Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 50
Hebrews 6:11 – 7:19 – Part 2
Alright, I guess we can just go right back to where we left off in the last lesson, and that’s in Hebrews chapter 7 verse 11.
“If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, [in other words, if the Law and Judaism were all that there was to be gained] (for under it the people received the law,) [well if that’s the case] what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?” In other words, the Aaronic priesthood began in Exodus. Remember Aaron was the brother of Moses and was the first priest of Israel. And that priesthood carried all the way through to the time of Christ and even though the veil was rent in twain when Christ died on the Cross, the Jewish people sewed it back up, at least according to legend. And they continued on with their Temple worship until Titus destroyed it in 70 AD.
But, we as believers understand that when Christ finished the work of the Cross, He also finished the demands of the Law, because He was the fulfillment of the Law. And when we enter into this salvation by grace, we are no longer under the demands of the Mosaic system. But now, our high priest is not of the line of Aaron, but the one of Melchisedec who, as I’ve said in an earlier program, I feel was Christ Himself. Now verse 12.
“For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.” You couldn’t just change part of it; it had to all go. And the whole idea of Hebrews is that the Jewish people had to realize that the Mosaic system had now become moot. It was no longer necessary to practice Temple worship and sacrifices and tithing and all those things that were demanded by the Law because we now are under a priesthood that was not out of Aaron or Levi, but from the priesthood of Melchisedec (Christ).
“For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.” Now that should shake people up! This priest didn’t even come from the Levitical priestly tribe. This priest came from the kingly tribe of Judah. And Judah, of course, was the tribe that was always leading the tribes when they moved, and it was out of Judah that the second king, David, came. Saul the first king, was from the line of Benjamin, but Judah was the designated tribe to produce the kings of Israel. So, it’s out of this kingly tribe that this priest Melchisedec comes, which is Jesus Christ. Verse 13 again.
“For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.”
A few weeks ago, I took you back to the Old Testament where the Israelite Korah, who thought that Moses and Aaron were just a little bit too big for their own britches said, “After all, why can’t I present a sacrifice at the altar?” Of course, Moses got highly exercised, and he said, “Alright, we’ll put you to the test. If you think you have a right to exercise the role of a priest, we’ll do such and such.” Remember we read all the verses. And God was so angry that the earth opened up and the families of Korah went down into the pit. Well, what did it show us? Just that no one dared enter into the priesthood except the line of Levi.
Now we saw another one with King Saul in our last taping. Oh, what was Saul’s big downfall? He too, exercised the right of a priest and offered a sacrifice. And Samuel told him, “Saul how can you be so foolish? You don’t do that.” And we know what happened to Saul. Well, here it is again. No man, unless they were from the lineage of Levi, could possibly exercise the role of a priest. It was forbidden. Verse 14.
“For it is evident that our Lord (Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, the Son as we see Him epitomized here in Hebrews) sprang out of Judah: of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. 15. And it is even far more evident: for that after the similitude (or the likeness) of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest.” A totally different priest, not of the Aaronic, not of the tribe Levi but out of the tribe of Judah. Now verse 16.
“Who is made,…” Here again I feel Melchisedec was a theophany of Christ in the Old Testament. He’s only mentioned in Psalms but now here we have him exemplified as “our high priest” because of what He accomplished at the Cross.
“Who is made, not after the law of a carnal (or a fleshly) commandment,…” That goes back to what we said in the last hour, that the Law was beggarly and fleshly. That’s hard for people to comprehend, because they thought the Law was spiritual, it was perfect. It was from God’s point of view.
But, from man’s point of view there was no power given to keep it. So what did it become? Fleshly, carnal and it was something that man could not deal with. In fact, Corinthians tells us the same thing, that the Law was a minister of death. The Law was a minister of death? Yes. Because it had no power to help people keep the Law. Let me show you a reference in Romans chapter 3.
While coming to Romans, that gave me time enough to find the verse in Corinthians also. Now these are verses that most people do not understand. They don’t even know they’re in their Bible. And I’ve given an example before, I’ll never forget one time I was teaching it and had young pastor in the midst. When I read this verse, I could just about see his mouth drop open. He’d never seen it before, I know he hadn’t, but here it is.
“Now we know that what things soever the law (the Ten Commandments) saith, it saith to them who are under the law: (that is Israel) that every mouth (the whole world now not just Israel) may be stopped and all the world (not just Israel. The law condemned the whole world. What does the rest of the verse say? They) become guilty before God.”
People are not saved under the Law. They don’t become righteous, but rather they’re guilty. Now see, most people don’t believe that. I’m amazed when people will tell me, when they’ve had an enlightenment and they’ve seen these things and they go back and show it to their church people and their church people will read it and then you know what they say? “But I don’t believe it.” Now isn’t that sad? They better believe it, because it’s the Word of God and they better believe it or they’re in trouble. Alright, so this they don’t like. “That the Law just simply makes man guilty.” Now look at the next verse.
“Therefore by the deeds (or the keeping of the Law) there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: (why?) for by the law is the knowledge of (not life but what?) sin.” That’s all the Law can do is show man their sin. Not a word in Scripture ever gives the Law credit for bringing people to salvation. Never! All the Law can do is convince us that we’re sinners, which of course, we have to do before we can be saved. But see, that’s the Law. And that’s why it was imperfect. It filled the gap between Moses and Christ, yes. It kept the Nation of Israel in a relationship with Jehovah, yes. But so far as really being the answer to mankind’s dilemma, no. It was weak, and it was beggarly. Now I told you I found the one in Corinthians over in chapter 3.
II Corinthians 3:3
“Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, (in other words, their daily life was to be like the Word of God in print) written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the Living God; (as the Spirit energizes you and I in our daily life) not in tables of stone, (such as Moses brought down from the mountain, you know) but in fleshly tables of the heart.” In other words, the Word of God should just simply be seen in our daily lives. Now verses 4 and 5.
II Corinthians 3:4-6
“And such trust we have through Christ to God-ward: 5. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; (here’s the verse that shook them up.) 6. Who also (God) hath made us able ministers of the new testament; (this on this side of the Cross) not of the letter, (which is a reference in Scripture of the Law)but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” Let me qualify. Israel understood right from wrong by virtue of what the Law said. They understood it was wrong to murder because the Law said “Thou shalt not murder.” And all through the Ten Commandments you have really the whole sphere of human behavior. Everything you can imagine is covered in those Ten Commandments.
So there was no doubt as to what God called right and what He called wrong. When we say that we’re not under the Law it isn’t that we are now free to steal or murder. Remember we’ve got something better than the written Law. And what is it? The indwelling Holy Spirit. The Spirit will never tell a believer to go and steal. The Holy Spirit will never tell a believer to gossip. It’s against His personality.
And so, what we lay down when we say we’re not under the Law, we pick up through the energizing power of the indwelling Spirit. That’s why I say that when we’re under grace, it’s not license. Under grace, the Spirit comes in and becomes then the driving force and the keeping power for the believer. Now looking at verse 6 again:
II Corinthians 3:6-7a
“Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter (The Commandments) but of the spirit (now here it comes) for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. 7. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones,…” Well goodness, what’s that talking about? The Ten Commandments. They were a ministration of death. People can’t understand that, but I hope you do. It was because all the Law could do was condemn. It couldn’t give anybody life. It was a ministration of death, because you see, Paul says so clearly then in Romans 6:23:
“For the wages of sin is (what?) death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Now coming back to II Corinthians 3:7, let’s finish verse 7.
II Corinthians 3:7
“But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones was glorious, (it was from God’s point. It was perfect) so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory has to be done away:” What does that mean? The Law has to go. There comes a point in human history where the Law is going to have to be set aside. And when was that? When Christ finished the work of the Cross. Now let me show you another verse that says the same thing. Turn to Colossians chapter 2. This is a verse that we’ve used often over the years.
“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was (what? For us or against us?) against us,” Because it was impossible in the flesh to keep them all. Now I’m not going to say this dogmatically but I think I’ve mentioned often enough on the program, that by the time of our New Testament, and the time of Christ, the Law had been degenerated, watered down – from Ten commandments to how many? Six hundred and thirteen. Six hundred thirteen rules and regulations made up the Mosaic Law at the time of Christ. Well, could any man keep them? No.
And this is my own view. I’m not saying that this is what the Scripture says. But I think that this handwriting of ordinances that was against the Jewish people were those 613 rules and regulations.
“…which were contrary to us, and (look what Christ did) he took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.” What does the Cross do? Puts it to death. And so when you look at the Law, whether you want to look at the Ten Commandments or whether you want to look at all 613 that the Rabbis had put together, I don’t care. It was all nailed to His Cross. Why? Because when He finished the death, burial and resurrection, He satisfied all the demands of those commandments on the human race. And now we’ve been set free and we’re under grace.
Now let’s come back to Hebrews. So under this whole new economy, where we’re not under the Law, we’re under grace. We also have a new high priest. Not of the priesthood of Aaron and Levi, but one who was of the priests of “the most high God.” You’re going to hear that in your sleep tonight? “The most high God” who was the God of everybody, not just Israel. And so this high priest is going to represent every tongue and tribe and nation. Now let’s move on into verse 15, or just reread it.
“And it is far more evident; for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest. 16. Who is made, not after the law of a carnal (or a fleshly) commandment, but after the power of (what kind of a life?) an endless life.” He’s eternal. He comes out of eternity past and He’ll go on into eternity future. Without end, and without beginning.
“For he testifieth, (coming out of Psalms now 110) Thou art a priest for ever…” That’s never going to end. Now goodness sakes, I don’t have to tell you. How long did the priesthood last of the priests of Israel? Until they died! That ended it. Death ends everything, and it’s the same way with the priesthood. When the priest died, his priesthood went with him. It ended. But you see, with this priest it will never end. He ever liveth and intercedes for us. Alright, verse 18.
“For there is verily a disannulling (or a canceling out) of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.”
Are you getting the point? Oh, the Law had its purpose. It was perfect from God’s vantage point, but it was weak and fleshly so far as men were concerned and so it fades off. It failed miserably. My, if you doubt that, have you read your Old Testament lately? Just go back and read Judges. Go back and read the prophets. How much effect did the Law have on the behavior of the Israelites? Well it didn’t have much. Because most of them were the pits. Now that may fly in the face of some of my Jewish listeners and I know I’ve got quite a few. But all you have to do is read the account and the most visible one or the most understandable one is when Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal up there on Mt. Carmel. And after he had run from the threats of Jezebel, you remember, he goes all the way down to the Negev and sits down under a juniper tree and poor Elijah said, “Lord take my life. because I’m the only one left, they’ve all followed Baal.”
Now listen, who was the promoter of Baal worship at that time in Israel? What woman? Jezebel. So what does that tell you? They were living in rank immorality, and Elijah thought he was the only one that wasn’t. That tells you enough, but God, was merciful enough to say, “Now Elijah, you’re not quite the only one left that is true to me. I’ve still got seven thousand.”
Now seven thousand out of an average population of seven million over Israel’s history, I’ve said this over and over. What percentage is that? One tenth of one percent, that had remained true to Jehovah. The rest had all followed in the worship of Baal. I know Jewish people will probably try to tell me, well, they’re still all going to be saved because they were under the covenant promises, but I don’t think so.
But that just goes to show you that the Law, the Mosaic system, didn’t work. But now come up to Christ’s earthly ministry. How many of the Jews at Christ’s time were true exemplary believers? Very few. Oh they were religious. They kept Temple worship. They kept the feast days. But very few were true believers. So the Law of Moses just didn’t affect the nation that much. Well, then of course, we come into our own day and it hasn’t changed has it? Even the Gospel of Grace has not made that much difference in the world’s behavior.Verse 19.
“(just like we read in Romans a moment ago) For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better (there’s that word again) hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.” What in the world is he talking about? This whole system now of the grace of God which goes out to the whole human race. The Gospel by which the Age of Grace believers are saved, “that Christ died for our sins, and that He was buried and that He rose again from the dead the third day,” as we see in I Corinthians 15:1-4. That isn’t limited to any one group of people. And that is the better system that has now been introduced, not just to Israel, but to the whole world under that high priesthood of Melchisedec the priest of “the most high God.”
You and I have got the greatest message the world has ever known. That no one is left out. Anyone who can simply recognize their need in salvation and believes it, can enter in to life eternal and enjoy all the blessings of this priest, Melchisedec, because He is now the priest of “the most high God” interceding for us.