Jesus, Priest Above all Priests – 9-19-22

for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him: “The Lord has sworn And will not relent, ‘You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek’” Hebrews 7:21 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Hebrews chapter 7 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

The King of Righteousness

For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated “king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “king of peace,” 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.

Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the [a]spoils. And indeed those who are of the sons of Levi, who receive the priesthood, have a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law, that is, from their brethren, though they have come from the loins of Abraham; but he whose genealogy is not derived from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better. Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives. Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, 10 for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.

Need for a New Priesthood

11 Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? 12 For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law. 13 For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has [b]officiated at the altar.

14 For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning [c]priesthood. 15 And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest 16 who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life. 17 For [d]He testifies:

“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.”

18 For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, 19 for the law made nothing [e]perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.

Greatness of the New Priest

20 And inasmuch as He was not made priest without an oath 21 (for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him:

“The Lord has sworn
And will not relent,
‘You are a priest [f]forever
According to the order of Melchizedek’ ”),

22 by so much more Jesus has become a [g]surety of a better covenant.

23 Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. 24 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Therefore He is also able to save [h]to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, [i]harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.

Footnotes

  1. Hebrews 7:4 plunder
  2. Hebrews 7:13 served
  3. Hebrews 7:14 NU priests
  4. Hebrews 7:17 NU it is testified
  5. Hebrews 7:19 complete
  6. Hebrews 7:21 NU ends the quotation after forever.
  7. Hebrews 7:22 guarantee
  8. Hebrews 7:25 completely or forever
  9. Hebrews 7:26 innocent

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:
Ephesians 1:7- 

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Let us begin today and this week with a prayer of humility and repentance as we have every day since we began studying this book. During this season, days away from the Lord’s New Year and a time of atonement (although for those of us who have experienced the cross it is a time of forgiveness), we must get ourselves humble, lest God humiliate (to make humble) us. Once we think we are humble and repentant enough let us also renounce the sins of our parents, grandparents, and ancestors – that the curse of these sins being passed down will be broken, and not hinder us from further repentance.  

Dear God, I am sorry for being filled with any and all unrighteousness, and/or sexual immorality, and/or wickedness, and/or covetousness, and/or maliciousness, and/or envy, murder, and strife, and/or deceit and evil-mindedness, and/or being a whisperers and  backbiters, and/or haters of God, and/or violent, and/or proud and boasting, and/or inventors of evil things, and/or disobedient to parents, and/or undiscerning, and/or untrustworthy, and/or unloving, and/or unforgiving, and/or unmerciful, and/or for practicing such things are deserving of death. Please forgive me for those things I did even though I knew better. And please forgive me for those things you count as sin, that I am unaware of and have not learned yet – and open my eyes to see them as sins so I can stop participating in them. Please wash me with the Blood of Jesus. Cleanse me and help me turn from my evil ways. And send a fresh filling of your anointing to break the yokes and help me destroy the roots with a mindful effort and focus on you, and fall in love with you in a new and deeper way. Open my ears to hear you and learn of your plan for my life and why you made me. In the name of Jesus we pray ~amen

Laying before God, prostrate and full of tears, touching only the outskirts of His holiness, because as a human I am undone and too filthy for His pure glory. I offer the only thing I have – myself and all that comes with it – as an offering to be burnt up and to die to itself and be free to fulfill His plan. I pour myself out as a drink offering.

Offerings and the temple have been in the news lately, fulfilling more end time prophecy. I understand how the lost children of our Father, our lost brothers and sisters, take such joy in these unblemished pure red heifers (cows) arriving in Israel for a sacrifice, on September 15th. I do understand their need and desire to bring sacrifice and find atonement – but I look at these cows and weep, broke out in praying in the spirit, because they have had the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus their Messiah victorious through the cross. And they can therefore, as we have, laid down our lives for Christ.

Posted on Facebook by Jonathan Feldstein without photo credit
Posted on Facebook by Jonathan Feldstein without photo credit

The second covenant God made with His children, is the Mosaic Law with sacrifices, offerings and law. Many see this as the first and see Jesus’s work through the cross as the second. But the book of Hebrews brings us back to the Abraham Covenant – which was not just a great multitude of children, as we often simplify it to be. You see gentiles (many of you and I) are adopted under the Abraham Covenant and not the Mosaic Law. This first covenant came under the high priest named Melchizedek. Sacrifices and offering were made, but without law – it stemmed from worship and deep love for God. Abraham was not only blessed to be a great people – but he was blessed to bring forth the Messiah, the King of Righteousness for a righteous people.

Here the author compares Jesus and Melchizedek and find that Jesus is above him, who is above all the priests who came after.

1 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated “king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “king of peace,” 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.

Melchizedek was the king of peace, also translated as the king of righteousness mysteriously arrives on the scene as a priest, just committing his days and nights to worshiping God and doing his work. No one knew what his genealogy was, God left it out of every story about him. And no one knows when or where he died. Quite the mystery. The Jews rightfully took this as a symbol a sign of what the Son of God would be like, making him the highest of high priests for all of time.

Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils.”

That is a good point. But I also want to make another point here about our finances. You see, many say we gentiles are not under the law and therefore do not need to tithe. It is true we are adopted into Abraham and not into law. But it is Abraham who brought the tithe to Melchizedek. Tithes in the form of first fruits, or the best and first portion, actually goes all the way back to Cain and Abel. Therefore the first 10% belongs to God and if we do not give it, we are in sin of robbing Him.  And as we have discussed in the past – we are to give offerings and gifts above and beyond that – being as generous to God as He is to us.
Now as we give our tithe and offering – we want our church to steward the money well, not run in a deficit and bless others. We expect our offerings to fund a five-fold ministry. We expect God will be free to take HIS money and shuffle it around as HE pleases and for HIS glory.

And indeed those who are of the sons of Levi, who receive the priesthood, have a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law, that is, from their brethren, though they have come from the loins of Abraham; but he whose genealogy is not derived from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better. Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives. Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, 10 for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.”

This paragraph is a great example of the structure of a logical argument. The argument here is that Melchizedek is higher than the highest of priests. The logical argument structure was developed in the Greek and Roman empires and in the Bible we most often see Paul using small doses of the structure (because it is difficult for most common men to follow). This section being longer is why we assume this letter was written to highly educated Jews – ones who have studied Greek. It has been used as a good argument for the author being Marcus (or Mark) who would have been older and mature by the time this was written. It would be the last thing he ever wrote – being how people tied a rope around his throat and dragged him through the streets sending him to be with Jesus.  But he had the education and ability to write this book as well as there being a few similarities to the book of Mark. This book is not as fast paced, but the book of Mark was meant as a quick guide to the gospel and written for uneducated gentiles, while this book is written to carefully lay out a long logical argument to educated Jews explaining Jesus as the Christ above all else.
Many Jews believed there was nothing higher than Melchizedek – except God and the coming Messiah.

Now to prove the coming messiah would be a higher priest in the order of Melchizedek and from another tribe (Judah) and a New Priesthood – the author states:

11 Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron?”

This rhetorical question is answered that the Levitical priesthood was not perfect. We will see discussions in Israel over this with the arrival of the sacrificial cows. Who is worthy to sacrifice to God, without the temple – after so many years without sacrifices being brought? There will be lots of discussion. But Jesus was the sacrifice. Yet prophecy must be fulfilled.

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12 For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law. 13 For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar.

This book was written while sacrifices were still happening in Israel. Actually while the last sacrifices were happening. I do find it timely that we are reading about the last of the sacrifices ever as they prepare to have a new sacrifice. You see the temple was destroyed right after this book was written. And Israel did not make sacrifices since. Jesus was to be the sacrifice for all, but he was rejected. Thus, this book was needed to explain why the Hebrews should NOT reject Jesus as the Messiah – He is above even Melchizedek (even though he is from the tribe of Judah).

14 For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. 15 And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest 16 who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life.”

The author begins to quote old prophecies about the messiah and how Melchizedek was an example. That it is not according to the Law but according to mercy and love – not about the death of sacrifices but about eternal and abundant life.

17 For He testifies: “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.”

Remembering here the mysteries of Melchizedek who seemed to come from nowhere and never seemed to die. Jesus always was and always is – forever the Priest above all priests.

18 For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, 19 for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.

Paul wrote in depth about the annulling of atonement law through Christ. Not the civil laws or the blessing laws or the dietary laws – just the atonement law. Jesus IS the better hope through which we draw near to God, safely.

Hopefully you can see why I cry when I look at these perfect cows – bred to be perfect sacrifices and prayed over and raise kosher and cared for with love  – to become sacrifices for a people desperate for forgiveness, willing to accept atonement instead (desperate for freedom, willing to accept a counterfeit); all in vain. Such beautiful creatures, to die in vain.
Same as our High Priest – the Messiah, the Christ – die in vain while the Lord’s children reject him. Those filled with devils recognized Him while those filled with scriptures and prophecies failed to recognize the very one they set out to serve.

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20 And inasmuch as He was not made priest without an oath 21 (for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him: “The Lord has sworn And will not relent, ‘You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek’ ”), 22 by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant.”

Hallelujah! God is not a man that He should lie. He is NOT influenced by evil that a lie could even cross His mind. The Lord said it and Jesus became it and by Jesus we are saved and washed clean. Sacrifice brings atonement, and the sins are covered so God cannot see them. Sins are still there – just covered. Jesus brings the blood, which when we apply it to our sins through the act of repentance they are washed away. We are made clean. This is the surety of a better covenant!

23 Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. 24 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”

Jesus was in the beginning and He is today. And He will be forever. Now, yes, those priest of long ago will resurrect with a new body and be in heaven and we can meet them someday – so yes to all of you who say they are eternal… the point here is their time on earth ministering to God and man is limited by their lifespan – while Jesus is eternally able to perform the priestly duties. And perform them perfectly.

On that note – have you ever asked someone to pray for you and when they do it seems like they were on a different planet when you asked for prayer?  In 2020 I was in a small group at a church and they had asked everyone for prayer requests and praise reports. So I gave a praise report of God protecting the healthcare organization I was working for at the time, from covid. I told of the risks and how other facilities similar (in New York) were experiencing massive death rates but our prayers have kept my company healthy and protected. And asked for continued prayer for continued protection. It was a wonderfully encouraging praise report and clear request. Well, they prayed for those in my facility who were dying and prayed for God to help us and prayed oh how bad it is and it was the weirdest prayer ever! Their human ears were clouded by their own fears and they misunderstood the assignment.
But when I praised Jesus for what He had been doing to protect my agency and I asked for continued protection – he heard me and He interceded correctly with God. I no longer work there, but to date, they still have some of the lowest death rates from the pandemic in the state. You see – Jesus is the perfect intercessor.
Have you ever asked someone for prayer and they say they will pray – then later you bring them a praise report and they do not even remember you asking for prayer and you know they didn’t pray? Or you ask someone and you just get the sense they never prayed?

Going through a man, a priest, to get a message to God is very imperfect. Men (meaning men and women) forget to pray. Men pray wrong. Men can fail us and fail God – each of us can even with the best of intentions and heart full of compassion. Jesus never fails. He intercedes for us perfectly – even when we aren’t asking for it.

26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens;”

27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.”

28 For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.”

I separated those last three verses – because nothing can be added or discussed to make us understand more – however each one should be read slowly and with understanding and worship! Maybe even read it out loud and shake this earth with these words. As the plan is in place to begin sacrifices again in Israel – I pray the Lord reveals Himself to His children and they accept their Highest Priest – Jesus!  

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***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace. Walk in wisdom.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

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