Paul's Passing Thoughts

Hebrews: Church Advocates a False Faith and Hope in Things Presently Seen

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on December 6, 2017

Hebrews

In regard to TANC Ministries, the more we seek, research, and find, the more we realize the scriptures speak to the exact same issues we experience in our day. Truly, there is no new thing under the sun.

In the book of Hebrews, we find the answers to what is wrong with the institutional church, or simply, “church” period. Church is an institution, and all institutions are predicated on authority in general and top-down authority in particular.

What is the primary problem Hebrews is addressing? Specifically, Christians holding to the New Covenant in that day were being severely persecuted by those advocating salvation under the Old Covenant or “first covenant.” But remember, they were also misrepresenting the first covenant to begin with. Nevertheless, the Hebrew writer cuts to the chase and articulates the differences and purposes of the two covenants and thereby ending the argument altogether. Christians holding to the second covenant were being tempted to return to the institutional law-based religions of that day which included the mystery and knowledge cults. A “cult” is specifically defined as any religion that combines faith with authority which is predicated on law and not faith. And remember, that entails the law being interpreted by those in authority to begin with. Individual conscience is therefore made completely irrelevant.

A cardinal point: the first covenant wasn’t of faith or promise, but law, which isn’t of faith. The temple religion of that time made the law a present-day fulfillment of God’s purposes when the law was really a will that was executed by Christ containing future unseen promises. Also, very key, this authority based, law based, religion always advocates the kingdom of God being presently on earth competing against the other kingdoms of this world. Instead of “looking for a future homeland,” it is a kingdom-now mentality. You may correlate law with authority, and the notion that hope and faith cling to present-day law-based things that are seen as apposed to a future hope unseen and not yet obtained.

We see this problem throughout the scriptures; people want a kingdom-now authority that they can see, touch, and feel. “Faith” is based on something tangible that we have now, and don’t need to patiently wait for. These false faiths create doubt and fear while offering themselves as a law-based sure bet IF we do this, that, or the other.

Perhaps the best example is the Catholic Church which emphasizes splendid material criteria that woes the senses. Forget faith, trust is put in a materialistic experience and face to face interaction with intimidating religious authorities. Comfort is found in the seen, not the unseen. Furthermore, people will buy into any belief system that supplies this kingdom-now experience based on what is presently seen, felt, and experienced. Instead of patiently waiting to see faith face to face embodied in Christ, people clamor about to find hope in men who claim to be everything Christ is by proxy. Why do people like conversation about Christ making appearances at Benny Hinn conferences and other conversations of the like? They want to base their faith on what they see right now, not the future promises inherited by the New Covenant.

Funny, this circumvents a true “personal” relationship with Christ and redefines it as obeying (being persuaded) men/women we can presently see, touch, and feel, and therefore, we will believe anything they proclaim. A so-called personal relationship with Christ is really “submitting to ‘men of God.'”

God’s kingdom is supposedly on earth now, though Christ is presently not here sitting on David’s throne in Jerusalem, and the kingdom is being run by multiple priests who offer absolution through the institutional church. This is the same gargantuan lie that the Hebrew writer addressed.

Hebrews 7:23 – The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, 24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. 26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. 28 For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.

Scholars of the church like to cite Hebrews 7:25 and other versus to make their case for a perpetual forgiveness of sin found only in the church. Supposedly, faithfulness to the church reapplies Christ’s death to present sin. This equals Christ partaking in a ministry of ongoing “intercession.” This requires action by us that facilitates ongoing forgiveness of sin according to Christs continuing ministry of intercession. But the point in context is Christ’s eternal life which negates the need for multiple priests (who die and need to be replaced) and subsequent offerings for sin through some religious system that continues blood sacrifices or reapplies Christ’s original sacrifice. In other words, Christ’s life is a permanent intercession that guarantees the ending of sin. Because He lives eternally, His one-time sacrifice has eternal benefits because He is eternal. And the specific benefit is the ending of sin and its condemnation.

This is in contrast to what Catholicism and Protestantism teaches. The church, and its multiple priests, or pastors, or bishops, or whatever you want to call them, mediate an ongoing salvation from present sin through the “means of grace.” The word “grace” is church-speak for “salvation.” Hence, supposedly, Christ continues to intercede for those who place themselves under the authority of the church and its “covenants.” This is merely a variation of the law-based system that the Hebrews writer is railing against.

To further this point, Hebrews states that the sacrificial system of the first covenant was attended by Levitical priests through the law, and not God’s oath promising an eternal priest.

Hebrews 7:11 – Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? 12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. 13 For the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. 15 This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, 16 who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is witnessed of him, “You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.” 18 For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness 19 (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. 20 And it was not without an oath. For those who formerly became priests were made such without an oath, 21 but this one was made a priest with an oath by the one who said to him: “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, ‘You are a priest forever.’” 22 This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant. 23 The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, 24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

Interestingly, Protestantism holds to the idea that Christ’s ministry and priesthood was a fulfillment of the law according to Matthew 5:17, but the law never made anything perfect, and Christ is an eternal priest according to God’s oath, not the law. More than likely, Christ is talking about the “law of the Spirit of life” (Romans 8:2) which fulfills the law by loving God and others. In other words, the use of the law in sanctification, not a righteousness or priesthood based on the “law of sin and death” which is the first covenant (2 Corinthians 3:3-11). Protestantism is clearly based on a fulfillment of the first covenant which is predicated on law and not “Promise” before the law (Galatians 3) and God’s oath after the law (Hebrews 7). The first covenant was based on a mortal priesthood, not an eternal one. Christ entered the heavenly sanctuary once and for all with His blood offering which is a once and for all eternal offering ending all sin. Consequently, there is no more offering for sin, and this would include a reapplication of the original offering.

Hebrews 10:11 – And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified [set apart]. 15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, 16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,” 17 then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” 18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

Note, how many of our sins are forgiven? If the answer is “all,” then there remains no offering for sin, not even a reapplication of Christ’s one offering. It is also interesting that He sat down on the right side of the Father which would seem to indicate a finishing of any salvific work. His next work will be to put all enemies under His feet. The problem with the idea of continuing forgiveness follows: it will lead to willful sin because if continuing sacrifices to atone for sin are needed, the inevitability of sin is assumed, and a lax attitude towards keeping the law will ensue because it will be covered by a weekly trip to the temple. Hence, while sin is proliferated, there is no sacrifice left for it.

Hebrews 10:26 – For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?

This might be a good place for an aside regarding how scripture is often handled in these matters.

Hebrews 12:1 – Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Verses like this are used to prove a monergistic sanctification in which the “believers” only role is a perpetual revisiting to the same gospel that saved us…for “present sin.” If we do this, that, or the other, Jesus, who began our faith, will perfect it or “finish” it. But in light of Hebrews 10:14, what is this verse really saying?

“For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified [set apart].”

It is saying that the perfection of our saving faith was complete at the beginning of our salvation, not at the end of a salvific process totally apart from any of our efforts.

Seemingly out of nowhere, after the Hebrew writer addresses these issues, he launches into the following: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation.”

I believe the point here is what I originally stated in the introduction of this post: institutional religious authority is about the tangible here and now, and a lame man-centered authoritative kingdom. Instead of really trusting in the finished work of Christ, people are trusting in lofty rituals that atone for so-called present sin…that condemns because it is all based on the first covenant of law with the New Covenant supposedly fulfilling its “righteous demands.”

Instead of propagating the gathering together to give offerings for present sin, the Hebrew writer exhorts us to do the following:

Hebrews 10:24 – And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

“The Day” is our glorification when we are freed from our mortal bodies. And this adds another interesting note from the Hebrew writer:

“And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”

Note that there is a salvation that has nothing to with “sin.” This is the salvation of the body, or “redemption.” Confusion over biblical words and what they mean in context plays into this whole false idea of progression justification and a future completion of salvation. If salvation is future, and in order to complete salvation “present sin” must be dealt with, a sacrifice is necessarily required. Therefore, sin is ended for the believer, but any soteriology that propagates present sin requires a multiplicity of mortal priests and denies the eternal priesthood of Christ. This is one of the cardinal points of Hebrews.

Moreover, the use of the word “sin” in context of believers must be discussed as well. Here, “sin” is not sin. When the Bible uses the word sin, is it in context of condemnation, or a failure to fulfill the law through love by the believer? In all soteriology where salvation is a “process,” there will be a single perspective on the word sin; the perspective of condemnation, or specifically, “under law.” What then, is this advocacy or intercession in regard to the “sin” of true believers? It is NOT reconciliation for present sin that condemns, but the testimony by our Eternal Priest that His one-time sacrifice ended sin forever.

Hebrews 7:15 – And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, 16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. 17 For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. 18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. 19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God. 20 And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest: 21 (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:) 22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. (KJV)

The power of His endless life is the advocacy or intercession, not a reapplication of His sacrifice; for no more sacrifice remains for sin because sin is no more because Christ lives as opposed to the priests under the first covenant.

Now we must recognize something else as well: a class of priests in any religion must correlate with the first covenant. We must know this: top-down ecclesiastical authority always beckons to the first covenant because the two are inseparable. This is because one Eternal Priest ended the former priesthood, and any priesthood associated with mortal priests who speak for God (as is their very own testimony) must be associated with the first covenant. This association is also confirmed by a multiplicity of priests as opposed to one. ALL institutions claiming authority by mortal men MUST be associated with the first covenant.

This is in contrast to how the new birth changes the priesthood. Instead of any building made with hands in which forgiveness of present sin is found, the body of every believer is now the temple of God (actually, the Holy of Holies) and every believer is the priest of their own temple charged with using their body to offer up living sacrifices to God (for anyone remotely familiar with the Bible, it is not necessary to cite the numerous verses stating this). Each priest serves according to individual gifts granted to them by the Holy Spirit; we are a holy nation of priests unified in one body by the one mind of Christ. It is a cooperation of equally important gifts, not a submission to earthly authority.

Again, all institutional authorities must be necessarily categorized under the first covenant and the ill use of it presently. The present application of it is wrong enough, but a wrong use of its original intent is also in play. The law never made anyone righteous or even declared them righteous, but was a standard for sin to which all sin is imputed. Then when Christ came to end the law, sin was ended (“taken away”) with it. Because of this, there is no sacrifice or left for sin because there is no sin. ANY notion of sacrifice or the reapplication of a sacrifice through ritual denotes an empowerment of sin rather than the power of Christ’s Eternal Priesthood:

“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

But if we need a priesthood for present sin, our work for the Lord is in vain because we are unable to do any good work. Continually, we hear church scholars reminding us that “all of our works are as filthy rags.” And even if we were able to please the Lord, this would be a risky investment in time as opposed to dealing with present sin that supposedly removes us from grace. Is it any wonder that the grand focus of church is the support of its temples and Levitical priests?

In contrast, the pinnacle of Hebrews follows:

“Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.”

This describes the first covenant. What is more obvious to this charge than the contrary function of church with its incessant call to preach the gospel to ourselves every day, and its constant clamoring for repentance? Do people really find encouragement at church to stir up good works? Hardly, that is labeled as “a righteousness of our own.”

Let us now move forward away from the elementary principles of the first covenant, and the mutilation of its original intent to loving God and others with all of our hearts, souls, and minds. This is the focus of the second covenant, not a focus on sin that no longer enslaves us with its horde of mortal priests.

Because only truth sanctifies (John 17:17).

paul

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6 Responses

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  1. John said, on December 6, 2017 at 1:49 PM

    Yes, Paul, thanks. Some profound stuff.

    Isn’t it weird how Calvinists twist everything? I once sat through a 90-minute long “sermon” (indoctrination) of how “we” (I still don’t know who the “we” were exactly, but it’s not too difficult to guess) knew for certain that Paul was the writer of Hebrews, as though the whacked-out pastor had received an email from heaven.

    So, when the entire herd of dumb sheep then believed that Paul was indeed the undisputed writer of Hebrews, it was so much easier to link the verses that “prove” Calvinism from books written by Paul to certain sections of Hebrews, because “there are no contradictions in Scripture and the Doctrines of Grace (whatever that even means) have been in Scripture all the time. It took the Reformation to reveal it to us.”

    We must keep in mind that although they are 100% incorrect about Paul and Calvinism, they worship Paul and see him as a Calvinist “champion”, and so to get him to be the author of Hebrews made/makes it so much easier to lead to dumb, dumb sheep to the slaughter, two by two (Andy’s sheep).

    In general, their progressive justification fairy tale is almost like traveling through life in a vehicle (a Hummer or Merc, obviously) that has zero gas in the tank and then in the end (which is now the one and only Reformed judgement of all people) Jesus will show up with a 20 gallon tank of gas. Nothing about it makes sense.

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  2. Barbara said, on December 8, 2017 at 6:03 AM

    Oh wow Paul you are so right! For sometime I’ve considered Hebrews 10:25 a verse for those choosing to leave the institutional church. It is not to get people to go to church out of guilt. This popular verse is used commonly by the controlling authorities in institutional religious establishments. Just as it was back then, it is today. This verse is God’s instruction for believers to continue on in this manner meeting together in mostly homes. We need each other to “make us strong and encourage others to love.”

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  3. John said, on December 8, 2017 at 2:00 PM

    Barbara, “How dare you leave the church! You’re breaking God’s ‘command’ in Hebrews 10:25.” That was the first thing I heard (the wonderful curse put on me was the second thing) when I fled from the “church” I had occasionally visited, the place that was hijacked by Calvinists in a matter of a week. I had never signed anything; was never a member, and had never even attended their weird extracurricular weirdness such as peddling Paul Washer (the man’s man) DVDs in the car park, putting down women, telling women what to wear because some men (if not most of them) had sex on the brain, and passing around “manly” stuff that would make you a Godly man (by whose standards? MacArthur and the blasphemer Sproul’s, of course).

    After I left, my son visited the Calvinist job’s youth afternoon in an attempt (which worked) to get his now-fiancée out of that lot’s clutches. Two things: The new MacArthur Seminary “pastor” had started sending her personal messages before this meeting and after. She told him to go to hell or . . . Oh, and this “pastor” had a friend who was also a pastor, and this second pastor’s wife openly flirted with my son. Well, you can guess the rest. My son is like I am. And still the poor girl received the Hebrews 10:25 twisting of Scripture. Today, my son and his fiancée are having their weekly home fellowship at no particular time or day.

    So, yes, that verse has been programmed into every single Calvinist/Reformed/Protestant/Lutheran person out there. Weren’t you programmed too to believe that? But how does it feel to be free, Barbara?

    Thanks to my nature, I never bought that Hebrews line the way these deceivers had twisted it.

    You’re right. They use it as a guilt-tripping trick to get your money back into their pockets; to control your every move, and to invade your home; yes, even your bedroom affairs. And to threaten you with expulsion from heaven with their imaginary keys.

    So, yes, here at TANC, I’ve experienced nothing but love and thoroughly researched and articles that make sense. At one stage, I thought my son and I were the only people in the world who realized the truth about Calvinism until I came across this site and its colorful characters.

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    • Andy Young, PPT contributing editor said, on December 8, 2017 at 3:05 PM

      One of these days we must get you, your son, and his fiance out to Xenia, OH for an extended vacation! What a family reunion that would be!!!

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      • John said, on December 8, 2017 at 5:39 PM

        It has crossed my mind, don’t you worry. I’ll make silly jokes, confuse people while my daughter-in-law (by then) can make sure that we eat correctly (dietician); she also prepares lovely dishes, and my son will keep an eye to make sure everything is above board (auditor). But of course, everything will be above board, so he can help his wife or give some financial advice or chat to John Immel. Two geniuses in one place.

        Now tell me, Andy, how far removed is our talk from the EVIL men’s ideas? Not even in the same universe. I’d love to meet you guys in person. Skype does not do me justice. It makes me appear intelligent.

        Nothing beats family, especially family in Christ.

        Blessings!

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      • Andy Young, PPT contributing editor said, on December 8, 2017 at 6:03 PM

        “how far removed is our talk from the EVIL men’s ideas?”

        It’s like breathing the fresh air!

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