Life-Study of Hebrewsby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
We Christians today need to get into the book of Hebrews. I thank God that, under His sovereignty, there was such a group of staggering Hebrew Christians in the first century. Without them, the book of Hebrews probably never would have come into existence. Do not think that the book of Hebrews was only for them. We need this book today much more than they needed it in their time. In the past eleven messages we have been on chapters seven, eight, and nine. If I were to ask you to write a conclusion to these chapters, you may find it quite difficult. But at the end of chapter nine the book of Hebrews itself gives us a summary, a conclusion, of these three chapters. This conclusion is the very matter which we shall cover in this message—Christ’s two manifestations and the interval between them. These three things, Christ’s two manifestations and the interval, compose God’s economy.
It has been difficult for many Christians to understand the true significance of Christ’s two manifestations. The two manifestations of Christ refer to His two comings. Christ has come once and He will come again. During the long period between the two manifestations of Christ to the world, He remains in the presence of God. Nearly two thousand years have passed since Christ’s first manifestation. Although this is a long time as far as we are concerned, to Him it is less than two days (2 Pet. 3:8). We need to see the significance of the two manifestations of Christ and the interval between them.
Before Christ’s first manifestation, there were God’s plan, God’s promise, and a type, a picture, of God’s economy, but besides God’s creation nothing had been accomplished. When we build a meeting hall, we also may have a plan and a model of the building. However, simply having these things does not mean that there is an actual building. Before Christ’s incarnation, men like Abraham, Moses, and David had come and gone, but nothing had been accomplished for God’s economy. Although there was the model of the tabernacle with Moses and of the temple with Solomon, nothing real was accomplished until the first manifestation of Christ.
Christ took thirty-three and a half years to complete His first manifestation. During those thirty-three and a half years, everything necessary for the fulfillment of God’s purpose was accomplished. He accomplished what God needed and what we needed.
Christ’s first manifestation was for the putting away of sin. Verse 26 says that “once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested for the putting away of sin by His sacrifice.” The Greek words translated “consummation of the ages” may also be rendered the “completion of the ages” or “end of the ages.” Here it means the end of the old testament age, whereas the consummation of the age in Matthew 28:20 (Gk.) indicates the close of the church age. Christ “was foreordained” for us “before the foundation of the world” (1 Pet. 1:20), and He was “slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8). Actually, His being slain transpired once for all at the consummation of the ages, when He offered Himself to God in His first manifestation for the putting away of sin.
Christ put away sin about nineteen and a half centuries ago. Before He accomplished this, the priests offered the sin offering day after day. But that was not the actual putting away of sin; it was only a type, a picture. The real putting away of sin was accomplished once for all by Christ on the cross. Perhaps you were born just twenty or thirty years ago, and during your lifetime you have committed many sins, such as stealing and lying. But the putting away of sin was accomplished nineteen and a half centuries ago, long before you committed any sins. Hence, the putting away of sin is a bequest. Firstly, it was a promise; secondly, it was foreshadowed by the covering of sins; eventually, the promise and the shadow were completely fulfilled by Christ on the cross when He offered Himself as the sacrifice for sins once for all. He was “once offered to bear the sins of many” (9:28, 14; 10:12). Therefore, in the eyes of God, sin has gone and has become a history. Do not believe Satan, your feelings, or your failures. They are lies. You must tell them, “Sin was put away by Christ in His first manifestation.”
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