I put on my best black suit and the silky black tie that grandpa gave me years ago. Then I picked up my Bible, a graduation gift, from grandpa, again! Grandpa has such a great influence on me throughout my life, almost second to none. In fact, I was a bit surprised to find myself so calm and peaceful in responding to his passing away.
It was so quiet in the chapel; I was here really early. I want to be alone and indulge in the past memories, the good old days that I spent with grandpa. I felt so comforting just by looking at him, lying in the walnut coffin that I picked, as a token of my love and my last gift to him. On the side of the coffin was this tribute carved in mother of pearl, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
Grandpa was a hero and a spiritual giant to me. I could still remember vividly all the treasure moments that absolutely left a legacy in my life. He brought up all his kids according to the Biblical principles and babysat all his grandchildren. Grandpa was a faithful prayer warrior; he woke up early in the morning just to pray and do his devotion, and set a very good example for his descendants to follow. He spent a long time interceding for everyone, until he got Alzheimer, however, he still insisted on praying. He was very serious about Sunday worship; I should admit that I picked this up from him. He would start preparing himself early Sunday morning, put on his best suit, well-groomed, prayed and read his Bible, slipped a stack of bills into the offering envelope, tucked in his big black Bible, then headed off to church. He always insisted on paying his more than 10% tithe. Grandpa had such a strong faith that even if he did not have enough, he would still give it to God first. He always said, “Give what belongs to God first, lest you will keep everything to yourself!”
When the organist started to play “Sweet by and by”, I just could not resist my urge to read this love note again, an important message and last words from grandpa,
“To all my beloved grandchildren,
There is a time for everything, and I know now is the time for me to go home. It is very difficult for me, especially seeing all of you turning a new page in life, Linda and Brandon started to have a family, Johannes just got his solicitor status, Willy and Alyssa will enter University…For sure you will all encounter hardships, but ‘suffering is temporal, and rewards are eternal’; set aside all your cares and be patient to wait upon our Lord. Stay tight in your mission and hold on to your vision from God. What concerned me most is I cannot intercede for you anymore, but there is one who is more capable and caring than me, and His intercession will never stop. He is our living High Priest, so turn your eyes upon Jesus and press on with the upward calling. My dear, don’t feel sad for my departure; we will meet each other in a much better place. Jesus said, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies…” Keep up the good race till we meet. Until then, fight the good fight for Jesus!
With affections, Grand Pop”
Your Initial Response
Do you have this faith that Jesus is living in your heart so that you can face tomorrow? Hebrews 7:25
25Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. (Hebrews 7:25 NIV)
19Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus,
20by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body,
21and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
22let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,
25not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
26If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,
27but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
28Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
29How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?
30For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”
31It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:19–31 NIV)
1) “Eye” (“i=Eye”)
iEXP Bible Study Method
1 Draw a question mark at the place where you have difficulty of understanding.
2 Refer to other translations and come up with some new insights.
3 19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the__________ of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the __________, that is, his __________,…(Fill in the blanks)
4 Number the things that believers should do in ascending order (Heb. 10:22-25).
5 Number the things that believers should not do in ascending order (Heb. 10:26-29).
“2) “Expound” (E)
iEXP Bible Study Method
The identity and status of Jesus Christ are superior to the angels, Moses and all human high priests, because He was not only the eminent messenger and the originator of the law, but He was the Creator, Ruler and Saviour of all humankind. Those who believe Jesus Christ, they all have an eminent and unique identity in Christ, thus as Christians, believers should highly regard and live out their identity.
1 Why was Jesus Christ able to save the ones who trusted Him completely (Heb. 7:25)?
2 Why could the believers enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus Christ (Heb. 10:19)?
3 What does “having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water” mean (Heb. 10:22)?
4 What day is “the Day” (Heb. 10:25)?
5 Why did the author have to warn his readers so sternly (Heb. 10:26-31)?
In Hebrews 7:11-28, the author pointed out that Jesus Christ was the most eminent high priest. The Lord Jesus possessed the office of a high priest, and it was perfect (Heb. 7:11-14), eternal (Heb. 7:15-19) and sacred (Heb. 7:20-24). Furthermore, the author exhaustively introduced to his readers this high priest who was superior to all human ones. He wanted them to know who He was and what He did (Heb. 7:25-28).
Jesus Christ not only possesses all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18), but He is also the eternal living high priest who unceasingly prays for all believers. This high priest has the power to save those who belong to Him completely.
By employing the tabernacle and the offerings of the Old Testament, the author exhorted these Hebrew believers who Jesus Christ was (Heb. 10:19-25). He changed his manner of speaking afterwards, and warned his readers sternly (Heb. 10:26-31).
The chief building of the tabernacle was comprised of the holy place and the most holy place, and there was a veil separating the two enclosures; the high priest could only enter the most holy place with offering once a year. In the era of Moses, the high priest sprinkled the blood of an animal on the mercy seat, symbolizing great redemption of Yahweh, covering the sins of humankind (Lev. 16:1-20). In the New Testament times, Jesus Christ was the offering for humankind. He offered Himself once for all and became the basis of redemption for all sinners (Rom. 3:25; Heb. 9:11-14; Eph. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:18-19). “Confidence” (NIV) can be translated as “boldness” (NKJV). Owing to the fact that the blood of Christ washed away human sins, believers could boldly enter the most place, that is, God’s presence. By using words that were full of the Old Testament’s literary flavor and pictures, it was the author’s endeavor to convince his readers that the blood of Christ was superior to the Old Testament animal offerings.
When the Lord Jesus breathed his last on the cross, the veil of the Temple was torn into two halves (Mark 15:38). The Lord Jesus has provided a new and living way for all believers now. The torn apart veil was a symbol of the body of Lord Jesus who was torn apart for sinners, and thus those who belonged to Him could enter straight into God’s presence. Jesus Christ was the most eminent high priest that God has ever established; He prepared a way which led to God for humankind which all human high priests had not done before.
“Having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience” (Lev. 14:7) and “having our bodies washed with pure water” (Lev. 14:9) are imageries of a priest. As for the dispersed Jews, both spiritual and physical cleansing was recognised as a need. Some Bible expositors reckon “having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience” as baptism, and other scholars regard it as the cleansing process which people surrender themselves to God physically and spiritually. Owing to the eminent work of this high priest Jesus Christ, the author kindly reminded the believers that they should draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith. The author continued to say, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” (NKJV) In simple terms, the above confession which contained hope not only was the truth recognised by the believers, but it was also God’s promise as well. Therefore, they should believe in it earnestly.
“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works” (NKJV); owing to the fact that his readers had already accepted the above confession as their faith, the author moved on to remind believers that they should care and urged one another, so that they would produce love and good works.
“The Day approaching” is the second coming of Jesus Christ. As believers are members of the same body of Christ, they should care for one another and function as the body of Christ. Furthermore, believers should meet together diligently, for the second coming of Jesus Christ was nearer when they first became believers.
In the Old Testament, sin can be of two categories; namely, deliberate sins and unintentional sins (Num. 15:22-29; 15:30-36). The former sins can be pardoned by God, and the latter ones are unpardonable. God has already revealed that Jesus Christ is the only sin offering; therefore, anyone who denies this means of redemption, God will not have any other sacrifice for them.
The author quoted the revelation according to the Old Testament, first of all, he pointed out that God’s judgment was dreadful (cf. Ps. 79:5; Eze. 36:5; Zep. 1:18); that is, if people intentionally denied the salvation established by Jesus Christ, judgment were unavoidable for them. The author quoted the Old Testament teachings again, stating that two or three witnesses could put a person to death (Deu. 17:6-7; 19:15). He followed by saying, if a person denied the salvation of God’s Son, the consequence of this person would be dreadful. A person who firmly denied Jesus Christ as the high priest that established the salvation of humankind has already committed the sins as follows: 1. intentionally trampled the Son of God under foot; 2. intentionally treated the precious blood as an unholy thing; 3. intentionally denied the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and it was a great insult to God’s Spirit. Finally, the author referred to Deuteronomy 32:35-36, stated that God was the Lord who was going to execute judgment, and it is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb. 10:31).
Jesus Christ has already accomplished the salvation of humankind and this most eminent high priest has already led those trusted in Him to God’s presence. The author not only anticipated his readers could reaffirm their previous confession, but would also expect them to live a life worthy of the calling they had received.
3) “Exercise” (X)
iEXP Bible Study Method
1 After hearing, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the consequence for those who intentionally reject it is horrifying (Heb. 10:26-31).
2 In the former days, the author reminded his readers to meet regularly, and this is also the practice that believers should keep nowadays (Heb. 10:25).
3 Memorise Hebrews 7:25.
Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
4 Solely trust in the work and name of Jesus Christ, believers can draw close to God directly (Heb. 10:19).
5 Learn to show concern and take care other people, and manifest Christian love and the good works of a believer with practical actions (Heb. 10:24-25).
4) “Proclaim” (P)
By applying the biblical truths to their lives, believers would experience God. When the Bible students experience God and His truths, they should follow the example of the early Christians of testifying to non-believers and believers boldly. By means of speech, we witness to non-believing friends and to edify believers alike. The fourth step of the iEXP Bible study is “Proclaim”.
iEXP Bible Study Method
After finished studying the text, try to apply the truths to your daily living, family life and church life, and pray that you will experience the truthfulness and power of God’s Word. Grab the opportunity to share your experience with non-believers and believers, in family altar, small groups and social gatherings, as a way of witnessing the power of the gospel to non-believers and edification of believers.