing what is good and fair is pleasing and acceptable to the LORD God and what God wants from ALL PEOPLE (e.g., 1 Samuel 15:22-23; Proverbs 15:8; Proverbs 21:2; Hosea 6:6; Micah 6:7-8; Matthew 9:13).

Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian slavery has spiritual lessons for ALL PEOPLE (e.g., see Psalm 95:7-11). The nation’s bondage in Egypt is an illustration of a sinner's bondage in this world to sin and wickedness. Just as Israel was delivered from Egyptian slavery by the blood of lambs and the power of God (e.g., see Exodus 12:3, 21-23), so every sinner who accepts and believes in God’s Son Jesus Christ is delivered from the bondage of sin and death (e.g., see Colossians 1:13-14). Jesus Christ is Passover “the Lamb of God” whose death and resurrection have made our deliverance from sin a reality (e.g., see John 1:29, 35). The living God desires ALL PEOPLE to receive and inherit spiritual peace, blessing, and His Sabbath-rest by believing and obeying His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (e.g., see Luke 11:28; Acts 4:12)! Therefore, the author of Hebrews encourages ALL PEOPLE to make every effort to enter that rest through our constant love, faithfulness, and obedience to God and His Son Jesus (Hebrews 4:6, 11; see also Hebrews 3:12, 18).
The unknown author of Hebrews informs everyone that God’s Word is true, lasting, alive, and full of God’s living-giving power and wisdom (Hebrews 4:12; see also Deuteronomy 4:5-8; Acts 7:38; Jeremiah 23:29; Luke 21:33; 1 Peter 1:23). The lifegiving power of God’s Word is sharper than the sharpest dagger to expose and judge our innermost thoughts, intent, personality, and desires (Hebrews 4:12; see also Psalm 147:15; Ephesians 6:17). The Word that God speaks gives life (e.g., see Deuteronomy 32:45-47; Psalm 119:9; 1 Peter 1:23, 25)! Amazingly, ALL the life-giving Holy Scriptures point to God’s Son Jesus Christ, who is the Word of God (e.g., see Luke 24:27, 44; John 1:1-4, 14, 18; John 5:39-40; 2 Timothy 3:15; 1 John 1:1-2; Revelation 19:13). ALL PEOPLE will find spiritual peace and God’s rest by trusting and obeying His Word, Jesus Christ.

God looks and examines our hearts and motivations (Hebrews 4:12; see also, e.g., 1 Samuel 16:7; 1 Kings 8:39; 1 Thessalonians 2:4), and He knows our inner thoughts (e.g., see Psalm 7:9; Jeremiah 20:12; Luke 16:14-15). The living God knows our secrets (e.g., see Psalm 44:21). Sometimes, the LORD God tests our hearts and minds to determine our sincerity and faithfulness to Him and His Word (e.g., see Psalm 17:3; Psalm 139:23; Jeremiah 11:20). Everyone, including believers, will be accountable for their actions and deeds to the living God (Hebrews 4:13; see also Psalm 62:12; Ecclesiastes 12:14; Revelation 2:23). The living God rewards and blesses our wholehearted faithfulness and obedience to Him (e.g., see 2 Chronicles 16:9; Jeremiah 17:10; Matthew 16:27; Revelation 2:23).

NOTHING in all creation is hidden from the living LORD God (Hebrews 4:13; see also, e.g., 1 Samuel 2:3; 1 Chronicles 28:9; John 2:24-25; Acts 1:24; Hebrews 4:12). The living God knows everyone, everywhere, and He knows every plan, heart, and thought – even our darkest secrets (Hebrews 4:13; see also Psalm 7:9; Psalm 33:13-15; Daniel 2:22). Everything within us is bare, exposed, and wide open to the all-seeing eyes of our living God for examination (Hebrews 4:13; see also Proverbs 5:21; Jeremiah 23:24). The all-seeing and all-knowing eyes of the LORD God is in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good (e.g., see Psalm 139:1-2, 23; Proverbs 15:3; Proverbs 21:2; Jeremiah 16:17; Mark 4:22; Luke 12:2).

Therefore, let everyone love and obey the living LORD God and worship and serve Him with your whole heart and a willing mind (e.g., see Deuteronomy 6:4-6; Deuteronomy 6:13; Joshua 23:6-8, 11; Joshua 24:23; 1 Chronicles 28:9; Matthew 4:10). Live and walk daily according to God’s righteous ways and turn away from selfishness, idolatry, and sin (e.g., see 1 Kings 8:58, 61; Psalm 119:36, 80). The LORD (Yahweh) alone is God, and there is no other (e.g., see Deuteronomy 4:35, 39; 1 Kings 8:60; 1 Kings 18:39; Jeremiah 10:10-12). If you genuinely seek the living God, He will let you find Him (e.g., see 1 Chronicles 28:9; Jeremiah 29:13). However, if you reject and forsake Him, He will reject you forever (e.g., see Joshua 24:20; 1 Chronicles 28:9; Revelation 20:11-15).

Amplified Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1987).
Disciple's Study Bible (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 1988).
ESV Study Bible, English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008).
NLT Study Bible (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub., 2008).
The Living Bible Paraphrase (Tyndale House, 1971).
Zondervan NIV Study Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008).
Wiersbe, Warren W. Bible Exposition Commentary – New Testament (Victor Books, 1989).

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Faith In Jesus!

1 And so, dear brothers and sisters who belong to God (holy, consecrated, set apart) and are partners (share) with those called to heaven, think carefully about this Jesus whom we declare (confess) to be God’s Messenger (Apostle) and High Priest. 2 For He (Jesus) was faithful to God, who appointed Him, just as Moses served faithfully when he was entrusted with God’s entire house. 3 But Jesus deserves far more glory than Moses, just as a person who builds a house deserves more praise than the house itself. 4 For every house has a builder, but the One who built everything is God. 5 Moses was certainly faithful in God’s house as a servant (minister). His work was an illustration of the truths God would reveal later (about Christ). 6 But Christ (Messiah), as the Son, is in charge of God’s entire house. And we are God’s house, if we keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ…. 12 Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God…. 14 For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ. Hebrews 3:1-6, 12, 14 (NLT)

The living LORD God is the Father of our Savior Jesus Christ (e.g., see Matthew 14:33; Matthew 16:17; Luke 1:31-32, 35; Luke 22:70; John 20:31; 1 Corinthians 8:6). Jesus’ title as God’s Son was confirmed by the living God empowering His Son with the Holy Spirit and empowering Jesus with powerful miracles, wonders, signs, and good deeds (e.g., see Luke 24:19; John 3:2; Acts 2:22; Acts 10:38). Then, our Savior Jesus was handed over to wicked religious and Roman leaders by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and Jesus was unjustly sentenced and crucified to death on Calvary’s cross (e.g., see Isaiah 53:10; Matthew 16:21; Luke 24:20; Acts 2:23; Acts 3:13, 18). Importantly, the living God’s confirmed Jesus as His Son by raising Jesus from complete death and exalting Him to the place of highest honor in heaven, at His right hand (e.g., see Acts 2:24, 32-33; Acts 3:15; Acts 4:10; Romans 1:3-4). Therefore, the living God has made His Son Jesus to be both Lord and Messiah (e.g., see Matthew 28:18; Acts 2:36; Romans 14:9).

Significantly, the LORD God declares everyone holy, righteous, and forgiven through belief and faith in His Son Jesus’ sacrificial death and precious blood for our sins (Hebrews 3:1; see also Isaiah 53:10-12; Romans 3:24-25; Romans 5:1-2; Colossians 1:13-14; Hebrews 2:11; Hebrews 10:10, 14, 29; Hebrews 13:12). Everyone who wholeheartedly listens, accepts, and obeys Jesus’ message is adopted into God’s family, receive God’s blessed Spirit, and will never taste eternal death (e.g., see Proverbs 8:32; Luke 8:19-21; Luke 11:28; John 5:24; John 8:51; John 14:21; Galatians 3:26; James 1:22).

Therefore, the unknown author of Hebrews repeatedly encourages ALL people to continually, faithfully, and wholeheartedly love, trust, and obey the LORD God and His Son Jesus Christ, and produce good deeds and not evil (Hebrews 3:1, 6, 12-14; e.g., Hebrews 4:14; Hebrews 6:9-12; Hebrews 10:23; Hebrews 12:1-2). Amazingly, the message of trusting and obeying the living God and doing good and not evil is a repeated message not only in the book of Hebrews but also throughout the Holy Scriptures (e.g., Psalm 37:3, 5; Proverbs 3:5-6; Isaiah 26:4; Matthew 7:15-20; Matthew 13:23; Galatians 5:22-23; Colossians 1:10). Our wholehearted trust and obedience in the living God and His Son Jesus brings God’s blessings, necessities, and salvation (e.g., see Psalm 115:9-11; Proverbs 16:3; Matthew 6:33; Luke 8:15; John 15:5; Hebrews 10:35-39).

The loving and faithful LORD God sent His Son Jesus the Messiah (Christ) as His Messenger and great High Priest to declare His message, love, and salvation to ALL people (Hebrews 3:1, 6; e.g., see also Luke 4:18; John 3:15-17; John 20:21; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Timothy 1:15; Hebrews 2:17; Hebrews 4:14-15; 1 Peter 5:7). As High Priest, Jesus Christ intercedes for faithful believers with His Father the living God (e.g., see Luke 22:31-32; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1). Some biblical translations call Jesus the LORD God’s Apostle, meaning “the One sent from God” (e.g., see John 3:17, 34; John 17:2-3).

During His public ministry, Jesus repeatedly spoke of Himself as having been sent into the world by His Father, the living LORD God (e.g., see Matthew 10:40; Mark 9:37; John 4:34; John 5:24, 30, 36-38; John 6:38). Thus, Jesus is the supreme Apostle, the One from whom all other apostleship flows (see also John 6:29, 57; John 7:29; John 8:42; John 10:36; John 11:42; John 13:3).  As an Apostle, Jesus was continually faithful and obedient to the living LORD God (Hebrews 3:1; see also e.g., John 4:34; John 14:31). Therefore, the living LORD God appointed His Son Jesus as our great High Priest over His house – God’s people, just as Moses faithfully served God’s house (Hebrews 3:1-2, 5; see also Hebrews 2:17-18; Hebrews 4:15; Hebrews 10:21; 1 Peter 2:4-5).

Both Moses and the Lord Jesus were sent by the LORD God to lead His people – one from Egyptian bondage (see Exodus 3:7-10) and One from bondage from the evil one (see Hebrews 2:14-15). Like Jesus, Moses was God’s faithful servant and steward (Hebrews 3:2, 5; Hebrews 10:7, 9; see also Exodus 40:16; Numbers 12:7; Deuteronomy 34:10-12). Moses courageously led the ancient Israelites from Egyptian slavery with God’s help by great signs, wonders, and mighty acts (e.g., see Exodus 14:31; Deuteronomy 4:34; Deuteronomy 34:11-12). Also, Moses was a great prophet of God that proclaimed to Israel God’s message (e.g., see Deuteronomy 34:10, 12; Joshua 14:6). Moreover, Moses gave the people God’s book of the covenant which included the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai (e.g., see Exodus 19:1-23:19). Many biblical scholars believe Moses authored the first five books of the Old Testament. Because of his obedience and faithfulness, the LORD God spoke to Moses face to face (e.g., see Exodus 33:11; Numbers 7:89; Numbers 12:8; Deuteronomy 34:11). However, Moses was only a servant or minister of God (Hebrews 3:2-3, 5; see also Joshua 1:1-2).

The author of Hebrews repeatedly reminds everyone that the Lord Jesus Christ has far greater glory, superiority, and honor than Moses (see Hebrews 3:3). First, the Lord Jesus Christ is God, and He is the living LORD God’s faithful and only begotten Son (Hebrews 3:3, 6; see also e.g., Matthew 16:16; Mark 1:1; John 1:1-5, 14, 18; John 20:30-31; Colossians 1:15, 19; Hebrews 1:2-3, 5, 8, 10). Furthermore, Jesus Christ is our great King, Savior, Deliverer, and Redeemer (e.g., see Matthew 1:21; Matthew 2:2; Matthew 21:5; Matthew 27:37; Luke 2:10-11; John 1:49). Even more, Jesus was faithful to God and to His Father’s will (e.g., see Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 5:7-10; Hebrews 12:1-3).

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Builder and Heir of God’s house whereas Moses was simply part of God’s house. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe; for by Him, the living LORD God “made the worlds” (Hebrews 3:3-4; see also Genesis 1:1-3; John 1:3; Hebrews 1:2-3, 10). The living LORD God along with His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit made everything in heaven and on earth (Hebrews 3:3-4; see also Genesis 1:1-3; Genesis 14:19; Nehemiah 9:6; Isaiah 40:28; Acts 17:24; Hebrews 1:2; Hebrews 11:3; Revelation 4:11).

As such, the living God has appointed His Son Jesus with complete charge and authority over heaven and earth, His Kingdom, and His household – God’s faithful people (Hebrews 3:2, 6; see also e.g., Daniel 7:13-14; Matthew 11:27; Matthew 28:18; Luke 22:29-30; John 3:35; Hebrews 1:2). Jesus Christ is the Head of the church, which is God’s household (Hebrews 3:6; see also e.g., 1 Corinthians 3:16; Colossians 1:18, 24), and Lord of all (e.g., Acts 2:36; Romans 1:3-4; Romans 10:9; Ephesians 1:22-23; Philippians 2:9-10; Hebrews 1:2). All faithful and obedient believers of Jesus Christ – whether black, white, young, old, Jew or Gentile – are God’s household and God’s children (e.g., see Luke 8:19-21; John 1:12-13).

Because Jesus’ Lordship and Sonship, the Holy Spirit warns and counsels everyone to faithfully listen to and obey Him from our whole hearts and not turn away our hope, confidence, and love in Him (Hebrews 3:6-8, 15; see also John 12:37). The author of Hebrews quoted from Psalm 95 with the story of the exodus generation’s rebellion to remind believers today to remain wholeheartedly faithful and obedient to the living God and His Son Jesus (e.g., see Psalm 95:7-11; 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11).

Sadly, the ancient Israelites leaving Egyptian bondage were unfaithful, rebellious, and disobedient towards Jesus’ Father, the living LORD God, and God’s righteous commands (Hebrews 3:8, 16-19; see also Numbers 14:1-4; Deuteronomy 1:26-40). These ancients Israelites personally witnessed God’s Presence, glory, and power after God’s great deliverance from Egyptian slavery and in the wilderness (e.g., Numbers 14:13, 22; Deuteronomy 4:33-34; Deuteronomy 26:8). Yet, these ancient Israelites responded to God’s grace and glory with repeated complaints, disobedience to God’s authority, and ignored God’s love and provision (Hebrews 3:8-9; see also Exodus 17:5-7; Numbers 11:1-4; Numbers 14:11, 22-23; Deuteronomy 1:32; Deuteronomy 9:23; Psalm 78:22, 32).

The author of Hebrews was not exaggerating when he wrote that the Israelites had repeatedly failed to trust and obey the living God (see Hebrews 3:8-9). For instance, these ancient Israelites complained against the living God at the Red Sea after His deliverance from Egyptian slavery (see Exodus 14:11-12). Also, the ancient Israelites grumbled against the living God for lack of water at Marah and Rephidim (see Exodus 15:23-24, Exodus 17:1-3). Moreover, the ancient Israelites tested God by grumbling against God’s heavenly bread (manna) and quail (see Exodus 16:2-3, 11-15; Numbers 11:4-9). Even worse, the ancient Israelites looked to other gods (idolatry) instead of wholeheartedly loving and worshipping the living God only (Hebrews 3:10; see also Exodus 32:1-10). Then finally on the border of God’s Promised Land at Kadesh Barnea, the ancient Israelites became overcome with fear and did not trust in God’s power and glory (see Numbers 13:27-29, 32-33; Numbers 14:1-4, 10-11; Deuteronomy 1:19-21).

Because of Israel’s disobedience and unfaithfulness, the living God became very anger against those ancient Israelites who tested God’s patience and they never received God’s spiritual rest and died in the wilderness (Hebrews 3:10-11; see also Deuteronomy 1:34-35; Hebrews 4:3, 5). Sadly, these ancient Israelites delivered from Egyptian slavery did not trust and obey God for His blessings and deliverance (e.g., see Psalm 78:22; Psalm 106:24). In other words, these ancient Israelites did not truly trust and believe the Almighty God could protect and provide! Instead of finding God’s spiritual rest, inheritance, and blessings, these disobedient and rebellious people found God’s wrath and wandered in the wilderness for 40 years (Hebrews 3:9-11, 17-18; see also Numbers 14:20-23, 29-30, 33; Deuteronomy 1:34-35; Psalm 106:26; Acts 7:36; 1 Corinthians 10:5; Jude 1:5). These ancient Israelites went backward in unbelief and fear instead of forward by faith and trust in the living God.

Yet two individuals – Caleb and Joshua – illustrated the heart-holiness and faithfulness that God requires (Hebrews 3:6; see also Numbers 13:30; Numbers 14:6-10, 24; Deuteronomy 1:34-38). Caleb and Joshua honored and believed the living Almighty God for His provision and deliverance (e.g., Numbers 14:6-9). Because of Caleb and Joshua’s faithfulness and belief in the living God, they both entered God’s Promised Land (e.g., see Numbers 14:29-30, 38). However, all the other ancient Israelites living Egyptian bondage over the age of twenty died in the wilderness and never entered God’s Promised Land (see Numbers 14:26-38; Deuteronomy 1:34-35). As a life lesson, the author of Hebrews warns everyone that our rebellion (see Hebrews 3:16), sin (see Hebrews 3:17), disobedience (see Hebrews 3:18), and unbelief (see Hebrews 3:19) to the living God and His Son Jesus remove God’s heart peace and spiritual rest and bring God’s wrath and discontentment (Hebrews 3:18-19; see also John 3:36; Hebrews 4:6). Consequently, the living LORD God in His righteous anger closed the doors to His Promised Land to those who rebelled, sins, and disobeyed Him (see Numbers 14:21-35; Numbers 32:7-11; Psalm 106:24-26).

Therefore, the author of Hebrews warns everyone to patiently stay focus on the Lord Jesus Christ, turn away from evil and unbelief, and live a life of obedience and goodness to God through His Son Jesus Christ (Hebrews 3:1, 12-13; see also Hebrews 4:14; Hebrews 10:23-24; Hebrews 10:35-39; Hebrews 12:1-2). Our obedience, endurance, and faithfulness to God through His Son Jesus Christ brings our eternal salvation and blessings (e.g., see Matthew 13:23). Those who are faithful and obedient to the living God and His moral commands will find the path to God’s glory (e.g., see Luke 8:15). If we are wholeheartedly faithful and obedient to the living God and His Son Jesus to the end, then we will share in God’s glory, spiritual rest, and eternal life (Hebrews 3:6, 14; see also Luke 8:8, 15; Hebrews 6:11-12; 10:23, 35-39).

Amazingly, as we faithfully trust, hope, and cling to the living God, then the living God supernaturally by His Holy Spirit gives us the strength, empowerment, and enablement we need to sore and endure, despite any testing or hardship (e.g., see Psalm 27:1; Isaiah 40:29-31; Isaiah 41:10; John 16:33; Romans 5:3-5; Romans 8:31; 1 Corinthians 1:8; Hebrews 10:36; James 5:7). In other words, as we cling and trust in God (perseverance and persistence), the living God clings, saves, and blesses us (preservation and protection) (e.g., see John 10:27-29). Failure to persevere and persistent reveals that a person is not a child of God because perseverance and persistence are hallmarks of God’s faithful people (e.g., see Matthew 10:22; Matthew 24:13; Mark 13:13; Luke 8:4-15; Colossians 1:22-23; Hebrews 10:35-36). Focusing on the Lord Jesus Christ is the primary means of persevering in the faith (e.g., see Hebrews 2:9; Hebrews 12:1-2). However, the author of Hebrews warns and cautions everyone that if you ignore and rebel against God’s ways of salvation through His Son Jesus Christ, they will be subject to God’s wrath, unrest, and eternal punishment (Hebrews 3:15-16, 19; e.g., see also Matthew 13:20-22; 1 Thessalonians 1:10).

The living God graciously gives ALL people through our faith and obedience to His Son the Lord Jesus spiritual rest and peace (Hebrews 3:12-13; see also Matthew 11:28-30; Hebrews 10:23). The living God is immeasurably patient and loving (e.g., see Exodus 34:6; Psalm 86:15), and He welcomes EVERYONE who truly repents and confesses any sins (e.g., see Joel 2:13; Luke 24:47; Romans 2:4; 1 John 1:9). Whether rich, poor, young, old, prostitute or priest, the living LORD God wants everyone to trust and obey wholeheartedly and humbly in Him (Hebrews 3:10, 12, see also e.g., Matthew 6:33; Luke 12:15, 22-23, 27-32; Luke 18:9-14).

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