A PRIEST FOR EVER
Hebrews 5:5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. 6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. 10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. 11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. 12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Let us not forget that the apostle is addressing Hebrew believers. Therefore the stating that the Lord Jesus is both Apostle and High Priest (Hebrews 3:1), is completely outside of their Jewish culture and understanding! For to them every High Priest must be in the line of Aaron. But Jesus Christ was of the tribe of Judah! Hebrews 7:14 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.
And THAT is why he begins to take Psalm 110:4 and present it to them to show that he is not teaching that Jesus of Bethlehem is in the line of Aaron, but in another completely different priestly order. Psalm 110:4 The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. Consider Hebrews 7:11: If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?
This is why he brings up Melchisedec here in chapter five, but does not more fully expound the mysteries of this priest-king until chapter seven. He must first introduce him to sooth the Jewishly trained minds of these Hebrew believers concerning the truth that Jesus Christ is, most assuredly, our great High Priest! He is here establishing that Christ is our High Priest, then he will later deal with Melchisedec in chapter seven.
And hidden from us in this present day by our English language is the strongest of confirmations that the Lord Jesus Christ is most definitely our High Priest. For the English word, “called” in verses four and ten of this fifth chapter are not the same Greek word. The one in verse four is a Greek word used 145 times in the New Testament. And it has to do with ‘the appointment’ of Christ to that office. It refers to God having first ‘called,’ or ‘appointed’ Christ into the High Priest’s office!
But the Greek word translated “called” in verse ten is only found that one time in all the bible. And it has to do with the ‘addressing’ of Christ as High Priest by the Father! That is, here God the Father is not having to ‘appoint’ His Son as High Priest again, but is now addressing his Son as the ‘High Priest.’ Therefore if God the Father, himself, addresses his son by the title of that office, with that strong confirmation, how can we not all accept that?
There is a difference in a man being ‘called’ to preach, and one addressing him as ‘Preacher.’ There is a young lady, the daughter of a faithful minister, who respectfully refers to her dad as ‘The Preacher.’ No one entertains, for a second, that she ‘called’ her dad into the ministry. But everyone who knows her, fully realizes that she is merely respectfully addressing him by the name of his office! And so it is with the usage of these two words, both translated into English as “called.”
In verse four God is calling Christ into the ministry of the Great High Priest. But only once, at this place in your bible do we have the Father using this particular word in addressing the Son by his title as the High Priest. But that one time is enough for all believers to accept the fact that both Jew and Gentile believer now have a High Priest, ever living to make intercession for them!
There is another word which we need to make clear. We have already used it in this article. It is the word, “order” as found in that Psalm 110:4 passage. It is important for us to know that this is not stating that our Lord Jesus and the ancient Melchisedec are of the same kind of personality. That may have somewhat been the case, but that is not the purpose of this word. This word is used to reveal that the Lord was of a completely different type priesthood than Aaron! Hebrews 7:12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. 13 For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.
Consider these verses: Luke 1:5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. 8 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course, … Under the law Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, had to go to the temple to fulfill his obligation as a priest according to his course, or order. And his ‘order’ was then presently under “Abia” or, “Abijah.” Therefore our word, “course” is stating that Christ’s priesthood was not in the line of Aaron and the law, but like Melchisedec’s, which was not to the single family of Israel, but according to the promise given 430 years before the law. And Christ’s priesthood, unlike Aaron’s, was not just to the descendants of Abraham, but to the descendants of Adam, and therefore to all who would believe of the entire human race.
Hebrews 7:23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: 24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
Hebrews 8:1 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; 2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. 4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: 5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount. 6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
As has been stated, the promise to Abraham, and the days of Melchisedec, were 430 years before Moses and the law set up the priesthood of Aaron to solely minister to the house of Israel. And that ‘seed’ which he promised Abraham was not just Isaac, the natural seed, but Christ, the spiritual seed of God! Therefore the law, with it’s shadowy earthly priesthood, could never “disannul” the true Priesthood of Christ! Galatians 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. 17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
So why the need of the law? First of all, it was but the shadowy image of the Light to come! Hebrews 10:1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. It was but Christ, the Light of life casting his shadow back into the dimness of those early days prior to his Incarnation! Matthew 4:16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. 17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Secondly, the law was added, not as a means of redemption, but to show that mankind needed redemption which could only be provided by mercy and grace, and not by the works of religion, nor ‘morality!’ Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. 3:19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
The cry from the lips of our beloved Savior from the cross was a cry of victory! “It is finished!” (John 19:30). That is, redemption is now accomplished. And immediately the Father in heaven was finally “satisfied!” Isaiah 53:11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
And the law could never have done the slightest bit of that! For it was never intended to do so! Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
And every redeemed soul, whether Jew or Gentile, male or female, of whatever time and place they lived on this earth, are not brought into the family of God by Aaron and the law. But without exception, they are brought in by promise as Abraham’s seed! Galatians 3:29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Titus 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; Romans 2:28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
Then in our text in verses eleven through fourteen of this fifth chapter of Hebrews we read of the apostle’s warning concerning the acceptance and development of this doctrine. These Hebrew believers had enjoyed the first principles of the doctrine of Christ. Their “milk” doctrine was sound doctrine. That was not the problem! But the problem was that it is only natural thing to grow up, developing teeth and an adult digestive tract in natural maturing!
For a proper growth is the evidence of not having entered into apostasy! 2 Peter 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. 18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
2 Peter 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
As we stated, the sincere milk of the word is sound doctrine, just as is the strong meat. But one is for the babe, and the other for the mature adult!
In chapter six, verses four through eight, the apostle reveals just how far the tare – the one “once enlightened,” but never having been enlivened, – can enter into matters spiritual, but without continued endurance. They are like the briars and thorns that drink in the same rain as the wheat, bask under the same sun as the true believer, but prove themselves to be apostates by the fruit they bear. Luke 6:44 For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.
Dear Reader, it is not at the starting gate that we may take inventory of true believers by their professions. It is at the finish line that we must determine who are the real believers. Matthew 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. James 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
Sad to say, but there are many who profess, who do never possess! But those who do posses only do so by the intercession and indwelling of our Great High Priest!
Pastor Gene Breed
July 13, 2017