Let Us Hold Fast- Hebrews 4

The Hebrew writer continues in chapter 4 with the comparisons he began in the previous chapter between Christians and those who rebelled against God and wandered in the desert for 40 years. They were not allowed to enter God’s rest, he says. And he says in verse 11: “Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.”

Before he died, Moses looked from Mount Nebo across the Promised Land. Because he had sinned, the Lord would not permit him to enter the land (Joshua 1).

Before he died, Moses looked from Mount Nebo across the Promised Land. Because he had sinned, the Lord would not permit him to enter the land (Joshua 1).

The writer then repeats the reference to Jesus as high priest, but as one who knows what we face each day:

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

 /Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Hebrews

Heb. 4, Heb. 5, Heb. 6, Heb. 7, Heb. 8

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

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All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

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To the Hebrews

The New Testament book that we simply refer to as “Hebrews” has been something of a mystery as to its author forever. The earliest church traditions ascribe it to Paul. But there are problems with doing so, not the least of which is the fact that the writing style is so different from anything else he wrote. Also, Paul’s entire ministry, as ordained by the Lord, was devoted to spreading the gospel throughout the Gentile world. So scholars throughout the ages have had to concede that only the Lord knows who wrote it.

Hebrews 10:23

Hebrews 10:23 (Photo credit: [Share the Word])

But neither of those arguments preclude preclude Paul from teaching Jewish Christians. In fact, at a time when Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles was well established, it makes perfect sense for him to do so. Secondly, a different writing style would not be unusual at all when you think about it. The author was addressing his fellow Jewish born Christians, and their backgrounds and frame of reference would certainly be different. They would also have different challenges and experiences with persecution from many of the Gentiles, particularly in the area of idolatry. It hardly matters, though. We have enough information from its acceptance by the early church and from its content itself to be certain of the book’s inspired nature.

English: The world as known to the Hebrews. A ...

English: The world as known to the Hebrews. A map from “Historical Textbook and Atlas of Biblical Geography (1854)” by Coleman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was clearly written in the first century, as the references to Timothy indicate. And the author often writes about the Jewish sacrificial system in the present tense, indicating that it still was being practiced as Jews would expect (such as in Hebrews 9:6-7). This would indicate a date before 70 A.D. The author obviously was familiar with his audience, as indicated by Hebrews 13:17-19:

“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls…Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. I urge you the more earnestly to do this in order cthat I may be restored to you the sooner.”

The message of the book is to encourage the saints to endure, and to not forsake Christ. His promise of eternal life is just as reliable as any of God’s promises ever have been. It also confirms Him as being fully God, and the upholder of all of creation. He is higher than the angels, and as the new “High Priest,” He is higher than the earthly priesthood of the old covenant.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.

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Job 28 – To Turn Away From Evil

Solomon's Pillars, hill with mine

Solomon’s Pillars, hill with mine

The poetic beauty that is so prevalent in the Wisdom Literature is seldom more lovely than in much of this chapter of Job. Verses 1-11 begin the chapter by extolling the accomplishments of man in extracting precious metals from the depths of the earth.  Verse three appears to be referring to an example of man’s mastery of darkness with the use of torches in deep and dark mines – said much more beautifully by the verse itself (“Man puts an end to darkness and searches out to the farthest limit the ore in gloom and deep darkness”). Or consider verse 9’s description of the act of mining itself (“Man puts his hand to the flinty rock and overturns mountains by the roots”).

Man, the verses tell us, is the only creature on earth who is able to go into these depths and accomplish the extraction of these precious metals, and so it is only man who knows the secrets of these labyrinths or has even seen  them. Only man is able to so carve out and alter the face of the earth to find and acquire these resources.

Then verses 12-22 point out that even God’s greatest creation (man) cannot find wisdom by the physical acts at which he has become so masterful. And he cannot even use the great wealth that he accumulates from these great feats of manipulating the earth in order to purchase that wisdom, for it cannot be bought. Wisdom is hidden from all living things by the Creator, and man cannot penetrate to any deep or hidden place in order to find understanding.

Storm clouds gather over mountains of Maui, Hawaii

Storm clouds gather over mountains of Maui, Hawaii

Verses 23 and following point out the obvious conclusion that God alone knows the way to it and understands where it lays. He gave to the wind its weight and apportioned the waters by measure.” And just as he created the laws of nature for such things as the rains and lightning and thunder, he established wisdom.

Then, just as Solomon said in Proverbs 1:7, verse 28 tells us that “he said to man,‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.'” It is again important to understand that it does not say that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom about only religious matters. Just as was Solomon’s point, it is the beginning of all knowledge. Only by God’s power, His will, and the fact that He holds consistent and constant the created order of the universe in which we live, can man even have the ability to have understanding.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Job 25 – Born of Woman

An outer view of the Druze shrine of Prophet Job

An outer view of the Druze shrine of Prophet Job (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This brief chapter sums up the crux of the discussion so far. Job’s friends’ arguments with him have so far included only two possibilities – either God is wrong about Job, or else Job is himself in the wrong. Since the former is an impossibility, the situation is puzzlingly unacceptable in the realm of possible reconciliations. How can it be that he who is “born of woman” be right in such a case, if that means that God is in the wrong? There must be some mistake! No other possibility than these two exists in their eyes, and that leaves much to consider for the three companions – and for Job himself.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Job 21 – Why Should I Not Be Impatient?

evil01Job’s disagreement with his three friends intensifies with indignation an it is born of sound reasoning.  He first tells them to keep their tongues and listen to his rebuttal, then urges them to continue to mock him if they must afterward.  He flatly disagrees with their assessment of the fortunes of those who are wicked, as well as its affect on their children:

Why do the wicked live,
reach old age, and grow mighty in power?
Their offspring are established in their presence,
and their descendants before their eyes.
Their houses are safe from fear,
and no rod of God is upon them.

He asks them for more personal knowledge of how often the wicked are repaid in this life for their deeds, or when they have known God to dole out pain in His anger.  He disputes their claim that God stores up their iniquity for their children,  Job believes in a just God and he makes that clear when he asks who among them will teach God knowledge of justice against the wicked.  One, he says dies with his life full, while another dies without tasting prosperity – but they are dust in the end just the same.

He asks them to ferret out testimony from any front – the wicked are indeed spared from calamity often and escape wrath with frequency in this life, and their stance on this matter does not bear up under scrutiny.  At last he closes this speech with the condemnation they deserve:

“How then will you comfort me with empty nothings?
There is nothing left of your answers but falsehood.”

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Job 19 – “My Redeemer Lives”

English: An early engraving by Blake for the B...

English: An early engraving by Blake for the Book of Job (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We’ve said before that reading the Book of Job can be challenging.  By the time you reach this chapter, even with all of the poetry, it can be difficult to stay focused on getting meaning from all of the speeches by Job and his friends.  If you aren’t careful, you can totally miss “the point” in some chapters.  This is one such chapter.

In verses 1-22, he begs his friends to stop tormenting him with their words of judgment, not even being able to name what his sin might be.  He eloquently, but sadly, speaks of his pitiful state, and all of the abuse, abandonment, and even mockery by friends, family, strangers – even children.  He speaks at some length at how God has allowed all of this to befall him.

Then in verse 23 it takes a different turn, and in 25-26 (the NASB has the most accurate translation here), he says:

“As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.
Even after my skin is destroyed,
Yet from my flesh I shall see God”

There are several things to note here.  First, the Book of Job is part of the inspired word of God,; and as such, it’s author (possibly Job himself) was guided by the Holy Spirit. Secondly, with some notable exceptions, the Old Testament is less vocal on the subject of life after death, but it seems clear here that Job believes in a physical resurrection.  Abraham believed in physical resurrection as well (Hebrews 11:19).  Third, the certainty Job has that his “redeemer lives” has been a gradual progression through these chapters.  In Job 9:33 he begins to wish for an arbiter or “umpire” between himself and God.  In Job 16:19, he says:

“Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven,
and he who testifies for me is on high.”

In Job 17:3, he asks God to be his surety, his guarantor. In Job 16:20-21, he says “my eye pours out tears to God, that he would argue the case of a man with God.”  As Peter told us in 1 Peter 1:10-12, the prophets of the Old Testament did not always know the full ultimate development of all of their prophecies, but Job’s insight grows slowly each chapter.  He would have no way of knowing about Jesus, but he now sees God Himself as his Redeemer – the one who would stand for Him in the end before God Himself.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Understanding the Cross of Christ – Part 6 (Christ Arose!)

This is the conclusion of a series begun in Part One as a search for a more meaningful answer to an aspiring young Christian’s question: “Why did God send His only son to die?”  In part 2, we looked at what sin is, why it matters so much to God, and why it should matter to us.  In part 3, we delved into God’s response to sin.  In all of that discussion, we have made great mention of the fact that God has a plan for our salvation.  In part 4, we looked at how Jesus really fits into that plan.  In part 5, we examined what was expected of the Messiah, and why His death on the cross was necessary.

What Did the Cross Accomplish?

The Very Real Suffering of “The Suffering Servant”

The Mount of Olives, looking from Jerusalem, with Gethsemane on the left and the Basilica of the Agony (also called the Church of All Nations) at the right. It is the third in a succession of churches that have been built on the site where it is believed that Jesus prayed to the Father in the hours before his crucifixion.

The Mount of Olives, looking from Jerusalem, with Gethsemane on the left and the Basilica of the Agony (also called the Church of All Nations) at the right. It is the third in a succession of churches that have been built on the site where it is believed that Jesus prayed to the Father in the hours before his crucifixion.

It is all too easy for us to get into a mindset, knowing that Jesus was the Son of God, of (at least somewhere in the back of our minds) thinking that all of this was easy for Him.  Or if not exactly easy, at least not as bad as it would be for a “regular”person.  We must never forget that although Jesus was (is) the Lord, he had made himself a man.  He had human emotions.  He felt compassion for the hungry (Matthew 15:32), love for the sick and the suffering (Matthew 14:14).  He cried real human tears for Lazarus’ death before he raised him from the dead (John 11:32-35).  Even more telling as He knew what was coming, His agony, dread, and pleas as He prayed to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane before His arrest clearly show his humanity (Matthew 26:36-46, Luke 22:39-46).  There was nothing “easy” about preparing Himself to be crucified, any more than it was “easy” to be beaten and slowly killed on that cross.  So what exactly did His loving sacrifice and

resurrection accomplish?

Release From the “Curse of the Law”

The culmination of God’s plan to redeem mankind came at such a high price to Him, but it accomplished so much for us.  This supreme sacrifice by Jesus redeemed us from what Paul calls “the curse of the law” in Galatians 3:10-13.  Quoting Deuteronomy 27:26 (“Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them”), Paul points out that none of us could ever be justified under that criteria because we all have sin in our lives.  And so the sacrifices and offerings made under the old law simply put off God’s judgment.

Gethsemane, Rock of Agony, where tradition says Jesus prayed

Gethsemane, Rock of Agony, where tradition says Jesus prayed

By the blood of His sacrifice, God put Jesus forward as a propitiation (an appeasement or satisfaction) for our sins (Romans 3:25, 1 John 2:2, 1 John 4:10).   Hebrews 9, speaking of the way things were before Christ, goes into some detail about the earthly “Most Holy Place” of the Tabernacle (into which only the High Priest could enter with blood to offer).  The word used for the “mercy seat” In Hebrews 9:5 (which was the lid on top of the ark) is the same as is used for “propitiation,” which is to say that it was a covering – a concealment – for the judgment of the law contained therein.

This earthly Holy Place and the Holy things it contained, the Hebrew writer refers to as mere “copies of the heavenly things” which are in Heaven.  By His death and resurrection, Jesus became a new High Priest of a better covenant (Hebrews 4:14-16, Hebrews 7:22).  And Hebrews 9:11-12 explained that by His own blood, He entered once and for all into THE Holy Place, securing an eternal redemption for us.  Thus, Paul says in Romans 7:6, “…now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.”

Eternal Life

Paul reminds us in Romans 5:12 that when man first sinned in Genesis 3, death also entered the world (“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…”).  Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:10 that Jesus “abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”

By His resurrection, Jesus was victorious over death; and He brought to us the promise that when He returns, all those who have “fallen asleep” will also be raised, and will come to meet with Him (as well as those who are still alive) (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17).  And then, 1 Corinthians 15:22-26 tells us, “The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”  The Hebrew writer said in Hebrews 2:14-15:

“…he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.”

How Does One Earn Salvation – This Eternal Life?

The answer, of course, is that one does not earn salvation.  The bad news is that everyone has sinned, and however “small” one may consider his sins to be, God counts no difference between those sins and those we may consider to be the most despicable or callous.  The good news is that Jesus already paid the price for our sins with His death.  It is our faith in Jesus that justifies us through His grace, as told by Paul in Romans 5:1-2:

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

baptismBut the fact that this salvation is freely given to us, does not mean we have no responsibility in the matter.  We must obey His commandments, among which is as Acts 2:38 says: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins…”  Jesus said in Mark 16:16 “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”  Peter said in 1 Peter 3:21: “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

Paul gives the best explanation in Romans 6:3-5: “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”

Staying the Course

If baptism were the end-all of the Christian’s commitment, how easy that would be.  But how easy is it to remain righteous in a world that seems to become more and more wicked?  Well, to be sure, Christians today (especially young people) face new and different challenges in that regard.  But there really is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9).  We know that is true from reading the Scriptures about the time before the flood (Genesis 6:5-8), about Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:16-19:29), about God’s patience with the depraved wickedness of the Canaanites (Genesis 15:15-21) – and events all throughout history.  But as Peter tells us as God’s children, Christians “are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).

Paul proclaimed the great promise in Romans 2:6-8: “…to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.”  The Apostle aptly described our course in Romans 12:2:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Job 9 – Jesus is our Arbiter

Job concedes the point that God does not punish the righteous and even that he has had sin in his life.  But he is compelled to point out that all men have sinned, and he still contends that he can think of none that warrant such harshness toward him, nor can he think of any for which he has not repented.  Anyway, he says, nobody could argue with Him about it.

Georges de La Tour,Job Mocked by his Wife

Georges de La Tour,
Job Mocked by his Wife

He acknowledges God’s awesome power at great length, ascribing His ability to command nature even in the form of great earthquakes, His creation of the heavens and the earth – even mentioning constellations in verse 9.  But he wonders in verse 22 if God is fair.  He believes it would be pointless for him to even try to bear his burden without complaint, for more misery is surely to come.  He sees no reason for it to ever stop because he sees no reason for it to have even begun in the first place (verses 27-31). His wife had not even stood with him.  But Job is hanging on to his integrity, as he feels it is all he has left.

As he points out in verse 33 that there is nobody to serve as an arbiter, one cannot help but see that the scripture is pointing us to Jesus.  Paul wrote to Timothy in 1 Timothy 2:5: “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”   This is the crux of Jesus as the Messiah and our High Priest as prophesied in Psalm 110, and as the Hebrew writer said in Hebrews 4:14-16:

“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Hebrews 8 – Jesus, High Priest of a Better Covenant

Moses makes the tabernacle in the wilderness -- Exodus 35-40.

Moses makes the tabernacle in the wilderness — Exodus 35-40.

The Hebrew writer gets to the meat of Jesus as our High Priest, affirming that He sits at the right hand of God in the “true tent” (or tabernacle).  The earthly tabernacle serves as a shadow of the entrance into God’s presence, whereas heaven is where Jesus is in true presence and intercession for us.  Jesus “has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises” (verse 6).  On that new covenant, verses 8-12 quote Jeremiah 31:31-34, which foreshadows the covenant we now have with the Lord, through the blood of Jesus Christ.  Verse 13 says that the old covenant is made obsolete, as we now have full forgiveness freely available through Him.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Hebrews 7 – Jesus Compared to Melchizedek

The Hebrew writer has already, in previous chapters, made much mention of Jesus being our High Priest, after the order of Melchizedek.  But who was this Melchizedek?  We know only as much, as always, as God ordained important for us to know.  The Old Testament only speaks of him in two places – Genesis 14:17-20, and again in the Messianic royal Psalm 110 (110:4), which is quoted here in this chapter again.  After Abraham came back from rescuing his abducted kinsman, Lot, and after what is called here “the slaughter of the kings” (see Genesis 14:1-16), he was visited by Melchizedek, “king of Salem” and “priest of God Most High,” who blessed him.  Some believe that the Salem mentioned here is the same historical location as Jerusalem, but we do not know for sure, as another possibility exists.  The name is related to the Hebrew word for “peace,” and Melchizedek translates to “king of righteousness.”

Having conquered Sodom, Kedorlaomer left for his home country, taking many captives with him. Abram learned what had happened and chased Kedorlaomer past Dan and beyond Damascus. There he defeated the king and rescued the captives, among them Lot. After Abram (Abraham) rescued Lot from Kedorlaomer, he met Melchizedek, a king and a priest of God. Abram gave ten percent of (tithed) all he had recovered.

Having conquered Sodom, Kedorlaomer left for his home country, taking many captives with him. Abram learned what had happened and chased Kedorlaomer past Dan and beyond Damascus. There he defeated the king and rescued the captives, among them Lot. After Abram (Abraham) rescued Lot from Kedorlaomer, he met Melchizedek, a king and a priest of God. Abram gave ten percent of (tithed) all he had recovered.

What is of note here, is that the Hebrew writer points out that Melchizedek was superior to Abraham, and blessed him.  From Abraham’s loins, Levi would come; and it was only the Levitical line that could be priests among the Israelites.  But Abraham paid tithes to this “priest of God Most High,” and so he was greater than even those priests – though he was both not a Levite, nor even a Jew.  Yet he held two distinct positions – that of king and priest, and is exalted as “great” here, and the writer declares that “it is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior” (verse 7).  It is after this order that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became our High Priest, though He was not from the tribe of Levi either.

What about verse 3?  It says of Melchizedek: “He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever.”  Melchizedek is a real historical figure of the Old Testament, and the best way to think of this is that he has no recorded genealogy in Scripture which is intended to validate his priesthood.  In addition, unlike the Levitical priests, has no recorded death which transfers his priesthood to another, so he continues as one forever, just as Jesus continues forever as our High Priest and King.  The former priests were “prevented by death from continuing in office” (verse 23).  So the Law requiring the priest to be a Levite (Numbers 18) has been set aside by Jesus, “the guarantor of a better covenant” (verse 22).

Our High Priest has no need to offer sacrifices like the Aaronic priests, because “he did this once for all when he offered up himself” (verse 27).  He is unstained by sin, this perfect Son of God, who was made priest with an oath of the Lord (verses 17, 21, 28, Psalm 110:4).

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.