Translations: Chinese GB Big5

Hebrews 6:13-7:10 (web)

Christ Superior to Aaron II

Trusting in the Promise of God

6:13 For when God made a promise to Abraham,
since he could swear by none greater, he swore by himself,
6:14 saying, "Most surely I will bless you, and I will surely multiply you."
6:15 Thus, having patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
 
6:16 For men indeed swear by a greater one,
and in every dispute of theirs the oath is final for confirmation.
6:17 In this way God, being determined to show more abundantly
to the heirs of the promise the immutability of his counsel, interposed with an oath;
6:18 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie,
we may have a strong encouragement,
who have fled for refuge to take hold of the hope set before us.
6:19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul,
a hope both sure and steadfast and entering into that which is within the veil;
6:20 where as a forerunner Jesus entered for us,
having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. (Ps 110:4)

The Melchizedekian Priesthood

7:1 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of God Most High,
who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him,
7:2 to whom also Abraham divided a tenth part of all
(being first, by interpretation, king of righteousness,
and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace;
7:3 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.

7:4 Now consider how great this man was,
to whom even Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth out of the best spoils.
 

7:5 They indeed of the sons of Levi
who receive the priest's office
have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law,
that is, of their brothers, though these have come out of the loins of Abraham,

7:6 but he whose genealogy is not counted from them has taken tithes of Abraham,
and has blessed him who has the promises.
7:7 But without any dispute the less is blessed by the better.

7:8 Here people who die receive tithes,
but there one receives tithes of whom it is testified that he lives.

7:9 So to say, through Abraham even Levi, who receives tithes, has paid tithes,
7:10 for he was yet in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

vs 14 How is this promise relevant to us?
(Xref Gal 3:8 "And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed."
Gal 3:29 "And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."
Also check Gal 3:14-18)
Can God make a rock so big that He cannot move it?
vs 18 What are the 2 unchangeable things in which are impossible for God to violate?
vs 19 Would you describe your confidence of going to heaven as firm and secure?
How is the Melchizedekian priesthood superior to the Aaronic priesthood?


COMMENTS

The Promise and the Oath

Heb 6:13-18
When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, "I will surely bless you and give you many descendants." And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised. Men swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. 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.  God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged.

Much as men characteristically swear by someone greater than themselves, it is not that they should do so. Jesus said, "Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one." Mt 5:33-37

God is somewhat an exception in this line of reasoning seeing as God in fact does have control over all things and as such can see to it that the oath is fulfilled. But the point is that one can have confidence in God's oath. Num 23:19  "God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?"

The two unchangeable things are the promise and the oath. They are immutable in that God is faithful and God cannot lie. The emphasis is that we can have confidence in what God has promised. Understand that God has put his reputation at stake. He will fulfill his promise not just for the good of the recipients of the promise, but also for His own name sake.


An Anchor for the Soul

Heb 6:19,20 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

While with regards to our part in fulfilling God's requirement to be qualified for the promise there may be some uncertainty, there is no doubt with regards to God fulfilling his part. Though we have to meet the conditions for the promise, having done so we can have full confidence that what was promised will be fulfilled. Concerning Abraham's faith it is written, "He did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised." Rom 4:20,21

The inner sanctuary behind the curtain is in the temple, which was originally the tent meeting of which God instructed Moses to build. It was called the Holy of Holies of which only the high priest was allowed to enter once a year and contained the ark of the covenant. It represented God most holy place. That is, the promise is that the recipients of the New Covenant would be so reconciled to God that God would allow them into his most holy place.

Heb 10:19-23 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.


The Order of Melchizedek

Heb 7:1-3 This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, his name means "king of righteousness"; then also, "king of Salem" means "king of peace." Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever.

In chapter 7 the author will speak of the order of Christ's priesthood and of its superiority to the Levitical order established under the Law of Moses. The reason for doing this is that he is speaking to Jews who had only been schooled in the Levitical priesthood. Jesus was not a Levitical priest, indeed he did not even qualify to be a Levitical priest. So the question arises as to how one should reckon his priesthood.

By way of illustration the author speaks of Melchizedek as a shadow, a forerunner, the precedent for the order of Christ's priesthood. And though it is but a shadow as there are also many shadows in the Old Testament, and therefore only two dimensional, we nonetheless can learn by inference from such illustrations.

The name "Melchizedek" first refers to a king. This is distinct from the Levitical priesthood in that the kings of Israel were of the tribe of Judah, while it's priests were of the tribe of the Levites. Thus one could not be both a priest and a king under the Law of Moses. But Christ is both our King and our High Priest. Also Christ is both king of righteousness and that of peace, meaning that he justifies us and gives us peace with God.  "He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" Rom 4:25-5:1

Another thing is that Jesus' priesthood was not dependent upon his genealogy. Which is the sense in which he brings up Melchizedek being without father or mother. Not that he didn't have a father or mother, but rather as the Bible mentions nothing of his father or mother, then the author infers from this precedent that genealogy was not relevant to the Melchizedekian order. Likewise as the Bible makes no mention of his death nor an end to Melchizedek's priesthood, the precedent infers that Christ's priesthood - the "Par Excellent" version of the prieshood - is likewise without end.


Christ's Priesthood Superior to Levi

Heb 7:4-10 Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder! Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people— that is, their brothers— even though their brothers are descended from Abraham. This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. And without doubt the lesser person is blessed by the greater.

In the one case, the tenth is collected by men who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living.  One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham, because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor.

Here we see again - by way of inference - the superiority of the Melchizedekian priesthood over that of the Levitical priestood, in that the lesser person - in this case Abraham and by inference Abraham's descendants - was blessed by the greater, namely Melchizedek whom the author associates with Christ by analogy. And likewise with regards to donations.

But as for Levi living in the body of his ancestory Abraham, one must be careful not to read too much into the text. Reading literally what was meant as analogy one can end up with heresy. Realize that most of this text is analogous. Christ himself is only analogous to Melchizedek. There is a a heresy known as Traducianism whereby the soul exists in the fabric of one's ancestors. But given that the Bible states,  "Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sin." Deut 24:16, one cannot attribute sin to one's descendants and therefore the individual is considered separate from his ancestors. Nor are ancestors reckoned a composite of their descendants. Traducianism had been a basis for misconceptions concerning original sin and a basis for racial prejudice but is inconsistent with Biblical Christianity.

But the point made here concerning Levi could be just as well stated by saying that if one's father reckoned himself obligated to pay respect to someone, then certainly that would likewise be the case with his son. Thus Melchizedek, and by analogy - Christ, is superior to Levi. Thus the Levitical priesthood is overshadowed by the Priesthood of Christ. "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" 1Tim 2:5

One additional point he hasn't bought up because he's just speaking to Jews, is the fact that the Levitical priesthood was limited to Jews, whereas Christ's priesthood applies across the board to Jews and Gentiles. In fact one could even use the Melchizedekian analogy and note that Abraham himself was a Gentile when he gave a tithe to him. As Paul noted in Gal 3:8-10 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, "In you all the nations shall be blessed." So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham. And "If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham‘s seed, and heirs according to the promise." Gal 3:29 Likewise Melchizedek himself was not Jewish. Thus the Melchizedekian priesthood encompasses a much broader field than the Levitical priesthood.


NOTES

Trusting in the Promise of God

When God makes a promise, it is as if He creates a rock so big that not even He can move it. For if He doesn't keep His promise, He violates His own character.

If a believer in Christ is denied access to heaven, then God shows Himself to be a liar.

But since it's impossible for God to lie, then the believer has a secure anticipation of entering heaven, which is the reason why God made a big deal about making an oath, so that our confidence would be based on His unchangable character.

The Melchizedekian Priesthood Greater than Aaronic Priesthood

(King of "Salem" = King of Jerusalem according to Ps 76:2)


The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources


Jul 29,2015