Day 34 September 12 - Hebrews 2-10

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Christ offered Himself as a sacrifice for sin

And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. - Ephesians 5:2

Scripture Reference: Hebrews 8: 1-4

1 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;

2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true btabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.

3 For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.

4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:

JST Heb. 8: 4 Therefore while he was on the earth, he offered for a sacrifice his own life for the sins of the people. Now every priest under the law, must needs offer gifts, or sacrifices, according to the law.

** The following excerpts are from a Sacrament talk that I delivered to the congregation of the Annapolis Maryland Ward on Sabbath Day morning, Easter motning, 23 March 2008.

“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:13-16). Peter would later testify that Jesus “was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for [us]” (1 Peter 1:20). And in Doctrine and Covenants 93:21, we are taught that He was “in the beginning with the Father, and [is] the Firstborn.”

When the Father’s plan of salvation and happiness was presented (see Alma 42:5,8), one was required to atone to provide redemption and mercy to all those who accepted the plan. The Father asked, “Whom shall I send?” He who was to be known as Jesus freely and willingly chose to answer, “Here am I, send me” (Abraham 3:27). “Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever” (Moses 4:2).


As taught in Alma 42:15, we can see that “all mankind were fallen, and they were in the grasp of justice; yea, the justice of God, which consigned them forever to be cut off from his presence. And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also.”

Salvation could not come to the world except it was through a mediator and that Great Mediator was the Lord Jesus Christ. We are taught in 2 Nephi 2:6: “wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.” And in John 3:16-17 we learn that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

Who is Jesus Christ? It is He of whom the prophet Isaiah prophesied would be “despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). He is the one who bore our grief and carried our sorrows (Isaiah 53:4). He was “wounded for our transgressions . . . bruised for our iniquities. . . .And with His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). He was oppressed and afflicted and was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, He opened not his mouth (Isaiah 53:7). He who knew no sin became sin’s final sacrifice. He paid a debt that He did not owe – a debt that none of us could ever pay on our own.

Joseph Fielding Smith, Seek Ye Earnestly

The Savior never committed any sin nor carried any troubled conscience. He had not been under the necessity of repenting as you and I have; but in some way that I cannot understand, he carried the weight of my transgressions and yours and the transgressions of every soul who comes into this Church from the days of Adam to our present time. He came and offered himself as a sacrifice to pay the debt for the things I have done that are wrong and that each of you individually have done that are wrong, and each other person who has been willing to repent of his sins and return to Jesus Christ and keep his commandments. He paid the price. Think of it if you can.

The Savior carried that burden in some way beyond our comprehension. But he carried it. I know that because I accept his word. The torment was so great that he pleaded with his Father that if it were possible he may not drink the bitter cup and shrink-"but nevertheless, thy will be done." The answer he got from his Father was, "You have to drink it."

Divine Law of Compensation

The divine law of compensation demanded that an atonement must be made for every sin or there is no forgiveness. In his great mercy the Son of God came into this world and offered himself a sacrifice to redeem all mankind from Adam's fall and to redeem every man from his individual sins on condition of his faithful repentance and acceptance of the divine plan of salvation. Moreover, he came to restore the dead to immortality. This restoration is not only for those who accept the gospel of Jesus Christ; it also extends to every living thing upon the face of the earth and even to the earth itself, for the earth, like all creatures upon her face, must pass through the ordeal of death and be renewed in a resurrection based on the atonement of our Savior. So the scriptures, given by divine commandment, inform us that this earth is also to be redeemed and will become a celestial body and the abode of the righteous.-(The Improvement Era, August 1966.)

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Hebrews 3:4 he that built all things is God

M. Russell Ballard

“We sometimes feel great respect and reverence for creative genius as expressed in great art or music. How much more should we revere the power and majesty of our Divine Creator? We may stand in awe of man’s creations of beautiful buildings or bridges. But remember the Apostle Paul’s words to the Hebrews:

‘He who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house.

For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God’ (Heb. 3:3–4).

“Those who feel no reverence for the creations and the divine attributes of God likely will have little appreciation for other sacred things. Such a lack of veneration for God’s creations may diminish until a person becomes totally insensitive to the feelings of others. This, I am afraid, is the condition in some parts of the world.” (“God’s Love for His Children,” Ensign, May 1988, 58)

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Hebrews 4:1 Let us therefore fear, lest…any of you should seem to come short of it

Bruce R. McConkie

“Faith bringeth salvation; miracles are wrought by faith; by faith the worlds were made. God is God because faith dwells in him independently; and faith is power, the very power of God himself. Any man who has faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, in the full and true sense, will sit down with him on his throne in the kingdom of his Father. All who do not gain this saving faith will fall short of that inheritance which might have been theirs had they believed and obeyed the word of faith.” (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985], 163.)

Joseph Fielding Smith

“No man can obtain that exaltation without receiving the covenants that belong to the priesthood. No woman can obtain this great honor and glory without receiving the blessings of faith, repentance and baptism, confirmation, and obedience to the covenants that are promised her and her husband in the temple of the Lord. Otherwise, there would be no progress, that is, to the fulness.

“No man who is not willing to continue, even though he be a member of the Church, in receiving these covenants, and taking upon him these blessings and powers which the Lord has offered unto him by covenant, will ever reach the fulness. All such will be barred. There will come a certain place which they cannot pass. The fulness of knowledge, and understanding, and wisdom, by which men may become perfect even as God is perfect, can only be gained by a strict adherence to those eternal laws upon which this great blessing is based.

“We fall short through lack of faithfulness if we refuse to receive covenants and take upon ourselves obligations that pertain to the exaltation. There will be a bar that will prevent us from continuing to that fullness.” (Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 2: 45.)

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Hebrews 4:11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest

Spencer W. Kimball

“Sometimes we have thought of rest as being a place where we get on the chaise lounge, or in our sneakers, or we get outside and lie on the grass, something where we are at rest. That isn’t the kind of rest that the Lord is speaking about. It is he who is the most dynamic, the one who works the hardest, puts in the longest hours, and lives the closest to his Heavenly Father who is rested—rested from his labors, but not put away from his work.

“Now I would like to give another few lines from another scripture. This one is in the Pearl of Great Price. This is a priesthood meeting, of course. All of you hold the priesthood; it is a great privilege to hold the priesthood, a great privilege. And let me read to you a few lines from your father Abraham to show you how important it was to him. He says:

’And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest [this other kind of rest, the kind that you work at] for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers.’ (Abr. 1:2.)” (“The Privilege of Holding the Priesthood,” Ensign, Nov. 1975, 80)

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Hebrews 5:4 no man taketh this honour unto himself

“When the Lord taught his ancient Apostles, he said, ‘Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you’ (John 15:16). This short statement is a fundamental principle of the Lord’s true church. People do not have the right to call themselves to act in God’s name. Neither a desire to serve nor a love of God and fellowman—however heartfelt and sincere—authorizes one to claim God’s authority in matters relating to his church. Scriptural precedent shows that when God has true servants on earth, the call comes through them, his representatives.

“The New Testament teaches, ‘No man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron’ (Heb. 5:4). The Lord’s authorized servant, Moses, learned by revelation that it was God’s will that Aaron serve (see Ex. 28:1). Accordingly, Moses called and consecrated him (see Ex. 40:12–16, Lev. 8:9–13).” (Kent P. Jackson, “I Have a Question,” Ensign, Feb. 1995, 62)

David O. McKay

“This question of divine authority is one of the important factors which distinguish the Church of Jesus Christ from the Protestant creeds of Christendom. In plain, unmistakable terms the Church declares that ‘a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands, by those who are in authority to preach the gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.’ (Articles of Faith, No. 5.) In this declaration the Church but reiterates the words of one who bore Christ's authority in the Meridian of Time, and who, in writing upon this very question, said, ‘And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.’ (Heb. 5:4.)

“Herein lies one secret of the strength of this great latter-day work. Its origin consists not in the whims, the desires, or the aspirations of men, but in the order and the will of Christ himself, the author of our eternal salvation. If one man could assume the right to speak in the name of the Lord, other men would have the same privilege. These many men, all presuming to say, ‘Thus saith the Lord,’ yet not seeing ‘eye to eye’ on important elements of God's kingdom, the inevitable result would be confusion, and sincere men and women would be driven from, not attracted to Christ's Church, yet eventually would be made to suffer for not having obeyed the principles of life and salvation.

“Yet the real cause of their failure to accept these eternal principles would be the fact that unauthorized men arrogated to themselves the right to officiate in things pertaining to God. Herein lies the explanation of the discordant condition existing among jarring creeds in the so-called Christian world today. Men who have no right so to do are officiating in the name of Christ. The result, of course, is confusion. Whatever else may be said of the Prophet Joseph Smith, the strength of his position in regard to divine authority must be recognized.” (Gospel Ideals: Selections from the Discourses of David O. McKay [salt Lake City: Improvement Era, 1953], 166

Gordon B. Hinckley

“Paul wrote concerning the priesthood: ‘No man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.’ (Heb. 5:4.) We have not acquired it through purchase or bargain. The Lord has given it to men who are considered worthy to receive it, regardless of station in life, the color of their skin, or the nation in which they live. It is the power and the authority to govern in the affairs of the kingdom of God. It is given only by ordination by the laying on of hands by those in authority to do so. The qualification for eligibility is obedience to the commandments of God.

“There is no power on the earth like it. Its authority extends beyond life, through the veil of death, to the eternities ahead. It is everlasting in its consequences.“ ("The Cornerstones of Our Faith," Ensign, November 1984, pp. 52-53.)

Robert E. Wells

“Any ordinances performed without that authority are as invalid as a forged signature on a loan. Many baptisms and confirmations and other ordinances are performed by well-meaning people, but if those people lack the proper authority, they have no promise that the ordinance will be validated in this or the next life. Many, we fear, will be disillusioned when they arrive on the other side and find that the ordinances performed for them were invalid and the authority those who performed the ordinances thought they had is nonexistent. Sincerity or faith alone is not enough.” (The Mount and the Master [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 201.)

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Hebrews 6:1-2 the foundation of repentance…faith…baptisms, and of laying on of hands

George F. Richards

“The Bible Commentary by Matthew Henry has this to say with respect to the above quotation:

‘These are the greatest foundation principles, which ministers should clearly and convincingly unfold and clearly apply. In these the people should be well instructed and established, and from these they must never depart; without these, the other parts of religion have no foundation to support them.’” (Conference Report, October 1936, Afternoon Meeting 52.)

LeGrand Richards

’We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.’ [A of F 1:4] I don’t believe there is any other church in the world built upon that foundation, and yet if we turn to the sixth chapter of Hebrews, Paul says:

‘… leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God.

Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.’ (Heb. 6:1–2.)

“That is exactly the same as we have it in our Articles of Faith.” (“Laying a Foundation for the Millennium,” Ensign, Dec. 1971, 84)

LeGrand Richards

“As I finished my first mission over in Amsterdam, over seventy-five years ago, I was invited into the home of one of the Saints to talk to her neighbor. When my companion and I arrived, the neighbor was there but she had her minister with her. We had a little difference of opinion on priesthood, and right there he challenged me to a debate in his church the next Saturday night.

“When we arrived, the church was full; all of his people were there, and all of our people. How our people found it out, I don’t know; I didn’t tell them!

“The minister stood up and said, ‘Now, inasmuch as Mr. Richards is a guest in our church, we will accord him the privilege of opening this debate, and we will each talk for twenty minutes. Is that agreeable with you, Mr. Richards?’

“I said, ‘Very much.’ I didn’t tell him, but I would have given him the shirt off my back for the privilege of opening that debate, and he just handed it to me on a silver platter! I didn’t know whether the Lord had anything to do with it or not, but I thought He did!

“Then I stood up and I said, ‘The last time I talked with my friend, we had a difference of opinion on priesthood. Tonight I have come prepared to discuss that subject, but I don’t propose to start at that point. (This was one of my strong points in my mission.) If you are going to build a house, you don’t try to put a roof on it before you get the foundation in.’ They agreed with that, so I said, ‘I propose to lay the foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ,’ and I chose for my text the sixth chapter of Hebrews where Paul said:

‘Leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.’ (Heb. 6:1–2.)

“I hurried over faith and repentance—I thought they believed in them. I spoke on baptism by immersion for the remission of sin until everybody was giving me accord.

“Then it came to the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. And they didn’t believe that. I never found a church that did believe it outside of our Church—they think the Holy Ghost comes just like the breezes that blow over the head…then I gave them a few more references on the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and sat down.

“The minister stood up and talked for twenty minutes, and he never once mentioned a word I had said. He started on the Mountain Meadows Massacre and the ‘Mormon Bible,’ and stated that Joseph Smith had admitted he had made many mistakes; and then in a most courteous manner, he said: ‘Now if Mr. Richards will enlighten us on these matters, I am sure this audience will be most appreciative.’

“I was on my feet just like that…I said, ‘In the days of the Savior, his enemies tried to trick him with cunning and craftiness. I don’t suppose there’s anybody here tonight that would like to see us resort to those old tactics.’ I said, ‘If I understand a debate, it is the presentation of argument and the answering of those presentations. Has this man answered any of my arguments?’

“Everybody said, ‘No.’

“I said, ‘All right, my friend, you may have your twenty minutes over again.’ He couldn’t do it, and I knew he couldn’t.

“Finally his wife stood up in the audience, and she said, ‘What Mr. Richards is asking you is fair. You ought to answer him.’

“But he couldn’t do it, and I said to my companion, ‘Stand up and give me my coat and hat.’ I said, ‘One more chance. I am willing to remain here until ten o’clock tomorrow morning, when we have to be in our own church, provided this debate can go forward on the basis that you set it up. If not, I am going to leave and ask my companion to leave and ask our members to leave, and we will leave it with you to settle with your people for what has transpired here tonight.’

“I met him on the street a number of times after that, but he would duck his head so he didn’t need to speak to me!” (“What the Gospel Teaches,” Ensign, May 1982, 30-31)

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Hebrews 9:2-5 holy artifacts of the Tabernacle

“Let us briefly identify the symbolism associated with those parts of Israel's ancient temple worship referred to by Paul in Hebrews 9:

Tabernacle: The tabernacle was a portable temple of the Lord, the place of the divine presence, and thus represents the kingdoms of heaven. The outer court represents the telestial order, the holy place the terrestrial order, and the Holy of Holies, the celestial world, the place where the throne of God is found.

Candlestick: The seven-branched candelabrum of the tabernacle was part of the furniture of the holy place. It was not lighted by candles, but by pure olive oil in cup-shaped containers resting on the head of each of its branches. (Ex. 25:31-40.) Its light represents the light of the Holy Spirit. The seven branches or stems represent the fullness and perfection of the revelations of God and could be taken as affirmation that they would burn brightly in seven great gospel dispensations.

Table: Paul's reference is to the table of shewbread that stood on the north or right side as one entered the holy place. It faced the candlestick and upon it were to be placed twelve loaves of bread made of fine (unleavened) flour. Paul does not identify its symbolism. Its equivalent in our day could be the sacrament table.

Shewbread: Literally translated, the name shewbread means ‘the bread of faces,’ or ‘the bread of the presence,’ signifying that this bread was placed before the face of the Lord or in his presence. That there is a common symbolism between the Sabbath ritual in which the priests were to eat the shewbread and the ordinance of the sacrament, as introduced by Christ, seems apparent.

Sanctuary: The sanctuary, in this text, refers to the holy place.

Veil: Paul's reference is to the thick curtain separating the Holy of Holies from the holy place in the temple. The rending of the veil symbolizes the removal of the barrier between man and God, for man is thus enabled ‘to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.’ (Heb. 10:19.) Thus, the faithful and obedient can, in the fullest and most complete sense, enter into the rest of the Lord.

Holiest of All: By holiest of all, Paul is referring to the Holy of Holies. This, the most sacred place in the temple, is the symbolic representation of the heavenly temple where the throne of God sits.

Golden Censer: The vessel used for the burning of incense in the holy place was known as the golden censer. (Paul seems to indicate that this was housed in the Holy of Holies. There is nothing in the Old Testament that corroborates this.) The smoke rising from the vessel is a symbol of the prayers of Israel rising to God. (Ps. 141:2.)

Ark of the Covenant: Housed within the Holy of Holies, the ark of the covenant signifies the divine presence and as such is the most sacred symbol in ancient Israel.

Manna: Among the sacred relics found within the temple was a golden pot containing some of the manna sent down from heaven as food for Israel during their wilderness wanderings. This bread from heaven typifies the spiritual salvation that could be had only through Christ, who is the Bread of Life.

Aaron's Rod: To affirm his call to Aaron and his tribe to labor in the priesthood in preference to the other tribes, the Lord instructed Moses to have each of the tribes bring a rod or branch with the name of their prince on it. These twelve rods were then placed before the Lord in the Holy of Holies. The following morning when Moses went to the sacred place, he found the rod of Aaron covered with buds, blossoms, and even mature almonds. The other rods remained as barren as before. (Num. 17.) As I have written elsewhere, ‘The symbolism associated with this test was most deliberate: A rod, or branch, had been chosen to represent each of the twelve tribes or families of Israel; each had its name carefully placed upon it. By tradition, the rod, as a staff or sceptre, represented one's position and authority. Together, all were presented before the Lord. By making Aaron's rod bud, blossom, and put forth fruit, the Lord demonstrated once again that it was for him to choose those who will stand in his stead, be filled with his power, and bring forth his fruits.’

Tables of the Covenant: The tables of the covenant refers to the tablets upon which the Ten Commandments were written.

Cherubim: The images of two cherubim were placed over the mercy seat of the ark in the Holy of Holies. Cherubim are angels, set to guard the way before the presence of the Lord. They are to see that no unclean thing enters the divine presence.

Mercy Seat: The mercy seat is the golden lid to the ark of the covenant: This lid, which covers the ark, is a symbolic representation of the manner in which the Atonement overarches or covers all that is sacred. The name comes from the Hebrew kapporeth, which, in turn, comes from the root kaphar, meaning to cover or expiate. It implies the making of an atonement, a cleansing or forgiving.

“Though Paul did not detail the meaning of each of these items associated with the temple, his purpose was to emphasize that each was intended as a witness of Jesus as the Christ.” (Joseph F. McConkie in Studies in Scripture, Vol. 6: Acts to Revelation, ed. By Robert L. Millet, [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 203.)

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Hebrews 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God

Spencer W. Kimball

“An excommunicant has no Church privileges. He may not attend priesthood meetings (since he has no priesthood); he may not partake of the sacrament, serve in Church positions, offer public prayers, or speaks in meetings; he may not pay tithing except under certain conditions as determined by the bishop. He is ‘cut off,’ ‘cast out,’ and turned over to his Lord for the final judgment. ‘It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God’ (Heb. 10:31), and especially already branded as an apostate or transgressor.

’Inasmuch as ye are cut off for transgression, ye cannot escape the buffetings of Satan until the day of redemption. And I now give unto you power from this very hour, that if any man among you, of the order, is found a transgressor and repenteth not of the evil, that ye shall deliver him over unto the buffetings of Satan; and he shall not have power to bring evil upon you.’ (D&C 104:9-10.)” (The Miracle of Forgiveness [salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969], chap. 21.)

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