May 13, 2014
The comparison of Jesus to Melchizedek was important for the Jews to understand since they put so much trust on the High Priest to make the Sacrifices for them. It is equally important for non-Jews to understand this because there was no end, by man’s terms, of the priesthood of Melchizedek. This means his priesthood would have lasted as long as he lived, but Jesus lives forever.
Hebrews 7:23-28, “23 Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. 24 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. 26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people's, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.”
The author of Hebrews has been using the comparison of the High Priests under the Law of Moses, to Jesus’ Priesthood as similar to Melchizedek. I have found that many Christians reading this section of Hebrews tend to blitz through it because this has been the same theme since Hebrews 5:6 and the natural mind tends to look over similarities by clumping them all together. And since most Christians are not descendants from the Jews they do not have an existing foundation of lived history to base their understanding of this comparison on. However in verse 28 we begin to see additional importance to Jesus’ Priesthood.
The word perfected should stand out with understanding that once something is perfected there is no need for change, modification, or repetition. Under the Law of Moses the only constant was change. Their High Priests, the only person allowed into the Holy of Holies to make atonement for all of the Jews, was never in office long thereby creating never ending change. As each generation of High Priests were replaced and different kings came into power, modification or in some cases complete rebellion to the Law happened. And the only thing the children of Israel could do was to live in repetition of what they had since there was no other way. Einstein’s definition of insanity was to do the same thing over and over expecting different results. Would you consider yourself to be an insane person? Most people, and especially Christians will answer no.
Every Protestant Christian and even many non-Christians can see the weakness of Catholicism in its enforced dependency of the congregation upon the Priest, then their Bishops, Cardinals, and the Pope. I ask you, how many people are you willing to allow to stand between you and God? Many Christians will say none, and yet there is still this underlying push for confession of sins to the pastor or one of the elders. And the mega churches officially call them counselors. Still others will answer the same as the children of Israel did in the wilderness when they told Moses to speak to God and then they would listen to him. By nature it is a fearful thing to stand in the presence of God as written in Hebrews 10:31 and therefore the carnal mind is ok with going to a priest, pastor, or some other religious person instead of going directly to God. Notice I wrote “by nature” and “carnal mind”. There is nothing natural man can ever do that will allow him to enter into the presence of God and when asked, most Christians will agree. However it does not take great research to realize that all denominations and even most of the non-denominational churches are full of man’s efforts, rulings, and predetermined ways of life necessary to be accepted by that denomination and ultimately God. Some even go as far as stating their religion produces the only true Christians. Other Christian religions even discount the infilling of the Holy Spirit. And some denominations hold on to a gross misunderstanding of the term predestined, (as found in Romans 8:29-30, Ephesians 1:5 & 11), and believe that God has predestined those who can and who cannot get into heaven. And I have found very few Christians who do not place the lion share of emphasis on their actions and appearance, over the heart connection and relationship with Jesus. What does this mean; unless you are placing your entire walk with God based on Jesus’ perfected priesthood which rests on His perfect work on the cross, you are guilty of holding on to man in addition to holding on to God. To mix in man’s efforts with the blood of Jesus as some hybrid way of connecting to God is to actually taint the precious blood of Jesus that was shed for you. This is a hard thing to understand, but necessary to begin living by faith in all areas of your life, and not just your go to church part of life.
I tell people that the greatest stand out concept of Hebrews 12, the faith chapter, is found in what is not said as much as what is. While the great works of faith are mentioned in chapter 12 of many of the Old Testament saints, not one failure from their life is recorded in this chapter. In fact if a person has never read anything else in the bible and then reads Hebrews chapter 12, it is highly probably they would consider these mentioned saints of old as people who must have walked perfect before God in their day. The only thing recognized is their walk of faith and what was produced. They did not have Jesus to base their faith on, they simply believed God and purposed to follow Him. Under the New Covenant we have Jesus and the full message of the gospel and yet we still stumble, lean, or in some cases prefer to walk by religion over having a walk in faith. I believe this is because it is easier to walk by a set of rules like following a map, then to take step by step directions from God in our daily life. When we do take a step of faith in one direction and it seems to work, by nature we will attempt to do the same thing the second time instead of seeking God again for His direction. As proof of my statement, look at the life of Moses when he was leading the children of Israel in the wilderness. The first time they needed water he went to God and was told to speak to the rock and then strike it and water came out. The second time they needed water he went to God and was only told to speak to the rock, but when the time came he spoke and then struck it again even when told not to, because it worked the first time. Even though water came out the second time, he failed at following God’s lead. His actions may have produced the needed water for the complaining children of Israel, but he lost out on his full reward of entering into the Promise Land. Don’t risk losing out on your full reward by holding on to an action over holding on to Jesus’ perfect work on the cross which paid the way for you to boldly go to the throne of grace in your time of need.
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