Life-Study of Hebrewsby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In chapter twelve we have the fifth and final warning in the book of Hebrews. This book has a special arrangement. It has five main teachings, and with each teaching there is a warning. Three of the warnings come after the teachings (3:7-4:13; 10:19-39; 12:1-29), and two are inserted into the teachings (2:1-4; 5:11-6:20). All of chapter twelve is a warning which follows the teaching given in chapter eleven. This warning tells us to run the race and not to fall away from grace. The race needs the grace, and the grace is sufficient for the race.
Before we consider the matter of falling from grace, I would like to say a further word concerning the race. In chapters ten and twelve we have three synonymous terms. In 10:20 we have the “new and living way” and in 12:1 we have the race. As we have seen, the race is the way on which we are running. If we are walking, the way remains a way, but once we begin to run, the way becomes the race. The third of these synonymous terms is paths (12:13). The living way, the race, and the paths all point to the same thing. The way on which we walk should be the race we are running, and the race should be the paths. Whether we call it the race, the way, or the paths, the meaning is the same.
Perhaps you are wondering why both the way and the race are singular while the paths are plural. This is like one freeway which has many sections. The many sections are many paths.
The way in 10:20 is the way to enter into the Holy of Holies, and the race in 12:1 is for reaching the goal and obtaining the reward. In 12:13 we see that on this highway into the Holy of Holies and toward God’s goal, there are paths, and that these paths must be straight, not having any curves. Some Christians have weak ankles. If their way is not made straight, they will fall away because their ankles are weak. Hence, we must make straight paths that their ankles would not be put out of joint, that is, be dislocated or wrenched, but rather be healed.
To remain in the Holy of Holies is to continue the running of the race. According to our experience, whenever we exercise our mind to compromise a little, we can sense deep within our spirit that we are away from God’s presence, that we are no longer in the Holy of Holies. Immediately, our way of contacting God is no longer straight; it has become curved. This curve leads us away from the Holy of Holies, away from the ark of testimony, the hidden manna, the budding rod, and the tables of the testimony. Although at the beginning we may be only a short way off from the Holy of Holies, eventually we find that we are a great distance away.
Our race must eventually be in the Holy of Holies. If we are running the race only in the outer court, we are too shallow. We must run our race in the Holy of Holies. Perhaps you are thinking that the Holy of Holies is too small an area in which to run a race. Yes, in the tabernacle it was a cube only ten cubits in length, width, and height (Exo. 26:8, 16). In the temple it became twenty cubits in length, width, and height (1 Kings 6:20). Eventually, in the New Jerusalem it will be twelve thousand stadia in length, width, and height (Rev. 21:16). The cubical dimensions of the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle and in the temple and of the New Jerusalem signify the completeness of God’s eternal being. From any direction, God is perfect and complete. His completeness and perfection is eternal, unlimited.
The more we run, the larger the Holy of Holies becomes, expanding from the tabernacle, to the temple, and ultimately to the New Jerusalem. When we first run the race in the tabernacle, it is ten cubits. As we continue to run, it becomes twenty cubits in the temple and twelve thousand stadia in the New Jerusalem. When we run the race in eternity, we shall discover that it is eternally spacious. This is very meaningful.
We can never exhaust the race in the Holy of Holies. I have been running the race for many years, and the more I run, the longer, wider, and higher the Holy of Holies becomes. For the young people, the Holy of Holies in which they are running may be just ten cubits long, wide, and high. After they have been running the race for a number of years, it will be much larger. When we enter into eternity, we shall see that the whole city of New Jerusalem, which is the same in each of its three dimensions, is the Holy of Holies. Today our continual race is in the Holy of Holies, and the paths of this continual race must be made straight. In order to make the paths straight, we must have grace. We must run the race and not fall away from grace. We need grace to run the race.
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