Our Happily Ever After Hope

Once upon a time. Happily ever after.

We know these words. They are the opening and closing lines of so many fairy tales and fantasy stories. And why do these words have such an effect on us? Because deep in who we are, way down at the bottom of our hearts, we desire for words such as these to be true. 

I would like to introduce another statement:  “Once, for all.” And if we can take this statement, believe it and hold fast to it, then we can have hope. We can build an expectation that there will be a happily ever after. 

We read this statement in Hebrews 10:10 – “… we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” These words are the climactic ones of this portion on Jesus as the minister of the New Covenant.

Hebrews 7 points to this declaration with its detailed description of Jesus Christ as the High Priest of a different order. Again, this is why we treasure this letter, written in the first century after the ascension of the Son to the His Throne on high.

Notice how Melchisedek, the priest we first meet in Genesis 14, is described. “Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually” (Hebrews 7:3). All these things tell us that this man and his origins are a mystery. In the same way, Jesus appeared suddenly, as Malachi 3:1 prophesied:  “…And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts.”

The Old Line of Priests

The priests who descended from Levi and Moses came and went. They served the people and they were supported by the offerings and tithes that were brought to the worship centers – the Tabernacle in the wilderness and the Temple in Jerusalem.

What is more, these priests had to make offerings for themselves. They had to go before the Lord regarding their own sins. 

And we read that there were times when these priests were ungodly. Look at the story in the beginning of 1 Samuel. Hophni and Phineas were sons of Eli, the high priest, who abused their positions. They are labeled “sons of Belial;” they were profane in their ways, worthless and evil, practicing fornication and oppressing the people who came to draw near to God. 

Eli, we are told in the account, was a poor father. His sentimentality got the best of him. He refused to stand up to the sons and address their sinful practices. These troubles among the priests were nothing new. At the beginning of the Levitical priesthood, there were sons of Aaron – Nadab and Abibu – who were struck dead for offering “strange fire” in the Tabernacle. 

Hophni and Phineas were allowed to live and work in the practices of the priesthood. We see them grow familiar and casual about everything. A war with the Philistines came to Israel and it wasn’t going well. Hophni and Phineas got the bright idea to go and fetch the Ark of God and bring it to the frontlines. They saw this symbol of the Presence and Glory of God as little more than a lucky charm, sort of like a rabbit’s foot or an astrological sign. 

Their plan failed miserably and the Ark was taken away by the Philistines. These enemies of Israel took the Ark and put it in the temple of Dagon, the half-man, half-fish idol that they bowed before. The next morning the idol was found face down before the Ark. The caretakers of the temple set their idol back in place – what a god this was, he couldn’t even raise himself up from the ground. The next morning something even more remarkable was discovered. Dagon, the idol, was fallen and chopped up; the idol was left with no head and no hands before the Ark of God. 

The Philistines were awestruck and afflicted, as mice and tumors plagued the people. They came to realize that the God of the Ark was not to be trifled with. In this, we could say, they were more honorable than the sons of Eli.

What this tells us is that the work of the Lord proceeds in spite of the sinful ways of His people. His mercies are new and His grace is great. Even when He’s misrepresented, He can make Himself known and His Presence felt. 

Hebrews 7 makes it clear that the priesthood and offerings related to the family of Levi were decreed and designed to reveal the nature of sin and the character of forgiveness that comes from Heaven. 

The Better Hope

Christ came and brought the great change.  A new order came to earth and the New Covenant was established. The “carnal commandment” related to the family dynamic of the priests was done away with. The weakness of these priests was allowed, I believe, so that when the real Priest arrived there would be no question about His superiority and holiness. 

Jesus arose as the great High Priest on the wings and power of His endless life. This is why the truth of the Resurrection is so important. He came and died, but then He was alive again. The gospels are the records of His life and death and His risen reality.

This story hits home with every person who hears it, I think. Why? Because we want to believe that there will be a happily after, an eternal age full of truth and grace. Ecclesiastes 3:11 points out something about human beings:  “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that man cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”

The time of beauty and perfection shall come. This hope of eternity is what sparks these various tales and stories of victory and redemption.

And this is why these kinds of tales are so attractive and captivating. There’s a better hope.

Jesus brought the hope that the law could not bring to people. The succession of offerings was important and ordered by God through Moses, but they could not make anyone perfect.

Try, try, try, and try again though we may, still none of us can reach the heights of holiness. Even the ones closest to the Holy Place ordained by the Lord faltered. They were so close to the symbols and reality of His Presence and still they perverted their ways. 

This is why the Son had to come as Man in order to claim for Himself and for us His Throne on high, to set in place the King/Priest dynamic that rules and reigns fully in Heaven now and also on earth in bits and pieces, here and there.

Call upon the Name of Jesus and what do we receive as a perfect promise? We receive the completeness and wholeness of His Person. With this, we shall enter into the happily ever after, the joy that never ends. It is all ours because He offered… Click To Tweet

Happily ever after. Yes, “the end of all perfection” shall come, as we read in Psalm 119:96. That writer saw it in his heart and he fastened his hope to it.

For Christ possesses a priesthood that is unchangeable. For us, He is the guarantee of the resurrected life imputed spiritually to all believers and to be imparted in substance at a day soon to come. He shall save to the uttermost “all who come to God by Him.”

Call upon the Name of Jesus and what do we receive as a perfect promise? We receive the completeness and wholeness of His Person. With this, we shall enter into the happily ever after, the joy that never ends. It is all ours because He offered Himself once and for all. 

“For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself” (Hebrews 7:26-27).

Once upon a time, He came to work the work of Heaven for our salvation. This He did once and for all. Now we watch and await the coming happily ever after, the Day of the New Heaven and New Earth. 

Even so, come Lord Jesus. 

 

Steve Andrulonis
Latest posts by Steve Andrulonis (see all)