Hebrews

Background before tomorrow’s read-Melchizedek

Think of this post as a Movie Trailer for Chapters 7 and 8.  I am going to give the background to the mysterious chapter 7 of Hebrews (because we are human and curious) but the whole time the focus is not on Melchizedek, it is on the Lord.

Genesis 14- (Oh,how I wish we could now go back and reread the entire Bible…the gems we would see now)

Background: Before Genesis 14, Abram (Abraham) left his home and headed to Canaan (obeying the Lord).  He took with him his nephew Lot.  Well, they had too many possessions and to avoid arguments they split company.  Lot, being young and wild, headed towards the region of Sodom, the party town.

Genesis 13 Bible Pictures: Abram with his nephew Lot | Bible pictures, Abraham and lot, Bible

In the meantime, rulers and kings were fighting for land called.  For about 12 years, 4 kings:—Elam, Shinar, Ellasar, and Goiim—had ruled in and around Canaan. However, five kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Zoar have gathered their forces to take their stand against the eastern kings.  To make a long story short (too late), the 5 kings defeated the 4 kings.  HOWEVER, in all the chaos, Lot got swept up in the plunder.

A survivor comes and tells Abram what has happened. Without hesitation, Abram—who is more than seventy-five years old, gathers a mere 318 men trained for battle to save Lot.

What could Abram’s small army do against this force that had conquered all in their path without a loss? With God’s help, they could win. They do so in one night! Abram’s forces chase down the enemy and retrieve Lot, all of his possessions, and everything else the eastern kings had plundered along the way.

As Abram returns home, two kings come out to meet him.

  • One is the king of Sodom (Genesis 13:13), who survived the battle.
  • The other is a mysterious figure identified as Melchizedek, the king of Salem and priest of God Most High.
    • Melchizedek, whose name means “king of righteousness,” was a king of Salem (Jerusalem) (Peace) and priest of the Most High God
    • Melchizedek brings Abram bread and wine and a blessing from God.
    • Abram immediately responds by giving ten percent of all the plunder to God’s priest.
    • Melchizedek is both a High Priest AND a King.

Why are we talking about Melchizaeke in Genesis and why does he get a whole chapter in Hebrews? (chapter 7)

Read part of Genesis 14: (Click here to read the chapter…it’s so good)

17 After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley).

18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, 19 and he blessed Abram, saying,

“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
    Creator of heaven and earth.
20 And praise be to God Most High,
    who delivered your enemies into your hand.”

Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

Who Assumed Melchizedek's Priesthood? - TheTorah.com


The LAST scripture in yesterday’s read (Hebrews 6) was: He (Jesus) has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

Here is what we know and some questions…

  • The priests in the Old Testament come from the line of Levi (Melchizadek does not)
  • The High Priest comes from Aaron’s (Moses’ brother) descendants (Melchizadek does not)
  • If God put the Levitical priesthood in place- why would we need a Priest from a different order?
  • Was the old order weak and flawed?
  • Finally, who is this guy??

By the way, Cindy, thank you for the kind words in the Christmas card to Karen.🎄

 

Hebrews

Hebrews 1-6

God has used prophets and various ways (vision, dreams, even through the mouth of a donkey) to speak to people.  But now He speaks to us through Jesus.  Why does this book open with this?  False teachers during this time were preaching that we could only approach God through angels.

Then the author begins to quote from the Old Testament often.  One specific quote was from Psalm 102:

25 In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth,
    and the heavens are the work of your hands.
26 They will perish, but you remain;
    they will all wear out like a garment.
Like clothing you will change them
    and they will be discarded.
27 But you remain the same,
    and your years will never end.

Greek Philosophers were teaching that the Earth was indestructible and permanent.  The Hebrew author says:

12 You will roll them up like a robe;

Oh, it will happen, my friends….in Revelation 21. 🌎


The last verse in chapter One should rock your world and fill your heart!!

14 Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

Is this where we get the lingo “Guardian Angel”?  I am so so so careful not to think of anything but the Trinity even though I obviously know there are angels.  However, as a Christian, angels: under God’s authority minister to us, serve us!  How amazing is that!!


So what do we know about them? (Other than my husband thinks I am one 😜👼🏼)

We know that angels are significant in God’s plan. Thirty-Four books in the Bible mention angels:

  • 17 in the New Testament
  • 17 in the Old Testament
  • Over 300 references to Angels in the entire Bible

The New Testament uses the Greek word “angelas”-meaning “one who is dispatched or a messenger”

Other terms they are called in the Bible:

  • Holy Ones (Psalm 89)
  • Watchers (Daniel 4)
  • Dominions, principalities, powers, and authorities (Paul’s Letters)
  • Cherubim (‘special agent’ angels) were guards in Eden and on the tabernacle,
  • Seraphim- musically talented
  • Living creatures (in Ezekiel and  Revelation)-they were the ones with the 4 faces
  • Ministering Spirits-Hebrews

Three are called by a name:

  1. Michael (Archangel, top-ranked)
  2. Gabriel (I call him the “Public Speaker”)
  3. Lucifer (his name before his fall)-means son of the morning, the light bearer, morning star,  or shining star.

We don’t know how many there are but they are referenced as a ‘multitude’ or ‘innumerable’ so I think A LOT!


Ok, off track…Back to Hebrews.

Chapter 2 continues to distinguishing Jesus from angels. The chapter includes Old Testament quotes in order to make these points. In addition, the writer of Hebrews warns against the dangers of ignoring the message of Christ and refers to the way Jesus became human in order to perfectly serve as our ultimate high priest. An angel could not experience true humanity—they cannot call us “brothers”. Christ became a man,  in order to completely destroy the Devil’s power of death and sin over us.


Now that he taught Jesus was superior to angels, the author needs to tackle another topic: Moses.  Moses was revered and honored among Jews (Hebrews).

Is there a scientific explanation behind Moses and the Burning Bush? | Office for Science and Society - McGill University

Moses' First Miracles – TravisAgnew.org

Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the moun… | Biblia imagen, Imágenes religiosas, Arte cristiano

 

Yes, Moses’ works were important but doesn’t compare to Jesus. Moses pointed to the great things that God would do, but Jesus actually did those great things.

Remember the audience of the book. The recipients of this book were NOT at Pentecost.  (maybe as very young children).  It was 35ish years ago.  They are just like the recipients of Deuteronomy, after the wandering in the desert, they did not have a 1st hand account, they had to TRUST the scriptures.  The Hebrews did not trust the Lord and 40 years of wandering was the consequence.  This author is warning the readers of the same possible outcome, figuratively.

The author is speaking to Christain Jews (already converted). This kind of doubt does not imply a loss of salvation. In the book of Exodus, “salvation” is represented by the Passover escape from Egypt. God did not send Israel back to the Egyptians when they doubted. Instead, He withheld from them the victory of entering the Promised Land (an abundant life, a Rest, A Sabbath from their hard work).


Chapter 4.  We as believers, read the Scriptures, believe them, obey them by trusting in Jesus.   Our ‘rest’ is our Peace because we have Hope.  We trust his Word.  There was a time God said to their ancestors:

“So I declared on oath in my anger,
    ‘They shall never enter my rest.’”

And they did not… They wandered until the entire generation passed away.  They never got their ‘rest’ in Cannan like God had PROMISED them.  They did not trust God.  But now they have an opportunity to have the Rest their ancestors did not.  Believe in the fullness of the Scriptures.  Allow the scriptures to change you: your belief, your heart, and your behavior.  Can the Word do that?

12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.


This will be the hardest concept for people under “Judaism”.  The topic of High Priest.

The Priests were from the tribe of Levi.  The High Priest was appointed by God from the line of Aaron (Moses’ brother).  The qualifications were:

  1. Appointed by God to represent men before God; and God before men.
  2. Offer gifts and sacrifice for sin.
  3. Full of compassion for those who willingly or ignorantly sinned (unintentional sin on the Day of Atonement)
  4. The High Priest must offer sacrifices for his own sin before he offered sacrifices for the people
  5. The High Priest cannot be self-appointed.

The author quotes Psalm 102 and 110:

In the same way, Christ did not take on himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him,

“You are my Son;
    today I have become your Father.”

And he says in another place,

“You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.”

  • He was appointed by God
  • As a sacrifice for sin
  • He was tempted too, so he is compassionate
  • He is sinless
  • He is greater than any Levite- he comes from another order’-Melchizedek (we will get into this tomorrow)

Chapter 6 (MY FAVORITE FOR TODAY)

  • It is time to grow up (time to put down the baby bottle and eat solid food)
    • 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil
  • Just because you have strayed from Truths, does not mean you can’t come back.
    • It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance
  • Stop putting Jesus on the Cross every day.  Once was all that was needed.
    • To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

If a human High Priest is needed, and Jesus did not make a sacrifice for our sins, out of compassion, according to God’s will, then why was he on the Cross.  If they continue to make sacrifices at the Temple,  it is saying Jesus’ sacrifice was not enough. (I vote: Destroy the Temple!)


The chapter ends with the Faith of Abraham.

Scrath that.

The Chapter ends with the Oath of God.

16 People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. 17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath.

YOU have Faith.  God confirms your Salvation with a Covenant.  His Promise is Greater than ours.  He entered the Presence of God behind the curtain on our behalf.  He tore the veil for us.  Forever.


In that we have Hope.1We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

15+ Bible Verses and Anchors (Having Faith & Hope in God)