The author of Hebrews delineates the champions of faith from the time before Christ, then says that although their faith allowed them to “obtained good report;” nevertheless they “received not the promise.”
“these all through faith obtained good report, and received not the promise,
40 God providing a better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.”
In order to obtain perfection, these Old Covenant saints needed us. What do we have that they don’t? The author says they have faith. What are they missing that is found in us? It isn’t as if God did not forgive sins during the Old Covenant times, it’s that it required the repetitive sacrifice of bulls and goats and lambs and doves – it required a great deal of shed blood.
What we have that the OC saints did not is – of course – the shed blood of Jesus Christ, the one and only sacrifice. His sacrifice is the promise we obtained; the promise they only looked for as through a glass darkly. The OC saints yearned for a better country – perhaps we should say – a better time, a better thing.
“so Christ was offered once, to void the sins of many men [for to void, or do away, the sins of many men]; the second time he shall appear without sin to men that abide him into health.”
Bishops (priests) acting in the old covenant (testament) offer the blood of bulls, goats, lambs repeatedly, year and year in order to cleanse themselves and the peoples of sins. In the new covenant (testament) Jesus as the only Bishop (Priest) offers Himself once, not to cleanse but to void (to do away with) the sins of many.
Christ plans to return “without sin” to His people who “abide Him into health.” What does that mean? “Without sin?” Jesus becomes sin on the cross; when He appears a second time, He no longer carries the sins of the world for He voids these on the cross by His own blood.
Christ’s sacrifice is not repeatable. Nothing need be added to it; and certainly nothing may be taken from it!
Jeremiah calls himself God’s dupe. He’s been flogged and placed in stocks at the Upper Gate of Benjamin, in the house of the Lord. (Jeremiah 20:1-2) Jeremiah moans that God “outwits [him] and prevails.” He groans that he “is made a laughing-stock all the day long, everyone mocks [him].” (Jeremiah 20:7) As a prophet of the Lord, he proclaims “violence and destruction,” and as a result “[he] is reproached and mocked all the time for uttering the Word of the Lord.” (Jeremiah 20:8)
Jeremiah decides enough is enough. He sets out to “call [God] to mind no more, nor speak in His Name again.” (Jeremiah 20:9)
What happens? “[God’s] Word is imprisoned in [Jeremiah’s] body, like a fire blazing in [his] heart, and [he] is weary with holding it under, and [he] can endure it no more.” Not only that, Jeremiah senses that his friends are watching “for a false step” so they may take revenge. (Jeremiah 20:10) Boldly Jeremiah asserts “the Lord is on my side, strong and ruthless, therefore my persecutors shall stumble and fall powerless.” (Jeremiah 20:11) He rattles his own soul, urging himself to “sing to the Lord, praise the Lord.” (Jeremiah 20:13)
In a marked mood swing, Jeremiah suddenly stops praising his Lord, and curses the day he is born. “Be it ever unblessed,” he cries out, “the day when my mother bore me!” (Jeremiah 20:14) He marvels that “death did not claim [him] before birth, and [his] mother did not become [his] grave.” (Jeremiah 20:17) He struggles to comprehend “why [he] came forth from the womb to know only sorrow and toil, to end [his] days in shame.” (Jeremiah 20:18)
Jeremiah laments, “I am weary with holding [the Word of the Lord] under, and can endure it no more.” (Jeremiah 20:9) The imprisoned Word of God burns like fire within, and must escape. Jeremiah curses the day of his birth, but he continues speaking until the day of his death.
God says, “Listen to Me.” He tells us, “do not fear disgrace by men, and do not be shattered by their taunts.” He encourages us to “put on the strength of the Lord’s power;” promising: “I — I Am the One who comforts you. Who are you that you should fear man who dies, or a son of man who is given up like grass?” (Isaiah 51:12)
“Wake up, wake up; put on your strength.” (Isaiah 52:1) You “know My Name; therefore you know…that I Am He who says: Here I Am.” (Isaiah 52:6) “Wake yourself, wake yourself up! Stand up.” (Isaiah 51:17) “‘In a surge of anger, I hid My face from you for a moment, but I have compassion on you with everlasting love,’ says the Lord your Redeemer.” (Isaiah 54:8) “I put My Words in your mouth, and cover you with the shadow of My hand.” (Isaiah 51:16) “Joy and gladness overtake [you], and sorrow and sighing flee.” (Isaiah 51:11)
Do not be afraid, for God is Your Redeemer. “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call to Him while He is near.” (Isaiah 55:6) The Lord promises, “My Word that comes from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please and will prosper in what I send it to do. You will indeed go out with joy.” (Isaiah 55:11-12)
“Inquire of the Lord while He is present, call upon Him while He is close at hand.”
God says, “Come to Me and listen to My Words, hear Me, and you shall have life: I will make a covenant with you, to love you faithfully as I loved David.” (Isaiah 55:3)
God reminds, “So shall the Word which comes from My mouth prevail; it shall not return to Me fruitless without accomplishing My purpose or succeeding in the task I give it. You shall indeed go out with joy and be led forth in peace.” (Isaiah 55:11-12)
Zechariah sings, “Praise to the God of Israel! For He has turned to His people, saved them and set them free, and has raised up a deliverer of victorious power from the house of His servant David. So He promised: age after age He proclaimed by the lips of His holy prophets, that He would deliver us from our enemies, out of the hands of all who hate us; that He would deal mercifully with our fathers, calling to mind His solemn covenant. Such was the oath He swore to our father Abraham, to rescue us from enemy hands, and grant us, free from fear, to worship Him with a holy worship, with uprightness of heart, in His presence, our whole life long.” (Luke 1:68-75)
Therefore, seek God while He may be found. Listen to His Word, for it does not fail in the task He has assigned.