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12 August 2019

Priest Forever - Jesus

SYNOPSIS - The priesthood of Jesus is superior because it rests on his endless resurrection life - A priest forever after the order of Melchizedek – Psalm 110:4

Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash
The letter to Hebrews employs a series of comparisons t0 demonstrate the superiority of the “word” of God given in His Son, Jesus Christ. The “Word spoken in a Son” is superior to the past “word” that was “spoken to the fathers in the prophets,” as well as the revelations given through the angels and even Moses. The purpose is not to denigrate Moses, angels, or the Torah but to stress the vastly superior “word” that Yahweh has “spoken” in His Son. His past revelations were valid but partial, temporary, and promissory. - [Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash].

The “word” spoken in the “Son” is complete and “better than” the partial revelation given through the “prophets” - “Having achieved purification of sins,” he sat down at the right hand of God, being “appointed the heir of all things.” The older words given “in the prophets” did not achieve the “purification of sins” so vital to the people of God:
  • (Psalm 110:4) – “Yahweh hath sworn—and will not repent, Thou [shalt be] a priest unto times age-abiding, after the manner of Melchizedek.” – (The Emphasized Bible).
  • (Hebrews 1:1-3) – “Whereas, in many parts and in many ways of old, God spake unto the fathers in the prophets, At the end of these days, He hath spoken unto us in his Son — whom he hath appointed heir of all things, through whom also he hath made the ages; Who, being an eradiated brightness of his glory and an exact representation of his very being, also bearing up all things by the utterance of his power, purification of sins having achievedsat down on the right hand of the majesty in high places.”
The reference to the “purification of sins” introduces the subjects of the priesthood and sacrifice of the Son, and the “new and better covenant” he established - Subjects detailed in chapters 7-10 of the letter.

The author of Hebrews contrasts the priesthood of the “Son,” his “new” covenant, and his once-for-all sacrifice with the Levitical priesthood, the “first” and now obsolete covenant, and the repeated animal sacrifices required by the Torah given through angels at Sinai - (Hebrews 2:1-5).

The fact that God promised a future priesthood “after the order of Melchizedek” proves the Levitical priesthood could not achieve the “purification of sins,” nor was it intended to endure for all time. Under that priesthood, “the people received the law.” But the change in priesthood promised by Yahweh meant also a change of law” - The divine promise of a new priest “after the order of Melchizedek” - (Psalms 110:4).

Due to human mortality and weakness, the levitical priesthood was dependent on lineal descent and multiple generations of priests. In contrast, the priesthood “after the order of Melchizedek” is perpetual since it is based on an endless resurrection life. The “weakness” of human mortality inherent in the old system meant there was a “disannulling” of the previous commandment, which could “make nothing complete”:
  • (Hebrews 7:11-17) – “If indeed, therefore, there had been a perfecting through means of the Levitical priesthood — for the people, thereon, have had based a code of laws, what further need, according to the rank of Melchizedek, for a different priest to be raised up, and, not according to the rank of Aaron, to be designated? For, seeing there is to be a change of the priesthood, of necessity, of law, too, a change cometh. For, he as to whom these things are said, with a different tribe hath taken partnership, from which no one hath given attendance at the altar; For it is very evident that out of Judah hath sprung our Lord — respecting which tribe, concerning priests, nothing did Moses speak, And, yet more abundantly evident it is — that, according to the likeness of Melchizedek, there is to be raised up a different priest. Who, not according to a law of commandment dealing with the flesh hath arisen, but according to the power of an indissoluble life; For it is witnessed — Thou art a priest age-abidingly, according to the rank of Melchizedek.
Unlike the Levitical priesthood, the priest after the “order of Melchizedek” was installed by the declared word and oath of God - (“The Lord swore and will not regret, ‘You are a priest everlastingly’”); therefore, Jesus holds the priesthood “un-transmissible” and unchangeable. Furthermore, he became the “guarantor of a better covenant” and is able to save to the uttermost all who approach God through him, because he “lives evermore to intercede on their behalf” - (Hebrews 7:19-25).

In contrast to the Levitical priests, Jesus “sat down on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,” having become the minister of “the Real Tabernacle,” not a tent assembled and pitched by man. On the earth, the old system constituted “glimpses and shadows of the heavenly realities,” just as Moses was told to make the earthly Tabernacle “according to the pattern he had seen in the mount” - (Hebrews 8:1-5).

Likewise, having “attained to a more distinguished ministry, he also is the mediator of a better covenant legislated upon better promises.” If the “first covenant” had been faultless there would have been no need for a second one – But having found fault with it, the Lord announced the coming days when “I will conclude a new covenant”:
  • (Hebrews 8:6-13) – “But now hath he attained unto a more distinguished public ministry — by as much as of a better covenant also he is mediator, which indeed, upon better promises hath been legislated. For, if that first had been faultless, not, in that case, for a second had there been sought a place. For, finding fault with them, he saith — Lo! days are coming, saith the Lord, when I will conclude for the house of Israel and the house of Judah, a covenant of a new sort: Not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by their hand, to lead them forth out of the land of Egypt,—because they abode not in my covenant, and I disregarded them, saith the Lord. Because this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel, after those days, saith the Lord:—giving my laws into their understanding, upon their hearts, also, will I inscribe them: and I will become their God, and they shall become my people; And, in nowise, shall they teach—every one his fellow-citizen, and every one his brother, saying,—Get to know the Lord! Because all shall know me, from the least unto the greatest of them; Because propitious will I be as to their unrighteousnesses, and of their sins, in nowise, will I be mindful any more. In saying, Of a new sort, he hath made obsolete the first; but the thing that is becoming obsolete and aged, is near disappearing!
The new covenant was NOT to be “according to the covenant” made at Sinai. It is not a “renewed” or slightly modified covenant based on the regulations of the Torah but a new kind of covenant since the old legislation was incapable of achieving the “purification of sins.”

The new covenant empowers all citizens of the kingdom to know God and establishes them as His people, the righteous requirements of His laws Law having been written on their hearts. Moreover, the covenant has achieved the purification of sins - (“I will become merciful to their unrighteousness and their sins will I remember no more”).
By establishing the new covenant, the Son “made the first obsolete,” which means the covenant established at Sinai ceased to be in effect because of the superior act and status of Jesus.
Anyone who chooses to live under the old Mosaic legislation selects something that has been rendered obsolete - A system that could never achieve the “purification of sins.” To turn back to it is regression, NOT progress or revelation. Anyone who removes himself from the jurisdiction of our Great High Priest, Jesus, places himself under the jurisdiction of the incomplete and obsolete Levitical system.

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