Hebrews 10:19-22, “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
In verse 20 and 22 the author of Hebrews continues to show the believers the immense blessings that we can now enjoy in Christ.
In verse 20 he encourages the readers to trust in the fact that now they can enjoy free access to the Holy of Holies, the celestial throne where God reigns. The main objective of entering the Holy of Holies, through the blood of Jesus Christ, is to worship him.
In this verse the writer shows the way through which we can come to the Father. The new way is not only new but it is a living way. This way is not a temple, not an earthly sanctuary, but it is a person: Jesus Christ, who through his death on the cross provided the opening of his own body as a secure way to enter into the presence of the Father. Again this way is the sacrifice of his body.
In verse 21 the author of Hebrews gives an additional reason as to why we can have communion with the Father in his sanctuary. This reason is that Jesus is not only the way but he himself is the priest of the celestial temple. He is interceding for us with the objective of assuring us of the certainty of a free and secure arrival to the throne of grace even though we are weak and feeble.
Verse 22 includes a calling to come closer to God trusting in his sacrifice and his priestly intercession.
Let us analyze the contents of these three verses and let us put our faith in the solid foundations that the Scriptures provide so that we don’t lose confidence.
Verse 20, “by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh”
In verse 19 the writer said to the readers that now we have the freedom to come into the Holy of Holies and that this only can be done through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. In verse 20 he explains the sense in which the blood of Christ gives us that blessing.
He says that we have the freedom to enter into the Holy of Holies but, what is the way to arrive at such a place? The priest in the Old Testament had to go through the Holy Place and then go through the thick veil that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. What is the veil that we must cross as believers to go into the Holy of Holies? There is no veil anymore because it has been ripped from top to bottom when the Son of God cried out, “It is finished.” This announced that the material veil was destroyed forever and was replaced by the body of Jesus who was ripped on the cross to give access to anyone who trusts in Christ alone. Only through his body can we enter into the Holy of Holies.
Jesus also said that no one could enjoy eternal life, that is to live in the presence of God forever, without eating his flesh and drinking his blood. JOHN 6:51 – 56, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh. The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.”
The only way that men can arrive at the throne of grace, the celestial sanctuary, the presence of God, to the perfect communion with the Creator is only through faith in the sufficient sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. If we look for any other way we will never be able to arrive.
The celestial sanctuary is way too far from man. It is above the heavens. The distance between the Holy God and men is enormous. The abyss is beyond comprehension. However, the ladder that Jacob saw, going from heaven to earth, is also our ladder.That infinite ladder is the body of Jesus sacrificed which connects man to God. Today the believers can have access to God by climbing this ladder through faith to arrive at the presence of God in the celestial abode.
Jesus himself declared that there is no other way to come to the Father. It is only through him, through his broken body. That is, accepting by faith that only his death on the cross and by the shedding of his blood he cleaned us to present us to the Holy Majesty of God. “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one can come to the Father but through me” John 14:6
Many religious people think that they can pray to God and that God will listen to them because God is good. Others think that when they die God will allow them into his kingdom, simply because they were religious, kind and even by practicingphilanthropy. To think that we can obtain divine favor for our merits is a grave error that takes anyone to eternal damnation.There is nothing we can do nor can we ever be sufficiently good in our own to deserve heaven. Anyone who thinks this way,clearly shows that he does not know God. God is the creator, absolutely perfect and without blemish, who does not tolerate any sin in his presence. His perfect holiness demands absolute perfection without such, no one can have communion with Him. Such perfection is only the perfection of Christ in us through faith alone, in Christ alone, which is given to us by God as a gift by grace alone.
Lev. 11:44 Joshua 24:19 Psalm 24:3-4
V. 20b…That he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh.”
This expression has been analyzed by several experts in the Greek language of the bible and have come with several possible interpretations.
Ernest Trenchard confirms that the veil is the body of Christ. Jesus in his body covered the way to the Father but when he was sacrificed on the cross through his broken body he opened the way to the Father and showed the glory of God.
Some see the veil of the temple as a type of the beauty of Jesus. Remember that the veil of the temple was of an exquisite beauty. It was a magnificent work which its foundation was linen, with threads of cardenia, purple and crimson colors all tapestry and adorned with cherubim. The holiness of Christ which was evident in his daily holy conduct was the exact representation of the purity of God which showed the gapthat existed between God and the creature.His life example was perfect but it alone could not save man. This perfection only showed men there sin and their imperfection. The perfect life of Jesus became a clear reminder that without such sanctity no one can see God. It showed that only he who has a pure heart and clean hands can come into God’s presence. The problem is that no man is totally pure in front of God. And no man could come to God only imitating the perfect life of Jesus. That is impossible. If Jesus would save men, it was not by example but by his sacrifice and his broken flesh.The veil of the temple was extremely beautiful but it separated men from God. The braking and ripping of the beautiful body of Jesus was the ripping of the beautiful veil that separated the sinners from God. His death, after living a perfect life,would provide the reconciliation of men to God that leads them into the presence of the Father. The holy example of his life would have not been the way of salvation if he had not die on the cross.
Arthur Pink makes an analogy between Jesus and the veil. The same way that the veil on one side is in contact with the Holy of Holies and on the other side it is in contact with men, in the same manner Jesus was meeting the same requirement by being divine and human. He had direct contact with the Father,he himself is divine but also human. In this manner he is the only one who was in intimate inseparable contact with God and with men. Christ ALONE was that veil, that when it ripped on the cross established a bridge between the inner sanctuary the holy of holies and the exterior sanctuary the holy place where the church stands.
This way is called by this theologian, “new” (prosphaton) which means newly sacrificed, newly dead, newly slated. This expression takes us to Genesis 15:10,17 where we see the rite of partition, the cutting in half of two sacrificed animals as a ratification of the new covenant.
This is an entrance way that never becomes old. The sacrifice of Christ is always fresh, freshly occurred, newly realized. It can never be repeated, it never becomes old or obsolete. Its benefits are always available for ever. The fact that this theologian called this way “NEW” this does not mean that the saints of the Old Testament did not enter through it. Arthur Pink said regarding this matter, This word “NEW” cannot be taken in an absolute sense as if it did not exist before the death of Christ. If the saints of the Old Testament had to go also through this way, then why is it called “NEW”? It is called new to distinguish the old way of the covenant of works from the new way of the new covenant that now had become fully manifested due to his eternal vitality that never becomes old in Jesus. (2)
This way open through Jesus is also called, a living way. Even though this way was opened through the death of Christ, this is not a dead end way. It is a living way, because Jesus did not stay in the tomb but on the third day he resurrected according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:4). The entrance door is Jesus and Jesus is alive. (John 10:9, “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.”) This way is alive because of its perpetual efficacy: it has spiritual and vital power in our access to God. It is alive in its effects. It effectually leads to eternal life, to a full and abundant life, fulfilling what Jesus said: “ I came that they may have life and have it abundantly John 10:10. It is called the living way because all that symbolizes Christ must be represented in possession of life. That is why we read regarding Jesus as the living stone, the living bread and other similar symbols. (Adolph Saphir) (4)
Verse 21. “And since we have a great priest over the house of God,”
The believers do not only have a new and living way to the Father, but also he, who is the way the truth and the life, is also the Great High Priest. This is the expression that the Jews used for the High Priest. Our salvation is so secure that there is no way to lose it. We have Jesus as the entrance door, Jesus is the way were we will walk to God and when we will arrive there, we do not fear at all because there we find our High Priest interceding for us and giving absolute guarantee of being accepted by the Divine Majesty. (Romans 8:24 and Hebrews 7:25) Jesus is not only our way but our guard and protector, he makes sure that we will never go astray no matter how fragile we are. It is just as the prophet said “And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.” (Isaiah 35:8)
Jesus is definitely a Great Priest and his greatness produces trust. Samuel Perez stated this way, “He who is sublime in glory, whose condition is infinite is also great in grace and compassionate and has understanding mercy towards believers whose condition is weak and fragile.” (5)
This Great Priest labors over the house of God. This means that all his people are under his care. If we want to enter the Holy of Holies, He is the one who has to receive us and present us to the Father. He himself will complete in us the work that he began in us. The Lord will show us everything regarding our ministry inthe Holy of Holies. Only through Jesus our prayers and spiritual offers will be accepted, even though they are weak and fragile. He is the one who gives us light and celestial power. He is the one who gives us life in the Holy Spirit. When it becomes difficult to walk the way to the Holy of Holiesand to understand the power of the blood, then we only have to look unto Jesus. He will guide us and teach us. He is the Great Priest over the house of God.
He taught us already how to pray as we are on the way. Jesus, the Great High Priest takes the prayers of his people and as our only Mediator, presents them to the Father. The Father gladly accepts them because they have been perfected by the blood of His Son who has the responsibility to take care of the House of God (Heb 3:6 ; 1 Timothy 3:15.) The believers are absolutely secure because they have a Great High Priest who represents them.The Great Priest never loses any one of the family. He and them belong now to the same family of God. ( Heb. 2:11)
Some religions today keep splendid and gorgeous rituals with many great ceremonies, golden objects, luxurious vestments very similar to the Old Testament, with the intention to give certain glory to God. But that extravagant luxury, without a contrite heart, only serves to remind men that the distance between them and God is so great that it becomes impossible to come near to God. The distance between God and men because of sin becomes impossible to reconcile.The Jewish people with all their ceremonies, rituals and luxurious vestments were telling themselves that they did not have The Way to reconcile themselves with God. It is the same in the case of the luxury and rituals of Roman Catholicism where priests become the intercessor without power beyond the appearance of vestments and rites. Christian congregations do not have luxurious ceremonies, nor special adorned vestments for their ministers, nor especial places for pastors because the veil was ripped apart by the sacrifice of Jesus.Now we are all priests empowered to cross the veil to enter into the Holy of Holies in the presence of God and see the splendor and majesty of His glory in His heavenly court. Now only by faith alone in Jesus alone, who is the way and ripped veil, we can come close to God.
Andrew Murray, in his commentary on this passage made applications like these. The veil that separated us from God was the flesh. Sin has power on the flesh. Only by eliminating sin in the flesh can the veil be opened. When the Lord Jesus came in the flesh, he ripped the veil of the flesh by living a perfect life and by his death, he destroyed both the power of sin and the flesh. This reminds us of the law that required the sacrifice of flesh to enter into the Holy of Holies. The believer understands the power of the blood when he compares the tyranny of the sinful flesh with the power of the dominion over the flesh by death through faith in Christ. The believer cannot do this on his own power but by the power of Christ. The Word confirms to us that those who are in Christ have been crucified with Christ. The cross is the place for the flesh. In communion with the Son of God we can enter behind the veil. Oh what a glorious Way! It is the new Living Way that Christ opened for us by which we have the freedom to enter into the Holy of Holies, only through the blood of Jesus.
We pray that God will guide us as we walk the Way by the power of the Holy Spirit and with a life full of the same Spirit. The Way is not other than the broken flesh of the veil of the body of Jesus.
Dear ones, it does not matter how insignificant you feel in the house of God. Not matter how sinful you think you are, if God has given you faith in Jesus, “the Way”, by the power of the Holy Spirit by his effectual calling, then the veil has been open for you through the body of Christ. Come look unto Jesus, look at your Great High Priest who has already looked at you with compassion, tenderness and understanding of your weakness and frailties and who has already purified your conscience in regard to sin. When doubts and fears assault you, do not be afraid, look at your Great High Priest – Jesus, who says, come. I did it all for you. Look at my marks left by the cross. Come trusting completely on your Savior who opened the veil to enter in the presence of God My Father. Come enter into the Holy of Holiest, looking to Jesus the founder and perfecter of your faith, who knows you by your name.
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