Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 2 * BOOK 50
Our High Priest – Part 2
Hebrews 6:11 – 7:19
Alright, now let’s go right into where we left off in Hebrews in the last lesson. I ran out of time and didn’t get to finish chapter 6 the way I wanted to, and so for just a moment or two before we go into chapter 7, let’s go back to chapter 6. Let me put a few more comments on verse 20. Getting back to that word “forerunner.”
“Whether the forerunner (the captain or the Author of our salvation, Jesus the Christ ) for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”
Remember, for those of us in this Age of Grace, we are in a totally different scenario than Israel was in Christ’s earthly ministry. And so I’m going to bring you back to I Corinthians chapter 4 where Paul makes a statement that a lot of people don’t like. But when people say, “Well I follow Jesus,” then that’s making a pretty strong statement. And I don’t say it to be superfluous or anything like that, but I always put it this way. If you’re going to follow Jesus, what are you going to do when He comes to the shore of the Sea of Galilee and keeps going?” You can’t follow Him. You can’t walk on water. And the same way with a lot of things that He did in His earthly ministry.
But, here we have the Apostle of the Gentiles, the Apostle Paul, who never, never attempts to take the place of Christ in anything. In fact, that’s all Paul suffered for for twenty-five years, was to lift up the name of Jesus Christ. But here he says in I Corinthians chapter 4 verse 16, and take this to heart because, after all, all of our doctrines for this Age of Grace come from the pen of this Apostle. That doesn’t mean, as I’ve said over and over on this program; we don’t throw the Old Testament away. You don’t throw out the Four Gospels, and you don’t throw away the book of Revelation or any of that. But when it comes to basic doctrines for us in this Age of Grace, Paul is the Apostle for the Gentiles. So he says, in verse 16:
I Corinthians 4:16
“Wherefore I beseech you, (I beg you) be ye followers (he doesn’t say of Jesus, but of who?) of me.” Alright, now what does he mean by that? To pick that up you’ve got to turn and look at another verse. This should make it easier to swallow – I Corinthians 11 verse 1 where again the admonition is:
I Corinthians 11:1
“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”
So it stands to reason that the Apostle is not taking anything away from Christ’s leadership or from the fact that He is the Captain of our salvation. But you want to remember that as Paul came in, he too was the “head of the line” of lost sinners saved by grace as he made so plain:
I Timothy 1:16
“That in me (Paul) first, Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”
Since Paul was the first (and a pattern for the Church), we’d better pay attention to the instructions that he gives for salvation. Our Lord used Paul to write these great doctrines of Grace based on the finished work of the Cross. And so, since he is the one to whom all these things were revealed, you see, this is why the Holy Spirit inspired him to write, “be ye followers of me.” Paul is the one who has truth for this day and age. Now then, let’s just finish verse 20 and get ready for chapter 7.
“Wherefore the forerunner…”
The Lord Jesus Himself is the One Who opened it up and as most of you know when the darkness fled and Christ gave up the ghost there back in the crucifixion, what happened to the veil at the Temple? Well, it was rent in twain. Not from the bottom up where men could have done it, but from the top down, showing that it was an act of God. Well this is all tied together, that as He opened up the veil and we are now given access into the very throne room of God, but we do it through the teachings of the Apostle Paul who was our particular leader as a member of the human race.
Alright chapter 7 verse 1, as we come back to Melchisedec. I say back to Melchisedec because we mentioned Him back in chapter 5. Let’s look at those verses beginning with verse 9.
“And being made perfect, (or totally complete. He brought everything to fruition) he became the author (there’s that word again instead of Captain) of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; 10. Called of God, an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.”
But, then we drop Melchisedec, as not another word is spoken throughout all of chapter 6 or the rest of chapter 5 until we get to chapter 7. Now why? Well, next verse in Hebrews 5 verse 11 tells us. These people were not ready for any teaching concerning Melchisedec. They were too unspiritual. They were still babes in Christ. They couldn’t comprehend this priesthood of Melchisedec, and I imagine that’s most of church people today. Most people haven’t got a clue as to this priesthood of Melchisedec. And who he was and what he accomplished. And here’s the reason:
“Of whom (he says) we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing you are dull of hearing.” They weren’t ready for anything concerning Melchisedec. And then he goes on and he brings them to task, that even though they should have by now had enough handle on all of these things to go out and teach others, could they? No. No, they couldn’t teach anybody, they didn’t know it themselves.
So, everything down through here and then all the problems that we covered with those who were apostate up in chapter 6 and all these other things, he had to bring them down to the place where we just finished now in chapter 6 that they now understood. They now understood that the way into the Holiest of all had been opened up because of what Christ had accomplished on the Cross. And so now then, if we understand that much, hopefully, we’re ready to study Melchisedec. Now that’s the way I have to look at it. All of a sudden, because they were carnal believers and still on milk, Paul had to drop the subject of Melchisedec in chapter 5, until he got to the end of chapter 6, and hopefully they are becoming more mature, and getting there, and ready to understand about Melchisedec. Now let’s look at chapter 7 verse 1.
“For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God,…” Now if you don’t mind marking your Bible, underline those three words. The “most high God.”
“…who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; 2. To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;”
Which means in the Hebrew ‘Shalom,’ he was the King of peace. Let’s go back and pick all that up in Genesis chapter 14. Here we will be introduced for the first time to this high priest of the most high God. In the Hebrew I think it was El Elyon. Now, we’re going to take this rather slowly because, like Paul indicates, you can’t understand these things concerning Melchisedec if you don’t have a pretty good handle on mature spiritual things.
“And the king of Sodom went out to meet him (that is Abraham) after his return from the slaughter of the Chedorlaomer, (who had invaded Sodom and Gomorrah and had taken Lot and all of his family with them) and the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh which is the king’s dale. Remember Abraham is coming back having been victorious, and had rescued Lot and his family.
And Melchizedek king of Salem (The King of Peace, which of course are the last letters of the city of Jerusalem, and would be the city of Jerusalem in a later day) brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.”
Now the most high God is a term that is never used concerning the children of Israel. The children of Israel were more acquainted with the term Jehovah, or El Shaddai but “the most high God” you see, as I’ve stressed in other lessons is the term of God that was not unique just to Israel, but to the whole of creation. He’s “the most high God” of everything. Jehovah is primarily the God concerning Israel. But this is the “most high God” and you’ll see this throughout Scripture.
I’m going to make a couple of points before we leave and chase down this title. We have this first introduction to Melchizedek with Abraham here at about 2000 BC. I say about,because we don’t know within a hundred years or so. But here we’re introduced to this high priest of the most high God at about 2000 BC. Now we might as well follow the Scripture so that you’ll follow me there and then we’ll come back. Jump all the way up to Psalms 110, and I think it’s verse 4. There is no mention of him in between from Genesis to Psalms. And now the Psalmist writes:
“The LORD has sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”
Let me give you a thought provoking question. How many years have passed by since Abraham was introduced to the priest of the most high and until David puts it here in the Psalms? About a thousand! A thousand years have gone by from Melchizedek’s introduction to Abraham until David. Now then, how many years went by from David until Paul brings him up again in Hebrews? Another thousand. Thousand year intervals, that we are introduced to this high priest Melchizedek. Amazing isn’t it?
Alright let’s come back to Genesis and let’s just pick this apart a little further. This Melchizedek, the priest of the “most high God,” meets Abraham and he brought forth bread and wine. Now, number one, was it a practical gift? You don’t know what I’m driving at do you? How many people are in this particular little unit with Abraham at this time? How many soldiers did he take out of his hired help? Three hundred. So he’s had three hundred men who have just come back from battle and they’re famished and they’re thirsty and so in the physical realm, what does this Melchizedek provide? Food and water for Abraham’s troops!
But then it goes so much further than that. Where does bread and wine become a high point in the life of the believer? Well at the Lord’s table. The Lord’s table and what did it speak of? His shed Blood and His broken body. And so, all these things have ramifications. Now, we don’t see anything concerning Melchizedek in the operation of God in Israel because Melchizedek is not in the line of Levi and the priests of Israel. He’s the priest of “the most high God.” Who was not just the priest of Israel, he was the priest of all. And that’s what I want people to see. This Melchizedek was a high priest of “the most high God.”
Now we’ve done this before but let’s do it again. So turn with me now to Daniel because I want you to see that we have no references to Melchisedec’s priesthood throughout Israel’s history because Israel wasn’t connected per se with “the most high God.” Don’t take me too literal on that. Of course, “the most high God” was the same God as Jehovah and El Shaddai and all that. But, in terms of language for our own understanding, we have these different names of God. The same God. They’re not different, they’re the same One, but in the role, in the operation, God has given us these different nomenclatures to show that He is dealing with the non-Jew as He is with the Nation of Israel. Alright here in Daniel chapter 4, start with verse 1.
“Nebuchadnezzar (Jew or Gentile? Gentile!) the king, unto all people, nations, and languages,…”
Is that just Israel? Now I think most of you, especially if you’ve been watching the programs lately in the morning in the book of Acts, what do I stress? Is there any Gentile language in here? No, there isn’t any Gentile language in Acts chapters 2 ,3 or 4. It’s all Jewish. Now I can ask the same question in reverse. Are there any Jews in here? No. This is Gentile. And so he says:
“…that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. (He’s not talking directly to the Jew. He’s talking to the nations. So Nebuchadnezzar says) 2. I thought it good to show the signs and wonders that the high God hath shown toward me.” Who’s he talking about? “The most high God” of Whom, Melchizedek was the high priest.
You can come on over in that same chapter to verse 17. Now this isn’t by accident. This is by design, the intricacy again of the Scriptures. That everything is so intricately put together.
“This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand of the word by the holy ones; to the intent that the living may know that the most high ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will,…” Drop down to verse 34:
“And at the end of the days, I, Nebuchadnezzar (the Gentile king) lifted up my eyes unto heaven, and my understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most high, and I praised and honored him that liveth forever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, (He’s the most high God) and his kingdom is from generation to generation:”
Alright I’ve got one more while we’re in Daniel chapter 5 – verse 18, because I want to drum into you that this is a term or a name of God as He is associated with the non-Jewish world. Now I probably should qualify that. The Jews are part of the whole big picture, but they are more concerned with Jehovah God and El Shaddai and some of these others, but “the most high” is always connected with the non-Jewish world.
“O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty and glory, and honour:”
You can go all the way through Scripture then, and whenever you have a reference to the “most high God,” you’re dealing with the non-Jewish world. And that’s why Paul speaks of it now with regard to the Melchisedec priesthood back there in Hebrews that he was the priest of “the most high God.” Alright let’s come back to Genesis, because when the Scripture repeats and repeats and repeats, it’s for a reason. It’s not here just to fill the page.
“And he blessed him, and he said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God,…”
You want to remember, has the Nation of Israel appeared yet? No, Israel isn’t on the scene yet. God is just now beginning to deal with Abraham, and there’s no Law. There’s not even circumcision yet, and so the relationship between this man who is not yet part and parcel of the Nation of Israel is “the most high God.”
“And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth;” You have almost the same kind of language in Matthew concerning Christ, how that He too was Lord of all. Alright, verse 20:
“And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.” Then once more in verse 22.
“And Abram again said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth,”
Okay, now I’ve already touched on the one in Psalms. A thousand years later, but nothing associated with it. It’s just that God designates the Messiah, the Son of God as the One Who will be Melchizedek the priest of “The most high God.” Alright, in the moments we have left let’s flip back to Hebrews if you will. Chapter 7 verse 2.
“To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all;”
Which of course we know, and I’ve made reference to that in previous programs. That the giving of the ten-percent or the tithe, began with Abraham in Genesis. It funneled into the Law as part of the Levitical provision and then of course the Apostle Paul tells us that we are not under Law, we’re under Grace. Which takes away the responsibility of the ten-percent in our giving. Now Paul says, that we give as the Lord lays on our heart. Big difference. And there is no demand to give a flat ten-percent. But that’s beside the point on this program.
We want to go on now – that He is the King of Righteousness, He’s Holy, He’s Omnipotent, but here’s the part I want to spend the next few moments on. He is the “King of Salem,”which, like I said a few moments ago, are the last letters of Jerusalem, or the city of peace, which is to say the King of peace.
“…first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;”
I want you to stop and think for a moment – in all the thousands of years that we know Jerusalem has been on the scene beginning with Abraham at 2000 BC, how many days of peace has Jerusalem enjoyed? Not one. It has been a city of turmoil from day one. And especially in the last 2000 years. Just stop and think of all the various empires that have overrun Jerusalem. It has been anything but the city of peace.
Then especially when Israel came back into the land after World War II and fought their war of independence in 1948. Jerusalem was besieged again and she has been over and over up through the centuries with bloodshed and mayhem. It’s unbelievable that the city of peace has never enjoyed peace. Well, look at her tonight. Look at Jerusalem tonight. Is it a city of peace? Anything but. It’s in constant turmoil. Well, you have ask, “Why?” When God has designated it as the city of peace, why has it been a constant city of turmoil. Well again, what do we have to do? Patiently wait. God has promised that it’s going to be a city of peace. Do you believe it? Yes!
I know one time on one of our tours, we had a rather orthodox Jewish guide and at breakfast one morning I asked him, “When will you settle all these Middle Eastern problems?” And I’ll never forget, with his chubby finger said, “When He comes.” And he’s so right. There’ll be no peace in Jerusalem, I don’t care who tries to broker it. There will be no peace in the city of peace until Christ returns. And so a logical prayer for us is, “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”
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