Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 1 * BOOK 49
Thou Art My Only Begotten Son
Alright, today we’ll begin in Hebrews chapter 5 and we’re going to start at verse 1. But, before we begin I would like to recap some things that we’ve said several programs ago. And that is the Book of Hebrews – written primarily to Jews, of course, that’s why it’s called the letter to the Hebrews. But these were Jews who were on the fence, and they had not made that total break from Judaism and so Paul here, who I feel is the author of the book of Hebrews, is trying or is attempting to convince these Jews to make that total break and put Judaism behind them with all their laws and rules and regulations, and step out into this whole concept of Grace by Faith plus nothing.
As I said in some of our opening remarks back in chapters 1 and 2 of Hebrews that you will not find the plan of salvation laid out in this book like it is, for example, in Romans or I Corinthians or Galatians. It is simply a book that is going to show that everything practiced back there under the Law was just simply precursors to that where we are today. That the whole concept of the Gospel of Grace didn’t just come out of the woodwork. But rather it was a progressive revelation and when Israel rejected the Messiah and God raised the Apostle Paul specifically then to go to the Gentile world with this tremendous Gospel of Grace, without works, and by faith alone.
You know most of Christendom still rebels at the thought that they can’t work for salvation, just as much as the Jews did here in the time of Paul writing to the Hebrews. So before we even look at Hebrews chapter 5, I’m going to use a verse that I use so often when I’m teaching in the Old Testament – and that would be back to Romans chapter 15. This verse is just as appropriate for our study of the Book of Hebrews as it is for our study of the Old Testament. Now of course, when Paul wrote Romans, he was referring to the Old Testament writers but since Hebrews is in that same vein, I’m going to use it for both directions. Romans chapter 15 verse 4. Where he writes:
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime (in other words, back in the Old Testament economy) they were written for our learning,…”
See not for our ‘doctrine’ not to find ‘salvation’ but these things were written aforetime for our learning. To give us basic understanding of the thoughts and the ways of God and how this is all progressed on up through human and Biblical history to the time of where we are. Alright, so these things were written for our learning –
“…that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” That word Scriptures means what? The whole Word of God. And now we can use it from cover to cover. And we can take comfort from them and it’s from the Scriptures then that we have hope for the future.
Of course, we realize, especially since September 11th, we’re living in tremendous times. We’re living in, I think, the end-time scenario. We’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg, and to coin a phrase, “We ain’t seen nothing yet.” It’s going to get worse and it’s all leading up to the final seven years when God will finally pull the plug, so to speak, and His wrath will flow across the planet. But for now, you and I as believers, take comfort from the Scriptures. We don’t have to be alarmed by what’s going on. My, I had the sweetest letter the other day where a gentlemen recapped, he says, “Back on December 7th, 1941, when I was a young lad of 19, I was stricken with fear for myself and for my country. But, when September 11th struck, he said, there was no fear because in the meantime I have come to trust that Christ died for my sins, and that He was buried and rose from the dead and now I have nothing to fear!” Well, what a testimony!
And that’s where we as believers are in a unique position. The rest of the world may fear and tremble but we can just simply, almost smugly say, well, we knew this was coming. We knew this was part of the picture and it just shows us that the end is getting closer and closer.
Alright, so we take comfort from not only the Old Testament now, but from all the Scriptures and so we approach the Book of Hebrews in that same light. It’s the Word of God even though it was directed to Hebrew people who were having a time separating from the old program, yet it is full of things that are appropriate for us today. And I trust that even in all the previous programs in Hebrews (which is 3 books now) we are just simply cementing the basis of our faith as believers.
We started out, remember, in chapters 1 and 2, establishing that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son. And as the Son, He was given intrinsic authority. And then as we’ve seen in chapters 3 and 4, God detests unbelief. There is nothing that upsets God more than unbelief. Now of course, God hates sin in all it’s forms, but unbelief is the top of the list.
Then in the last three verses in chapter 4, as I say so often, Paul just sort of shifts gears and he slips up into the approach of the ‘high priesthood’ of Christ. And then in our last verse, as we closed our last program, we are now in a position as believers by Faith in the finished work of the Cross, to come boldly into the throne room in our prayer time. We don’t have to come with fear and trepidation. We don’t have to come before Him wondering if we’re good enough to be accepted. But rather we come boldly, only because of what Christ has already done.
Alright now as we slip into chapter 5 verse 1, we’re going to start having a comparison then between the priesthood of Christ and the priesthood of Aaron and the Old Testament economy.
“For every high priest taken from among men (from the Nation of Israel) is ordained for men in things pertaining to God.” Do you see the relationship there? The whole role of the priest was to present the needs of mankind to the Holy God. Alright, but now we’ve got another point to make in another verse or two, so we’re going to put that on hold. But this human high priest, starting with Aaron of course, came to God with:
“…things that pertained to God that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:” They had to take care of the sin problem that man constantly was bugged with, and the high priest brought this before God. Now verse 2. This high priest of Israel, following in the line of Aaron then, was a man:
“Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way;…” In other words, there was no one too low on the totem pole for the high priest to be aware of and to present him before God. So this high priest:
“Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.”
The high priest was human, and he was plagued with the same sins and temptations and passions as anybody else. So just because he was the high priest, that did not mean that he was above reproach. Or above sin.
“So by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer (that is a sacrifice) for sins.”
Now let’s go back all the way to Leviticus because we always like to compare Scripture with Scripture, and I guess our letters are constantly reminding us that they appreciate the fact that whatever we say, we back up with the Scriptures. And so when you come back to Leviticus chapter 16, we have the Day of Atonement when the high priest would go in behind the veil and sprinkle the blood on the Holy of Holies, or the Ark of the Covenant. Let’s drop in at verse 14 and we’ll just pick out the ones that pertain to establishing the fact that the high priest was just as much a sinner as the average Jew.
“And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward; (that is in behind the veil) and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times. 15. Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat:”
And here we find that he makes the atonement for himself first, and then for Israel. Well, now maybe I should back up a little further to verse 6 to make it a little more plain.
“And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house.” Do you see that? That tells us then that Aaron was just as much in need of a sinner’s approach to God as the ordinary Jew. Then down in verse 14, he was to take the second bullock and sprinkle that blood then for the sins of the people. Alright, I hope I made my point, that the priesthood of Aaron was a human priesthood and they were just as much in need of forgiveness and the atonement of their sins as the ordinary Jew on the street.
Come back then again to Hebrews chapter 5. And so not only was the high priest human so that he could identify with the everyday experiences of the people but also that he recognized that he was a sinner and was just as much in need of forgiveness as the ordinary Jew. Now then verse 4 of Hebrews chapter 5.
“And no man (not even Aaron) taketh this honour (that is to be the high priest) unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” Get the picture? Who commissioned Aaron to be the first high priest? God did! Let’s go back again and look at the Scriptures. Let’s go back to Exodus 28 where we see the beginning of this whole system of religion. The building of the tabernacle, and the establishing of the priesthood, and the clothing that he would wear. This is all back here in Exodus. But let’s just look for now at how that God commissioned Aaron to be the high priest. Moses didn’t appoint him nor anyone else. Only God could do that, and here is His instruction to Moses.
“Take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons.”
Then the rest of the chapter is covered with instructions for their clothing. On the other side of the coin, turn with me to Numbers 16 and the strange fire of Korah. Now Korah was a member of the tribes of Israel and he got a little arrogant and puffed up and he just didn’t feel that Moses and Aaron were the only fish in the pond. And so he took it upon himself to play the role of a priest. And so here in Numbers 16 we find the account.
“Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men: 2. And rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown: 3. And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, ye take too much upon you.” See their arrogance? They’re telling Moses and Aaron, hey, you’re trying to be the big wheel. We’re going to have just as much a part of this as you. And so they say:
“…Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, everyone of them and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD? 4. And when Moses heard it he fell upon his face: (and the thought how can anyone be so brazen) 5. And he spake unto Korah and all his company, saying, Even tomorrow the LORD will shew who are his, and who is holy; and will cause him to come near unto him: even him who he hath chosen will he cause to come near.” Now this is Moses’ instruction to Korah and those that were following him.
“This do; Take you censers (that is the fire), Korah and all his company; 7. And put fire therein, and put incense in them before the LORD tomorrow; and it shall be that the man whom the LORD doth choose, he shall be holy; ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi. 8. And Moses said unto Korah, Hear, I pray you, ye sons of Levi: 9. Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them?” Well, anyway, I think you know what happened, as the next day comes around and here comes Korah and these 250 and they’re going to play the role of the high priests. Now come on down to verse 20.
“And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, 21. Separate yourselves from among this congregation that I may consume them in a moment. 22. And they fell upon their faces and said, O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth (angry) with all the congregation? And the Lord spake unto Moses saying, Speak to the congregation? 23. And the LORD spake unto Moses saying, 24. Speak unto the congregation, saying, Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. 25. And Moses rose up and went unto Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him.”
Now come on down and now verse 28. Moses is going to give an example and he said:
“And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the LORD hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind. 29. If these men die the common death of all men, (in other words, if they continue on living and die from whatever other reason) or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then the LORD hath not sent me. 30. But(Moses says, now take notice) if the LORD makes a new thing, and the earth opens her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD.”
Alright, now we come down to the confrontation.
“And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave (or separated) asunder that was under them (that is under Korah and his followers)32. And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. (In other words, those who had connected themselves with him in his rebellion) 33. They and all that appertained to them went down alive into the pit, (that is into Sheol) and the earth closed upon them and they perished from among the congregation.”
That’s how seriously God dealt with false priests. And so always remember that when God stipulated certain things it was not to be taken lightly. We saw in the book of Hebrews in one of our earlier programs, it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God. Well, Korah and his family found out.
Now if you’ll come back with me to Hebrews again, so that Aaron was designated by God Himself, as the high priest and those that followed him. No man dared assume the role of a priest without God’s commission and that’s why I wanted you to see for yourself the account of Korah. Alright now then we’ll move on into the next verse and we move on into the priesthood again of Christ Himself. Now remember, the priesthood of Aaron was among men. They were human, they had the same failures, the same sinfulness as anyone else but God had commissioned them. But this priest, Christ, is not of man but the priesthood is a follow-up of what Aaron began. So, the functions of the priesthood are relatively alike but here we had a human priest and here we have the Son of God.
“So also Christ glorified not himself…” In other words, now here’s where it gets ticklish doesn’t it? When we start dealing with the Trinity, the Triune God, it is so hard for us to reckon the fact that on the one hand Christ was totally human. On the other hand He was totally God. And we have to take this by faith. So now here we see Christ from His humanity, not demanding that He be made a priest, but rather what? God declaring that He’s the priest. Just like He did with Aaron. Okay, now look at this very carefully.
“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.” Now go on and read verse 6 and if we have time we’ll come back and look at verse 5.
“As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” Now look, who’s speaking it? God the Father. To whom? God the Son. And yet we know that the Son is a part of the Godhead the same as the Father. But here we’re separating them just like in His earthly ministry. In His earthly ministry, I think I pointed out a few programs back, why does Jesus, especially in John 17, pray to the Father? Well, He’s praying from His humanity and then He can pray to the Father.
On another instance, He can make the same statement as the Father and so here’s where we have to separate these things by a study of the Scripture and just simply take it by faith. It’s beyond human comprehension. But nevertheless, here we find that God the Father designates to God the Son that He is to be the high priest, not patterned after Aaron, but after Melchisedec.
Now, I’ve only got two minutes left and then I get into a dilemma. I don’t want to go where I can’t continue, so I think we’ll go back to Psalms chapter 2 where Paul is quoting and whatever time we have we’ll use up and then we’ll pick it up in our next program.
Psalms chapter 2 where we have it word for word as Paul is using it here in the book of Hebrews.
“I (God says,) will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; (so who is speaking to whom? Well, God the Father is speaking to God the Son) this day have I begotten thee.” Now we have to be careful, when did David write the Psalms? Well, somewhere in the neighborhood of 1000 BC. Was that when Christ was begotten, the only begotten Son of the Father? No, this is prophecy. This is something that is going to take place years and years out into the future. But, here’s the setting God the Father has spoken to the Son and He says, “this day I have begotten thee.”
“Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.”
So then you come all the way down through this chapter – it’s a delegation of the authority that God imparts to the Son.