Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: II. TWO TEMPLES and a NEW PRIESTHOOD

Wednesday, November 28, 2018



The Levitical priesthood of Israel allowed the Gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone to be corrupted in its purpose.  Under their guardianship of Scripture, they allowed the doctrine of salvation to evolve into a process that began with faith in the coming propitiatory sacrifice of the promised Messiah (the Abrahamic Covenant), but then made keeping the Law necessary to keeping one’s salvation.  Because of that failure, God cast away the priesthood of Israel because they failed in their primary responsibility of preserving the purity of the Gospel of grace.  

We must constantly remind ourselves that the Mosaic Covenant (the Law) was added to the Abrahamic Covenant for sanctificational purposes, NOT to add conditions for salvation.  The Law was not given to the lost world.  The Law was given to an already redeemed people in the nation of Israel to govern their lives, not to save their souls. 

16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. 17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ {the Abrahamic Covenant}, the law {the Mosaic Covenant}, which was four hundred and thirty years after {the Abrahamic Covenant}, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. 18 For if the inheritance be of the law {the Mosaic Covenant}, it is no more of promise{the Abrahamic Covenant}: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. 19 Wherefore then serveth the law {why did God give the Law}? It was added {to the Abrahamic Covenant} because of transgressions (for sanctificational purposes; not salvational purposes}, till the seed {the promised Messiah of Genesis 3:15} should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator” (Galatians 3:16-19).

Therefore, the Jew was never partially saved by faith and then preserved in that salvation by Law keeping.  No one has ever experienced that kind of salvation for that kind of salvation has never/ever existed.  This defines the Levitical priesthood’s corruption of these two covenants.  The epistle to the Hebrews warns than going backward to this corrupted incompletion in the Mosaic Covenant rather than remaining under the completion of the New Covenant “in Christ” is the warning about falling away in Hebrews 6:6.  There is no remedy for those rejecting completion of the New Covenant by returning to incompletion under the Mosaic Covenant. 

4 For it is impossible for those who were once {for all} enlightened {given understanding}, and have tasted {have a full sense of} of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted {have a full sense of} the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away {deviate to another pathway; John 14:6}, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame” (Hebrews 6:4-6).

Often people use Hebrews 6:4-6 to support the idea of being able to lose one’s salvation.  In actuality, it is a warning about reprobation.  Reprobation is the end result of God’s action upon the mind and soul where He progressively gives a person “up” as a result of digressing degrees of unbelief (non-faith; Romans 1:24, 26 and 28).  Reprobation is the final stage in God’s pre-salvation work of the Holy Spirit upon those who reject the truth of His existence.

The word “reprobate” used in Romans 1:28 is from the Greek word adokimos (ad-ok’-ee-mos).  It is a word used to describe the testing of valuable metals or coins, such as silver or gold, for authenticity.  It simply means disapproved or rejected.  However, the consequence of the meaning is the focus of the statement in Romans 1:28.  Something disapproved was “cast away.”  

The warning of Hebrews chapter six is a warning to not abandon a professed faith in the Christ of the completion in the New Covenant by returning to Mosaic Covenant incompletion by trying to intermix Mosaic Covenant practices and priesthood with those of the New Covenant.  

There are two phrases used in the epistle to the Hebrews to describe this abandonment of professed faith in Christ’s completion.  These two phrases are “fall away” (Hebrews 6:6) and “draw back” (Hebrews 10:38 and 39).  These two phrases are synonymous with this warning of a potential for reprobation.

35 Cast not away therefore your confidence {by returning to the corruptions of incompletion in the Mosaic Covenant}, which {‘confidence’ in the ‘finished’ work of redemption} hath great recompense of reward. 36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. 37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. 38 Now the just shall live by faith {in the complete remission of the sin penalty until He comes}: but if any man draw back {by returning to the corruptions of incompletion in the Mosaic Covenant}, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. 39 But we {truly ‘born again’ faith people} are not of them who draw back {by returning to the corruptions of incompletion in the Mosaic Covenant} unto perdition; but of them that believe {‘confidence’ in the ‘finished’ work of redemption} to the saving of the soul. 1 Now {continuing} faith {in the completion of the New Covenant sacrifice of Christ} is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 10:35-11:1).

The words “fall away” of Hebrews 6:6 are translated from the Greek word parapipto (par-ap-ip’-to), which means to deviate from the right path, to turn aside or away.  The idea is the abandonment of the right path for a wrong path.  The subject of the verse is faith in the “finished” (completed) redemptive work of Christ.  Therefore, God is warning about choosing a pathway of faith that is disallowed or rejected by God.  To do so is to put oneself in the position of potential reprobation. 

The words “draw back” in Hebrews 10:38 are translated from the Greek word hupostello (hoop-os-tel’-lo), which means withdraw or to shun.  It is a warning to those considering returning to Mosaic Covenant Sacerdotalism of incompletion with its constant sacrifices and rituals.  The warning is severe.  Returning to the abrogated sacrifices, rituals, and authority of the Levitical priesthood of the Mosaic Covenant as a basis of faith is in fact withdrawing from the “way” in Christ in the Gospel. 

1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions {not of this world}: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you {not of this world}. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. 5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”(John 14:1-6).

To choose the pathway of incompletion purported by the Judaizers trying to get Christians to adopt and adapt Mosaic Covenant practices and authorities should not be considered as another pathway of equal opportunity.  It is, in fact, a pathway of “perdition.”  This word “perdition” in Hebrews 10:39 is from the Greek word apoleia (ap-o’-li-a).  It refers to utter destruction.  It refers to the destruction that consists of eternal misery in hell.  To return to faith in the Mosaic Covenant and its innumerable sacrifices, that by the very nature of their repetition, is equal to rejecting the New Covenant sacrifice of completion (Colossians 2:10).

However, apparently, there were still the “those” (Hebrews 6:4) and the “they” and the “them” (Hebrews 6:6) who abandoned the New Covenant, and all that it offered, to continue in the old corrupted ways of the Mosaic Covenant.  Thus, the damming doctrine of legalism entered in to the Church of Christ reducing the ordinances of the church into sacraments in imitation of the sacrificial and sacerdotal system of the Mosaic Covenant.  Continued trust in this Mosaic Covenant, which merely looked forward in anticipation of the coming Messiah who would once for all provide a complete and finished work of redemption in the New Covenant, is actually a serious manifestation of unbelief.  Incompletion and completion are obviously not equals. 
The word “once” in Hebrews 6:4 is from the Greek word hapax (hap’-ax).  This word is better translated “once for all.”  It refers to something done so thoroughly that it never needs repetition.  The emphasis is on completion as opposed to incompletion. 

The hypothetical in “partakers of the Holy Ghost” (Hebrews 6:4); the “those,” the “they” and the “them” had at one time cooperated with the Holy Spirit in His pre-salvation ministry in bringing them to an understanding of the facts of New Covenant faith (the “way”).  Some were about to return to the incomplete way.  Although there were some who had “tasted of the good word of God,” they did not retain their faith in the New Covenant completion (Hebrews 6:5).  The word “tasted” is equal to someone having a sense of the flavor of the New Covenant, but who rejected that taste.  Returning to Sacerdotalism and sacrificial rituals was equated with spitting out the New Covenant truths of completion and rejecting Christ.  

According to Hebrews 6:6, returning to the incompletion of the Mosaic Covenant sacrifices and practices was equal to falling away from New Covenant faith.  Doing so was an act of unbelief, revealing that the faith they professed was not saving faith at all.  Doing what they were thinking of doing was equal to rejecting  Christ’s “finished” Cross-work and outwardly putting Jesus to “open shame.”  This shame of incompletion was continually holding Jesus up for public disgrace.  The Cross was a place of shame and disgrace.  The crucifixion disgraced the Name of Jesus.  However, the disgrace Christ bore was our disgrace.  Returning to incomplete sacrifices in the Mosaic Covenant, or to the abrogated authority of the Levitical priesthood, was equal to renouncing faith in Christ.  

Participation in any sacramental service is a testimony of unbelief.  That is why it is “impossible . . . to renew them again unto repentance” (Hebrews 6:8) because they have, in fact, been rejected by God for their unbelief.  This warning of reprobation does not apply to those that participate in complete ignorance.  To reject Christ can simply be to deny his “finished” work by false practices.  The ordinances we practice must correspond in their portrayal of the New Covenant faith or the practitioners thereby declare themselves “anathema” before God.  Doing so forever curses and condemns them for this wicked act of unbelief.  Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it” (Hebrews 4:1).

Church Age believers must understand that there will be another Temple built in Jerusalem prior to the second coming of Christ.  This Temple will be built just before the Tribulation, or at least before the middle of the seven year Tribulation on Earth.  In May of 2018, Benjamin Netanyahu introduced his plans for this third Temple to be built adjacent to the Dome of the Rock on the thirty-five acre Temple Mount site.  Plans for building of this Third Temple along with a Temple Museum will put three main structures on the thirty-five acre Temple Mount site;  the Dome of the Rock, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the new third Temple yet to be constructed. 

And when these things {the things listed in Luke 21:20-26} begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your {Israel’s} redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).

10 Called of God an high priest {referring to Jesus} after the order of Melchisedec. 11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered {difficult to explain in words}, seeing ye are dull of hearing {lazy/sluggish/resisting listeners}. 12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers {ministering priests}, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles {the elementary fundamentals} of the oracles {logion; utterances} of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful {inexperienced and ignorant} in the word of righteousness {most probably referring to the understanding of the doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith alone in the ‘finished’ work of redemption in Christ alone}: for he is a babe {nepios; yet unable to speak; who does not understand}. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age {teleios, full maturity} even those who by reason {though the medium of habit or practice of teaching and applying the Word of God} of use have their senses {the mind as an organ of perception and judgment} exercised {trained or disciplined} to discern {a judicial estimation thereby making a clear decision about what is} both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:10-14).

Hebrews 5:1-4 defines the qualifications of an earthly priesthood, of which only exists in the priesthood of all believers today.  Hebrews 5:1 deals with Jesus as the “High Priest” of the priesthood of all Church Age believers.  The general priesthood is not the emphasis in this text.  Although most of the job description and qualifications apply to all believer-priests, only Jesus offered Himself as the sacrifice for sin.  What are the qualifications defined in Hebrews 5:1-4 of the “High Priest” that also define the priorities of all His order of priests under His supervision?

1. “Taken from among men” (5:1)
2. “Ordained” (appointed) for men (5:1)
3. To be occupied with “things pertaining to God” (God’s will first; 5:1)
4. Offers “both gifts and sacrifices for sins” (man’s needs second; 5:1)
5. Must maintain a balanced compassion and understanding for sinners, without being lenient about sin; gentleness when dealing with sinners, but not permissiveness (5:2).
6. Must be graciously conscious of the frailty and failures of his humanity while being willing to recognize these frailties and failures and deal with them before God (5:3).
7. The High Priest must be called of God (as required of all priests; Ephesians 4:1).  The position of priest is not for the purpose of self-promotion or self-glory (5:4).

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Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

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