English Standard Version, David Cochran Audio
Thus it was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. 25 Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
The Message (MSG)
23-26That accounts for the prominence of blood and death in all these secondary practices that point to the realities of heaven. It also accounts for why, when the real thing takes place, these animal sacrifices aren't needed anymore, having served their purpose. For Christ didn't enter the earthly version of the Holy Place; he entered the Place Itself, and offered himself to God as the sacrifice for our sins. He doesn't do this every year as the high priests did under the old plan with blood that was not their own; if that had been the case, he would have to sacrifice himself repeatedly throughout the course of history. But instead he sacrificed himself once and for all, summing up all the other sacrifices in this sacrifice of himself, the final solution of sin.
27-28Everyone has to die once, then face the consequences. Christ's death was also a one-time event, but it was a sacrifice that took care of sins forever. And so, when he next appears, the outcome for those eager to greet him is, precisely, salvation.
Have you ever thought about the Cross? There are so many representations of it. Some are cheerful, some ornate, some grim, some graphic. Maybe the way we think about the cross tells us something about the way we view the LORD. Clark had a sermon recently about being at a gas station looking at a very lost teenager decked out in lost teenager clothing. He was wearing a cross. When asked about his cross, the teenager said - "Well, yeah, I believe in the Higher Realm." And as his questioner looked encouraged, the young man said, "I believe in Jesus and all, but not the Church." Which of course, made the Priest Sad. And yet. As we all thought about the young man, we felt the Cross would protect him. Because the Cross represents Truth. And the Truth is God Loves that Teenager. And I am sure the Church Family prayed for that unknown but worried over man.
Have you ever thought about Judgement? Okay, the big Judgement is really pretty easy for Bible believing, Christ believing, Doers of the Word. Revelations gets pretty deep and makes people Uncomfortable. So... Hebrews is also about us and our judgements. I mean it struck me today - I believe in the Communion Cup being the actual, transfigured, transubstantiation, blood of Christ. Faith is a Mystery. And the answer, the correct answer is this - I call on the name of the LORD when the Communion Cup is given and it is up to the Child of God to determine if they are in a state of Grace.
I was in the Grocery store this week and this woman was Preaching. Not preaching like Paul - honestly on the street - but she was letting a large population of people passing by - her virtue in knowing Cheap Grace. It is all about KINDNESS. All God's Children. The difficulty here is - if we are God's Children - then we expect Him and in our Relationship with Him - He Parents us. About His purity, sexuality, diet, language, morals. What good parent says to their child - I believe a diet of sugar cereal will be good for you forever. (Dear LORD, forgive me for the times I've done this literally.) I came out of that grocery store so angry. I told my son, I am going to go back there take off my shoe and chase her with it. My son said, "Really?" He looked alarmed at the prospect. And I said no, but that lady was about politically correct Christianity and it is bad for this country. Bad for morals. And, man, we need some morals on television and more wholesome leisure activities and affordable and music too. That run on sentence was heartfelt.
So. I told my son. I am going to get a t-shirt and I am going to wear it and it will say "I am Judgmental as Hell." And we laughed and laughed. Because. I do chew people out and I make people Permanently mad at me. But on the other hand - people have come to me for years with their secrets and I don't tell. I know who had the abortions, I know who is gay, I know who is a stalker with his eyes and it is creepy as hell. I know who loves each other and they aren't married. I know people married to their best friends. I know marriages who cycle back and forth. I know faith that cycles back and forth. I had a Conversation! with a new friend this week and I realized - OMG I know these people and what goes around. And I Love them. Like the lady who's kids have terrible teeth and she is so salty and I Like her.
And the Higher Realms.
2 Corinthians 12:2
I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. 3 And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows—
We've heard and heard Heaven has 7 levels. What if you loved God so much that it was like a husband that travels. What if you got to the really good level of Heaven, level 5, and it was like the most perfect earth you could ever imagine. But the problem is that Jesus only stops by doing the work He and His Father do. And when you thought of Heaven having the First Level - you worried a) martyrdom sounds bad b) what if it is like the grace and favor apartments in a Castle - which Castles or Cathedrals are really great and all - but where is the beauty of the God's Creation? c) What if the saints were grim. But still.... you'd be very, very tearful that Heaven might mean you only get to see God at a distance. Like a concert or a friend on a balcony on the beach.
And it struck me. Why the Church is God's Bride. Bingo. Or Halleluiah! Which ever symbol means Jesus as Lord to you. In Love, In Reverence. But the Truth is God is LOVE.
Clark said on Sunday, what we think about when we think of God is important and tells us about our Relationship with Him. When I think of God, I picture standing next to Jesus and He has His arm around me. I am tucked under His Arm. He loves me because I am His. Chosen. Special. Loved.
There are times to speak up, Abba. There are times to be silent, Father God. There are times to be eloquent. There are times to be frank. But Lord Jesus Christ. Your matters, Your Salvation is so much Greater than one little human could ever be. Help me and help these readers to do what You would have us to do each day. And when we fall down in error, in stubbornness, in stupidity, in fear, in strength, in weakness, in sin. You would be God. And then we accept the barriers You would give us and pray about them. And we say:
Our Heavenly Father. Holy is Your Name. Your Kingdom Come, Your Will be Done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day! Give us our daily Bread. Forgive us our sins. As we forgive others who sin against us. Lead us out of Temptation. Deliver us from evil. For Thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory. In the Highest Name of Jesus, the Lord, the Christ. Amen.