Life-Study of Hebrewsby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we come to a very sober and solemn portion of the book of Hebrews (10:19-39). Chapters seven, eight, nine, and the first eighteen verses of chapter ten are quite exciting. However, beginning with 10:19 the writer presents another warning. Many Christians do not understand what is covered in this warning. In this message we must see this matter clearly.
This warning, the fourth one in Hebrews, is a warning to come forward to the Holy of Holies and not to shrink back to Judaism. In chapter nine we saw the two tabernacles which symbolize two covenants and two ages. There is the danger of not coming forward to the second tabernacle but of shrinking back to the first. We must leave the first tabernacle, the first covenant, and the first age, and go on to enter into the second tabernacle, into the second age or dispensation. We must go on to the Holy of Holies, enter into the new covenant dispensation, and live in the new age. After presenting a complete picture of these things, the writer was very concerned that the Hebrew believers would not go on. Thus, he gave them a warning, telling them of the danger of shrinking back to Judaism and not coming forward to the new testament. He seemed to be saying, “Hebrew believers, come forward from where you are staggering. If you won’t come forward, you will be in danger of shrinking back.” Coming forward is in sharp contrast with shrinking back. It is a terrible thing to shrink back! Because shrinking back is such a dreadful thing, we must view this fourth warning in a very sober way.
Firstly, I would like to say a word about the phrase “come forward.” This phrase is used four times in Hebrews regarding three things. In 4:16 we are told to come forward to the throne of grace; in 7:25 and 11:6 we are told to come forward to God; and in 10:22 we are told to come forward to the Holy of Holies. In 10:22, of course, the phrase “Holy of Holies” must be in italics, because it is not found in the original Greek text. However, if you consider the context beginning from verse nineteen, you will see that the meaning certainly is to come forward to the Holy of Holies. The King James Version of 10:22 says to “draw near,” but it does not tell us what we are to draw near to. After much study, I have come to the conclusion that the best translation of the Greek word is not “come,” “draw near,” or “approach to” as some versions render it; it is “come forward.” We must come forward to the Holy of Holies, to the throne of grace, and to God Himself.
God is on the throne of grace, and the throne of grace is in the Holy of Holies. This is the scene of the new covenant age. Wherever we may be, we must come forward to the Holy of Holies, the throne of grace, and to God. When we do this, we come forward to the new age, to the new economy, dispensation, and administration in and through which God fulfills His purpose. God’s eternal purpose can only be fulfilled with God sitting on the throne of grace in the Holy of Holies in this new covenant age. Coming forward is not merely a matter of our salvation or even of our glorification; it is for the fulfillment of God’s eternal purpose. For us to be saved or glorified is a small thing, but for God’s eternal purpose to be accomplished is a tremendous matter. Thank God that He has included us in this. Our coming forward and enjoying the new testament is altogether for Him and His purpose. It is for Him to be expressed and for His eternal purpose to be accomplished. This requires four things: God on the throne, the throne of grace, the Holy of Holies, and the new covenant age. If any one of these four items is missing, it is impossible for God to accomplish His purpose. How serious this is!
Not only were the pagans and the heathen far away from these four things, but even the Judaizers who had the old covenant were far away from them. Moreover, many Christians today are also far off from these four items. Therefore, there is the call to come forward. We thank God that today the sky is crystal clear above us and we can understand that to come forward means to come forward to the Holy of Holies, to the throne of grace, and to God, and that this means we must come forward to the new covenant dispensation. Where are you? Are you still at the altar beholding the One crowned with thorns, or are you touching the throne of grace in the Holy of Holies gazing upon the One crowned with glory? How we need to come forward! Coming forward is the focal point of the book of Hebrews, and it is very crucial that we all see it. Once we see it, we should never depart from it.
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