1. The Covenant (with Abram) of Promise
2. The Continuing (Unchangeable) Priesthood
3. The Cerecloth (Linen Wrap) Pervaded
1. In this lesson we will be discussing the theme: “Passing through the pieces.” The hope of our salvation and the assurance of our faith are due entirely through the certainty that Jesus is the Son of God; and His passing through the pieces for us in His covenant agreement with Abram; His continuing (unchangeable) Priesthood; and His pervading (passing) through the linen cloth, during His resurrection from the dead. This will be one of our “topical” sermons presented to the Church of Christ. I chose to present it in this format because I can speak of several instances where we might suggest there was a “passing through the pieces.”
2. First, we will discuss the covenant promise God made with Abram in His passing through the pieces during their covenant agreement. It was necessary for a sacrifice to be prepared that would be sufficient for the God of heaven to confirm His promises made to Abram; that through “his seed shall all the nations of the earth would be blessed,” by Jesus Christ. Who is the “promised seed of Abraham”; that is, “the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel,” Ephesians 3:6.
3. Second, we will describe Christ’s setting up His continuing (unchanging) priesthood; that resulted when He passed through the temple vail, that was “rent from top to bottom,” at His death on the cross. The removal of this veil, set up the continuing (unchanging) priesthood of Christ as our High Priest, “whoever liveth to make intercession for us,” Hebrew 7:25. The death and resurrection of Christ; made it possible through heaven’s intervention to allow for us “human intercession;” “into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us; through the veil, that is to say, His flesh,” Hebrews 10:19-21.
4. Lastly, we will investigate the final thought “in the passing through the pieces;” that is, Jesus’ pervading through the cerecloth (linen wrap); bound around His body, the day of His resurrection, from the dead. We affirm in this statement that the tomb was not open to let Jesus out; but to allow us to go in, and inspect the place where His body once laid. The assessment of the tomb clearly establishes that Jesus was raised from the dead; and the disciples did not steal the body as it was reported by the Roman Officials; and many today that deny the John’s account of the “resurrection of Christ,” John 19:40; John 20:4-7. With this introduction, let’s consider our first thought: “the covenant (with Abram) of promise,” that God made unto him during their covenant agreement.
BODY OF LESSON
I THE COVENANT (WITH ABRAM) OF PROMISE
A. Promise to Abram. In the setting before us, Jehovah is entering a covenant agreement with Abram: “That, in his seed shall all the nations of the earth would be blessed,” Genesis 22:18. This agreement will have lasting benefits for us today; because of Jehovah’s pledge unto Abram.
1. The promise: “And he brought him (Abram) forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, so shall thy seed be,” Genesis 15:5. This was God’s promise to Abram before entering into a “covenant” relationship with him, which was intended to ratify this promise.
2. I brought you out. “And He said to him, I am Yahweh that brought you out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give you this land to inherit it,” Genesis 15:7.
3. How will I know? Abram asked: “And he said, O Lord Yahweh, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?” Genesis 15:8.
4. Abram desired proof of Jehovah’s promise. Out of all the promises that Jehovah has made unto Abram; this land promise is the only one he requested assurance from Jehovah.
B. The preparation of the pieces. Jehovah said: “And He said to him, Take me a heifer three years old, and a she-goat three years old, and a ram three years old, and a turtle-dove, and a young pigeon,” Genesis 15:9.
1. Arranging of the pieces: “And he took him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each half over against the other: but the birds divided he not. And the birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, and Abram drove them away,” Genesis 15:10-11.
2. Abram’s deep sleep: “And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, a horror of great darkness fell upon him,” Genesis 15:12.
3. Israel’s history foretold: “And He (Jehovah) said to Abram, Know of a surety that your seed shall be sojourners in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years,” Genesis 15:13. The Lord God outlines the history of Abram seed as such:
a. They shall be sojourners in a land that is not theirs (Egypt);
b. They shall serve them (in bondage as slaves);
c. They shall be afflicted (persecuted); for 400 years.
d. They shall endure it until the “iniquity (the cup) of the Amorites is full.”
4. Conclusion: God permitted His people to suffer hardship for 400 years; giving their persecutors and the possessors of the land sufficient time to repent; so as, not to be destroyed. When God had allowed them to endure this affliction; waiting for the “cup of iniquity” of the Amorites to be “full”; he brought them out with great substance. Illustrate: Why Does My Enemies Prosper? And, I Suffer? See Jeremiah 12:1; Psalms 27:13; Psalms 37:34; and Psalms 91:8.
C. Great “Nation” shall emerge: “And also that nation (Egypt), whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they (Israel) come out with great substance. But you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. And in the fourth generation (after 400 years) they shall come here again; for the iniquity (cup) of the Amorite will then be full,” Genesis 15:14-16.
D. The passing described. Notice: “And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold, a smoking furnace, and a flaming torch that passed between these pieces,” Genesis 15:17.
1. Picture of the objects. The objects that represented the parties was identified as, (a smoking furnace and a burning lamp). Let us keep before us that these two objects represents two parties (participants), making a covenant agreement, that is, “Jehovah and Abram.”
a. Abram, though present, was in a deep sleep; and did not personally, “pass through the pieces.” Someone else took his place in this covenant agreement.
b. The two objects making this procession represented two parties. Whose identity, we shall now be discovered!
c. Consider with me these two “objects” or “parties” that passed through the pieces; to make a covenant with Abram and his Seed - Christ. Notice:
2. First, the smoking furnace. This was clearly, a figure of Jehovah: “And Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly,” Exodus 19:18; Genesis 19:28.
a. Jehovah is depicted in the object as a “smoking furnace.”
b. The smoke reveals here; the “glory of God,” Psalms 144:5; Revelations 15:8. But, who was the other party that represented Abram?
3. Further, the burning lamp. This was without a doubt, Christ – the promised seed of Abraham. Notice with me these scriptures, referencing a “burning lamp.” Now, stay with me, church! This is going to get good.
a. David’s Song, he declared: “For thou art my lamp, O LORD: and the LORD will lighten my darkness,” 2 Samuel 22:29; Psalms 27:1. The Lord is my lamp!
1) “There will I make the horn of David to bud: I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed,” Psalms 132:17
a) Anointed means Christ and messiah, Luke 2:26; John 4:25-26.
b) Christ is God’s anointed, Isaiah 61:1-2; Luke 4:16-19; Hebrews 1:9.
2) “He also exalteth the horn of people, the praise of all his saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise ye the Lord,” Psalms 148:14.
3) “Zacharias (John the Baptist’s father) was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He hath visited and redeemed his people, and hath raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began ...To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember His holy covenant; The oath which he swore to our father Abraham,” Luke 1:67-73. Illustrate: Christ the “Horn” of David.
a) A horn is an emblem of power, dominion, and glory, Daniel 7:13-14.
b) The expression, the “horn of salvation” applied to Christ; the means of salvation, of strength, or a strong Saviour, 2 Samuel 22:3; Luke 1:69.
c) To have the horn “exalted” means prosperity and triumph, Psalms 89:17.
d) References: Easton’s Bible Dictionary; Nave’s Topical Bible.
b. David wrote: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path,” Psalms 119:105. Christ is the “Word” and thus the lamp, John 1:1-3; John 1:14.
c. Hear Jesus: “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life,” John 8:12; John 12:46.
d. The Lord Jesus was that “burning lamp” that passed through the pieces; and He is that “light” that giveth life unto the world, Psalms 18:28; Psalms 119:130.
4. Finally, a “lamp that burneth.” Isaiah writes: “For Zion’s sake will not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name,” Isaiah 62:1-2. This is Isaiah’s promise of the “righteousness and salvation”; that shall be sent to the People and the Gentiles. Let’s examine why the Lord was that “burning lamp”; and is the “salvation” that go forth as a “lamp that burneth.” Notice:
a. The “righteousness” that go forth as brightness.
1) “The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory,” Psalms 97:6. Also: “The Lord hath made known his salvation: his righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen,” Psalms 98:2.
2) Paul writes: “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets; even the righteousness which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference,” Romans 3:21-22. See also Isaiah 45:25.
3) Paul again writes: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ...For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith,” Romans 1:16-17.
4) Conclusion: Brethren, that the righteousness being spoken of here in this verse, is not ours; but, that of the Lord of heaven; that should come to shew forth His righteousness, unto both the Jew and Gentiles.
b. The salvation as a “lamp that burneth.”
1) Simeon who was: “Waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was reveal unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel,” Luke 2:27-32.
2) The Lord’s words to Paul: “But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister ...Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee. To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light ...that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me,” Acts 26:16-18.
3) Paul’s turning to the Gentiles: “Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, it was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye have put it from you, and judged yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have sent thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed,” Acts 13:46-48; Acts 28:23-28.
c. The Gentiles shall see THY “righteousness.”
1) David said: “The Lord hath made known his salvation: his righteousness hath he openly showed in the sight of the heathen (Gentiles). He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God,” Psalms 98:2-3; Isaiah 52:10.
2) Paul: “What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained the righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith,” Romans 9:30.
3) Peter at the Jerusalem conference: “And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said ...God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe,” Acts 15:7.
4) Message of Paul and Barnabas: “Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them,” Acts 15:12.
5) Discourse of James: “And after they had held their peace, James answered saying ...God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, after this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things,” Acts 15:13-17.
d. And, all kings THY “glory.”
1) Isaiah said: “And the Gentiles shall see thy (the Lord’s) righteousness, and all kings thy (the Lord’s) glory: and thou (the Lord) shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord (Jehovah) shall name,” Isaiah 62:2.
2) David said: “So the heathen (Gentiles) shall fear the name of the Lord and all the kings of the earth thy glory,” Psalms 102:15. David again: “All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O LORD, when they hear the words of thy mouth. Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the LORD: for great is the glory of the LORD,” Psalms 138:4-5.
3) The preaching of Paul: “O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: ...King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian,” Acts 26:19-28. Illustrate: King Agrippa Almost Saved.
4) John the Revelator: “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever,” Revelations 11:15; Revelations 21:24.
5) Conclusion: Again, these verses speak of Christ; the message of his grace and forgiveness, that giveth “light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of His people Israel,” Luke 2:32. Notice:
a) Isaiah saith: “In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory,” Isaiah 45:25.
b) Paul said: “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy as it is written, ‘For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. And again he saith, rejoice ye Gentiles, with his people. And again, Praise the Lord all ye Gentiles; and laud him all ye people. And again, Isaiah saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust,’” Romans 15:8-12. This “root is Christ” and His reign shall be over all in His “kingdom upon the throne of David,” Luke 1:32-33; Acts 2:30; 1 Corinthians 15:20-27; Colossians 1:13.
c) Conclusion: Therefore, Christ is that light; that salvation; that righteousness; and that glory in whom the Gentiles and the people, Israel NOW trusteth. Paul like our precious Lord Jesus Christ was also a “minister unto the Gentiles, according to the grace of God given unto him,” Romans 15:14-19; Ephesians 3:6-8. Now let’s consider this last piece of Isaiah’s prophecy.
e. Thou shall be called by a “new name.” There might be two positions on this prophecy; one, the name Christian; and two, the name JESUS. The text would support either, with careful examination. However, the promises of his prophecy: i.e., “thy righteousness, and thy glory;” clearly, hath its reference to the Lord’s righteousness and glory; not us, the believers in Christ Jesus, 1 Corinthians 1:30; 1 Corinthians 2:8. Notice:
1) Jeremiah’s prophecy:
a) “In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness,” Jeremiah 33:16.
b) “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a kind shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS,” Jeremiah 23:5-6. This promised is repeated in Jeremiah 33:14-16.
c) David: “I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee forever and ever,” Psalms 45:17; Psalms 72:17.
d) Paul writes: “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord,” 1 Corinthians 1:30-31; 2 Corinthians 5:21.
2) Disciples: “And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch,” Acts 11:26.
3) Peter: “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them ...Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole ...Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved,” Acts 4:8-12. Brethren, clearly the name mentioned in our text is Jesus. Here now; how the: “mouth of the Lord shall name.”
f. Which the “mouth of the Lord” shall name. The name to be given; which came FORTH from the “mouth of the Lord;” was JESUS. Notice:
1) The Angel and Mary: “And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth ...And the angel came in unto her, and said, ...the Lord is with thee: blessed are thou among women... And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS... He shall be great... He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end,” Luke 1:26-33; Jeremiah 33:14-16; Acts 2:30-36. Illustrate: Angel Speaking the Words of the Lord.
2) The Angel and Joseph: “The angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife; for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins,” Matthew 1:20-21.
3) The name Jesus – means: “Jehovah is salvation” Matthew 1:21.
a) Circumcision of Christ: “And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcision of the child, his name was call JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb,” Luke 2:21.
b) Simeon’s prophecy: “For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel,” Luke 2:30-32; Luke 3:6.
c) The name “Jesus” means salvation; and “neither is there salvation in any other name,” Acts 4:12. Jesus is the “name” given by “the mouth of the Lord.”
d) They shall call His name Immanuel, or “God with us,” Matthew 1:23.
4) Jesus is Saviour and Lord, Titus 1:4; Titus 2:13; Titus 3:4-6.
E. The covenant made: “In that day Yahweh made a covenant with Abram,” Genesis 15:18. Paul writes; “That was confirmed before of God in Christ,” Galatians 3:17. Another translation renders this clause: “Promise made by God to Christ.” God made this promise to Christ, as both: “passed through the pieces,” Genesis 15:17.
1. Christ took the place of Abram; and “pass through the pieces with Jehovah.” Moses wrote: “And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, a horror of great darkness fell upon him,” Genesis 15:12.
2. Thus, the covenant between them (God and Abram) was confirmed. One might ask, “why wasn’t Abram a part of this covenant agreement in person?” May I suggest unto you this explanation? This was a covenant that merited the “highest character of righteousness between both parties,” in this pledge. God is making an “agreement with God” and Christ stood in for Abram to ensure that no “weakness of the flesh” could break this covenant – as it was in the Old Testament. Let us now consider, “the continuing (unchangeable) priesthood.”
II THE CONTINUING (UNCHANGEABLE) PRIESTHOOD
A. Priesthood being change. Paul writes: “For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the Law,” Hebrews 7:12. Notice:
1. First, the law: “For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which, we draw night unto God,” Hebrews 7:19; Hebrews 10:22.
2. Further, “The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing... But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say not of this building... but by His blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us,” Hebrews 9:8-12.
3. Finally, “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy place made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us,” Hebrews 9:22-24.
4. Conclusion: The priesthood of Christ was an unchanging appointment. Christ would enter not into the “holies of holy” like the High Priest to offer atonement for the people; but, into heaven itself to offer His blood for the sins of all ages. His priesthood would be and unchangeable one; being not bound by age or time. Seeing He ever liveth to make “intercession for us,” Hebrews 7:25; Romans 8:34.
B. Removal of the vail. Our Lord removed the Old Testament priesthood; at the point of His death; when the “temple vail was rent from top to bottom.” The removal of this vail, made it possible for the believers to be able to enter into the presence of God; to make their request known unto Him. It is now therefore possible for the believers to “pass through the vail,” to enter into the presence of God with Jesus. Christ has made us to be: “Kings and priests unto God and His Father,” Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10. Jesus has made all this possible for us. Notice:
1. First, Matthew writes: “Jesus, when He had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the vail of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many,” Matthew 27:50-53.
2. Further, Paul writes: “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God,” Hebrews 10:19.
d. Conclusion: As a result of a heavenly intervention; we now have human intercession. Christ’s pierced side and shed blood; make this intercession possible.
3. Next, John writes: “But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water,” John 19:34. It was his bloody pierced side that opened unto us “a new and living way.” Christ is the way. The way was made possible for us through the opening of His flesh. His rent body poured out the redeeming blood; and thus the veil before the holiest of all, was rent in twain; that we might have access to the “throne of God.” For us the rented veil is “the pierced side of the body of Jesus” on the cross. Church, say Amen!
4. Finally, Paul states: “And they (other priests) truly were many priests...But this man (Jesus), because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood,” Hebrews 7:23-24.
a. Wherefore also He: “Is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them,” Hebrews 7:25.
b. Such a High Priest: “He became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens,” Hebrews 7:26.
c. Who needeth not daily: “As those high priest, to offer sacrifices, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once when he offered up himself,” Hebrews 7:27. For He knew no sin, 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22-24.
d. For the law: “Maketh men high priests which have infirmity: but the word of the oath, which was since, the law, maketh the Son (High Priest), who is consecrated for evermore,” Hebrews 7:28.
5. Conclusion: Christ’s unchanging priesthood; permits Him to make intercession for the saints without wavering. His priesthood has opened access for all saints into the Heavenly; by, the removing of the vail that hid us from the presence of God.
a. And this was due entirely because of our sins, Isaiah 59:1-2.
b. But, in light of the believers having been “washed from their sins by the blood of Christ,” Revelation 1:4-5.
c. Resulting in having their “hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and their bodies washed in pure water,” Hebrews 10:22; Acts 22:16. Mainly, in baptism as many commentators have agreed; we now have access unto God. We now have access unto the “throne of God” by the working of God’s eternal promise.
d. Jesus as our High Priest now appears in the presence of God for all the saints. He is the “mediator of the New Testament.” The “Old Testament” was part of the old priesthood. In that the priesthood has now changed; it was also necessary for the changing of the Law. It is no long the Law of Moses; but, the Law of Christ!
C. The First Covenant. One might ask, why the need for another covenant? Surely, the Law was good, righteous and holy? Paul grants us an answer. Notice:
1. First, “FOR IF the first covenant had been faultless, then shall no place been sought for the second. For finding fault in them, He saith, behold the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a NEW COVENANT with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel ...For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.”
2. Further, “In that He saith, A NEW COVENANT, he hath made the first old. For (now) that which decayeth and waxeth old, is ready to vanish away,” Hebrews 8:7-13. Where was the fault in this old covenant?
3. Finally, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit,” Romans 8:3-4; Galatians 4:4-5.
4. Conclusion: The first covenant was faulty due to the weakness of the flesh of people. Jehovah had determined to make a new covenant that would not be faulty due to the weakness of the people. His covenant would be made with the children of Abraham, through Christ. This covenant would include both Jew and Gentiles. Whereas, the first covenant, was made between “Moses and Israel”; the new covenant was made between “Jehovah and Abram's seed – which is Christ.”
D. Old Testament Priest. Consider Paul: “And every priest standing daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away, sins:”
1. First, “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till his enemies by made his footstool.”
2. Second, “For by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.”
3. Third, “Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, this is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.”
4. Forth, “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.”
5. Fifth, “Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin,” Hebrews 10:11-18.
6. Conclusion: Every priest standeth daily ministering. However, Christ offered his sacrifice "once for all," but, the Levitical priests offer daily their sacrifices which could never take way sins. But this man, Jesus, after. . . one sacrifice, Himself on the cross, sat down, on the right hand of God. This clearly implies that he needeth to make no more offering for sins. He ascended to be honored forever. And from henceforth expecting, and waiting until every enemy is conquered. For by one offering, and that was on the cross, he hath perfected the believers forever. This offering granted all that are forgiven perfect consciences; free from the guilt of their sin; and sanctified by the blood of Christ forever. Amen and Amen!
E. The New Testament. The Holy Ghost testified that Jehovah had promised a new covenant that would result in the “forgiveness of sins,” Matthew 26:28; Acts 5:29-32. Jehovah said: “This is the covenant that I will make with them.” Notice:
1. Jeremiah writes: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant ...But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour...for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more,” Jeremiah 31:31-34.
2. Prophecy fulfilled: “But Christ being come a high priest of good things to come ...And for this cause he is the mediator of the New Testament that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgression that were under the first testament, (that) they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator ...For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength (has no authority) at all while the testator liveth,” Hebrews 9:11-17.
3. Heavenly intervention. Let’s notice God’s heavenly intervention into our ability to obtain access unto His throne through Jesus Christ. Notice Paul’s analogy:
a. First, a body prepared Him: “Wherefore when he (Christ) cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure ...I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God ...Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may established the second,” Hebrews 10:5-9. Paul explains:
b. Further, His body offered once: “By which we (the believers) are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus once for all,” Hebrews 10:10. Christ has offered His body once for all – that we might be sanctified forever. Amen!
c. Next, His offering of one sacrifice: “And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God: From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool,” Hebrews 10:11-13; Hebrews 1:1-3; Hebrews 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22.
d. Additionally, by one offering:
1) The believer is sanctified: “For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified,” Hebrews 10:14; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Revelations 1:4-5.
2) Holy Ghost witness: “Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, this is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord:”
a) “I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;”
b) “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more,” Hebrews 10:15-17.
f. Finally, no more offering: “Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin,” Hebrews 10:18.
4. Human intercession. As a result of Christ’s intervention and the establishment of a new covenant we now have access unto God. Let’s now consider our “human intercession.” Notice Paul again:
a. First, having boldness: “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,”
b. Further, new and living way: “By a new and living way, which he that consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh;”
c. Next, having a high priest: “And having a high priest over the house of God:"
1) "Let us draw near with a true heart ...having our hearts ...bodies washed with pure water.” Most writers attribute this statement to baptism.
2) "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith ... (for he is faithful that promised);”
3) "Let us consider one another...unto love and good works: ...Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together ...as ye see the day approaching,” Hebrews 10:19-25.
5. Conclusion: Because of heaven’s intervention, God sending Jesus to be the sacrifice for our sins; we now have human intercession “through the veil,” in His presence. Therefore, let us have boldness; confidence to enter into His presence, to obtain the forgiveness of our sins; through the cleansing blood of Christ; through which we have been sanctified forever. Finally, let’s consider our last point that is Jesus “passing through the pieces,” His “Linen Cloth.”
III THE CERECLOTH (LINEN WRAP) PERVADED
A. The burial cerecloth. Up until this time we have discussed the means by which we have access unto God. We will now consider the Jewish burial methods, and how we can be assured that Jesus was in fact, “raised from the dead”; thus to refute, that His body was stolen, as some allege to deny the “resurrection.” This point begins, with the disciples preparing the body of Jesus for burial.
1. Joseph of Arimathaea: “Being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilot that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus,” John 19:38.
2. Nicodemus: “And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight,” John 19:39.
3. John devotes much attention to Jesus’ burial. He tells us that Nicodemus brought about a hundred pounds of myrrh and aloes to apply spices; as the body was being bound in linen wrappings. We learn from John that His body and His head were wrapped separately, John 19:39-40; John 20:6-7.
B. The burial of Jesus. John writes: “Then took they took the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes along with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury,” John 19:40. He will now provide some details in the way the body of Christ was prepared for burial. Only John speaks to this in his account of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. Notice:
1. They “wound” the body of Jesus in linen clothes and with spices (Gr. "aromatics"). The word “wound” in Gr: is “de-o,” i.e., to bind, be in bonds, knit, tie or to wind about. The body of Jesus was “wrapped round and about with linen clothes.” Notice:
a. First, they placed between the body and the linen cloth; a hundred pounds of myrrh and aloes. Myrrh and aloes are associated with the preparation of the kings anointing, Psalm 45:6-8. Fulfilled in Christ anointing, Hebrews 1:8-9.
b. Further, aloes are associated with God’s garden, Numbers 24:6.
c. Next, myrrh is the first spice mentioned as scenting oil used to anoint the high priest and the tabernacle, Exodus 30:23.
d. Finally, myrrh is also associated with kingship. The magi brought to the newborn king (Jesus) gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, Matthew 2:11. While these three items figure prominently in the Tabernacle structure and worship, at this point it is kingship that is being highlighted.
e. Conclusion: These two scents would permeate Christ’s linen cloth and remain on His body, as it reposed in the tomb. When He rose from the grave, He would smell of myrrh and aloes. Therefore, Jesus is seen as presenting Himself as the anointed king before His kingdom, as he takes His place to sit upon the throne of David.
2. As the manner of the Jews is to bury. We must look beyond Jesus burial, to understand how His body was prepared. You recall in the resurrection of Lazarus, there were signs in how the body was prepared for burial. In Bethany, when Jesus called forth Lazarus from the dead we see how he was bound for burial. Notice:
a. First, “And when he (Jesus) thus had spoken (to His Father in prayer), he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth,” John 11:43. The Lord now summons Lazarus from the grave.
b. Further, “And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin,” John 11:44a. As he appeared in the door of the tomb, he was “bound from hand to foot”; being totally unable to “loose himself.” Lazarus, now alive required some assistance to be released from his grave clothing. He was bound hand and foot.
c. Next, “Jesus saith unto them, loose him, and let him go," John 11:44b.
d. Finally, let’s consider the “bound body” of Lazarus, as he stood within the door of the tomb. By doing so, we will be able to picture how the body of Jesus must have lye, in the sepulchre. Lazarus, as he stands in the door of the tomb, his:
1) Body was, “bound hand and foot with grave clothes.” The word bound, in Gr: is “deo” or de-o, i.e., to bind, to be in bonds, knit, tie, to wind.
2) Face was, “bound about with a napkin.” The words bound about, in Gr: is “perideo” or pe-re-de-o, to bind around one; i.e., enwrap: -bind about.
3) Illustrate: Bound like a Mummy.
4) Conclusion: The world had never beheld a more wonderful or startling sight. At once Lazarus arose, came forth, (being) bound with grave clothes, and the napkin still bound about his face.
a. The by-standers, astonished, dazed, when the Lord bade them, to: "Loose him and let him go." He spoke as the Resurrection and the Life; and death obeyed.
b. When Jesus cried to Lazarus, “Come forth”; so shall he speak with the voice of an archangel and all that are in the graves, shall come forth and live, John 5:28-29; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Illustrate: Just and unjust to rise, Acts 24:14-15.
c. Another translation: “The man who had been dead came out with his hands and feet bound in strips of linen, and his face wrapped in a head cloth. And Jesus said: "Unwrap him and let him go," John 11:44. Notice, His words: “Unwrap him and let him go.” With this added information, let’s now consider how all this applies to Jesus, as His body was prepared and now lay in the sepulchre.
C. Laid the body in a sepulchre: “Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day, for the sepulchre was nigh at hand,” John 19:41-42.
1. This is in accord with Isaiah’s prophecy of his death and burial. Isaiah wrote: “He made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death: because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth,” Isaiah 53:9.
2. Crucified between two thieves; and placed in the sepulchre of a rich ruler. Jesus was put to death among the wicked, and was buried in the tomb of a rich Jewish leader. For Jesus said: “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests: but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head,” Luke 9:58. He lay first in a borrowed manger; now he lay in a borrowed sepulchre, Luke 2:7; Luke 2:16.
D. The resurrection of Christ. We will now address the resurrection of Jesus “As it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold ...for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it... And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus which was crucified... go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead ...And they departed quickly ...to tell his disciples,” Matthew 28:1-9. Let’s understand what had just happened. Notice:
1. Matthew’s account is that Jesus was raise; this is certified by the women who were so instructed by the angel of the Lord. The women then, went to tell the disciples. The remainder of this story is found after the soldier went into the city to alert the chief priests of all the things that were done. They reported to the elders what had occurred at the tomb. The counsel:
a. Gave large money unto the soldiers.
b. Created the story that, "his disciples came by night, and stole him (the Body of Christ) away while they slept.”
c. Decided to cover the soldiers: "If this comes to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you.”
d. So they (the soldiers) took the money, and did as they were taught: "And this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day,” Matthew 28:11-15.
2. Mark’s account he adds: “They (the women) came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves (the women), who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. And entering ...they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment: and they were affrighted. And he saith unto them, be not affrighted: ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place when they laid him... go tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee... and they went out quickly,” Mark 16:1-8. Mark states that the angel shewed them where he once laid; but was risen from the dead. He says nothing about the soldiers or the counsel. Now, Luke’s account gives testimony that the body of Jesus was not found in the tomb; and that, he was raised from the dead.
3. Luke’s account:
a. The women went to the tomb: “Now upon the first day of the week ...they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus... Behold, two men stood by them in shinning garments: ...and said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? ...He is not here, but is risen,” Luke 24:1-6.
b. The disciples went to the tomb: “Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass,” Luke 24:9-12.
c. The Lord appears unto two men on the road to Emmaus, Luke 24:13-35.
d. The Lord appears unto the 11 disciples, Luke 24:36-53. These men saw the resurrected body of the Lord. They touched Him, and handled Him. They went out and preached that Jesus was indeed raised from the dead; and they were “eye witnesses to His majesty,” 2 Peter 1:16.
E. The resurrection according to John. John’s account of the resurrection of Christ provides more information concern the sepulchre than the other writers. The Apostles John gives us indisputable evidence that Jesus had indeed risen. His account will dispel the story of the Jewish Counsel; that the body of Christ was stolen by the disciples. Notice John’s account:
1. The women went unto the tomb, early on the first day of the week, John 20:1-2.
2. Peter and other disciples run unto the tomb. He “looking in, saw the linen cloth lying; yet went he not in,” John 20:3-5.
3. Evidence in the sepulchre: “Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, and the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then that other disciple went in (into the tomb), which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must be raised from the dead. Then the disciples went away again unto their own home,” John 20:6-10. Let’s analyze the evidence:
a. Peter “went into the sepulchre.”
b. Peter “seeth the linen clothes lie, and the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself,” John 20:6-7.
1) He seeth the linen cloth lie. The linen clothes, Gr. othonion, or o-tho-ne-on, i.e., strips of linen cloth for swathing (wrapping) the dead. It appears that the linen cloth that wrapped around the body of Jesus; was still lying within the place where the body of Jesus had once laid. The grave clothing was still in place in the sepulchre.
2) The napkin, "that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.”
a) Napkin, Gr. soudarion, or su-da-re-on, i.e., a handkerchief, napkin, that was bound about his face. This was not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.
b) Napkin, wrapped together, Gr. entylisso or en-tu-les-so, i.e., to twist, entwine, to roll, or wind up; wrap in (together), John 20:7; Luke 23:53; Matthew 27:59. This napkin was placed carefully in a place in the sepulchre neatly, all by itself.
c) John depicts that during the resurrection, Jesus “passed through the piece” of the linen clothes that was wrapped about His body and face; as is the custom of burial of the Jews. All these grave clothes were left behind in their place; except the napkin or linen clothes, that was wrapped about His face.
d) Only John tells us of these facts surrounding the resurrection. Only John tells us that the soldiers divided Jesus’ garments into four parts, but, did not divide His seamless coat, John 19:23. These things did the soldier, “that the scriptures might be fulfilled,” John 19:24.
4. Jesus appears unto Mary, John 20:11-18.
5. Jesus appears unto the disciples. They beheld His hands and side, John 20:19-29. His appearance unto them behind closed doors; permit us to see what happened at the grave site. Notice:
a. Jesus’ body “pervaded, or passed through the piece of linen clothes.” He then placed the “napkin that was wrapped about his face, carefully in a place all by itself.” He then passed through the walls of sepulchre, in a glorified body.
b. Beloved, the stone was rolled away, not to let Him out: but, to let them in.
c. This was possible because of His glorified body, Philippians 3:20-21.
d. Illustrate: The resurrected body of Jesus, 1 Corinthians 15:42-58.
6. Grand conclusion: The evidence within the tomb makes it abundantly clear that Jesus was raised from the dead, as He had promised, Matthew 16:21; Luke 24:6-7.
a. The linen clothes and napkin, still lying within it original place should settle the question whether or not the “body of Jesus was stolen.”
b. If the disciples did steal the body; it would have required them to remove all the grace clothing, for the linen cloth and napkin were still in the sepulchre.
c. Fear and time would not have permitted the disciples while stealing the body to unwrap it; and neatly lay the grace clothing in the sepulchre.
d. The resurrection of the body of Christ is a defensible fact; and any one that would report that the Lord’s body was stolen by the disciples, did not examine the evidence left in the sepulchre.
e. The account that the disciples stole the body, is a lie created by the Jewish Counsel, and has no merit when one is faced with the evidence that remained within the sepulchre, and was witnessed by the angels and the disciples. As I begin to close, let me review quickly what we have considered, in this lesson.
1. The Covenant (with Abram) of Promise
2. The Continuing (Unchangeable) Priesthood
3. The Cerecloth (Linen Wrap) Pervaded
1. First, we discussed the covenant promise God made with Abram in His passing through the pieces during their covenant agreement. It was necessary for a sacrifice to be prepared that would be sufficient for the God of heaven to confirm His promises made to Abram; that through “his seed shall all the nations of the earth would be blessed,” by Jesus Christ. Who is the “promised seed of Abraham”; that is, “the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel,” Ephesians 3:6.
3. Second, we described Christ’s setting up His continuing (unchanging) priesthood; that resulted when He passed through the temple vail, that was “rent from top to bottom,” at His death on the cross. The removal of this veil, set up the continuing (unchanging) priesthood of Christ as our High Priest, “whoever liveth to make intercession for us,” Hebrew 7:25. The death and resurrection of Christ; made it possible through heaven’s intervention to allow for us “human intercession;” “into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us; through the veil, that is to say, His flesh,” Hebrews 10:19-21.
4. Lastly, we investigated the final thought “in the passing through the pieces;” that is, Jesus’ pervading through the cerecloth (linen wrap); bound around His body, the day of His resurrection, from the dead. We affirmed in this statement that the tomb was not open to let Jesus out; but, to allow us to go in, and inspect the place where His body once laid. The assessment of the tomb clearly establishes that Jesus was raised from the dead; and the disciples did not steal the body, as it was reported by the Roman Officials; and many today that deny John’s account of the “resurrection of Christ,” John 19:40; John 20:4-7.
C. Invitation, H, B, R, C, B.