Sunday, September 11, 2011
Hebrews Chapters 4:14-5:10
vs. 4:14-16- THE BLOOD
- A high priest was an advocate. Before Christ came, the priest was there to talk to God for the people.
- Job 16:18-22
- I John 2:1-6
- John 14:15-29
- I Samuel 24:12-15
- The people were not pure. When God looked at them, He saw their sin. It hadn't been washed away. So God set up a system.
- One person, who had gone through all the purification rites. One who's supposed to be always clean (or is to complete the purification rituals on a regular basis) is to come before God and offer a blood sacrifice for the people.
- Now the blood, is the thing that purifies.
- I always wonder “why blood”? I mean it could have been water, or wine, or some formula—“Run in a circle 3 times, do 5 jumping jacks, then fall on your face before your God.” Why blood? Blood's not clean. It's messy. If you've ever prepared raw meat for dinner, you know... even just taking the meat out of the package, you end up with sticky stuff everywhere...
- However, blood is the one thing that is life-giving. (Leviticus 17:11)
- When we sin, we are dead to God. Our sin causes us to die Spiritually. Maybe not right that second... but just as Samson didn't realize that the Spirit had left him... so sometimes our Spiritual life slowly dies.
- In order to have Life, life must be given.
- Our sin condemns us to death. We are living life, waiting for execution. There's no hope... A price has to be paid.
- Until someone takes your place... And in your place, gives their life to pay the price... we are still condemned to die.
- Have you ever read Charles Dickens' “A Tale of Two Cities”? The story is set during the French Revolution. By accident, two men, who look almost identical, are brought together. Charles Darnay, and Sydney Carton.
- Darnay, is a French aristocrat with everything he could ever want. Carton, is a British lawyer assistant who has drank his life away.
- Both men fall in love with the same woman... Darnay marries her. So Carton yet again loses out...
- However, the two men remain friends.
- Darnay, against advice... goes to France... Where he's arrested... and thrown into the Bastille to await his execution. He writes his goodbye letters and prepares himself to die.
- In walks Carton for a visit. He's come to see his friend before he dies... And he offers himself to his friend to take his place. He argues that Darnay has everything to live for and he has nothing. Darnay refuses adamantly. So finally Carton requests that they have one last drink together... and he drugs Darnay. When Darnay passes out, Carton changes their clothes, and calls the guard saying that his visitor has passed out because he was so upset and to take him out to the carriage please...
- So Darnay... the condemned man... is released... and Carton... the free man... takes Darnay's place at the guillotine.
- Sad? Sure. But a pretty good parallel...
- Christ didn't deserve to die. He didn't have to walk into our world and offer Himself for us... but He did. We were sitting in prison awaiting execution... and He walked in and took our place. He came as we are... human... and took our place.
- Without the blood... there is no Life redemption...
- And it couldn't be the blood of something else... how many sheep and goats and bulls were sacrificed? How many times a year? And yet... they still had to keep sacrificing... because the blood of bulls and goats just wasn't enough. It wasn't a pure blood... and it wasn't enough to wash away the sins of the people. It didn't change their hearts any toward their sins. They were still the same sinful people, despite all the sacrifices.
- Hebrews 9:11-15
- John 3:16-21
vs. 5:1-3- HIGH PRIEST
- “Every high priest is a man chosen to represent other people in their dealings with God. He presents their gifts to God and offers sacrifices for their sins. And he is able to deal gently with ignorant and wayward people because he himself is subject to the same weaknesses. That is why he must offer sacrifices for his own sins as well as theirs.”
- A high priest in the old system, was still a man. He was just like you and I. And because he was just like you and I... he was supposed to understand the people. He was supposed to feel sympathy and empathy when they came to him to make the sacrifice for their sins... because he too had to make sacrifices for his own sins. He was not a perfect man. And as such... he was to be a compassionate, understanding Spiritual leader to the people.
- In order to be our high priest... Christ came to earth as a man. He had to make a sacrifice for us. He was indeed perfect. He was sinless... but He still had to come so He could understand us in a very personal way. Not just a “I created you, thus I understand you...” It's a “I walked in your shoes. I lived on your earth. I know what it is to be hated, to be loved, to feel afraid, to feel pain, to feel betrayed... I KNOW... because I walked it out.”
- I love the line that says that “he is able to deal gently with ignorant and wayward people...” Cause we SO fit that description... lol
- Hebrews 8:1-13
- Zechariah 3 (This is SUCH a good chapter...)
- Okay... so this is going to be kind of an add in... I was doing cross references and I stumbled on this verse in Numbers... it's 35:26-29. It's talking about the cities of refuge. These cities were made as cities of refuge so that if accidentally or unintentionally you killed someone, then you could run to these cities for safety. You couldn't be hunted down and killed by the victim's family. But I have to show you what this says...
- “But if the slayer ever leaves the limits of the city of refuge, and the avenger finds him outside the city and kills him, it will not be considered murder. The slayer should have stayed inside the city of refuge UNTIL THE DEATH OF THE HIGH PRIEST. But after the death of the high priest, the slayer may return to his own property. These are the legal requirements for you to observe from generation to generation, wherever you may live.”
- Okay, wow... We are the slayers. When we were kicked out of the garden... we were kicked out of paradise. There was no more direct communion with God. We couldn't ever go back. To look on the face of God as a sinner... means definite death... We had no right whatsoever to try to go home... If we tried... in our unclean state... we were going be killed on sight.
- But NOW! With the death of our High Priest... we can again go home. WOW!
- If we look at the old law and the first covenant as the city of refuge... it was a temporary safety until the ultimate sacrifice could be accomplished. We don't have to hide behind man-made walls anymore... We are FREE to go HOME!
vs. 5:4-5- CONFIRMED
- “And no one can become a high priest simply because he wants such an honor. He must be called by God for this work, just as Aaron was. That is why Christ did not honor Himself by assuming He could become High Priest. No, He was chosen by God, who said to Him, “You are my Son. Today I have become Your Father....”
- When it talks about Aaron being chosen as High Priest, it refers back to the fact that God specifically requested Aaron. In the beginning, Moses said that he needed someone to go with him to Egypt. So God said to take Aaron and he would be Moses's mouthpiece. After that time... Aaron was sort of the assumed priest. God always spoke to him and he performed all the rites of sacrifice etc. When they were setting up the temple, God's directions for priestly garments etc. were for Aaron and his sons.
- In Numbers 16, there was a rebellion of sorts. There were other members of the tribe of Levi that thought they could do just as good a job as Aaron... God had Moses take the staves of the leaders of each tribe and put them in the temple overnight. “Buds will sprout on the staff belonging to the man I choose.”
- Guess who's rod budded? And not only budded... grew almonds... LOL the dead walking stick grew fruit... If that's not confirmation... I don't know what is...
- Boys entered their father's business at age 12. Which is when Jesus was at the temple teaching and Mary and Joseph thought they lost Him...
- However, priests, didn't enter the priesthood until age 30... which is when Jesus started His ministry. Which was about the time that He was baptized and God spoke the words above...
- Numbers 4:2-3 (beginning and ending ages of a priest.)
- Just as God confirmed Aaron's priesthood, He confirmed Christ's.
vs. 5:6-10- MELCHIZEDEK
- It says that God also said to Christ that “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”
- I had heard this said many times before... but I never really knew who Melchizedek was. He's only mentioned in three books in the bible... Genesis 14, Psalm 110, and Hebrews 5 and7. And he doesn't exactly have the longest biography...
- In Genesis, there was a war. The kings of the area (4 against 4) went to battle and Lot was captured. So Abraham got all his men together and they went out after the enemy. They recovered all the lost goods... and Lot.
- When they got back, the king of Sodom went out to meet Abraham. And so did Melchizedek... Melchizedek brought Abraham bread and wine, and blessed him. Then Abraham gave Melchizedek a tenth of what he had captured. (a tithe).
- The king of Sodom said he wanted all his people back, but otherwise, Abraham could keep whatever he wanted... but Abraham refused to take one thing... not “a single threat or sandal thong from what belongs to you.” because he was afraid that the king of Sodom would then say that HE was the one who made Abraham rich... when in fact... it was God.
- Melchizedek was indeed a priest. It says that he was a priest of the God Most High.
- So other than this little story... there's nothing on Melchizedek.
- His name means “King of Righteousness”. And he was King of Salem... and Salem means “Peace”. So he was the king of Righteousness and Peace.
- There's more than a few theories on who Melchizedek was... but... just this short story shows me a couple of things...
1. Of all the kings in the valley who went up to rebel against the enemy... Melchizedek wasn't numbered among them. He was not a king of rebellion. He submitted to the authority over him regardless of what the general feeling of the population was.
2. Salem was another name for Jerusalem (Psalm 76). So Melchizedek was the king of Jerusalem. Which is always seen as the seat of God's throne.
3. Melchizedek came out to meet Abraham with bread and wine. Which were used to form covenants... one in particular... the last supper... when Christ formed the new covenant with us... and then finalized it with His sacrifice.
4. His first response to the situation was praise. He came out and blessed the man who had stepped up and went about things the way he was supposed to... Abraham didn't walk into battle thinking he was high and mighty. He had a righteous cause... and he went, not because he wanted to rebel, not because he wanted possessions... he went to save a life. And with only his 318 men... he beat the four kings' army that had just beat out another 4 armies...
5. Whoever this king was... whether it was just because he was a man of God or because of the blessings, Abraham felt compelled to give a tenth of the recovered possessions to this man. Everything else, he gave back to the original owners.
- This was a man who was looked up to. He was a man respected. He in turn showed respect and gave honor where it was due. He was a God-focused man intent on following.
- (Chapter 7 goes into more detail on Melchizedek and we'll get there in a couple weeks... so I don't really want to keep going... but there's a few things from chapter 7 that I want to point out... It says that there is no record of Melchizedek's father or mother or any of his ancestors. There is no beginning or end to his life... thus he remains a priest forever. In this way especially... Christ is of the order of Melchizedek.)
- So moving back to Christ as priest...
- “While Jesus was here on earth, He offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue Him from death. And God heard His prayers because of His deep reverence for God. Even though Jesus was God's Son, He learned obedience from the things He suffered. In this way, God qualified Him as a perfect High Priest, and He became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey Him. And God designated Him to be a High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.”
- Because Jesus lived out a human life... He learned the necessary elements for being a priest. He learned obedience. He learned prayer and supplication. And because He did these things... God qualified Him to be our High Priest... but a perfect one. No more yearly sacrifices or sacrifices every time we sin. His sacrifice covered it all. He payed the dept now and forever. ETERNAL salvation for all who obey God. An eternal Priest for an eternal salvation.
- Jeremiah 33:15-26