Search This Blog

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Book Of Hebrews By Art Mokarow

The Book of Hebrews, unlike The Apostle Paul’s letters, has no salutation of greetings to a particular person or group.  Hebrews is not “an instructional letter” addressed to a particular group.  It is “a written letter” which was read by someone much like hearing a lecture or sermon.

This sermon, which Paul may have preached, was significant to both Messianic Jews and Gentile Christians.  It is quite possible someone was told to write it down so it could be sent to other churches.  Also, it may be because The Book of Hebrews was a group of sermons given orally and the author’s name is not revealed or known.

In Greek grammar this type of letter would be called “sonorous” because “it is written from someone’s oral speech.”

Jews And Gentiles

What is significant?  The Book of Hebrews is the cardinal theme about Jesus, The Christ, being higher in authority or superiority than Moses, The Levitical Priesthood or even the angels.  Jesus, being God’s First Begotten Son, who paid for your sins (Hebrews 5:1) (by an oath from God) is given a priesthood which is an order forever.  It is, therefore, an Eternal Priesthood.

This Priesthood was not “genealogical” by human birth as The Levitical Priesthood, having committed sins, but The Melchizedek Priesthood required “a condition” to be appointed.  This Priesthood cannot come from a father and mother, but the one chosen must love righteousness by faith (Hebrews 1).  If a person is chosen to The Melchizedek Priesthood, genealogically (through a mother and father such as Abel, Seth, etc), they are only chosen because they had faith and loved righteousness. 

This message included The Jews, which reveals the weakness of The Letter of The Law (Hebrews 7).  Therefore, by qualifying, one is appointed by an oath from God (Hebrews 8) and lasts forever.  This Priesthood is The Office of Melchizedek.

Melchizedek Order

Many do not understand that The Order of Melchizedek was in force for over 1500 years or so in The Torah before The Priesthood of Levi under Aaron.  The Aaronic Priesthood lasted, roughly, from 1500 B.C. until 70 A.D. when “the temple” was destroyed by Titus.  The Letter of the Law was added to The Torah when Moses received The Old Covenant.  Deuteronomy, the writing of that added Law, changed The Torah (a learning or pathway to life under The Priesthood of Melchizedek) which was by faith.  The Law now had blessings and curses (Deuteronomy 27 and 28).  This is why Abraham met Melchizedek who was appointed by God.  The Torah was “a way of life” that kept The Commandments and statutes, by faith as Abraham did (Genesis 26:5).  The Torah, at this time, had no judgments as the blessings and curses when The Old Covenant was enforced by Levi, The Aaronic Priesthood.

No Mercy

Because Israel sinned after hearing The Ten Commandments, they were given over to an angel (or malak) who would give no mercy.  Beware of him and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him(Exodus 23:21).  That is why James 2:10 states The Law must be kept perfectly without any mistakes at all (paraphrased). 

The Torah up to this point, under Melchizedek, was not a Law but “a way of life” based upon faith after The Order of Melchizedek.  Now, you can begin to understand why The Book of Hebrews was so important to both The Messianic Jews and The Gentile Christians.  It revealed the superiority of The Melchizedek Priesthood over The Aaronic Priests.  The Priesthood of Levi did not do away with sin.  Therefore, under Levi, The Commandments were for carnal, people without faith.  The Torah had existed since Abraham’s day (Hebrews 7:15-19) and was obeyed totally by faith.

Now, The Torah was a law in a court of law.  (Read all of I Kings 8, Solomon’s Prayer in consecrating the temple).  The temple was God’s court house where one was declared guilty or innocent according to The Letter of The Law with God’s curses.  The Melchizedek Priesthood from Abraham’s day based on faith and mercy was totally different than The Law under Levi.

Hebrews 7:12 declares when The Priesthood changes, then The Law changes.  That is why Hebrews is so important because The Priesthood of Melchizedek is based on faith rather than a Law with curses and blessings.  The Law cannot make anyone perfect (Hebrews 7:19).  My, how important The Book of Hebrews is in The Bible!

The meaning and definition of Melchizedek is basically two words, “melek” and “tzedek.”  “Melek” is a “king” and “tzedek” is “righteousness.”  Melchizedek comes from these two Hebrew words.  Therefore, The Priesthood of Melchizedek is a king of righteousness based upon faith.  The Levitical Priesthood could never forgive sin; their sacrifices only pardoned sin (Hebrews 10:4-5).  Now, you can clearly begin to understand The Book of Hebrews and its vital importance to God’s “word.”  This is why a verbal message was needed to be given to both The Messianic Jews and The Christian Gentiles by a written letter in The Bible.

Literary Hebrews

Hebrews 1 starts with the original source of The Gospel being preached before Christ.  In Jude 14, Enoch was The Seventh Prophet of God, who proclaimed The Return of The Messiah.  The Gospel was preached separately, by eight preachers, right from the beginning.  Noah was The Eighth Preacher of Righteousness as Peter said, “And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly(II Peter 2:5).  When Christ was on earth as a human, He proclaimed God’s “word” by The Holy Spirit in each Christian.

Hebrews 1

Hebrews 1 begins with an opening statement that before Jesus, The Word of God was delivered by Prophets.  Now, Christ, in these last days, is The Word of God.  Christ’s Priesthood exceeds any message given by the angels.  He is, therefore, superior to God’s angels because of His love for righteousness.  Angels are only messengers when compared to Christ who is far superior (Hebrews 1:14).  Christ’s blood restored or reconciled the world to God.

Hebrews 2

You are warned of “the great salvation” through Christ.  Mankind, through Christ’s humanity, saves you over the angels.  He became human as Abraham’s seed with the promise of salvation.  Under The Letter of The Law there is no mercy (Exodus 23:2), only your “faithfulHigh Priest.  Christ brings mercy and truth (John 1:17).

Hebrews 3

Christians, Messianic Jews and Gentiles are of a higher calling than the angels or The Letter of the Law by Moses.  Hebrews 3:4 states, “For every house is built by some man; but he [God] that built all things is God [God’s house is built by God through Jesus, The Christ].  Hebrews 3:6 continues with, “But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.”  Moses’ house, the tabernacle, was temporary, as a type or witness of God’s real house built by Christ.

When Jesus was human (in the flesh) and was susceptible to harm and death, He could feel suffering and pain.  He, ultimately, became the author of our salvation.  Christ through grace (mercy) and truth is our High Priest who reconciles (atones) you to God (Hebrews 2:17)!

The author’s warning is that The Jews and The Gentiles do not harden their hearts as The Israelites did in the wilderness.  Christianity must continually remain in God’s Sabbath Rest and not reject God’s Holy Spirit as they did.  If you keep faith, you remain in God’s Sabbath Restspiritually” by listening to the voice of God’s Holy Spirit (Hebrews 3:15).

Hebrews 4

Since God’s Rest, The True Sabbath (Revelation 21 and 22) is yet future, you must keep the faith and hope ofChrist − In You” to the very end (Colossians 1:27).  Therefore, God’s Sabbath Rest is “future” for all who rest with faith in Christ to the end.  If you do, you can enter The Holy of Holies boldly and receive God’s mercy and grace.
Hebrews 5

Christ, being your High Priest, is God’s very First Born Son and is made perfect by His life in the flesh.  He is now The Author to eternal life by making you perfect through The Holy Spirit in faith.  Your “faith” in your High Priest, Melchizedek, works by bringing you to “strong meat,” when you are willing to be exercised by Him, to understand good and evil (Hebrews 5:14).  The Melchizedek Priesthood is the sacrifice God wanted, a body, which is acceptable by God.
Hebrews 6

As Christians, both Messianic Jews and Gentiles are to adhere to the basic teaching or doctrine of Christ and go onto perfection.  Ephesians 4 urges the full preaching ministry to help as guides for Christians to become perfect like Christ.  Jesus is your forerunner (Hebrews 6:20) or example.

Hebrews 7

A dramatic change occurs with a detailed outline of The Melchizedek Priesthood.  The superior power of the difference between The Levitical and The Melchizedek Priesthood is clearly given.  The Law under Levi only receives death.  Melchizedek’s Priesthood has no curses and only requires faith, which gives Life and Salvation.

The Levitical Priesthood was only temporary and led to death, which contained a curse and no mercy.  Because Melchizedek is forever and gives salvation, The Letter of The Law never goes far enough to make you perfect.  Why is this? 

With a change in The Priesthood of necessity there is a change in The Law (Hebrews 7:12).  The Levitical Letter of The Law was a carnal commandment (Hebrews 7:16).  The Levitical Commandment is dis-annulled because it was weak and not of any use, nor was it profitable (Hebrews 7:18).  The Law of Moses, which was The Old Covenant, made no one perfect.

Now, under Melchizedek, The Law is under a better hope.  This Priesthood having no father or mother and only established by an oath directly by God, is an unchangeable Priesthood forever and now makes you perfect.

The Law is never done away.  It is only to be administered spiritually by The Melchizedek “superior law.”  The Old Covenant gets old and vanishes.  The New Covenant is spiritual and The Law is now spiritual (Romans 7:1-4).  Christ came to magnify or make The Law larger so it could become honorable (Isaiah 42.21) (paraphrased).  How does Christ as The Order of Melchizedek do this?

Hebrews 8

This chapter states it is time to summarize what has been written.  If Jesus were on earth, since the temple still stood at that writing, He would not be a priest on earth.  It is because The Levites still served in the temple (Hebrews 8:4).  The difference between The Old and New Covenant is that The Old Covenant only produces death.  There is no mercy in The Old Covenant.  Only Christ brings grace (mercy) and truth.  Only the blood of Jesus pays for your sins.  Sacrifices and atonement can only pardon your sins.

The New Covenant is the administration of The Law which no longer has a curse or death.  Now, you are under grace because of Christ’s blood.  Here is the difference.  The New Covenant is a change of mind and conscience and needs no Letter of a Law as a reminder (Hebrews 8:10).  Why?  It is because with God’s Holy Spirit, The Law is written in your heart and mind.  Wow!  A big difference!  God, now makes you perfect, by Christ while The Old Covenant decays and vanishes (Hebrews 8:13).  Now, all works or deeds of The Law are done away.  Read Galatians.  It is now “The Spirit” that writes God’s Law in you (II Corinthians 3:3).

Hebrews 9

This chapter reveals that The Levitical Priesthood in The Temple with all its deeds or works, such as sacrifices, does not remove sin.  Blood of bulls and goats doesn’t remove sin and neither does any other works of The Law.  Hebrews 9:14, clearly reveals, the works of The Law are dead works and only purging your conscience of sin can make you perfect.

Therefore, Jesus is The Mediator of The New Testament or the witness of God’s “righteousness,” through which you can receive your eternal inheritance (Hebrews 9:15).  Once the testator dies, the will goes into force and grace enters.  Then, the truth enters.  The shedding of blood is demanded by The Law (Hebrews 9:22).  It is appointed once for everyone to die.  Jesus did that so all the world would be saved (I John 4:14).

Hebrews 10

This chapter clarifies what The Old Covenant, Letter of The Law of Moses does.  The purpose of The Law of Moses was to be a shadow or type of prophecy revealing how much better Christ’s sacrifice was than animal sacrifices.  An animal sacrifice could only pardon sin, not do away with sin.  Christ’s sacrifice, under Melchizedek, destroyed sin, not merely pardoned it.  Wow!

That is why God did not like animal sacrifices.  They did not destroy sin.  It was a body, Christ’s body, which God accepted, because The Body of Jesus actually removed or destroyed sin.  How did this happen?  Christ paid for your sins and made it lawful for you to enter the Holy of Holies for mercy.  Once you received mercy, Christ gave God’s Holy Spirit (your inheritance) which changed your human nature to God’s nature by writing His Laws in your heart and mind.
Chapter 11

This is the faith chapter, revealing the faith of our ancestors and how trusting in God they were, no matter what they suffered.  They endured all manner of pain and tragedy, knowing they would become perfect by faith.

Chapter 12

The author begins to summarize The Epistle of Hebrews by stating with all the witnesses God has left us that we should be more faithful and determined to stay the course until the end. 

Then, Hebrews describes why God allows human suffering and pain.  No matter what Christians must endure, they should keep the faith, because God, unlike our physical fathers who punish us for their own good, only punishes us for our good or profit.  God punishes only to produce righteousness in you, if you remain faithful to be exercised by the trial.

Then, in conclusion of Chapter 12, he states you should continue in the faith because you are to look to God’s “kingdom” which is New Jerusalem in Heaven.  Since God is an all-consuming fire, you know this earth is not forever but temporary.  You are to receive an eternal kingdom so you need to serve God continually in reverence and Godly fear.

Chapter 13

This chapter concludes The Epistle of Hebrews conveying a summary of proper Christian behavior.  The first principle is to continue brotherly love.

This concluding chapter brushes a multitude of Christian subjects.  It warns that Christian marriage is honorable, but also don’t forget those in prison.  Honor those who are leaders in teaching God’s “word” and their faith.  Remember, Jesus is always the same and your first example of faith.  Don’t get caught up in debating or arguing doctrine, since everyone is at a different level of faith or understanding.  As Christians, you must only do good works, no matter what the sacrifice.

The author ends Hebrews by Christ making you perfect to do good works by following God’s “will.”  The Book of Hebrews ends by saying welcome to all the preaching ministers and to the saints.  God’s grace be with you all (all of them).  Amen.