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In this article we see ourselves confronted with the task of beginning to give our explanation of the terms in the verses 19 and 20. We read in these verses the following: “Having, therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, which He hath dedicated, a new and living way through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God.”

We notice, first of all, that the evident intention of the writer in this quoted passage is to state the reason, the ground as well as the incentive for giving heed to the admonition that we draw near unto God in the full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience.

It is well for the reader to take special notice of this intention of the writer to the Hebrew Christians.

For the purpose of this passage is to impress indelibly on our minds, that since we have such a glorious possession and right in Christ as believers, we can do nothing else but respond in the full assurance of faith. Every doubt and fear must give way for joyful and blessed peace and certainty. In this passage the very heart of the “word of faith that is preached” is very clearly stated in terms understood by every Hebrew believer.

Briefly, our text teaches the redemption that is ours through the blood of Jesus. God hath indeed spoken unto us in these last days through His Son Jesus Christ. Grace and truth have become a reality unto us in Him. Moses indeed gave the law, but Christ is made unto us wisdom of God, righteousness, sanctification and complete redemption. For Christ is the cornerstone, indeed rejected of men, but elect and precious unto God. Upon Him we are to place our trust. Doing this we shall never be moved!

That is the teaching of this passage in a nutshell.

It is true, that in our text different terms are employed by the writer than those that we have written in the former paragraph. The text uses terms and figures of speech which remind us very strongly of the symbolism of the Old Testament temple with its laws and ordinances. But this fact of different terminology does not in the least change matters as we have stated them in a former paragraph.

Let us take notice of the text in question.

The first matter that then strikes our attention is, that the writer addresses the readers as “brethren”. Now this term “brethren” certainly must not be taken to mean merely brethren according to the flesh. The writer is not a mere Hebrew addressing fellow-Hebrews. Such is never the case in the Word of God. In Christ there is exactly neither Jew nor Gentile, man nor woman, bond nor free. In Christ there is nothing that has any meaning except a new creature. Old things are indeed passed away and all things have become new. And, therefore, we may be very certain, that in the mind of the writer these addressees are those, who are born not out of bloods (commingling of many generations) nor of the will of the flesh, nor out of man, but of God. With the term “brethren” the writer acknowledges them to be joint-heirs with him, he addresses these Hebrew Christians as co-partakers of the new covenant in Christ’s blood. They are such by the faith of Jesus, believing in His name.

The term “brethren” indicates a reality of salvation in these addressees making it possible for the writer to admonish by saying: Let us draw near in the full assurance of faith. The writer does not place himself outside the circle of readers, but places himself in their midst as a fellow-partaker of the blessed and eternal hope in Christ.

It is well, that we bear this manner of address in mind, especially when we come to the implication of our “having boldness to enter into the holiest”: The question is: how does the writer view the hearers? And the answer is: as brethren!

But let us proceed.

We now come to the second element in this passage calling for attention. The element that calls for our attention is: what is the relationship of this admonition to boldly draw near unto God to the foregoing instruction of the writer in this epistle. This relationship is expressed in the word “therefore”. The term in Greek indicates, that this admonition to draw near unto God must needs follow from the instruction given in the first nine and one half chapters of Hebrews. Since all the foregoing is true, this drawing near unto God in true faith cannot remain undone. It is the necessary response of faith, that is energized by love—the love that is shed forth in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.

But what is that truth of the Gospel that impels faith to seek God in full assurance?

It is the wonderful truth, which God has spoken in these last days in His Son, which He has made a reality in the suffering and death, the resurrection and glorious ascension of the Mediator of the new covenant. Compare Hebrews 1:1.

Of this great mediatorial work of Christ the writer to the Hebrews gives us a wonderfully clear picture, which we can state briefly in the here following salient points. The first of these points is given us very clearly in Hebrews 1:1-18. Here we are very clearly and emphatically taught, that Jesus Christ is indeed the one of whom all the Scriptures speak. He is the subject concerning whom all the books of Moses, the Psalms and the prophets speak. His name is exalted above every name. No angel can ever compare with Him in power and glory. He alone has the distinction of sitting by God’s decree at the right hand of God in the heavens above. God has never said to any of the angels: Sit thou at my right hand until I make thy enemies thy footstool! But thus He indeed speaks to the Son in our flesh, who even in the flesh is the very effulgence of God’s glory, the expressed image of His being.

The second salient point, brought out by the writer of the Hebrews, is, that this Jesus, although He is Lord over all things in heaven and on earth, is nevertheless like unto us, His “brethren” in all things, sin excepted. He is the Son of God, to be sure, but He is the Son in our flesh. He was made like unto us in all things. Hence, He is not ashamed to call us “brethren”. Both He, Jesus, who sanctifies us, and we, the brethren, who are sanctified are all out of one, Adam. As far as the flesh is concerned, we are all out of one blood. This brings Him very near us. He was tempted of all things like as we are. However, in His temptation He never in any way was tempted of sin! A careful reading of Hebrews 2:1-18 will bear this out.

The third point, which is here worthy of separate mention, and which portrays to us the greatness of the High Priest, who is ours in the heavenly temple, is, that which the writer tells us in Hebrews 3:1-6. It is: that Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant is greater than Moses through whom the law is given. Moses indeed worked in the house of God, that is, in the church of God in the Old Testament. But he labored only as a servant in the house. He was very faithful, it is true, but he only labored as a servant. Jesus the Son of God in our flesh labored as the Builder of the house. He came in the flesh. He was obedient in the flesh and built the temple of His church in three days through His death and glorious resurrection. This did not Moses. Moses could not bring about grace. He is the law-giver. However, in Christ grace and truth have become a reality. He became unto us from God wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and complete redemption.

The fourth point, brought out by the writer of the Hebrews, is, that Jesus, since He is greater than Moses, is also greater than Aaron and the entire Old Testament priesthood. Jesus excels, according to the writer of the Hebrews, Aaron in the following respects: In the first place, Jesus’ priesthood excels that of Aaron in that it is not a priesthood following from a carnal commandment, that is, from a commandment stating that one must be born from Levi’s loins, but that it is a priesthood following from a word of oath. Christ is not a mere priest by the decree pertaining to the flesh and blood of Aaron, but He is a priest since God has placed Him there by His word of oath, saying: “Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” The flesh dies and so the word of the carnal commandment ceases. But this Christ, who lives forever, is priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. He lives and reigns forever. Wherefore He can perfectly save all those who through Him come unto God. In the second instance, and that too for the very reasons given above, Jesus is a priest in a better temple. He is not a priest in the earthly temple. That temple was a figure of the better temple not made with hands in the heavens. Into the earthly temple Jesus never entered as the High Priest with His blood. He went into the heavenly temple, passing through the heavens, there to appear before God for us. In this better temple He also brings the better sacrifice and is the Mediator of the new covenant based upon better promises.

Now these are the salient points, developed by the writer of the Hebrews, which form the basis of the exhortation: Let us draw near with true hearts in the full assurance of faith. The entire former part of the book of Hebrews is devoted to an elucidation of these points. In our text we have an admonition based upon these truths concerning our only King and High Priest.

We have a High Priest over the house of God. He is the High Priest over us, over His house, the believers, who hold fast to the end to the confession of the hope.

That we have such a High Priest is very important to consider. We do not merely have Jesus as our High Priest on earth, while He was in the state of humiliation, in suffering and death, while He was going to prepare a place for us, but He is our king priest even as this very moment in heaven. Always He lives to pray for us. We may continually take refuge unto the throne of grace through Him. Constantly we may find grace in and through Him as our advocate with the Father. He is Jesus Christ the righteous High Priest that becomes us, holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners and made higher than the heavens!

Our drawing nigh unto the Father is only through and because of His intercession. It is because of this

promise and knowledge and faith’s certainty of His intercession that we draw nigh to God in the blessed assurance of being received by Him in mercy.

In Him our High Priest is also the new and living way, the boldness to enter into the Most Holy Place before God’s presence.

Of this we hope to say more in the next article.