Archive | March 2015

From the Pastor’s Pen

Final thoughts on Hebrews 7:22-28

By so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant. Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. 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. For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; 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. 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.          NKJV

In Hebrews 7:1-21, the scripture declares that Jesus is an eternal high priest after the order of Melchizedek rather than a temporal high priest after the order of Aaron. As a result, verse 22 declares that Jesus has become the surety (or guarantee) of a better covenant than that of the Old Testament high priests. In our text, the Lord proceeds to give us three reasons that Jesus’ high priesthood is superior to that of the Old Testament high priests.

First, Jesus high priesthood is superior to that of the Old Testament high priests because He lives forever (vs.23-25). Because the Old Testament priests died, they had to be continually replaced (v.23). Conversely, because Jesus was raised from the dead in an immortal, incorruptible body, His high priesthood is eternal (v.24). Since Jesus lives forever, He is able to save those of us who trust in Him forever because lives forever to make intercession for us (v.25). Despite the accusations of Satan who acts as a prosecuting attorney (Rev. 12:10), Jesus stands before God the Father, the great judge of all in the court of heaven, to testify as our defense attorney that He has already paid the penalty for our sins (I Jn. 2:1).

Second, Jesus’ high priesthood is superior to that of the Old Testament high priests because He is sinless (v.26-28). Unlike the Old Testament high priests, Jesus did not have to offer up a sacrifice for His own sins (v.27). The animal sacrifices offered up by the Old Testament high priests were not acceptable to pay for the peoples’ sins (Heb. 10:4). Sin, which is the breaking of God’s laws (I Jn. 3:4), requires a sinless human being to be sacrificed and pay for the sins of sinful human beings. Even the Old Testament high priests couldn’t sacrifice themselves for the peoples’ sins because they too were sinners. No human being could be an acceptable sacrifice for the sins of mankind because all human beings are sinners (Rom. 3:23). But God Himself provided the solution in becoming a human being in the person of Jesus Christ, and then living a sinless life here on earth. As a perfect, sinless man, He became the perfect, acceptable sacrifice for our sins (v.26).

Third, Jesus high priesthood is superior to that of the Old Testament high priests because He paid for all of our sins forever with His one sacrifice (v.27). Jesus’ last words from the cross were “It is finished.” (Jn. 19:30). By His substitutionary death, He had accomplished everything that needed to be accomplished for the redemption of His people. Nothing more needed to be done. Contrast that with the sacrifices of the Old Testament high priests which had to be continually offered over and over again for sins (Heb. 10:1,3). When you trust the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, every sin you have ever committed, or will ever commit, is paid for forever (Heb. 10:11-14). To use an Old Testament metaphor, the sacrifices of the Old Testament high priests were but a cracked cistern that frequently ran dry and had to be constantly refilled, but the sacrifice of Jesus is an unceasing fountain that flows continuously for the cleansing of sin (Zech. 13:1).

What about you dear reader? Have you been to the unceasing fountain of Jesus’ blood opened to cleanse all your sins forever? Have you repented of your sins and trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior?

From the Pastor’s Pen

Final thoughts on Hebrews 7:1-3

For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated “king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “king of peace,” 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.          NKJV

Melchizedek (Gen. 14:18-20) is one of the most mysterious and controversial figures in all of scripture. There are two major views regarding Melchizedek. The first is that Melchizedek was simply a man who was a contemporary of Abraham, who had no record of his genealogy, and who was both a king and a priest, and thus is a type (or picture) of Christ. The second view is that Melchizedek was the pre-incarnate Christ, who appeared to Abraham to bestow His own special blessing on the patriarch who would become the father of the Hebrew nation. Christ sometimes appeared in the Old Testament in visible form, known in theological circles as a Christophany. Some examples of Christophanies from scripture include Christ appearing to Moses in the form of a burning bush (Ex. 3:4-18, compare with Jn. 8:58); Christ appearing as a man with whom Jacob wrestled, who preserved Jacob’s life, blessed him with a new name (Israel), and whom Jacob identified as God Himself (Gen. 32:24-30); Christ appearing to Joshua as the Captain of the Lord’s Army (Jos. 5:13-15); Christ walking in the fiery furnace in human form with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Dan. 3:23-25); etc. Looking at our text, there seems to three strong lines of evidence that Melchizedek is a Christophany.

First, Melchizedek has the authority of Christ. In verse two, we learn that “Melchizedek” (actually a title rather than a personal name) means “King of Righteousness.” This Old Testament title applies only to Christ (Isa. 32:1, Jer. 23:5-6). Melchizedek is also referred to in verse two as the “King of Salem,” which literally means “King of Peace.” Again, this title is similar to the Old Testament title for Christ, “Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6). At Christ’s millennial reign, He will certainly reign over the nations of the earth as the “King of Peace” (Zech. 9:10).

Second, Melchizedek, like Christ, is greater than Abraham. In the eyes of the Jews, Abraham was the greatest man who ever lived. When the Jews heard the claims of Jesus, they asked, “Are you greater than our father, Abraham? Who do you make yourself out to be?” Jesus answer to them was, “Before Abraham was, I Am.” (Jn. 8:58). Likewise, the scripture states that Melchizedek is greater than Abraham (Heb. 7:4-7). The superiority of Melchizedek to Abraham is also seen in the fact that Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek before the implementation of the Levitical priesthood (v.2). Biblically, titles are paid not to men, but to the Lord (Mal. 3:8, Gen. 28:22, Lev. 27:30). Why was Abraham, the Patriarch of Israel, paying tithes to Melchizedek? It is because Melchizedek was Christ Himself in human form.

Third, Melchizedek is eternal like Christ (v.3). There are four declarations in Hebrews, chapter seven, regarding the eternality of Melchizedek. Verse three declares that Melchizedek had no parents. Those who hold that He is merely a type of Christ say that this verse just means that there is no record of His genealogy. However, applying the “golden rule of interpretation” which requires that any passage be taken “literally” as “plainly stated” unless there is good contextual reason to do so otherwise, then this passage goes far beyond just saying that there is no record of Melchizedek’s genealogy. Verse three explicitly states that Melchizedek had no beginning or end. Not only does this rule out Him being a man, it also rules out Him being a angel (Psa. 148:2, 5). Melchizek is declared to be like the Son of God (compare with Dan. 3:25, Rev. 1:12-13, 18), an eternal priest (Heb. 7:15-16), who is still alive (Heb. 7:8).

Who is Melchizedek? The Biblical evidence points to Him as the pre-incarnate Christ. This same priest who blessed Abraham as the father of the Hebrew nation is the great, eternal High Priest who is able to bless us with salvation because He lives forever to make intercession for us (Heb. 7:25). Have you repented of your sins and trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and eternal High Priest?