[note- some of the posts are too long to post on facebook-so if you just see the video- you can go to the blog and read the post- thanks].
END NOTES OF POST BELOW-
WHAT ARE THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS?
OCTAVIAN- A GOD?
CICERO- MARK ANTONY [or Anthony if you like].
WHO WERE THE ESSENES?
DID THE CHURCH ENGAGE IN A GRAND CONSPIRACY?
NOTE- On the video I said that Herod the Great had 4 sons who ruled areas at the time of Christ- actually there were 3.
Archelaus- Ethnarch of Judea. Antipas- tetrarch of Galilee [I did get this right] and Philip- tetrarch of regions east of the Jordan.
MELCHIZEDEK/JESUS NEVER DIES.
NEW PRIEST- NEW LAW.
‘For this Melchisedek, king of Salem [Jerusalem], priest of the most high God…to whom Abraham gave a tent part of all…without father or mother [no record in scripture!] having neither beginning of days nor end of life [no record of his death or birth] but made like unto the Son of God, abideth a priest continually’ first, Paul is showing the superiority of the New covenant over the Old. These verses are often used to teach tithing to gentile believers, they really teach the opposite! In context they are showing that the New Covenant is greater than the law, therefore the law [represented as Levi being in the loins of Abraham] submitted to Grace [The priesthood of Melchisedek/Jesus] and showing how grace is better than law. Paul’s point is to once again use the Melchisedek figure as a type of Christ. Jesus is called a high priest forever after this order, Paul says in essence ‘this order has priests who have no beginning of days or end of life, the priests in this order have a forever priesthood’. It really is amazing how Paul gets all this from the few verses of scripture that speak of Melchisedek. Many theologians today question even the most obvious truths. Some good ones will say there isn’t enough evidence for certain doctrines. Even though the evidence is 100 times more than what Paul used in his teaching on Melchisedek! I find it interesting how Paul continually sees Jesus thru every story! The man was a true ‘Jesus freak’.
‘Now consider how great this man was, unto whom Abraham gave the tenth…they that are of the sons of Levi have a commandment to TAKE TITHES OF THE PEOPLE ACCORDING TO THE LAW’ Lets settle this once and for all. To all my friends who teach tithing is for Christians today, many of them justify it by saying ‘tithing was before the law [true] in the law and after the law’ I have tried to explain this many times before. This verse shows tithing to be part of the law, specifically, not just ‘during it’. Also, the whole point of the argument here is that Grace and the New Covenant are better than the law. The tithe here is mentioned in a way that shows the superiority of the new covenant over the Old. ‘Levi also paid tithes in Abraham, for he was yet in the loins of his father when Melchisedek met him, if THEREFORE perfection were under the Levitical priesthood, what further need was there that a priest should rise after the order of Melchisedek, and not after Aaron? FOR THE PRIESTHOOD BEING CHANGED, THERE IS A NECESSITY FOR A CHANGE OF THE LAW’.
The ‘therefore’s’ are real important. They show you the main reason for the argument. If Paul can prove that God raised up Jesus from another priesthood, then there must also be ‘another covenant’. For this reason [therefore] you [Jew] should move on from the Old one and into the New! ‘For it is evident that out Lord sprang [root out of dry ground!]out of Judah, of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood…who is made not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life, for he says “thou art a priest FOREVER after the order of Melchisedek”. Again Paul gets all he can from the ‘Melchisedek verse’. Because this single text of scripture says ‘Jesus is a priest forever’ therefore God knew all along that he would raise up a priest with an endless life. Wow, Paul even gets the resurrection from this verse!
As Paul was learning all these things in a new way after his conversion, it was blowing his mind. He saw all these ‘hidden’ nuggets of wisdom that Israel had all along in hidden form contained in their law. Paul is doing his best to present his case from their own ‘bible’ if you will... ‘For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by which we draw nigh unto God…and they truly were many priests, because they were not permitted to continue by reason of death: but this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. WHEREFORE he is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him’. Now, we usually read this ‘the guttermost’ but it means something a little different. It means because Jesus has an endless life, he is ‘always’ interceding on our behalf. His very presence continually before the throne is what ‘keeps saving us continually all the time’. It is more along the lines of ‘Jesus never will die; therefore we will continually be saved’.
Paul compares this to the insufficiency of the priesthood of the law. Those priest’s ‘meant well’ but the poor brothers kept dying! This showed the total inability of those priests to effectively stand in on our behalf, even though they did all they could do. Jesus, on the other hand, will never die. Who would you prefer to have on your prayer team? Someone who will forget to pray for you down the road, who will last so long? Or someone who will pray for you forever? I know this is a crude way to look at it, but for our gentile minds it gets the point across. ‘For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens’ Paul describes the character of Jesus as ‘harmless’ as someone who would never ‘get even’ who is always pure, the perfect intercessor!
There are times in our lives, as well as all ‘natural priests’ that we are not pure, holy or harmless. During these days our prayers can’t get thru. If people are depending on us for true intercession, we let them down. There is never a day where our ‘chief intercessor’ lets us down. There are days when we feel useless, we have failed. Our own agendas get in the way. Days when we are not ‘harmless’. Thank God that our ‘prayer warrior’ is always on the job on our behalf. This is what it means when it says ‘he is able to save to the uttermost that come to God by him’. All you have to do on those down days is ‘come’.
‘Who needeth not daily to offer for sins… he did this once and for all when he offered up himself’ Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice, there will never be another! ‘For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity, but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated forevermore’ Paul takes the verse again where it says ‘thou art a priest forever’ and compares it to the law. He says ‘the oath that God swore when he made Jesus a priest forever, came after the giving of the law. Therefore it supersedes the law. The law made priests that were failing, the oath made a priest who would last forever’ it really is amazing how much use Paul gets from this one verse. He in essence is saying ‘because Jesus was made a priest by this later oath, therefore the former making of priests is no longer in operation. You must leave the Levitical priesthood [law] and enter into the new one made by the oath’ [New Covenant] all the arguments that Paul makes in this letter are always pointing to Jesus as the final word from God. A better covenant with better promises. This is the whole context of Hebrews, for the people to come out of the law and into Christ!
MELCHIZEDEK/JESUS NEVER DIES.
NEW PRIEST- NEW LAW.
Ok- we see the Melchizedek figure a bit more here-
The writer is saying ‘look- my Jewish brothers- in Psalms 110- King David- a prophet- spoke about another Priesthood.
This priesthood is not from the tribe that priests from the law come from [Levi].
But the promise/oath made about this priest [Jesus] says ‘you are a priest FOREVER’.
How can this be?
The writer says this must mean that David was talking about some future priest- who would have an endless life-
How else could anyone be a priest FOREVER?
So- David spoke about another priesthood- outside of the law.
And this priest is superior to the ‘law’ priests- because those guys died- but this one lives.
He also says ‘there must then be a change of the law [Old Covenant] too- because if we have a new priest- then there must be a new TESTAMENT/COVENANT as well’.
The whole argument is showing the superiority of what Jesus has done for us- versus the requirements of the Old Law.
The writer says ‘see- Abraham our forefather paid tithes to him- and Abraham had the tribe of Levi ‘still in him’ [Abraham was the father of Isaac- Isaac was the father of Jacob [named Israel] and he was the father of the 12 tribes].
Levi being one of those sons/tribes.
The point being that this example of Abraham paying tithes to Melchisedek- shows that he [and the priestly line that would follow- Jesus] was superior to the old law/priesthood- because Abraham was blessed by him- and truly ‘the lesser is blessed by the greater’.
Once again- this whole argument only makes sense to the 1st century Jew in transition- it has no real relevance to a new- first century- gentile church.
Notice how much the writer is ‘getting’ out of this obscure reference in the book of Psalms-
We really don’t have a whole lot of stuff in the bible about Melchizedek- but what we do have- is enough.Hebrews 7:1 For this Melchisedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;
Hebrews 7:2 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;
Hebrews 7:3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.
Hebrews 7:4 Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.
Hebrews 7:5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:
Hebrews 7:6 But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.
Hebrews 7:7 And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.
Hebrews 7:8 And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.
Hebrews 7:9 And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.
Hebrews 7:10 For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.
Hebrews 7:11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?
Hebrews 7:12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
Hebrews 7:13 For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.
Hebrews 7:14 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.
Hebrews 7:15 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest,
Hebrews 7:16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.
Hebrews 7:17 For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
Hebrews 7:18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.
Hebrews 7:19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
Hebrews 7:20 And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest:
Hebrews 7:21 (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)
Hebrews 7:22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.
Hebrews 7:23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:
Hebrews 7:24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.
Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
Hebrews 7:26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
Hebrews 7:27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
Hebrews 7:28 For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.
Genesis 14:17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king's dale.
Genesis 14:18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
Genesis 14:19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
Genesis 14:20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
‘Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: we have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the majesty in the heavens; a minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man’ Now, to be fair, I have done a lot of teaching on how the Church [people of God] are the place where God ‘tabernacles’. But in Hebrews when Paul speaks of Gods tabernacle he is speaking of heaven itself. Why the difference? Is this a contradiction? The best way I can explain it is when Paul is writing the gentile believers, he is showing them the truth that they are the Body of Christ. When he is writing to Israel in transition, he is not going to address them as ‘the Body of Christ’ because he is still trying to persuade them to ‘come into this Body!’. Is this a contradiction? How can he write the gentiles who believe and tell them God is in you, and then write the Jews and tell them ‘God is in heaven’? Because these are both true! The reality of God dwelling in the church does not mean that God doesn’t also dwell in heaven. He is ‘omni present’. So in Hebrews Paul sticks with the theme as heaven itself being the true tabernacle, as opposed to the earthly one that Moses built.
‘Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for see, saith he, that thou make all things after the pattern showed thee in the mount’ Moses was seeing a pattern that God revealed to him ‘on the mountain’. God shows us things in the Spirit first, and then we build. Jesus said he did/said only what he saw the Father doing first. I feel much of modern ministry comes from an insecurity to want to act/do something for God. We all fall into this at times. We want to see action, which is a noble thing, but then because we are impatient we go out and produce an Ishmael! It’s not like Abraham wasn’t believing God at all when he did this. He kind of thought that maybe this was Gods way of fulfilling the promise.
I heard a Prophet testify of how he prophesied that a woman was to have a child. She was barren at the time. Years later as they were sharing how it came to pass, they shared how they eventually went and adopted a child. This was a well known Prophet on a national level. I think he might have just missed it! The point is we at times try our best to make Gods word come to pass, we need to wait on the mountain [in his presence] and let him ‘download’ the pattern in his time. After you ‘see’ what God wants, then run with the vision and make it plain upon tables, but wait until he shows you the pattern! ‘For if that covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the 2nd. For finding fault WITH THEM he saith, behold the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with them when I took them out of Egypt’.
Now, God says thru Jeremiah that he would make a new covenant with Israel. Paul starts to tread on dangerous ground with his Jewish readers. He has been accused and slandered as someone who disdains the law of Moses and wants to do away with all Jewish tradition. These were the accusations that Paul had to fight thru out his ministry. Paul taught in his other letters that the law was good, but man was sinful, therefore the law failed as a means to make man righteous [just]. Now Paul clearly teaches [Galatians/Romans] that the law actually had a tendency to bring out mans sinful nature. If you tell a kid ‘don’t touch this wet paint’ sure enough the suggestion itself will cause the kid to think about it and do it. Now Paul taught that the purpose of the law was simply to bring to the surface mans sinful nature. It’s not that the law is unrighteous [Romans] it’s that men are sinful. I have heard preachers teach that the law plays a role in restraining sin In believers. No it doesn’t! It does play a role in society to keep anarchy from overrunning earthly governments, but it does not ‘harness’ the sinful nature of man. So Paul is telling Israel that God all along planned on bringing them into a new covenant [not a ‘completed’ Jew. Only in the sense that the ‘completion’ is that Israel would leave the old covenant and enter into the foretold new one. More of a transition into fullness than a continuation of something old. Jesus said his blood was the blood of the ‘new covenant’ not the fulfilling of an old one. I share this because a lot of believers teach a doctrine of the ‘Abrahamic covenant’ being fulfilled in us. There is a sense where you can teach this, but some do not see what I just showed you!] So Paul is telling Israel ‘leave the old shadows[covenant] behind, the Prophets [Jeremiah] said you were to come into a new one, so COME!’
‘For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people…for I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. In that he saith a new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to VANISH AWAY!’ This new covenant is one where God writes his word [law] on the hearts and minds of people. No longer will they strive to keep outward observances, but by nature will fulfill the intent of the law [Romans]. Once again Paul is not telling Israel that they can keep their old covenant [this is what some in ‘New Perspective’ theology teach] but he is telling them the old covenant is decaying and getting ready to pass from the scene. So enter into this new one! Also it says ‘they will have no need to teach every man the law, for all shall know me’.
I find it interesting that I will run into Christians who have been homeless for years. Many of them never really had the same advantages of study and research like myself [thru the net, libraries and all types of stuff] and yet many of them have come to the same conclusions and understanding of scripture as I have. God’s Spirit has a way of getting truth to his people in a way that no ‘outward law’ could ever accomplish. In essence Paul is teaching that the New Law will be built into mans nature at the New Birth and God will become his primary instructor [1st John ‘you have no need that any man teach you, but the Spirit in you will guide you into all truth’ This doesn’t mean God has no teachers in the church, because that would contradict Paul’s letters. But it means Gods Spirit is the final authority, he is the one resident in the earthly teachers who is doing the instruction. Teachers are ‘gifts’ made/given by the Spirit to the church]. ‘Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more’ Paul will use this to teach the finality of the one sacrifice of Christ. He will say ‘if God doesn’t remember your sins any more, then there is no more need for sacrifice!’ So he sees the Cross in the simple phrase ‘God will not remember your sins any more’ once again Paul sees Jesus everywhere!
We see Jesus as the high priest- of a greater tabernacle- a heavenly one.
Moses and the law- and the Levitical priests- were all earthly symbols of the true heavenly kingdom.
Jesus is a heavenly priest [at the right hand of God] and he now serves in a heavenly sanctuary [heaven- also can be seen as the kingdom of heaven/God- he is with us as our high priest- we are the city ‘coming down from God out of heaven’ [Revelation] - we are the Bride of Christ- we are the ‘new Jerusalem’ Galatians].
Once again- we see the contrast.
The New Covenant- has a new- and final high priest- Jesus.
It has a better- heavenly tabernacle [heaven- as opposed to the tent of Moses].
And it has a ‘better law’- that is it’s a covenant based on grace- where the law of God is written on the minds and hearts of those who believe.
The writer quotes Jeremiah 31- which is a prophecy of a coming time [here now] where God would regenerate his people- they would be born anew- and the outward covenant- written on tablets of stone-
Will now be ‘written’ upon the heart and mind.
We read that the first covenant was unable to really change the heart- ‘God found fault with it- them’.
Some manuscripts say it this way- meaning the law was perfect- holy- good [Paul teaches this is Romans and Galatians]but the problem was ‘he found fault with them/us.
Meaning man was unable to live up to the standard- because he has a sinful nature.
And we read in the other letters of Paul that the law only revealed our sin to us- it had no power to change the inner man.
So Jesus is at the right hand of God- he intercedes for us- and his Spirit is within us.
Jeremiah spoke of this coming day- and it was the real ‘promised land’ that Israel was waiting for- it’s now here- in Christ.
Hebrews 8:1 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;
Hebrews 8:2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.
Hebrews 8:4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:
Hebrews 8:5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.
Hebrews 8:6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
Hebrews 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
Hebrews 8:8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
Hebrews 8:9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
Hebrews 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
Hebrews 8:13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.
END NOTES [chapter 9]
THE BRANCH THAT BUDDED.
WHEN DOES A WILL HAVE POWER?
‘Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary’ Let me stop here and cover some stuff. Some ‘old time’ churches [high church model] feel the future of the church is ‘liturgical’. One of my favorite Catholic theologians is Scott Hahn. He believes and teaches that God’s purpose for all these Old Testament symbols was for the purpose of MORE SYMBOLS! A lot of these brothers mean well, but I take Paul’s position. Here Paul states that the first covenant [notice, he calls the Old Law the ‘FIRST’ covenant, and the New covenant the second [or last]. This refutes dispensational theology which sees the law as the 2nd or 3rd covenant after Abraham and Noah. Paul and Jesus refer to only 2 main covenants. The Old and New] had a ‘worldly sanctuary’ but the second one doesn’t! The second covenant has Jesus in heaven at the real sanctuary in Gods presence. So you see right away Paul showing that all the earthly ‘liturgical symbols’ played a role in Gods purpose, but they were simply pointing to a future reality [Christ] that would be the fulfillment of the shadows. So the future of the church is not ‘liturgical’ in as much as it is ‘reality’.
We are living under an open heaven right now. Jesus is really at Gods right hand advocating for us! ‘For there was a tabernacle made, the first [first room]wherein was candlestick, the table and the shewbread..after the second veil the holiest of all…now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle [room]..but into the second room the high priest went alone once every year, with blood, which he offered for himself and the sins of the people: the Holy Ghost signifying that the way into the holiest of all was not made manifest while the first tabernacle was yet standing’ There is a lot here. Some commentaries confuse the ‘2 tabernacles’ as 2 different structures. What it is speaking about is one structure, with 2 different rooms. Now the fact that the ‘first room’ had daily access by the priest, but the 2nd room had annual access only by the high priest once a year was in itself a symbol of grace in Paul’s mind. Paul says ‘the fact that the first room [first covenant] stood in the way of the second room [a type of the 2nd covenant] was a picture of the 2 covenants. And the first one ‘blocked’ free entrance into the second one, so likewise today [1st century] the first room [old covenant] is standing in the way of the second room [new covenant]’. Wow! Paul really did do a lot of ‘reading into’ scripture. Hey, I like this stuff!
‘Which was a figure FOR THE TIME THEN PRESENT, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect as pertaining to the conscience; which stood only in meats and drinks, and DIVERS WASHINGS [remember what we said in chapter 6? ‘baptisms’ can be translated ‘washings’] and carnal ordinances [liturgy!] imposed on them UNTIL THE TIME OF REFORMATION [the 1st century coming of Messiah]’ All the symbols were only given for a time. God always intended for there to be a day when his people would leave the symbols behind and move into the reality. This is not to say that Christians have no reminders or ‘ordinances/sacraments’ in the sense that Jesus told us to ‘do this in remembrance of me’ at the last supper. So God does have ways for us to remember the work of the Cross, but the overall ‘carnal ordinances’ of the law were only for a temporary period of time, when that which is perfect has come [Jesus] then that which is in part passes away!
‘But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands… neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place [heaven in this context] having obtained eternal redemption for us…how much more shall the blood of Christ, who thru the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works [law, remember chapter 6 verse 1?] to serve the living God?’ Paul includes all 3 aspects of the Trinity here. Paul is telling the most fundamental reality of the New Covenant. We are redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb! To the Jew who was inundated with legalistic sacrifices his whole life, for him to be told that Gods own Son offered up himself once and for all for all the sins of man, was an unbelievable freedom. Its like if you were brought up in a legalistic church [there are many of them!] and were taught from a young boy that you had to pray for 3 hours a day, read 25 chapters of scripture, wear long pants and suits all day [even in summer!] and you lived under this bondage of a never ending strain to please God. Then one day God reveals to you that you don’t have to do any of it anymore, Jesus did it all! You would be relieved, you would still pray and read scripture, but not out of a sense of obligation, but more from a sense of thanksgiving [you would probably also burn all those suits as a sign of no more sacrifices!] So to the Jewish readers of this letter, it is absolutely too good to be true to be told NO MORE SACRIFICES just rest in grace!
‘And for this cause he is the mediator of the New Testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of transgressions under the FIRST [not 3rd!] testament… for a testament is of force after men are dead’ Paul teaches that the death of Christ was for the purpose of redeeming those who had ‘built up’ a record of sin and transgression under the first testament. He shows that the law and its sacrifices were a temporary fix that simply looked forward to Christ. In Peter’s epistle you also see the idea that those who were under the law were in a waiting stage[in death] until the time of true redemption in Christ. These ideas were crucial for the 1st century Jew to understand that God allowed them to continue for many years under the Old Covenant, but it was for the future purpose of Christ. Many times in theological discussions you will find believers saying ‘we have believed and done things a certain way for so long, how can you now come along and shake up the apple cart’? The point is God often allows his people to function in limited paradigms until the time of reformation and change. The fact that he allowed you to continue for a long time in a limited understanding, does not justify never moving on into maturity! Paul is telling Israel ‘God allowed you to build up a ‘record’ [deposit] of past sin and transgression, and he knew all along that a day was coming when Christ would ransom all those who were in this limited system’.
‘Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood…saying this is the blood of the testament…he sprinkled the tabernacle and all the vessels of ministry…it was necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are figures of the true, but into heaven itself now to appear in the presence of God for us’ Paul says that just like the blood of the Old Covenant cleansed both the tabernacle and the vessels, so Jesus blood cleansed ‘heaven’ as well as ‘all the vessels of ministry’[us!] This speaks of themes found in Romans where scripture speaks of all creation yearning for redemption. There is a sense where the curse has affected all creation, therefore the benefits of redemption will affect it as well. In these verses we are taught that the blood of Christ has already had a redemptive effect on ‘the heavens’.
‘Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year…but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation’. Here we see the completeness of Christ's sacrifice. Once and for all! While the Old Testament made temporary provision for mans sin, Jesus, as the mediator of a new and better covenant, makes complete redemption and atonement for mans sin. The proof of this is the fact that Jesus sacrifice only happened once in history, therefore God must have accepted it as sufficient for all time!
END NOTES [chapter 9]
THE BRANCH THAT BUDDED.
WHEN DOES A WILL HAVE POWER?
The writer compares the earthly tabernacle- with the heavenly one [not meaning an actual tabernacle- like the earthly one- but heaven itself].
Under the law- the priests went daily into the first room [the tabernacle had 2 rooms- separated by a veil].
The high priest went into the back room [called the holy of holies] once a year.
In this room the ark of the covenant rest- the ark was the ‘box’ that held the 10 commandments.
It also had Manna- and the branch of Arron the priest- that budded [this was a sign when God chose which tribe would be for priests- they took a branch from each tribe- and the one that supernaturally budded- would be the tribe. This was a sign/symbol of Christ- who was a ‘root out of a dry ground’- also called ‘the man whose name is the branch’]-
These prophecies speak about Christ rising from the dead- and also being born from the Virgin Mary.
The writer says that these Old Testament signs showed us that ‘perfection’ did not come from the law.
Because those priests had to keep doing those things- year after year.
And if their service was really effective- it would have come to an end- because once the offering was made- then that would put an end to the guilt of the people.
Jesus offered himself once- showing that his sacrifice for the sins of men was the final one.
The King James version says that the sacrifice of Christ frees the people from DEAD WORKS.
Some translations simply say works of sin- which can be true.
But I think- in this case- ‘dead works’ is better- because it can actually be speaking of the works of the law- meaning the sacrifice of Christ has freed us [them- 1st century Jew] from these DEAD WORKS of the law- and they can now move on in the Cross of Christ.
We also see that Jesus sealed this New Testament in his Blood- because it is only after the death of a person that the will has power.
So Jesus died for our sins- thus giving power to the covenant.
Hebrews 9:1 Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.
Hebrews 9:2 For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary.
Hebrews 9:3 And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all;
Hebrews 9:4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;
Hebrews 9:5 And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.
Hebrews 9:6 Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.
Hebrews 9:7 But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:
Hebrews 9:8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:
Hebrews 9:9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;
Hebrews 9:10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.
Hebrews 9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
Hebrews 9:12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
Hebrews 9:13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Hebrews 9:15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
Hebrews 9:16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
Hebrews 9:17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.
Hebrews 9:18 Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.
Hebrews 9:19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,
Hebrews 9:20 Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.
Hebrews 9:21 Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.
Hebrews 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
Hebrews 9:23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
Hebrews 9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
Hebrews 9:25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;
Hebrews 9:26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
Hebrews 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
Exodus 24:6 And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar.
Exodus 24:7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.
Exodus 24:8 And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.
END NOTES OF POST-
WHAT ARE THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS?
OCTAVIAN- A GOD?
CICERO- MARK ANTONY [or Anthony if you like].
WHO WERE THE ESSENES?
DID THE CHURCH ENGAGE IN A GRAND CONSPIRACY?
END NOTES [I posted the video for this portion a few days ago- it goes along with Hebrews 7-9 video/post] The past few weeks I had a few friends ask me about the Dead Sea Scrolls- and a few other questions about the ‘lost books of the bible’ and some other common- and mistaken ideas [like the original sin being Eve had sex with the serpent].
So- I figured I would cover a little Jewish history- which would help in this study of Hebrews-
And also hit on a few of these subjects.
As we read Hebrews- it helps to also understand some of the history that we don’t have in our bibles [though the Catholic bibles do have some of it in the Apocrypha].
Ok- the ruling empire at the time of Christ was Rome- just prior to the appearance of Jesus- the Roman Emperor- Caesar Augustus- consolidated the Roman Empire under his rule-
Rome was ruled by a senate- some famous names from history were in it- Cicero being one.
Caesar Augustus was the nephew of Julius Caesar- his real name was Octavian [Octavius].
After the death of Julius Caesar- there were some power struggles that took place- between some other famous people.
Marc Antony being one of them [Cleopatra too- he was in love with the girl for sure].
Now- we read about Augustus in the New Testament- and we read in the book of Revelation about the Mark of the Beast- and that those who don't worship- give homage to the Beast- they will be killed.
So- Many Christians would be killed because they would refuse to give homage to Caesar Augustus [meaning son of the Divine].
‘Wow- how did he get a name like that’ [there was more than one Caesar by the way- as well as more than one Herod- who did play a part in these power struggles- it can get confusing- even to me].
When Octavian defeated Marc Antony at Actium [32 BC].
Herod [The Great] had a problem- he had previously sided with Antony and found himself on the losing side.
Yet he was smart- did some ‘brown nosing’ as we say-and patched things up.
Herod had 3 sons- who would eventually take positions of authority in the Roman government at the time of Christ.
Herod Antipas was over the region that we read about in the New Testament where Jesus did most of his ministry- Galilee.
Ok- Octavian claimed deity because of a heavenly sign associated with his rise to power- and this is how he became called ‘Caesar Augustus’.
He sort of saw himself as a ‘re-incarnate’- of his great uncle Julius Caesar.
‘John- what in the heck does this have to do with the Dead Sea Scrolls’.
Ok- good question.
The Jews had various responses to the empires that ruled over them during various times.
Alexander the Great instituted Hellenization- a sort of cultural compromise over the people he conquered.
They could keep their religious/cultural roots- but would be subservient to Alexander and Greek rule.
Some Jewish people rejected any compromise- we call them the Essenes- they moved out of town- so to speak, and lived in what we refer to as the Qumran community.
This was a few centuries before the time of Christ- and this was where the Dead Seas Scrolls were found in the 20th century.
A Bedouin boy was looking for his goats- threw a rock in a cave right off the Dead Sea- and that’s how we found the scrolls.
The scrolls might have been hidden there by the Essenes-
Now- when my friends asked me about them- I told them that it’s been a while since I read up on any of this- but to the best of my memory the thing that made them significant was the fact that they were very old manuscripts- from the bible- and they backed up what we had had all along.
I did read up this week- and basically had it right.
The earliest Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament we had previously dated back to around 900- 1000 A.D.
These manuscripts went back about 1000 years earlier- and they contained portions from almost every book of the Old testament- and some complete books.
The only book missing was Esther.
So- this was indeed a very significant find for scholars.
But the Scrolls also contain some of the writings from the Essenes themselves- things we never had before- so this too was significant.
There were Jews at the time of the first century who tried to ‘get along’ with Rome- and with the person in charge of their region [one of the sons of Herod the Great at the time of Christ].
These are referred to as Herodian’s in the bible.
Some wanted a revolution to rid Rome from Jerusalem- these were the Zealots [one of Jesus disciples was in this group].
Some thought if they returned to a legalistic obeisance of the law- that this would bring in a deliverer- like the stories we read about in the Old testament- these were the Pharisees.
And some took more of a political compromise- these were the Sadducees.
Eventually a war with Rome would be fought [By the way- Josephus- the famous 1st century historian- fought on the side of the Jews in the war- and after Jerusalem was sacked in A.D. 70- he went to Rome and wrote his great works- thinking he would make a case for the Jewish people with the Romans. This is why we have his works today- which are very valuable to scholars].
NOTE- In time I’ll try and cover how we ‘got our bibles’ [called the Canon- meaning Rule/ Measurement].
Frankly- there is a lot of confusion in the general public about conspiracies [like the Catholic Church had some type of plot to keep certain books out].
Or stories about how the Church taught Mary Magdalene was a prostitute so they could discredit her.
Actually- we read in the gospels that Jesus cast out ‘spirits’ from a woman who was probably living this type of life-
And Jesus had a ministry to the down and out- it is indeed possible that Mary was one of these women-
And if true- it would not demean her in any way-
That’s how this tradition more than likely developed- But- we don’t know for sure.
So a few years back the Church officially said ‘we don’t know’.
No- just being careful.
So there are other misguided beliefs like this- that sincere people have- and over time I hope to get to them.
I’ll do one more in keeping with this post.
I mentioned above that Caesar Augustus did indeed take the title of ‘son of God’.
And some critics of the Church say ‘see- there were all types of religions that had Sons of God’.
I watched one show a few years back- and it stated that these religions had ’12 disciples- a leader named Lord and Savior- and he healed and claimed to be God’s Son- and rose from the dead’.
Ok- that show was ‘fibbing’ to put it lightly- they went too far [historically speaking] in trying to diminish the Christians claim of Christ by doing this.
Now- is there some truth to this at all?
Yes- like I just mentioned above- Octavian did indeed claim deity- a ‘son of god’.
So- how do we explain this?
In the book of Galatians the bible says ‘in the FULLNESS of times God sent forth his Son’.
Jesus came at a set time in history- in fulfilment of the Jewish Prophets- to be who he was- and to do what he did.
Now- this is not special pleading here- but I find it a masterpiece that God’s Son came at a time when the Roman Empire had one sitting on the throne- who too claimed deity.
Yet Jesus was in a region of the lower class- his men were not highly educated- and his followers were people under oppression.
Augustus lived in the wealthy and influential capital of ‘the world’- he had all you could ever ask for- he was worshiped as a god.
Yet in 3 short centuries- one of the heirs of the empire- Constantine- would have an experience – not with a former Caesar- but with a vison of a Cross-
He would convert to Christianity- and declare Christianity to be the religion of the realm.
He would then ‘convert’ the pagan temples- into churches for these followers of Christ.
So I don’t see the fact that Augustus claimed to be a son of god right before Christ- as some type of discredit to the claims of Christ.
No- I see it as God’s way of pulling the rug out from the oppressor- see? [Oh- by the way- only one of them rose from the dead- can you guess?]
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John.#