Old Testament: Ezekiel 21:1-22:31
Ezekiel 21:1-22:31 Sword Of The Lord
Chapter 21 Remember the stanza of the Battle Hymn of the Republic,
“Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword”?
Those lyrics may have been inspired by the book of Revelation where the Lord’s sword is mentioned many times but could have come from this chapter. The Lord has had enough. Peter said, “You shall be holy because I am holy” (1 Pet. 1:15 quoting Lev. 11:44). People today do not realize that God exists and that He is holy! Holiness is a lost topic amongst today’s churches. But God is holy and has been holy. He listened to Moses’ prayer for Israel when they were wandering in the wilderness and spared them. He did it as a witness to his love before the Gentiles (cf. Ezek. 20:12; 20-21). But now He is showing his holiness to the world. Yahweh had shown them mercy but now He was going to bring a sword.
The Ammonites were also going to be punished (v. 20).
Chapter 22 Israel had been idolatrous to the extreme. Their sins include disrespecting parents, oppressing foreigners, orphans and widows (vv. 7-12, cf. 22:9b-11, violations of Lev. 18:6-23; 20:10-21; Ezek. 18:6). They worshipped pagan idols and failed to honor the holy things in the Temple and violated the Sabbath. They were incestuous and adulterous. They were greedy and dishonest in business and cheated their fellow Jews. They deserved what was about to come upon them. How much different were they than we are now?
New Testament: Hebrews 10:1-17
Hebrews 10:1–17 One Sacrifice Times One
The sacrifices brought during the time of the Law point to the sacrifice of Christ. They could never help anyone be acceptable to the Lord (v. 1). If the sacrifices could have effected a change, they would only have to be offered once (v. 2). The sacrifices had at least one good purpose. They reminded everyone of their sin (v. 3). Animal blood, however, does not purify anyone (v. 4). Only Christ’s sacrifice of His body can do that (v. 5, quoting Ps. 40:6).
Verse 8 is best understood as “positional sanctification.” In other words, God sees us through Christ Who is perfect. So He sees us as perfect in Christ (v. 10). When we trust Christ, we pass from death to life (John 5:24) and we also are inputed (accounted as) righteousness. That is a much better deal than the Old Testament system which looked forward to Christ’s sacrifice. Our salvation looks backward to Christ’s sacrifice.
Christ came to be the sacrifice for our sins which was God’s will for Him (v. 9) which supersedes the offering of animals. The Levitical priests could never sit down on the job (v. 11). Christ has sat down at the right hand of the Father (v. 12). He now waits for God to fulfill Ps. 110 and “make [His] enemies His footstool” (v. 13, Ps. 110:1).
Though the Levites offered many animals and made many sacrifices, the sacrifice of Christ is greater. He was only offered once. The result was all believers are perfect in God’s eyes (v. 14).
The Holy Spirit through Jeremiah references the future covenant with Israel (cf. Heb. 8:8-12) that would put His laws on the Israelites’ hearts and minds (cf. Jer. 31:33-34). Israel would not have known that we as the Church would have a foretaste of that covenant. However, as seen here in Heb. 10, we now possess some of the benefits Israel will experience in that future day.
Verse 17 quotes Jeremiah 31:34. It is reminiscent of Ps. 103:12, “As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.” We might remember our sins but God doesn’t! (Also, see blogs The New Deal Covenant and New Inside Out.)