December 18, 2007
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God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?
And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.
And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.
But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:
They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;
And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.
But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?
Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
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Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.
For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;
How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;
God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?
For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.
But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?
Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:
Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,
Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.
And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
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Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;
Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house.
For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house.
For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.
And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after;
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.
Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice,
Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.
Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.
So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)
Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;
While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.
For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.
But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?
And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?
So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
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Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.
For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.
And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.
Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:
Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
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For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:
Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.
And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.
And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.
So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.
As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.
Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
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Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
And this will we do, if God permit.
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:
But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.
But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.
For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:
That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,
Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.
And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife.
Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:
That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:
Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;
Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
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Thought for the day:
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One of the key words in the book of Hebrews is the word "better". The author here is writing to Jews in part for the purpose of showing them how Jesus Christ is superior to everything and everyone else. In 1:4-14 He is better than angels. In 3:3 He is greater than Moses. In chapter 4 He offers a greater rest than that which Israel received when they entered Canaan. In chapters 5 and 7 His priesthood is greater than that of Aaron and the Levites. In chapter 8 He offers a better covenant than the one that was given to Israel at Mt. Sinai. In chapters 9-10 He offers a better sacrifice than the ones demanded under the Mosaic Law. In chapter 11 He offers a better country (Heaven) then the Promised Land. In chapter 12 He offers a better relationship. Perhaps it can all be summarized by the closing verse of Hebrews 11. Having talked at length about the great things that were accomplished by Old Testament saints as a result of their faith, the writer concludes,
"God having provided some better thing for us" (11:40).
One final area where we see the superiority of Christ is in His office as High Priest. It is interesting to note that Jesus holds both the offices of King and High Priest. Under normal circumstances this would have been impossible, for the priests all came from the tribe of Levi and the kings all came from the tribe of Judah. Therefore, you could not serve in both capacities. Jesus, however, is a "priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec" (5:6). Melchisedec appears in Genesis 14. He was the King of Salem and the priest of the most high God. Abraham was returning from the battle where he rescued Lot and his family, and Melchisedec met him on the road. The Bible tells us that Melchisedec blessed Abraham, and Abraham paid tithes to Melchisedec. This is significant, for Hebrews 7:1-10 tells us that the lesser always pays tithes to the greater, and since Levi ultimately sprang from Abraham's seed, the priesthood of Melchisedec must have been greater than the Levitical priesthood. Thus, Jesus Christ is a king because He came from the tribe of Judah and He is a priest, not after the order of Levi, but after the order of the greater priest, Melchisedec.
Hebrews 4:14 tells us that Jesus is not only a priest, He is the High Priest. The job of the priest was to be a mediator between man and God. The High Priest had the special responsibility of sprinkling the blood on the Mercy Seat once a year for an atonement for the sins of the nation Israel. Jesus, according to Hebrews 9:12, offered His own blood as a sacrifice on the cross to pay for our sins. Having done that, He ascended to Heaven where He continues to serve as our Mediator before God. Because Jesus serves in this capacity, Hebrews 4:14 encourages believers to hold fast to their faith. We can do this because verse 15 states that our great High Priest understands what we are going through in this life because He too lived upon earth. He understands our temptations, because He was tempted in all points just like we are, the exception being that He never committed any sin. He understands our weaknesses because, even though He never sinned, Christ still dealt with weariness and sorrow.
The Scriptures conclude the chapter with a tremendous challenge:
"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
Because Jesus is both King and High Priest we have the opportunity to come to Him in prayer. We do not need to be timid, but we can be bold in our requests. We can come for forgiveness and direction. He is willing to be merciful to us and give us the grace we need to accomplish His will.
Our High Priest wants to help us. Whatever your need may be, take the time to go to Him.
Pastor Mark J Montgomery