Don’t Don’t Don’t A Depart! fall Don’t cast neglect away! away your your confidence! salvation! Study Don’t Of The Don’t harden drift away! Apostle your heart! Paul’s Letter To The Hebrews How can we neglect so great a salvation? ~ Hebrews 2:3 Hebrews: Christ Is Superior! Superior Person (1:1—4:13) Superior to Prophets (1:1-3) Superior to Angels (1:4—2:18) Superior to Moses (3:1-19) Superior to Joshua (4:1-13) Superior Priest (4:14—7:28) Superior to Aaron (4:14—6:12) Superior to Melchizedek (6:13—7:10) Superior to Levi (7:11-28) but… We’ll only get to verses 11-19 today. Hebrews: Christ Is Superior! Superior Pact to Moses’ (8:1—10:18) Superior Promises (8:1-13) Superior Sanctuary (9:1-15) Superior Sacrifice (9:16-28) Superior Results (10:1-18) Superior Principle (Faith) to Moses’ (10:19—13:25) Superior Things (10:19-39) Superior Actions (11:1-40) Superior Relationship (12:1-29) Superior Way of Life (13:1-25) In our examination of 7:1-10 we studi- ed Paul’s primary arguments about the eternal and therefore superior order of Melchizedek’s priesthood over the temporal and therefore inferior order of Aaron’s priesthood; and Jesus, not being of the lineage of Aaron but of God who (like Mel) has no beginning or ending, is therefore of Mel’s order. Now… In 7:11-19 we’ll find that Paul showed how the ideal priesthood is realized in Christ, an idea which set the stage for his lengthy discussion in chapters 8—10 about how the Law of Christ is greater than the Law of Moses. (Re- member, Moses was the brother of Aaron, the first high priest of the Levitical order). Hebrews Therefore if per- fection were thru 7:11 the Levitical priest- hood (for under it the people received the Law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Mel and not be called ac- cording to the order of Aaron? I.e., since Jesus has Therefore if per- become a High Priest fection were thru after the superior the Levitical priest- order of Mel (6:20— hood (for under it 7:10), then it’s evi- the people received dent that the Leviti- the Law), what cal priesthood wasn’t further need was adequate. there that another priest should rise according to the order of Mel and not be called ac- cording to the order of Aaron? This comes from a Therefore if per- term referring to the fection were thru process or act of the Levitical priest- completion of God’s hood (for under it plan of man’s re- the people received storation to His fel- the Law), what lowship. See… further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Mel and not be called ac- cording to the order of Aaron? The purpose of the priesthood was/is to remove the barrier between God and man—sin, so that man could again have access to God; and, since the Levitical priesthood could only do that typically, a new priesthood had to be instituted which could actually provide salvation for sinful man, which is why Paul later wrote in verse 25 that Jesus saves in a completed manner! Later Paul wrote of the priesthood that it was symbolic for the present time and could not make him who performed the service perfect (9:9); and he said of the Law of that priesthood that it, having a shadow of the good things to come, … can never … make those who approach perfect (10:1), or, as 7:19 says, the Law made nothing perfect. He also wrote, if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the Law (Gal. 3:21). This clause actually Therefore if per- means that the Law fection were thru and the Levitical the Levitical priest- priesthood were in- hood (for under it separable; they were the people received essentially given by the Law), what God at the same further need was time, each reinforc- there that another ing the other, mean- priest should rise ing that they stand according to the or fall together. order of Mel and not be called ac- cording to the order of Aaron? There are two Greek Therefore if per- words for another: fection were thru one means another the Levitical priest- of the same kind, hood (for under it and the other one, the people received the one used here, the Law), what means another of a further need was different kind. In there that another other words… priest should rise according to the order of Mel and not be called ac- cording to the order of Aaron? Since the Levitical Therefore if per- priesthood didn’t fection were thru bring anything to the Levitical priest- completion (v. 19), hood (for under it more was needed the people received than just another the Law), what priest—an entirely further need was different priesthood there that another was needed, one af- priest should rise ter the order of Mel according to the instead of Aaron. order of Mel and So… not be called ac- cording to the order of Aaron? The answer to the question of this verse, of course, is that if the Levitical priesthood could’ve cleansed man of his sin, if it could’ve re-established a relationship with God, i.e. if it could’ve provided for perfection, then there would’ve been no need for a priest of a different order, much less the death of the Son of God. But… Since God did promise another priest after another order (an order different from that of Aaron), and since the re- placed priesthood found its authority in the Law of Moses (7:28), then it’s obvious that God had never planned for our salvation to be realized under the Levitical priesthood or its law. What an argument! To deny this, those Jewish brethren would’ve had to deny the inspiration of Psalm 110. Hebrews For the priesthood being changed, of 7:12 necessity there is also a change of the law. Notice this present For the priesthood tense word in this being changed, of verse: The Jewish necessity there is world was being sup- also a change of planted by a new one (2:5)—a new the law. world that would, of necessity, include a new law and a new priesthood. This word is from a For the priesthood term which means being changed, of to put one thing in necessity there is the place of another. also a change of So… the law. Paul wasn’t just teaching that the Mel- chizedekian priesthood was better than the Aaronic priesthood, but that it also replaced it! But, since the Law and the priesthood stand or fall together, this priesthood-replacement could only be accomplished by a replacement of the law which governed the priesthood; i.e., the Law of Christ replaced the Law of Moses. So… Why did the law need to change in order to change the priesthood? Hebrews Because He (Jesus) of whom these 7:13 things are spoken belongs to another tribe from which no man has offici- ated at the altar. These things refer Because He (Jesus) to the words of Psa. of whom these 110:4—the prophecy things are spoken of God that there’d belongs to another arise One who would be a priest after the tribe from which order of Mel instead no man has offici- of Aaron. ated at the altar. I find it interesting Because He (Jesus) that the original of whom these term for this phrase things are spoken is the same as trans- belongs to another lated share in the same in 2:14 where tribe from which Paul wrote of Jesus no man has offici- taking part in hu- ated at the altar. manity in order to destroy him who had the power of death—the devil. It’s interesting because, as I said when we studied that verse, this word is ac- tive and means that Jesus volunteered to become human (something none of us had a choice in), implying that Jesus was/is deity. So, with reference to this verse here, this means that … not only did Jesus choose to become human, but also … He chose to be born of the tribe of Judah instead of Levi. This word is the Because He (Jesus) same as the one in of whom these verse 11; i.e., not things are spoken only was Jesus not belongs to another of the lineage of Aaron, He wasn’t tribe from which even a descendant no man has offici- of Levi. The prophets ated at the altar. were very clear on this: Speaking of the Messiah, Isaiah 11:10 prophesied that He shall be a Root of Jesse. And who was Jesse’s son? God said, I will raise to David a Branch…; a King shall reign and prosper and exe- cute judgment and righteousness in the earth (Jer. 23:5). So Jesus would be a branch of David from the root of Jesse, meaning that the New Testa- ment High Priest would actually come through the kingly lineage, not the priestly lineage. And what lineage was that? Hebrews For it is evident that our Lord arose 7:14 from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing con- cerning priesthood. Jesus was a descen- For it is evident dant of Levi’s broth- that our Lord arose er Judah, whose de- from Judah, of scendants, including which tribe Moses Jesus, had no auth- ority in the least to spoke nothing con- fulfill the job of a cerning priesthood. Levite, much less a priest or high priest! Let’s read some re- lated passages at this point: Jacob, prophesying about his son, said, Judah is a lion’s cub; …. He … [is] as a lion; and as a lion who shall rouse him? The scepter shall not depart from Ju- dah nor a lawgiver from between his feet until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people (Gen. 49:9-10). Then, speaking to John, an elder said of Jesus, Behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David (Rev. 5:5). By the way… Though folks tell us today that we can’t argue from silence, that’s exactly what Paul did here in verse 14; a perfect ex- ample of the binding of silence with re- ference to this very subject, in fact, is found in 2nd Chron. 26:16-21 where King Uzziah, a descendant of Judah, was struck by God with leprosy until the day of his death because he dared to do the work of a Levite priest. Hebrews And it is yet far more evident if, in 7:15-16 the likeness of Mel- chizedek, there arises another priest who has come, not accord- ing to the law of a fleshly command- ment, but accord- ing to the power of an endless life. What’s far more evi- And it is yet far dent? Well, let’s go more evident if, in back a moment: the likeness of Mel- What was the point chizedek, there Paul was making? arises another priest who has come, not accord- ing to the law of a fleshly command- ment, but accord- ing to the power of an endless life. The point is found in And it is yet far verses 11-12 where more evident if, in he affirmed that the the likeness of Mel- Levitical priesthood chizedek, there and the Law had to be, and were, re- arises another placed. To prove priest who has this, he presented come, not accord- two arguments: ing to the law of a fleshly command- ment, but accord- ing to the power of an endless life. He first presented a new argument in verse 14, namely that according to the prophets (as well as their own common knowledge), the Messiah, Jesus—the One they as Christians had accepted as God’s new High Priest—was of the lineage of Judah, not Levi. Then here in verses 15- 16 he brought in a previously established truth to further support his point, viz. that Jesus, being God, is a priest who can not and therefore will not die—a type of priest Moses’ Law, of course, never took into consideration. Incidentally… Paul probably had And it is yet far Christ’s resurrection more evident if, in in mind when he the likeness of Mel- chose the term aris- es; i.e., since He rose chizedek, there (as witnessed, 1 Cor. arises another 15:3-7) and spoke of priest who has the power to raise come, not accord- Himself (John 10:17), ing to the law of a His resurrection fleshly command- proved His inherent virtue of indestruc- ment, but accord- tibility—the power ing to the power of an endless life. of an endless life. Since this phrase is And it is yet far in contrast to the more evident if, in phrase endless life, the likeness of Mel- and since the next chizedek, there two verses say what they do about the arises another ending of the old priest who has law, then… come, not accord- ing to the law of a fleshly command- ment, but accord- ing to the power of an endless life. This clause evidently And it is yet far means that High more evident if, in Priest Jesus was ap- the likeness of Mel- pointed to the office chizedek, there of priest … based not on His ancestral arises another line, but … based on priest who has His intrinsic superi- come, not accord- ority—His deity. By ing to the law of a the way… fleshly command- ment, but accord- ing to the power of an endless life. Romans 1:3-4 corre- And it is yet far sponds to this con- more evident if, in text, for in them Paul the likeness of Mel- wrote of Jesus being chizedek, there born of David (giving Him the authority to be arises another a king, Heb. 7:14) and priest who has of His being resur- come, not accord- rected (giving Him the ing to the law of a right to be, like Mel, a fleshly command- priest, Heb. 7:1-3). ment, but accord- ing to the power of an endless life. Hebrews For He (God) testi- fies: “You (Jesus) 7:17 are a priest for- ever according to the order of Mel- chizedek.” I find it interesting For He (God) testi- that Paul quoted fies: “You (Jesus) this Psalm 4 times in are a priest for- this book (5:6 & 10 ever according to and 7:17 & 21), and he alluded to it at the order of Mel- least 3 other times chizedek.” (6:20 and 7:11 & 15). This is interesting to me because… Though folks tell us For He (God) testi- today that we can’t fies: “You (Jesus) base a doctrine on are a priest for- one verse, that’s ever according to exactly what Paul did here: Psa. 110:4 the order of Mel- is the key verse or chizedek.” the hub around which the book of Hebrews revolves! Hebrews For on the one hand there is an 7:18-19a annulling of the former command- ment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the Law made nothing perfect… Verse 18 takes up For on the one the idea of verse 16 hand there is an by speaking of the annulling of the negative result of former command- the power of an in- destructible life tak- ment because of ing over the fleshly its weakness and ordinance. unprofitableness, for the Law made nothing perfect… This word comes For on the one from a term which hand there is an meant to make void annulling of the or to do away with; it’s the same term former command- as found in 9:26 ment because of where Paul said that its weakness and Jesus appeared [in unprofitableness, the flesh] to put away for the Law made sin, meaning that the Law has been re- nothing perfect… moved just as tho- roughly as Jesus re- moves sin. This phrase refers For on the one primarily to the law hand there is an concerning priests annulling of the being from Aaron’s former command- lineage; but the do- ing away with just ment because of that one rule voids its weakness and the entire Law (cf. v. unprofitableness, 11 & Gal. 5:3). This is for the Law made obviously true be- nothing perfect… cause of what Paul went on to say: The Law was weak For on the one & therefore unprofit- hand there is an able because it made nothing perfect or annulling of the complete, meaning former command- that it (as a mere shad- ment because of ow, 10:1) brought no- its weakness and thing to conclusion; unprofitableness, i.e., since it couldn’t for the Law made produce or offer a sacrifice that would nothing perfect… pay for sin (10:4), it couldn’t reconcile anyone to his God. Paul commented on this idea in Romans 8:3 when he said, What the Law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son. As a disclaimer, Paul taught in Galatians 3 that, though the Law was unprofitable for the purpose of pardoning sinners, it fulfilled its primary purpose which led up to the pardoning of sinners. In fact … The word former For on the one here carries with it hand there is an the idea of introduc- ing; the Law, as annulling of the Paul said in Galati- former command- ans, brought man to ment because of Christ, introducing its weakness and him to the new and unprofitableness, eternal High Priest. for the Law made So… nothing perfect… It’s important to remember that Paul said (in Romans 8:3) that the Law was weak, not totally powerless—it did what it was meant to do (cf. Rom. 7:12 & 14 where Paul said that the Law was holy, just, good, and spiritual in nature). On the other hand… Hebrews …there is the bringing in of a 7:19b better hope, thru which we draw near to God. This is the positive …there is the result of the power bringing in of a of an indestructible better hope, thru life taking over the which we draw fleshly ordinance. near to God. This phrase actually …there is the carries with it the bringing in of a idea of bringing in better hope, thru upon , which takes which we draw us back to the con- cept of replacement near to God. spoken of earlier— the Gospel of Grace replaced the Law of Works. This is a better hope …there is the because Christ’s bringing in of a priesthood and Gos- better hope, thru pel draw us near to which we draw God: 8:6 tells us that Jesus has received a near to God. ministry that’s better than the Levites, by creating a better covenant between God and man, based on better promises. The hope under the old law was for re- conciliation to God later in the coming of the Messiah; but now, under the new law, that restoration to God’s fellow- ship is fulfilled in Christ (John 14:6). Since God through Jesus has accom- plished everything possible on His part to open the door to man for forgiveness, reconciliation, and salvation, the ball is in our court to draw near to God; in fact, it’s commanded of us (James 4:8).