Firstborn Sonship of Christ
Vol 24 No 5
The New Birth
Series Number: 5 Continued
Please read and reread the previous articles on this subject beginning with the November 1998 issue of this paper. The previous articles are entitled:
1. Resurrection, a Birth
2. Jesus Christ, Born Again
3. Travailing in Birth Again
4. Dichotomy of Sonships
5. Heb. Dichotomy of Sonships
This article is a continuation of the Hebrew Dichotomy of Sonships,
A BRIEF REVIEW
1. The book of Hebrews was written to saved people in the Lord's churches, who were therefore in the proper covenant position to faithfully serve the Lord, Heb 3:6; 10:21,25; 12:22-24; 13:7,17,24. Saved people who have refused John's baptism have refused the covenant counsel of God, and therefore cannot serve God, Lk 7:29-30. Saved people who have not received John's baptism have not received the covenant circumcision of Christ (Col 2:11-12), and therefore are not in Christ and have in the same way rejected the covenant counsel of God.
Such saved people are not in covenant relationship with God (Lk 7:29-30; Col 2:11-12-3; Rom 6:3-6; 1Co 12:13; Gal 3:27), and therefore cannot keep the commandments of God, are not walking in the light, do not receive the daily forgiveness of their sins, do not have fellowship with God (1Jn 1:5-7), and do not have the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, because they have refused the covenants, which contain the doctrine of Christ, 2Jn 9-11. They are false teachers and are being used by Satan to deceive others, Mt 7:15-27; 24:4-4,11,23-27; Act 20:29-30; 2Co 11:13-15; Gal 1:6-9; 1Ti 4;1-5; 2Pe 2:1-3; 2Jn 9-11.
2. The book of Hebrews was written to proper church members, encouraging them to stand fast in the firstborn sonship of Christ, and warning them not to forfeit that sonship by failing to submit to the disciplinary training of the Lord. This discipline with its very positive encouragements and strong negative warnings is evident throughout the book of Hebrews. As it was necessary for Christ in the flesh to learn obedience by the things He suffered (Heb 5:8-9), so it is necessary for all the suffering through) the disciplinary training God requires of every firstborn son, Heb 12:1-8.
3. This disciplinary training first requires a holy life, Heb 2:10-13; 10:10,14; 12:13-14. Our bodies are counted as being holy – sanctified by being in the church, the body of Christ (.Heb 10:10), by presenting our bodies a living sacrifice, and then by daily not being conformed to the world but being constantly transformed by the renewing of our minds that we may thereby prove the good and holy and perfect will of God, Rom 12:1-2; 2Co 3:18; 4:7-12; Col 3:1-17; et al.
4. This disciplinary training also includes everything we feel, taste, smell, hear, think, say, and do, and everything that happens to us throughout every day, whether it be good or bad. There is nothing that happens to us that God has not purposely permitted for our training, and we are judged on everything we think, say, and do, and how we react to everything that happens to us. Our "will" is an abject slave of sin by nature, but God brings our will to the place where we, by His grace, can will to do His will, or refuse to do His will.
"Known to God are all His works from the beginning of the world," Act 15:18. If this were not so, there would be a time when God was not omniscient (all-knowing). This simply means God has always known everything, including all the things we will feel, taste, smell, hear, think, say, and do, and everything that will happen to us in the future, including all our responses to all the things that will happen to us. Whether we qualify to be firstborn sons and what rank we will be given within the firstborn sonship in future eternity, if we do qualify, will depend on how we daily discipline ourselves in line with God's disciplinary book of instructions (the Bible, chiefly The New Testament or New Covenant).
5. Hebrews 12 deals specifically with our response to God's disciplinary training. We have a vast cloud of witnesses (Heb 11; 12:1) who have already qualified, Jesus Christ being the Author and Finisher of this firstborn sonship, Heb 12:2. Though He was the Son of God, He had to learn obedience in a human body by enduring this divine code of discipline in order to perfect His firstborn sonship.
Now, we must fill up, in our turn (Gk, Col 1:24), the sufferings that are lacking in the body of Christ. Every member of the body must fill up their part of sufferings for the body of Christ. Every member going into the body of Christ must suffer – they must endure the covenant disciplinary training appointed for that member of the body of Christ. Every church member must endure this discipline of being transformed into the image of Christ, or forfeit the firstborn sonship, Heb 12:1-17.
We have no outward physical sufferings as the martyrs of old had, but we, like them, must give up the world for the kingdom of God. We must not live as worldlings, but we MUST be constantly transformed into the image of Christ by the renewing of our minds – that is, we must daily feed our minds on the Word of God, Mt 4:4; Rom 12:1-2; 2Co 3:18; 4:7-12; Col 3:1-17; et al.
We must not only feed our minds on the Word, but we must conduct ourselves (let our light so shine, Mt 5:13-16) in a strict holy, godly way, and thereby eat Christ's flesh and drink His blood with our minds. Not our brain, but our mind literally grows (increases in knowledge) by the information we feed into it, and what we feed into our mind determines our character – the kind of person we are: "For as one thinks in his heart, so is he...," Pro 23:7. Those who feed the world into their minds are worldlings, while those who properly feed the Word of God into their minds are spiritual and holy in their lifestyle.
6. Those covenant people who will not submit to the covenant discipline of not being conformed to this world will forfeit the firstborn sonship of Christ and will be grouped with the other sons, called illegitimate sons, Heb 12:8. Those who submit to and endure the covenant disciplinary training are being tested (trained) to become firstborn sons, while those who do not submit to and endure the covenant training are disqualified and are called illegitimate (non-covenant) sons.
Repeat: those covenant sons who accept the covenant discipline of being transformed from flesh-minded sons into the image of Christ by the renewal of the mind so that the affections and emotions of the person are set on heavenly things and not on the delights of the earthy will qualify as firstborn sons, Rom 12:1-2; 2Co 3:18; 4:7-12; Col 3:1-17; Heb 12. Those who do not submit to covenant discipline are still sons, but are other than firstborn sons.
7. The covenant promise to the overcomer is the fullness of God's nature in our bodies, 2Pe 1:4; Heb 12:9-11; Eph 1:22-23; 3:19; Col 1:19; 2:9-12,17,19-21; 3:1-10; Eph 4:22-24; Jn 10:30-36; 14:8-11; 17:21-23. Each attribute of the divine nature is cumulative and is based on the degree or extent of our submission to God's disciplinary training beyond mere qualifying for the firstborn sonship of Christ. Each star differs from another in glory, 1Co 15:41. Some will reign over ten cities, others over five cities, while the other than firstborn sons (the unfaithful saved) will not reign at all, Gal 4:30-31.
8. Esau forfeited the firstborn sonship and its birthright, Heb 12:15-17. Heb 12 with all the book of Hebrews concerns the firstborn sonship of Christ. Christ will bring many sons to glory, and these "many" are the faithful covenant people (currently the faithful in the church), Heb 2:3,10-13; 3:6–4:11; 5:8-9; 6; 10; 11; 12:1-23-29. The firstborn sonship belongs to Israel as the faithful covenant people (Ex 4:22-23), and in this age the church is God's Israel, Rom 11:11-22; 1Pe 2:5,9; Eph 2:10-22; 2Co 6:16; Heb 8:8-10 with Heb 10:10-25.
9. Ishmael and Esau were both divine types of firstborn sons. They were saved and were sons, but were rejected from the firstborn sonship. They were sons, but were destined to be ruled over by the son who was given the birthright, Gen 27:27-37. The allegory and the application to the allegory (Gal 4:19-31– 5:5), as well as Esau's selling of his birthright (Heb 12:15-21), make it clear that Ishmael and Esau were specifically designed by divine appointment to be TYPES of saved covenant sons who are cut off from Christ and His firstborn sonship – from the covenants and all the covenant provisions and promises.
10. The Law Covenant portrayed sons in the flesh who are destined to be flesh sons enslaved in a flesh body eternally, Gal 4:1-3,9,19-31; 5:1-5; Col 2:8,20–3:10; Jn 8:31-32; Gal 6:7-9. The glory belongs to Israel, Rom 9:4; Isa 43:13; 48:9-12. We must be faithful as firstborn sons to receive the glory of God, Rom 8:17-30; 1Co 9:23-27–10:1-12; 2Co 4:17–5:1-5; Phi 3:7-14,21; 1Pe 5:5,10; 2Pe 1:4. There are many more scriptures which promise divine glory and divine life to the faithful covenant people: these are integral parts of the divine nature.
It is not without specific purpose that the event of Esau selling his firstborn birthright is placed by inspiration in the middle of Hebrews chapter 12. Esau's case is set before our eyes and is emphasized here because the firstborn sonship of Christ is the theme of Hebrews 12, the theme of the entire book of Hebrews, as well as the theme of the entire Bible.
Why should so much of the Bible be use of Israel as God's firstborn covenant nation (Ex 4:22-23), while the church as God's firstborn people Heb 12:23) is allotted so little? However, Christ is the theme of the Bible through both Israel and the church as God's firstborn people.
Israel was and is God's firstborn people in slavery to sin and the flesh. The faithful of the Law Covenant and all the Old Testament faithful were redeemed along with the church by Christ in His human body by His life, His earthly ministry, His death, burial, and His new birth resurrection. This redemption credits those in the body of Christ to be crucified, dead, buried, and raised in deified (new born) bodies as the members of the now deified human body of Christ.
YOU HAVE NOT COME TO MOUNT SINAI
The Law Covenant represented the touchable and visible world, governed by the physical laws of the physical universe, Gal 4:3,9; Col 2:8,20-21. Furthermore, the Law Covenant represented sons who will be eternally enslaved in mere flesh bodies to the physical laws of the universe, Gal 4:19-31; 5:1-5; 6:7-9. The slave sons will be in the nations on the new earth, but will never be able to enter into the presence of God within the Heavenly city, Rev 22:14. God is "holy,"
that is, divine, and only those who are holy in this life will have access into God's holy (divine) presence.
This is emphasized and made obvious by God's being shrouded within the dark cloud and the Mount that was quaking with roaring flames, billowing smoke, violent tempest, lightnings, thunderings, a long and loud trumpet blast that grew louder and louder, a voice that human beings could not endure, a mount that must not be touched even by a beast on penalty of death all because of God's holy presence on the Mount, Ex 19; Heb 12:18-21. "So terrifying was the sight, that I am exceedingly afraid and trembling,"
This is God's expression of sore displeasure toward those who reject the firstborn sonship of Christ that He is graciously offering. This also emphasizes the incomprehensible magnitude of difference between the divine and the earthy, and the eternal difference between the two kinds of sons.
Conversely, the firstborn son-ship of Christ, represented by the New Covenant and Mount Zion, offers the unsearchable riches of Christ (Eph 3:8), that eye has not seen, nor ear heard, and is desirable beyond the wildest fantasy of human imagination, 1Co 2:9. The human mind cannot grasp the magnitude of difference of the divine over the human. The New Covenant signifies that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think, in bringing the faithful covenant people into the divine fullness, Eph 3:20.
BUT YOU HAVE COME TO MOUNT ZION
22 "But you have come to mount Sion (Zion), and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
23 "To the general assembly and church of the firstborn ones who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect,
24 "To Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel," Heb 12:22-24.
1. We Have Come to Mount Zion.
You have come to Mount Zion that is spiritual and divine, and is not governed by the laws of the physical world. Mount Sinai was and is physical and belongs to the earthy, while Mount Zion is spiritual and belongs to the heavenly, to the divine. God is offering an incomparably higher order of existence, a grander sphere of life in a divine state of being. Abraham and all his faithful descendants looked for this same divine city whose builder and maker is God, Heb 11:9-16.
This city is described in Rev 21 by using the most precious metal and jewels the physical world knows. How otherwise can the divine nature be portrayed to physical beings? The very best the physical world has can only very vaguely and very inadequately symbolize the riches of the divine nature. All in the physical world can be priced, but the essence of deity is immeasurably beyond comparison.
2. We Have Come to the City of the Living God.
Is the city a real city? Even though it is spiritual, heavenly, and divine, is it a real place, a real location? It is spoken of as a bride adorned for her Husband, Rev 21:2,9-11. Is this a metaphor where the city is put for the people and the people for the city? This point can obviously be debated till the Lord returns with increased understanding, and we still will probably not know the answer until the Lord returns.
It appears nothing is out of place by calling the city a real city. It is represented in the Bible as a real city. But it still represents the divine bride of Christ, and emphasizes the superlative in every relationship of joy, happiness, love, mercy, patience fellowship, peace, confidence, power, glory, goodness, purity, holiness, sufficiency, diversity in excellence, etc., within the divine state of being.
3. We Have Come to the Heavenly Jerusalem.
In the allegory in Gal 4:21-31, Mount Sinai represents the earthly Jerusalem, the Law Covenant, the flesh, and the earthy physical world. Conversely, it is obvious from the allegory as well as Heb 12:22 and context, that Mount Zion is to be associated with the New Jerusalem, the spiritual, the heavenly, and the divine. The earthly Jerusalem is enslaved to and governed by the laws of the physical world, while the heavenly Jerusalem is divine and functions on an incomparably higher plane than even the spirit world, which is also on a higher plane of life and existence than that of the physical world.
a) There is the physical world, and though we are spirit we are enslaved in a physical body.
b) There is the spirit world of both righteous and fallen angels who are not divine, but who exist on a much higher plane than physical beings.
c) There is the spirit world that of divine beings who enjoy the highest sphere of life, much higher than the spirit world that is not divine.
God's eternal purpose was for the Son, who is divine as God is divine, to become human by the virgin birth. Then, Christ, as God in a human body, would live a perfect life in that human body as the second Adam. The expressions, "first Adam," and "second Adam," in their context, require the understanding that God's purpose from the beginning was to create a second but new kind of human race.
God's purpose was first to create the heavens and then create spirit being usually called angels who shouted for joy when He created the earth, (Job 38:4-7). It was after this God created a human body out of the physical creation, then breathed into that body the breath of life, Gen 2:7, which has produced the human race. We are later told in the Scriptures that man is a spirit clothed in a physical body, 2Co 5:1-4.
Then the Scriptures further tell us that God's purpose was and is to create a "new man," a second Adam, and through Him create a super race of mankind by vesting divine life into this earthy body, making it a divine body. The physical race, along with all the physical creation shows forth the praises of God in various and marvelous ways, but the new race of "firstborn sons" will show forth the divine attributes of God in immeasurably superior ways than can be done by other than the divine firstborn sons, Isa 43:21; 1Pe 2:9.
4. We Have Come to an Innumerable Company of Angels in festal gathering, Heb 12:23.
7 "And of the angels He says: ‘Who makes His angels spirits And His ministers a flame of fire,'
Ps 104:4; Heb 1:7.
4 "Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit
3 "Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?"
1Co 6:3; Heb 2:5.
Obviously, in the beginning God created the angels to be worthy and majestic ministers to those whom He has appointed heirs of covenant salvation within the firstborn sonship, Heb 1:14. The firstborn sons will reign with Christ in the ages of ages to come, with the angels as their ever-present and all-sufficient ministers. Even one of the righteous angels is now incomparably greater, wiser, and equally more awesome in power, beauty, and grandeur in every way, many times over, than all human beings put together.
Each faithful covenant person has one or more guardian angels (Mt 18:6,10; Ps 34:7; Dan 12:1), who will be a ministering spirit rather than guardian angel after the resurrection. The deified saint and his ministering angel will be like the cowboy and his horse, the boy and his dog, the cherub and his wheel, Eze 1. This will not be so with those who forfeit the covenant salvation (the firstborn sonship) because of unfaithfulness. Furthermore, there will be no male or female among the deifies saints, as there is not among the angels, Gal 3:28; Lk 20:343-36.
IN FESTAL GATHERING
The faithful covenant people have come to an innumerable company of angels in festal gathering. The marriage feast of Christ and His bride people will begin in heaven when Satan and his angels are cast out of heaven, Rev 12:7-12. Nearly three and one half years later, the heavens will be rolled back (Dan 7:9-10; Rev 6:12-17) and Christ will be crowned Lord of lords and King of kings in the open heavens in the presence of all creation and in the most festive heavenly celebration creation can possibly fantasize, Dan 7:13-14; Lk 12:36; Rev 19:7-8. The marriage feasting will last some seven years from the middle of Daniel's seventieth week through the end of the seven vials of God's wrath.
Shortly after the heavens are rolled back and Christ will be crowned before all creation (Dan 7:8–10,13-14; Rev 6:12-17) and in the midst of this marriage celebration, Christ will openly depart out of the heavenly marriage festivities and descend for His bride with myriads of the heavenly hosts, Lk 12:37; Mt 24:29-30. It is after Christ has received His bride people, deified them, judged them, presented them to Himself (Eph 5:25-27; 1Th 2:19-20), and then presented them before the Father (1Th 3:13; Rev 7:9-17; 14:1-5;15:1-4) in deified holiness, that Christ descends with the saints and angels in flaming fire to initiate the wrath of God under the seven vials of God's wrath, 2Th 1:7-9; Jude 14-15. See editor's book on "Heaven Standing Open."
As the bride of Christ we have come to an innumerable company of angels in festive gathering at the marriage feast of Christ and His bride, whom we are as firstborn sons, to be dressed in the divine righteousness and joined to Christ as His bride in His firstborn sonship.
5. We Have Come to the Church of the Firstborn Ones, Heb 12:23.
This statement provides add-ed emphasis to the fact that Hebrews 12 (the whole book of Hebrews and the whole Bible) concerns the firstborn sonship of Christ in covenant relationship with God. The major theme of the Bible is the firstborn sonship of Christ in covenant relationship and faithfulness on the part of the covenant people in order to qualify them to share in Christ's firstborn sonship.
This firstborn sonship first became emphasized in Abel's offering of the "firstlings" (firstborn lambs) of the flock, Gen 4:4. Abel brought the right offering, while Cain brought otherwise. God told Cain a sin offering was crouching at the door, if he would offer it, he would retain his firstborn status, and Abel would remain under his rule, Gen 4:7. Cain refused to offer the sin offering and thereby forfeited his birthright as the firstborn son. He thereby also lost the covenant relationship and its priesthood with all the covenant promises.
Abraham was not the firstborn of Terah, his father. Terah was 205 years old when he died, Gen 11:32. Abraham was only 75 years old when Terah died, Gen 12:4. Subtract 75 from 205 and find that Terah was 130 years old when Abraham was born, but Terah's firstborn was born when Terah was 70 years old, Gen 11:26. However, Abraham obtained the birthright of the firstborn and the covenant standing that went with the birthright. The same was true with Isaac and Jacob who were not the firstborn of their father.
Israel was the seed of Abraham, and was therefore heir of God's covenant with Abraham which provided the firstborn sonship. Consequently, Israel received the Law Covenant, and therefore also received the covenant status which provides the disciplinary training to qualify for the firstborn sonship of Christ, Ex 4:22-23.
God's eternal purpose provided for the establishment of the church to be grafted into Israel's firstborn covenant standing when Israel crucified their Messiah and temporarily forfeited their covenant standing and the firstborn sonship of Christ which is the chief provision of the covenants, Rom 11:11-32.
6. We Have Come to the Firstborn Ones Who are registered in Heaven, Heb 12:23.
Under the New Covenant we have come to the registry of the firstborn sons. This is very special, like everything else under the New Covenant. The names of the covenant firstborn sons are written in heaven, evidently in the same registry called the book of life.
Ishmael and Esau were Abraham's sons, but they were rejected as covenant sons. They did not receive the covenant birthright; both the covenants and the firstborn birthright go together throughout the Scriptures. God said, "My covenant will I establish with Isaac" (Gen 17:21), and "In Isaac shall your seed be called," Gen 21:12; Rom 9:7-8. Again the Scriptures say, "Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman," Gal 4:30-31.
Once more, "As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated," Rom 9:13. Both Ishmael and Esau were circumcised covenant sons, but were then rejected as covenant sons. They became non-covenant (illegitimate) sons, but still sons – still saved. They were no longer covenant sons and were disqualified from the firstborn sonship. Their names were blotted out of the registry and were no longer registered as firstborn (book of life) sons. See Ex 32:32; Ps 69:28; Rev 3:5.
In the New Covenant we have come to the church of the firstborn ones registered in the book of life in heaven.
7. We Have Come to God the Judge of All, Heb 12:23.
We have not come to Mount Sinai that was on fire with a great cloud of black smoke, blackness, gloom, lightnings, thunder, quaking, violent fiery tempest, an exceeding loud and long blast of a trumpet growing louder and louder, a voice that the covenant people could not endure, etc. God intended for that to strike stark fear into the hearts of the covenant people. The covenant people came to God as Judge in an exceedingly fearful confrontation. There is fiery indignation awaiting the unfaithful sons when Christ returns.
In the New Covenant we have come to God, the Judge of all, in an inexpressibly joyful presence – that is, if we are persevering by grace through faith under God's constant covenant disciplinary training. Read Isa 53 to see what this training looked like when applied to Jesus day by day. Are we willing to be transformed into His image?
In Heb 12:18-24 we are presented with the day of judgment state of being. It will not be fearful but will be the zenith of celestial bliss for those who, as in Heb 11, have endured God's constant training, have been approved, and thus stand before God the judge of all, unblameable in divine holiness in the coming of Christ, 1Co 1:7-8; Col 1:22-23; 1Th 3:13; 5:23; Rev 7:9-17; 14:1-5; 15:1-4.
As deified members of the deified body of Christ, we will have constant and perfectly free access into the immediate presence of God the Judge of all, but that will not be so with the unfaithful ex-covenant (illegitimate) sons, Rev 22:14.
8. We Have Come to the Spirits of Just Men Made Perfect, Heb 12:23.
This is a festive gathering, not only of angels, but also of all the firstborn sons of the ages – the bride of Christ . This is a general gathering of all the covenant people who have qualified for the firstborn sonship through God's covenant training down through the ages. Here they stand before God in their resurrected bodies, born into the divine image of Christ and the Father, 1Co 15:1-2,44-50.
We must remember that the resurrection of the body of Christ was a birth of His human body into a divine state of being. Christ, in His resurrection, created a new (kainos) kind of man – a new kind of body , Col 1:15,18; Rev 1:5; Act 13:30-33; 1Co 15:44-50; Eph 2:10-16; 4:22-24; 2Co 5:17; Col 2:9; 3:9-10; et al. This new body is a spirit, heavenly, divine body that possesses all the divine attributes of deity (of Godhood), Col 2:9-10; Jn 10:30-36; 14:8-11; 17:21-23; Ps 82:1,6; Ex 22:9; 1Co 15:44-50.
Read these verses and see that the "oneness" addressed is a oneness in "kind." Each firstborn son will retain his individual identity, but all of them together will constitute a single corporate entity with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is called "the kingdom of God," in the restricted use of the expression – a kingdom of divine beings. One must be faithful to enter this kingdom; this is not the broad use of the expression "kingdom of God" which includes all of God's rule – all His creation.
There is a natural body, and there is a spirit body. There is a earthy body, and there is a heavenly body. There is a physical body and there is a divine body. Christ became a descendant of the first Adam and took on the natural body by the virgin birth, then in the natural body He created the divine body in His resurrection, 1Co 15:44-50; Col 2:9; 1:15,18; Rev 1:5; Act 13:30-33; Heb 1:5-6; 5:5; et al.
It is the spirit body of Christ that we are metaphorically counted to be the member of – as crucified, dead, buried, raised, and deified members of the deified body of Christ, 1Co 6:15-17; Rom 8:9; 6:2-13; 7:4-6; Gal 2:19-20; 5:24; Eph 2:1-16; 1Co 5:7; et al.
The righteousness of justification is the righteousness of God, Rom 3:21-26; Phi 3:9. The divine attribute of God's righteousness will be vested in the bodies of the firstborn sons in the resurrection, Gal 5:5; Heb 11:7. A later article is planned on justification and the firstborn sonship.
9. We Have Come to Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant, Heb 121:24.
Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father in His divine body as Mediator of the covenant people who are reckoned (credited) as also being crucified, dead, buried raised (born again) into deified spirit bodies together with Christ, and are metaphorically seated together with Christ at the right hand of the Father in the person of Christ's deified spirit body, Eph 2:1-6; Rev 3:21.
We are still in corrupt, sinful bodies and are therefore leavened; however, God metaphorically counts us to be in perfect, deified, unleavened bodies in the person of Christ's new born, "new man" body:
"Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us," 1Co 5:7; 10:16-18.
How can we have leaven and yet be unleavened at the same time? We cannot be both leavened and unleavened at the same time, except according to God's reckoning where He speaks of things which be not, as though they were, Rom 4:17; 6:2-13; 7:4-6; 8:9; 1Co 6:15-16; Gal 2:19-20; 5:24; 6:14; Eph 2:1-16.
As we walk faithfully, constantly purging out the old leaven, as a church and as individuals in the church, Christ is interceding for us so that we may continue in the covenant position as firstborn sons. However, worldliness (Ja 4:4), lukewarmness (Rev 3:16), and many like things (Gal 5:19-21; Eph 4:17-19; 5:3-5; Col 3:5-8) will cause us to be cut off from Christ which means being cut off from the New Covenant, from the covenant promises, and from the mediatory ministry of Christ, Gal 5:1-5.
As Aaron went about his daily ministering as high priest, he bore the twelve names of the twelve tribes of Israel on his breastplate and the same twelve names on the onyx stones on his shoulders – no more and no less. His mediatory ministry was for the covenant people of Israel only, Ex 28:9-21. Also, there were twelve loaves on the table of showbread, which also signified that the ministry of the high priest was for the twelve tribes of Israel only, Lev 24:5-9.
10. "We Have Come to the Blood of Sprinkling that Speaks Better Things than that of Abel,"
The blood of sprinkling speaks of two sanctification factors:
Positional sanctification: in order to be sanctified, the saved person must first be in the covenant position, which is the church in this age. The covenant person or church member is counted as being a sanctified (glorified, deified) member of the body of Christ by virtue of his standing in the covenant position in Christ.
Personal sanctification: the saved church member must live a holy life through daily faith-obedience and daily forgiveness of sins in order to maintain that good, acceptable (holy), and perfect will of God, Heb 9:13-22; 10:22-31; Rom 12:1-2; 2Co 3:18.
Even though the saved person is in the covenants (in the church), he must diligently strive toward personal holiness which produces a metamorphosis from the earthy natural man into the divine image of Christ who is the "new man,"
2Co 3:17-18; Rom 12:1-2; Col 3:9-10; Eph 4:22-24; 1Co 15:44-50; 2Co 5:16-17. This metamorphosis is performed in our manner of life by the renewing of our minds, Rom 12:1-2; Eph 4:22-24.
The saved and scripturally baptized church member who forsakes the assembly of the church and thus forsakes the Lord will eventually commit the unpardonable sin, and will be unable to receive the forgiveness of daily sins, through the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel, Heb 10:25-31.
There is nothing at all said about Abel sprinkling the blood of the firstlings (Gen 4:4; Heb 11:4), but this passage (Heb 12:24) associates the blood of Abel's offering with the blood of sprinkling, though sprinkling of the blood was not commanded or done in the Scriptures until the Law Covenant was given.
Heb 9:13-14 associates the blood of sprinkling with the cleansing of the conscience and the symbolic cleansing of the flesh. This cleansing of the conscience speaks of the "renewing of the mind"
in order to produce a daily metamorphosis into a Christlike character of life in our bodies. The blood of sprinkling leads to a constant "putting off"
the "old man"
and "putting on"
the "new man,"
Rom 12:1-2; 2Co 3:17-19; Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:9-10. This was first metaphorically done at the time of water baptism, at which time the mind was also renewed (Eph 5:26), but the mind is constantly growing corrupt (Eph 4:23), and must as often be renewed, Rom 12:1-2; 2Co 3:17-18; Col 3:1-8; et al.
The Law Covenant had two major requirements:
The covenant people were required to keep the Law Covenant perfectly in the flesh. This requirement was intended by God to firmly establish in the minds of the covenant people that they could not keep the Law and were therefore sinners, Rom 3:20; 10:5; Gal 2:16; 3:11-12.
The covenant people were required to bring animal sacrifices by which blood was shed and parts of the animal burned on the brazen altar. This represented Christ dying for the sins of the covenant people, and delivering them from the curse of the Law Covenant (they were already saved the same way we were at first faith).
In this way the covenant people were constantly being reminded that they were under the curse and condemnation of the Law Covenant. And though they brought the required sacrifices, their consciences were not cleansed and their flesh was not made perfect, Heb 10:1-14. Their conscience still said the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sin, Heb 10:1-4. So a remembrance of sin was made every year to remind them that the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sin, Heb 9:12; 10:1-4-10. Therefore it is written, "a body hast Thou prepared Me,"
9 "Then He said, "Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God." He takes away the first that He may establish the second.
10 "By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all,"
Again, two things are necessary to understand at this point in the greater context of the book of Hebrews:
It was necessary for Jesus to do the will of God in His flesh body to author and finish His firstborn sonship, Heb 10:1-14. Though Jesus was the Son of God, yet in His human body He had to learn obedience by the things He suffered, Heb 5:8-9. He could not have created His firstborn sonship except by obedience to this covenant disciplinary training.
It is necessary for us also to learn obedience by this ever-present covenant disciplinary training, otherwise we will not be approved for the firstborn sonship of Christ. Lack of approval in this training means being relegated to the non-covenant (illegitimate) sonship, as Ishmael and Esau were.
We are sanctified by the body of Christ (Heb 10:10); and in the deified body of Christ we are sanctified forever, only as long as we remain in the body of Christ. The already cleansed, but persistently unfruitful branches are indeed cut off from the Vine who is Christ, Jn 15:1-6; Gal 5:1-5.
Satan and his hosts of fallen angels are ever so delighted that Landmark Baptists have fallen into the snare of making every severe warning in the Bible apply to lost people on the road to hell and the lake of fire. To the contrary, the unfaithful saved of the covenant people who persist in their flesh-centered lives will commit the unpardonable sin, with no remedy for obtaining and sharing in the firstborn sonship and birthright of Christ, and for escaping the "fiery indignation"
of the Lord who is offering these unsearchable riches, Heb 2:2-3; 3:6-19; 6:4-6; 10:25-31; 12:15-15,29.
We must not rush into saying there is no application of the blood outside the covenants, because Christ died to save not only the faithful covenant people into the firstborn sonship of Christ, but also to save the physical world with many nations (Jn 3:16-17; Rev 21:23-26) who will populate the new earth. Those nations will forever be in mere flesh bodies because the glory of God belongs to the faithful covenant people, Isa 43:13; 48:9-12; Rom 9:4; Phi 3:7-14,21; Heb 11:35; 1Co 15:1-2,44-50; et al. The other than firstborn sons will forever be slaves of the physical laws of the physical universe, Gal 4:3,9,21-31; 5:1-4; 6:7-9; Col 2:8,20-21.
In the New Covenant we have come to better things than the blood of Abel, which was the blood of animals, and which did not cleanse the conscience nor perfect the flesh body, Heb 9:13–10:14. The death of Christ provided redemption for all that Adam lost, but His ministry as High Priest was foreshadowed by the breastplate bearing twelve names of the covenant people and two onyx stones bearing the same twelve names of the covenant people, Ex 28.
Likewise, Christ's daily high priestly ministry was for the covenant people represented by the twelve loaves of showbread only Lev 24:5-9), not for those who are cursed by the Law Covenant and cut off from the body of Christ (Gal 4:21--5:4), not for the branches who are cut off from Christ as the Vine (Jn 15:1-6), and not for the branches who are cut off from Israel (from Christ) as the covenant olive tree, Rom 11:11-22.
A KINGDOM THAT CANNOT BE SHAKEN
25 "See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven,
26 "Whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, ‘Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.'
27 "Now this, ‘Yet once more,' indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.
28 "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
29 "For our God is a consuming fire," Heb 12:25-29.
1. See that You Do Not Refuse Him Who Speaks from Heaven, Heb 12:25.
This echos the first two verses of the book of Hebrews, which says God spoke to the fathers by the prophets, but has now spoken to us by His Son. Two major and dynamic events, upon which all other prophetic events find their fulfillment, were prophesied and ceremonially portrayed repeatedly in many ways throughout the Old Testament:
a) The coming of a suffering Messiah who would qualify and then pay the redemption price for all that was lost in man's sin, especially God's purpose in the firstborn sonship of Christ.
b) The return of Christ with all authority to consummate the redemption process as revealed in the New Covenant. Much more has been revealed to us through the Son, which means more will be required of us than those who heard at Mount Sinai:
2 "For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward,
3 "How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him," Heb 2:2-3.
Both these verses address covenant people concerning covenant disciplinary training, covenant punishment, and covenant salvation. We must give diligence to know the Law Covenant, but we are to give the more earnest heed to the things of the New Covenant. "We shall not escape if we turn from Him who speaks from heaven," Heb 12:25.
This covenant disciplinary training is designed to qualify a special and faithful covenant people who are willing to learn obedience by the things they are required to suffer. In other words, this discipline is specifically designed to perform a metamorphosis in our manner of life: a transformation from the "old man" to the "new man" by the constant renewing of our minds, Eph 4:11-32; Col 3:1-17; Rom 12; 2Co 3:18; 4:7-16.
2. Yet Once More I Shake Not Only the Earth but Also Heaven.
"Yet once more," includes at least two shakings of the heavens and the earth at the beginning of the Millennium: one just before Christ returns at the end of Daniel's 70th week of years, (Mt 24:29-31; Mk 13:24-27; Rev 6:6-17), and again at the end of God's wrath in the seven vials, which begin when Christ returns and lasts for 1,335 days after Christ returns, Dan 12:12. These 1,335 days are days of blessedness for the persecuted saints who will be deified when Christ returns at the beginning of these specific days of blessedness for the saints, but days of wrath for the world and the unfaithful saved, Dan 12:12; Mt 24:51; 25:14-30; Rev 22:18-19; 18:4; 2:20-22; 3:10; Lk 12:46-48; 21:34-36; et al.
It also appears there will be the removal of the present heavens and earth at the end of the Millennium, 2Pe 3:10-14. The description is repeated in the strongest language of the dissolving of the present heavens and earth, and the creation of new (kainos) heavens and a new (kainos) earth at the end of the Millennium, though it will still be a physical world, 2Pe 3:10-14; Rev 21:1.
The physical heavens and earth were greatly changed by the flood in Noah's day. There was evidently a canopy of ice around the earth which provided an earth atmosphere similar to a greenhouse that resulted in great longevity of life. This condition did not disappear immediately after the flood, but was gradually changed over a period of the next five hundred to a thousand years. Observe the steady life span before the flood and the gradual decline in length of life after the flood.
The curse God placed on the earth after Adam's sin is still causing terrible destruction over the face of the earth by floods, droughts, snow storms, tornados, hurricanes, typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanos, as well as by harmful beasts, foul, fish, with prolonged suffering and death by many diseases. That curse will be removed at the end of God's wrath under the vials at the beginning of the Millennium, Rom 8:19-22; Isa 11:1-9; 65:17-25; 66:22: Mic 4:1-4.
The heavens and the earth will be renewed for the Millennial age. The people of the nations will still be sinners, and God will permit that sin nature to violently display itself at the end of the Millennium, Rev 20:7-10. It nevertheless appears beyond doubt that a dissolving of the current physical world will be in
order at the end of the Millennium, and the creation of new heavens and a new earth, 2Pe 3:10-14. The language here is as strong as can be found anywhere in the Bible.
3. A Kingdom that Cannot be Shaken., Heb 12:28-28.
44 "It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body," 1Co 15:44.
The natural body is the physical flesh and blood body that we all now have. The spiritual body is the divine body of the kingdom of God, a new kind of body addressed in the following verses, and many, many others. The natural body is destructible (shakeable) in many ways, while the divine, spirit body is indestructible, invincible, and therefore cannot be shaken.
45 "And so it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being.' The last Adam became a life-giving spirit," 1Co 15:45.
The human body of the last or second Adam became, in His resurrection, a life-giving spirit body. See also Jn 5:21-26 that we will discuss in detail in another article. Remember that 1Co 15 is the resurrection chapter, and is here referring to the resurrected human body of Christ, which by that resurrection was born into a spirit, life-giving, divine body.
The natural body is flesh and blood, with the blood as the life source of the body. The life source of the new born spirit body of Christ is the divine life of God. The life of God is constant in such a way that it never needs nourishment of any kind. It never weakens, fluctuates, or vacillates in any way whatever. This life, new in a human body, was vested into the human body of Christ in what the scriptures calls a divine "birth," Col 1:15,18; Rev 1:5; Act 13:30-33; Heb 1:5-6; et al.
46 "However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual," 1Co 15:46.
This passage is referring to the natural (human, physical, flesh) body of Christ, as the seed of the first Adam, in which human body the eternal and divine Son of God dwelt. In His resurrection the human, flesh body of Christ was born into a spirit and divine state of being. As for the natural body and the spiritual body, the natural body came first, but the divine, spirit body did not come until the resurrection of the human body of Christ. This was still a flesh body, but in His resurrection His human body was reborn into a divine flesh body, with the flesh body becoming both spirit and divine, in the fulness of deity, Col 2:9.
The human body of Christ instantly became a new kind of body, a spirit body possessing all the essential attributes of deity – the fullness of Godhood dwelt in that body. Col 2:9. This is altogether the "new man," "a new creation," "a new creature," created in the full essence of deity, Col 3:10; Eph 4:24. This "new man" did not exist before the resurrection of the body of Christ. The eternal Son of God became "the firstborn of every creature," with preeminence above all creation, Col 1:15,18; Rev 1:5; Act 13:30-33; Heb 1:5-6; et al. This new spirit, divine body is unshakeable, invincible and eternal.
47 "The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven," 1Co 15:47.
The Holy Spirit is still addressing the two kinds of bodies, where the second one (the life-giving spirit body) is promised only to the faithful covenant people – to those who "hold fast" to the Gospel of Christ, 1Co 15:1-2; Phi 3:7-14,21; Heb 11:35. The second Adam existed, not as a man, but as the Son of God in heaven before He became the second Adam. In His resurrection, Christ became the firstborn from the dead, with the first divinely born human body. This divine, spirit body can never hunger, thirst, tire, grow old, and die. It is invincible and unshakeable.
48 "As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly," 1Co 15:48.
The body of the first man Adam was made of dust, of the earth, of the physical world, earthy. The body of the second Adam was born into a divine, heavenly state of being. We now have a new body, a "new man," "old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new," 2Co 5:16-17. The human, flesh body of Christ is now a divine, spirit body, and we as members of that divine spirit body of Christ are counted as having been crucified, died, been buried, and raised (born) together with Christ into a divine body, a divine state of being.
The divine body is no longer an "earthy" body, but a heavenly spirit body that can be visible or invisible, tangible or intangible, can shine like a light, burn like a fire, and possessing all the attributes of God is invincible and unshakeable.
49 "And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man," 1Co 15:49.
In God's reckoning, we are now bearing the image of the heavenly, though we are really still in mere earthy bodies. However, God has promised in the covenants that we will be born into the state of being of the heavenly deified body IF we "keep in memory" (hold fast) the words of the Gospel, 1Co 15:1-2; Phi 3:7-14,21; Heb 11:35. We will be born into that divine image in the resurrection when Christ returns only if we are constantly being transformed into that image now by the renewing of our minds according to the Word of God, Rom 12:1-2; 2Co17-18; Col 3:1-17; Eph 4:11-32; et al.
50 "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption," 1Co 15:50.
The kingdom of God here refers to a specific kingdom of divine beings who possess the fullness (the full essence) of the divine nature. Only the faithful covenant people will be approved to share this firstborn sonship of Christ. This will be true only of those who are dead serious about being transformed into the image of Christ in their whole manner of life by the constant daily renewing of their minds, Heb 2:1-3; 3:6-19; 5:8-9; 6:1-20; 10:19-39; 11:1-40; 112:1-29.
The earth and the heavens will be shaken and be melted and dissolved with fervent heat, but this kingdom of divine beings cannot be shaken, Heb 12:18-28. The "life" of the "new man" is not in the blood, but is the divine life of deity. This kingdom of divine beings cannot and will not be shaken or removed.
4. Our God Is a Consuming Fire, Heb 12:29.
29 "For our God is a consuming fire," Heb 12:29.
This verse calls to mind many similar warnings given in the Scriptures to unfaithful covenant people, Heb 2:1-3; 3:6-19; 6:4-8; 10:25-39; 12:18-21; et al. All such passages (and there are a great many others) very obviously refer to saved and scripturally baptized covenant people. To twist these warnings and try to make these passages refer to unsaved people is adding to God's Word and taking away from God's Word.
This is indeed a very fearful thing to do (Rev 22:18-19); and if persisted in, will exclude any possibility of repentance, and bring the loss of the firstborn sonship and also the oath of God's wrath upon all who so carelessly teach God's Word, Heb 3:11; 6:4-6; 10:25-31, 12:15-17,18-20,29. "See that you do not refuse Him who speaks from heaven," Heb 2:1-3; 12:18-21,25-26.
"But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear," Mt 13:16.