The Rest of the
heavens declare the glory of God" (Ps.
19:1). And they do, at least to a point. What Christian
hasn't looked up into the sky on a night in which the stars shimmered
in a panoply of outrageous incandescence and not come away awed by the
power and the greatness of God?
The heavens do have a story to tell. Or, perhaps,
more precisely, they reveal that a story has already been told. By
looking at the heavens, we can catch parts of the plot but not the
whole narrative itself. No matter how far our telescopes peer into the
cosmos, they can reveal only so much, because only so much is revealed
there. The rest of the story, the story of the Incarnation, the story
of Redemption, the story of Jesus and the eternal life He offers—these
are not found in the heavens, no matter how much of God's glory is,
otherwise, declared there.
Yet, what the heavens do not tell us, the Holy
Scriptures do. The details not written in the stars are written,
instead, in God's Word. Scripture takes us places where rocket ships
and telescopes can never go. The Bible reveals things that Hubble, no
matter how focused and finely tuned its lenses, will never detect.
For instance, the book of Hebrews, the topic of this
quarter's lesson, gives us a window into the universe, a view of the
heavens that would otherwise remain hidden, despite the efforts of the
world's greatest astrophysicists and astronomers.
"Wherefore he is able also to save them to the
uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make
intercession for them" (Heb.
"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; a minister of the sanctuary, and
of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man" (Heb.
"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; neither by the blood of goats and
calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place,
having obtained eternal redemption for us" (Heb.
These are truths about the heavens that the heavens
themselves—no matter how deeply and intently we peer into them—could
Though shrouded in some mysteries itself (Who wrote
it? When was it written? To whom was it addressed? What specific
problems was it confronting?), the book of Hebrews radiates with light,
truth, and details regarding salvation history, regarding what Jesus
has done for us, what He is doing for us now, and what He will do for
us throughout eternity. It reveals not only what Christ accomplished by
His life and death (Heb.
1:3; 2:9; 7:27; 9:12, 28) but it presents the most explicit
explanation of Christ as our High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary (Heb.
2:17, 18; 4:15,
found anywhere else in Scripture.
Though the Scriptures do give us scattered glimpses
into heaven, no other book takes us so deeply, and intimately, into
heavenly places while simultaneously giving us such a clear explanation
of what we see when we're there.
Before starting this quarter's lesson, read through
the entire book of Hebrews. Tremble at its fierce warnings against
apostasy and backsliding, heed its emotional exhortations to
faithfulness and obedience, but, most of all—rejoice in the hope, in
the promises, in the assurance that exudes from every page of this
faith-affirming book, which boldly declares to us that "Christ is not
entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of
the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God
for us" (Heb.
9:24). And if Christ is now standing in the presence of God
"for us"—what have we to fear?
As you read, notice two outstanding and undeniable
truths within these sacred pages: the reality of Christ's ministry in
the heavenly sanctuary and the importance of that ministry to His
people on earth, truths that we as Adventists have been unabashedly
proclaiming to the world. In Hebrews, we find key elements of our
sanctuary message, and that message is nothing if not the Cross
revealed in the only context that can fully reveal it: that of the
heavenly sanctuary, where Christ now ministers His blood in our behalf,
"having obtained eternal redemption for us" (Heb.
9:12) through His life and death here on the earth.
Hebrews is all about Jesus, a fuller and clear
revelation of Jesus. That is the direction this study takes: We will
focus on Jesus as He appears in Hebrews. "Jesus, Our King"; "Jesus, Our
High Priest"; "Jesus, Our Assurance"; "Jesus, Our Sacrifice and
Salvation"—these are some of the weekly topics we will study in the
powerful exhortation to faithfulness and obedience that is at the heart
This quarter's author is Dr. Ekkehardt Mueller, a
native of Germany and now an associate director of the Biblical
Research Institute at the General Conference, in Silver Spring,
Maryland. A New Testament scholar, Dr. Mueller takes us on an
incredible voyage into the heavens themselves, where Jesus, our High
Priest, "ever liveth to make intercession" for us, a truth about the
heavens that the heavens themselves can never reveal.
That is why it has to be told to us, which is exactly
what Hebrews does. This quarter, let's listen carefully to what it
(all lessons may not be posted)
School Study Helps
Jerry Giardina of Pecos, Texas, assisted by his wife,
Cheryl, prepares a series of helps to accompany the Sabbath School
lesson. He includes all related scripture and most EGW quotations.
Jerry has chosen the "New King James Version" of the scriptures this
quarter. It is used with permission. The study helps are
provided in three wordprocessing versions Wordperfect;
RTF for our
MAC friends; and HTML (Web
Last updated on June 16, 2003
12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904.
Principal Contributors: Ekkehardt Mueller
Editor: Clifford Goldstein ( )
Associate Editor: Lyndelle Brower Chiomenti.
Editorial Production Manager: Soraya Homayouni Parish.
Art and Design: Lars Justinen.
Pacific Press Coordinator: Paul A. Hey.
© 2003 Office of the Adult Bible Study Guide,
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist. All Rights Reserved.
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