Mar 24, 2015

In Hebrews, Jesus is my High Priest!

Chapter 1.
In Hebrews  ...Jesus, is our High Priest! these last days he has spoken to us by his Son! (v2)

New International Version
HEBREWS 1  -God’s Final Word: His Son
1In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.
The Son Superior to Angels
(refers to Ps 2:7) 5For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father”a ?
Or again,
(refers 2 Sam 7:14) “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son”b ?
6And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says,
(refers to Deut. 32:43) “Let all God’s angels worship him.”c
(refers to Ps 104:4) 7In speaking of the angels he says, “He makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire.”d
(refers to Ps 45: 6&7)  8But about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. 9You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.”e
(refers to Ps 102:25-27) 10He also says, “In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. 11They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. 12You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.”f
(refers to Ps 110:1)  13To which of the angels did God ever say, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”g ? 14Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

HEBREWS "MAP"(diagram above):
>Chapter 1 & 2: He is SUPERIOR to the angels in speaking to us;
>Chapter 3: He is SUPERIOR to Moses in speaking to us;
>Chapter 4: He is SUPERIOR to Joshua in speaking to us; (Joshua led them into the land, but wasn't able to bring them into rest)
>Chapter 5-7 He is SUPERIOR to the Old Testament High Priest (Levitical priesthood) in speaking to us.
>Chapter 8-10: He is SUPERIOR to the Mosaic Law
>to Chapter 10 -Jesus is the Secret to a SUPERIOR Lifestyle!  Our lives find a better covenant/better way /better sacrifice through Jesus Christ!

> although author remains unknown, the Holy Spirit is really the author! (Apollos, Barnabas, Paul? -someone who was a friend of Timothy and these readers)
> In these last days he (God) has spoken to us through his Son!
-in Old Testament, God speaks by angels! (God's messengers to man)
/through Moses, incl. 10 commandments /through Joshua /through the priests [urman and thurman]/ speaking through prophets /eg. through Ezekiel he spoke by lying on his one side and then the other side
>...In these last days he (God) has spoken to us through his Son!
-Jesus is the ULTIMATE message, ULTIMATE understanding of God! ...if you've seen me, you have seen the Father! (John 14:7-9)
-all we need to know about God, we can know through Jesus Christ!  Jesus came to bring God's final message and understanding to man.
> The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being! (express image NKJV)
> Holy Spirit says Jesus is God; 
God says Jesus is God; 
Jesus said he was God;
Thomas said Jesus was God. 
Paul said he was God; 
John 1 says he was God; 
Revelation says he was God;
Hebrews says he was God;
Colossians says he was God;
  (and this is just a partial list!)

>BUT!   - The Cults say he wasn't God
 "... ONLY the Son of God"!!!

>while Jesus was here, he healed the sick, he raised the dead, changed difficult situations, taught us about who he was, what his plan for mankind is; Salvation/"I came to testify to the Truth!" (Jesus-Truth Project)
God's Revelation through Jesus Christ, is superior to all other Revelations from God!
>In verses Hebrews 1:5 to13, the author uses Old Testament quotations to give us a lesson.


  • Based on what we learn in verses 2-3, how would you answer the question
  •                  ..."Who is Jesus Christ ?"

    Introducing Hebrews
    A former Olympic distance runner and veteran missionary wrote the following to a friend who was caught in the throes of a horrendous personal crisis:

    In this race . . . I suddenly hit a branch of a tree (and) . . . the blow almost knocked me out. . . . It knocked me out of my race, stopped me cold. . . . Somehow I staggered back on the track and stumbled along. . . . I remember one clear conclusion. I must keep going, even if I come in long behind. I must not quit. So I kept going. I won the race. . . . Whatever the difficulty, the blow, we must keep on. God will lead to the result that will glorify him.               (Gordon MacDonald, Rebuilding Your Broken World[Nashville: Oliver-Nelson, 1988], p. 224.)

    The sentence "Whatever . . . the blow, we must keep on" captures the theme of the letter to the Hebrews, which I have entitled "Race to Glory." The author of Hebrews states it very clearly: "Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us" (12:1).
    Throughout, the author emphasizes this chief concern for the readers—that they finish their faith-race with Jesus Christ gloriously and triumphantly. "Pay more careful attention," the author warns, "so that we do not drift away" (2:1). "Let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it [God's promised rest]" (4:1). "Let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity," the writer appeals (6:1). "We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure" (6:11).
    After convincingly showing how Jesus Christ meets all of our needs, the writer cries out, "Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith. . . . Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful" (10:22-23). "Do not throw away your confidence. . . . You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised" (10:35-36).
    The author devotes an entire chapter (11) to draw the readers to the stories of great heroes who finished the race to glory, people like Moses, Abraham, Noah, Jacob and Joseph. These witnesses are summoned to inspire us onward in our own faith-race.

    Authorship?  We're not sure.  A friend of mine loves to joke that when he gets to heaven he is going to find out who wrote Hebrews. The letter bears no byline, so scholars have had a field day speculating about its possible authors. Included in this list are Paul, Silas, Titus, Mark, Clement, Luke, Aquila, Priscilla and Barnabas. If you took a poll among these scholars, Luke, Barnabas and Apollos would be strongly favored. At any rate, whoever the author was, he or she knew the Hebrews very well.
    The readers were knowledgeable Jews who had converted to faith in Jesus Christ. The entire scaffolding of the letter is Jewish history, theology and practice. These Jews were old enough in the faith to be teachers and to recall older leaders (5:12; 13:7). They had served one another and had suffered (6:10; 10:32-34). Their city can only be guessed at—possibly Jerusalem, Alexandria, Corinth, Ephesus or Rome.

    What is completely clear about the audience is their spiritual peril. They were in danger of reverting to Judaism. The letter is chock full of warnings about it. They were being taunted by Jews as apostates from God and renegades from Moses. They were accused of abandoning their law and forfeiting the Old Testament promises.
    So the writer goes to great lengths to prove that Jesus Christ is far superior to everything they had left behind for his sake. In that context, he warns them against neglect, unbelief, disobedience, immaturity and rejection. He stands in the grandstand, as it were, wildly cheering them on to stay on the track, not to quit, and to reach the finish line in the power of Jesus Christ.
    Today's readers most likely will not have come to faith in Christ out of such a deeply embedded cultural and religious tradition. But every Christian at some time or other is tempted to quit and to ask, "What's the use?" As problems and roadblocks mount, as faith seems unproductive, as doors slam, we find it easy to think about quitting our personal faith-race.
    We also need current reminders about the supremacy of Jesus Christ. There is no stronger enticement to stay in the race than to "fix your eyes on Jesus" (12:2). As the Pioneer of our salvation, he brings us to glory (2:10).
    We run our faith-race in vital communion with God through prayer, by giving God's Word command of our lives, by faithfully worshiping him and loving fellow Christians, and by knowing and serving Jesus Christ better each day as our daily companion, guide and master.


     Chapter 2.
    In Hebrews  ...Jesus, is our High Priest!

    ... We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. (v1)

    WARNING:  Are you drifting away?

     CHAPTER 2  -New International Version
    Warning to Pay Attention       -  1 We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
    Jesus Made Fully Human     -   5 It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6But there is a place where someone has testified:
    “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him?
    7You made them a littlea lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor
    8and put everything under their feet.”b c
    In putting everything under them,d God left nothing that is not subject to them.e Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them.f 9But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
    10In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. 11Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.g 12He says,
    “I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;
    in the assembly I will sing your praises.”h
    13And again,  “I will put my trust in him.”i
    And again he says,
    “Here am I, and the children God has given me.”j
    14Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17For this reason he had to be made like them,k fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

    Hebrews 2: Warning Signs
    "Warning!" A sign that I encounter when boating on the Fox River warns me of a dam ahead. In that placid stream it would be easy to drive over the dam. Cigarette packs, cans of weed killer, fences around nuclear power plants—they all carry impressive warnings, designed to steer us from life-threatening perils.

    Hebrews was written apx. 64 AD.  Christ's ministry, Calvary and His Resurrection & Ascension is now history, having happened decades prior. While today we have lots of media and the printed word to help us record events that affect us, the early church did not have this capability and relied on men of God.  While the gospel has been significantly spread throughout the region, a present danger seems clear to the church fathers!  The early christian church perhaps is showing signs of returning to it's Jewish traditions ...much of which involve lots of legalism.  Hebrews is perhaps better explained as a teaching document,  written to counter, correct, warn and encourage christians back towards what God's Plan was; Jesus is our High Priest and He is Superior to any other!

    In Hebrews 2, the writer erects the first of six prominent warning signs in the letter. The first, in effect, alerts us to the danger of drifting off the course of our faith-race. It tells us to concentrate on staying in the race.

    1.    What might cause you to "drive away" from Christ, or to let "such a great salvation" slip away like a loose ring  
    that falls off your finger?
    2.     In verse 1 we read, "pay more careful attention,"     
    and in verse 3 we are told not to "ignore." What is it  
    that we are to focus our lives on?
     3,   What logic does the writer use in verses 2-3 to further focus our attention on the peril of drifting away?                


     Chapter 3.
    In Hebrews  ...Jesus, is our High Priest!

    ...fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. 2He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. 3Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses. -(v1-3)

    Hebrews 3 - New International Version
    Jesus Greater Than Moses   1Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. 2He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. 3Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. 4For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. 5“Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,”a bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future. 6But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.
    Warning Against Unbelief   -  7So, as the Holy Spirit says:
    “Today, if you hear his voice,
    8do not harden your hearts
    as you did in the rebellion,
    during the time of testing in the wilderness,
    9where your ancestors tested and tried me,
    though for forty years they saw what I did.
    10That is why I was angry with that generation;
    I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray,
    and they have not known my ways.’
    11So I declared on oath in my anger,
    ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”b
    12See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. 15As has just been said:
    “Today, if you hear his voice,
    do not harden your hearts
    as you did in the rebellion.”c
    16Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? 18And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.

    a 5 Num. 12:7
    b 11 Psalm 95:7-11
    c 15 Psalm 95:7,8
    1.       What makes the difference between vibrant, growing Christians you know and those who appear to be dull and uninterested in the implications of their profession of faith?

    2.       What does the writer emphasize about Jesus in verses 1-6 that would encourage us to "fix [our] thoughts" on him (v. 1) and "hold on" to our courage and hope (v. 6)?
    3.        In verses 7-11 the writer hoists his second warning— unbelief and disobedience. These verses describe the nation of Israel after they crossed the Red Sea. They refused to obey God's command to take the Promised Land because they were afraid of the military might they would face. So they were forced to wander forty years till that whole generation died off. How does the psalmist describe God's perspective on the Israelites?
    4.       In what ways might Christians "test and try" God (v. 9)? Why?
    5.       How did God judge the Israelites whom Moses led out of Egypt (vv. 15-19)?
    6.       Why did he judge them in this way?

    Throughout Chapter 3, the writer makes reference to the Old Testament recorded "rebellion of Korah". Today our new testament churches usually operate according to a "constitutional-based-democracy" whereby leaders are democratically chosen.  In the Old Testament however, we find that church life was quite different!  God Himself chose the man Moses (and his brother Aaron) to lead the people of God on their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land.  Korah however, attempted to install himself as Israel's leader.  Below for clarity to the Hebrews 3 passage that is refered to,  I have copied the scripture passage that contains what the Hebrews writer is referring to in verse 8, 15 & 16.  Let's begin by a question.

    Question: "What was the significance of the ...rebellion of Korah?"

    Answer:The story of the rebellion of Korah is recorded in Numbers 16. The rebellion of Korah demonstrates the grim consequences of usurping the authority of God and of those whom He has chosen to be leaders of His people.

    Korah was the oldest son of Izhar, who was the son of Kothath of the tribe of Levi. Korah, then, was of the same tribe as Moses and Aaron. He led a rebellion against Moses and Aaron, accusing them of exalting themselves above the congregation of the Lord (
    Numbers 16:1-3). Korah was not alone in his charge. He gathered 250 other men to challenge Moses’ authority as well: “You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the Lord's assembly?” (Numbers 16:3).

    Obviously, Korah thought that he could do a better job leading the people than Moses was doing. But by leading this revolt against God’s divinely appointed leaders, Korah was actually revolting against God (
    Numbers 16:11). Moses proposed a test to prove the source of his authority. Korah and his followers did not pass the test, and God opened up the earth and swallowed the rebels, their families, and all their possessions. Furthermore, “fire came out from the LORD” and consumed the other 250 men who were party to Korah’s rebellion. The rest of the Israelites were terrified and fled (Numbers 16:31-35).

    The following day, instead of being convinced that God had vindicated Moses and Aaron, the congregation began complaining that they had “killed the LORD’s people.” For this act of rebellion, God threatened to destroy the whole congregation and sent a plague among them. However, Moses and Aaron interceded for the rebels and averted a complete catastrophe. In the end, 14,700 Israelites had died (
    Numbers 16:41-50).

    Some 1,500 years later, Jude records a strong warning about such men who come into the church as false teachers, arrogating to themselves the authority of God and His Word: “Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s errorand perished in Korah’s rebellion” (
    Jude 1:11, emphasis added). The characteristics of false teachers within the church include pride, selfishness, jealousy, greed, lust for power, and disregard for the will of God. Just like Korah, today’s false teachers disregard God’s plan and are insubordinate to God’s appointed authorities. Their end will be the same as Korah’s. Thus the warning: “Woe to them!”

    To lead His people Israel, God had selected men of His own choosing. God had no interest in holding a popularity contest, collecting résumés, or letting someone appoint himself to the position of prophet, priest, or leader. Korah’s problem was not that he was unqualified, humanly speaking, for the position, but that he was arrogant, stiff-necked, and self-promoting. Korah, attempting to install himself as the leader, ironically claims that Moses “set [himself] above the LORD’s assembly.” It’s a classic case of the guilty person accusing someone else of his own misdeed. But God did not call Korah; He called Moses (
    Exodus 3-4). God calls whom He chooses and equips them for service.

    God’s true leaders, the elders and pastors of the church who shepherd the flock with humility and care, have an accurate understanding of the Scriptures (see
    Malachi 3:18;Romans 12:2;Ephesians 5:10-11). Such men submit themselves in humble adoration of Christ and His lordship (seeMatthew 16:16;Colossians 2:9;1 Timothy 3:16). They recognize the truth of Jesus’ proclamation, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Most importantly, the true leaders of the church are called by God to their office. False teachers, on the other hand, are “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (Matthew 7:15; cf.Acts 20:29) who choose the fate of Korah over the life of Christ.

     Chapter 4.
    In Hebrews  ...Jesus, is our High Priest!

     How do I enter Christ's Rest?

    > "Today if you will hear His voice,
    Do not harden your hearts" (v7)
    >God's rest is entered through faith in his Son! (v9)
    > "Let us LABOUR (be diligent) to enter that rest" (v11)

    Hebrews Chapter 4
    A Sabbath-Rest for the People of God - NIV
    ·          See Genesis 2:1-3 and Exodus 16: 22-36
    1Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.a 3Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,
    “So I declared on oath in my anger,
    ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”b
    And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. 4For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works.”c 5And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.”
    6Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience, 7God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted:
    “Today, if you hear his voice,
    do not harden your hearts.”d
    8For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works,e just as God did from his. 11Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.
    12For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
    Jesus the Great High Priest
    14Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,f Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

    (v12) - ...the word of GOD
    ·         Jesus is the Word of God! (John 1: 1, 14)
    ·         We also have the written word of God
    ·         The Word Judges us
    ·         the Word Penetrates us totally;  (soul, spirit, joints & marrow)
    ·         The Word accomplishes God's purposes in us!
    (v14) Jesus is our High Priest!
    ·         The word “priest” carries a couple of primary meanings. First, it means one who mediates in religious services. It also means one who is holy or set apart to perform those services.

    ·         One other important point about Jesus' priesthood—every priest is appointed from among men. Jesus, though God from eternity, became a man in order to suffer death and serve as our High Priest (Hebrews 2:9). As a man, He was subject to all the weaknesses and temptations that we are, so that He could personally relate to us in our struggles (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus is greater than any other priest, so He is called our “Great High Priest” in Hebrews 4:14, and that gives us the boldness to come “unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16 KJV).

    ·        ·        Jesus is our mediator!  A mediator is one who mediates, who acts as an intermediary or go-between, to work with opposing sides in order to bring about a settlement. A mediator attempts to influence a disagreement between two parties with the goal of resolving a dispute. There is only one Mediator between mankind and God and that is Jesus Christ. God has a dispute with us! Sin is described in the Bible as transgression of the law of God (1 John 3:4) and rebellion against God (Deuteronomy 9:7;Joshua 1:18). God hates sin, and sin stands between all of us and Him.  ... but Jesus is our mediator, and we are doomed if we try to “go it alone.”

    God's Rest - A struggle against UNBELIEF
    Initially, this was a difficult passage for me to understand.  I read it multiple times but wasn't getting it.    Only when I began to appreciate the setting that these early Christians experienced did I understand it.  I want to draw on that (the setting) in this lesson ... putting myself in their shoes.
    ·         Remember, Hebrews was written to Jewish Christians, not unbelievers.
    ·         Hebrews focuses on how Christ supersedes and fulfills the Aaronic priesthood. (Following Jesus is better than the Jewish rules & regulations)
    ·         Try to picture yourself as a Jewish believer at the time Hebrews was written:
    ·         The temple was still standing during this time...
    ·         Your "official"  Jewish leadership has just rejected your Messiah a few decades ago;  In fact they crucified Him who did no wrong; and this same Jewish leadership is killing christians in your church!
    ·         Stephen has just been martyred (Acts 7)
    ·         James the apostle has just been executed as were others (Acts 8, 12 & 26)
    ·         Your traditional Jewish religious culture is still going through all of its routines; much like it still does today but including  ....sacrifices / severe legalism which was pedantically towards keeping it's many rules.
    ·         Similarly, Jews today have made up many rules & regulations about "Sabbath" day rest.  1). you are not to carry a burden on the Sabbath day (interpreted that you can't wear false teeth), 2). ...You are not to use money on the Sabbath (Visa credit cards are OK because you are not actually paying today!)  3).You can't "kindle a fire"  (you can't drive a car because when you turn the ignition on, you are "kindling a fire" or when you turn a light switch on , you are "kindling a fire").
    ·         These are some of the rules that Jews today have made up and so you get the idea it must have been very hard for a christian during this time period when Hebrews was written.....and many other silly rules! 
    ·         To "go against the grain" meant criticism and ridicule!
    ·         On the other hand.... the bible teacher whose home group you attend says that Jesus is superior to Angels, Moses, Joshua, the "priest-system" and Mosaic Law!  Is he correct?  ...or should I just throw it all away and blend into my natural culture?  Learning about Christ takes dillegence, takes my attention, takes up my time!
    ·         But you are at odds with all those legalistic, Jewish rules ! know that following a certain code or set of rules is not THE WAY - Deep down, you know that JESUS IS THE WAY!
    ·         You at times are conflicted; emotions are high at times ...for centuries divinely appointed priests are officiating in the divinely appointed Temple ceremonies and have been for centuries.
    ·         You know it was this religious Jewish world that crucified Jesus !!!  ...your emotions run high!
    ·         However as a Christian, there is nothing more we can do other than trust in the finished work of Christ.
    ·         We are resting in His finished work; HE DID THE WORK!
    ·         My Hope is built on nothing less; 
                  Than Jesus blood and righteousness,
                  I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
                  But wholly lean on Jesus Name!
    ·         (v 9 & 10) We do "works" only because of our love of God; we want to do something for God in return for what He has done in our lives. We want to respond to Him!"
    ·         (v11)  "Let us LABOUR to enter that rest" (KJV)  (at first this sounds like a contradiction of terms!)

    >Meaning:  Be diligent to guard against unbelief / the Hebrews writer is telling us to "work" at not falling into unbelief.  Works are a result of our love of Christ, not something we have to do to advance in our Salvation. We are to rest in Christ's finished work.
    ·         . Verse 11: "Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience." In other words, Israel fell from the promised joy of God because of the disobedience of unbelief. And the same thing can happen to any professing Christian. To keep it from happening—and to show that we are more than mere professing Christians—he says, "Be diligent to enter God's rest"—God's heaven. Be diligent! Pay close attention to what you've heard (2:1); don't neglect your great salvation (2:3); consider Jesus (3:1); do not harden your hearts (3:8); take care against an unbelieving heart (3:12); exhort one another every day against the deceitfulness of sin (3:14); and FEAR the unbelief that will keep you from your promised rest (4:1).
    ·         Do you see the great lesson here? The Christian life is a life of day by day, hour by hour trust in the promises of God to help us and guide us and take care of us and forgive us and bring us into a future of holiness and joy that will satisfy our hearts infinitely more than if we forsake him and put our trust in ourselves or in the promises of this world. And that day by day, hour by hour trust in God's promises is not automatic. It is the result of daily diligence and it's the result of proper fear.

     Chapter 5.
    > Overcoming Weakness
    > Maturity
    14Therefore, since we have a great high priest...,f Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.  16Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Chapter 4: 14-16)
    In Hebrews  ...Jesus, is our High Priest!

    Hebrews Chapter 4
    Jesus the Great High Priest
    14Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,f Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
    Chapter 5 1Every high priest is selected from among the people and is appointed to represent the people in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. 3This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people. 4And no one takes this honor on himself, but he receives it when called by God, just as Aaron was.  5In the same way, Christ did not take on himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father.”a  (Psalm 2:7
    6And he says in another place, “You are a priest forever,
    in the order of Melchizedek.”b (Psalm 110:4)
    7During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.

    The Jewish Temple

    Warning Against Falling Away  (Maturity)
    11We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

    Hebrews 4:14-5:10: Overcoming Weakness
    ·         The Pulitzer Prize-winning book City of Joy tells about the intense suffering of a Polish priest in a Calcutta slum. His superiors offered him a comfortable lodging, but he chose to live just like the slum-dwellers. By his suffering he learned what it was like to be a slum-dweller. He could not have learned that any other way. Likewise, the Hebrews needed to be reminded of their God-appointed, suffering high priest, Jesus Christ, so they would hold firmly to him.
    ·         What is a "High Priest"? High Priest is only one of the many titles applied to Jesus: Messiah, Savior, Son of God, Son of Man, Friend of Sinners, etc. Each one focuses on a particular aspect of who He is and what that means for us. In the book of Hebrews, Jesus is called a High Priest (Hebrews 2:17;4:14). The word “priest” carries a couple of primary meanings. First, it means one who mediates in religious services. It also means one who is holy or set apart to perform those services.

    The first place we find the word used in the Bible is in
    Genesis 14. Abraham, the friend of God, entered into battle to rescue his nephew Lot, who had been captured by the army of Elam. On his return, Abraham was met by Melchizedek, King of Salem and priest of the Most High God. This man, whose name means the “king of righteousness,” blessed Abraham and the Most High God who gave victory to Abraham. In return for this blessing, Abraham gave a tithe (10 percent) of all the spoils of war to Melchizedek. By this act, Abraham acknowledged Melchizedek’s high position as the priest of God.

    Years later, Abraham's great-grandson Levi was singled out by God to be the father of the priestly tribe. When the Law was given on Mount Sinai, the Levites were identified as the servants of the Tabernacle, with the family of Aaron becoming the priests. The priests were responsible for making intercession to God for the people by offering the many sacrifices that the law required. Among the priests, one was selected as the High Priest, and he entered into the Most Holy Place once a year on the Day of Atonement to place the blood of the sacrifice on the Ark of the Covenant (
    Hebrews 9:7). By these daily and yearly sacrifices, the sins of the people were temporarily covered until the Messiah came to take away their sins.

    When Jesus is called our High Priest, it is with reference to both of these previous priesthoods. Like Melchizedek, He is ordained as a priest apart from the Law given on Mount Sinai (
    Hebrews 5:6). Like the Levitical priests, Jesus offered a sacrifice to satisfy the Law of God when He offered Himself for our sins (Hebrews 7:26-27). Unlike the Levitical priests, who had to continually offer sacrifices, Jesus only had to offer His sacrifice once, gaining eternal redemption for all who come to God through Him (Hebrews 9:12).

    ·          In the old times the chief priest had to be from the family of Aaron. He was just a man like us, but he had a special place in the Hebrew’s religion. He was to be God’s agent on behalf of men and women. Once a year he went into the most holy part of the *temple to meet with God on behalf of the people. He wore special clothes and followed the special rules that God gave to Aaron in the desert. He had to offer special gifts and sacrifices to God. Then God would pardon the people for what they had done wrong in the past year.
    ·         The most important duty of the high priest was to conduct the service on the Day of Atonement, the tenth day of the seventh month of every year. Only he was allowed to enter the Most Holy Place behind the veil to stand before God. Having made a sacrifice for himself and for the people, he then brought the blood into the Holy of Holies and sprinkled it on the mercy seat, God’s “throne” (Leviticus 16:14-15). He did this to make atonement for himself and the people for all their sins committed during the year just ended (Exodus 30:10). It is this particular service that is compared to the ministry of Jesus as our High Priest (Hebrews 9:1-28).
    ·         Who should be the "high priest of the home" & why?
    ·         Question: "What is the difference between mercy and grace?"
    Mercy and grace are often confused. While the terms have similar meanings, grace and mercy are not the same. To summarize the difference: mercy is God not punishing us as our sins deserve, and grace is God blessing us despite the fact that we do not deserve it. Mercy is deliverance from judgment. Grace is extending kindness to the unworthy.

    ·         According to the Bible, we have all sinned (Ecclesiastes 7:20;Romans 3:23;1 John 1:8). As a result of that sin, we all deserve death (Romans 6:23) and eternal judgment in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:12-15). With that in mind, every day we live is an act of God's mercy. If God gave us all what we deserve, we would all be, right now, condemned for eternity. In Psalm 51:1-2, David cries out, "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin." A plea to God for mercy is asking Him to withhold the judgment we deserve and instead grant to us the forgiveness we in no way have earned.

    ·         In understanding the role of the high priest, we can better comprehend the significance of Christ offering Himself for our sins once for all (Hebrews 9:26;10:10,12). Through Christ’s sacrifice for us, we are sanctified and set apart for Him. By entering God’s presence on our behalf, Christ has secured for us an “eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:12). As Paul has written, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).

    ·         What commands are given in 4:14 and 16?

    ·         What is there about the character of Jesus that encourages us to obey these commands?

    ·         Jesus, as our merciful and faithful high priest, made atonement for our sins. The writer reminds the Hebrews of their earthly high priest in Judaism. What was the high priest like (5:1-4)?

    ·         How would you compare Jesus' high appointment with the life he lived (5:7-8)?

    ·         What was the result of Christ's suffering (5:8-10)?

    _____________MATURITY (V11 to14)

    Verse 12-13 The readers had been Christians for some time and should by now have been able to teach others. They were not yet able to teach, because they had not grown strong as Christians. As we grow strong through the word of God, we should be able to teach other people. If we do not grow and learn, we shall need to learn the first lessons again. If we do not go ahead in our *belief, we shall go back. We cannot stand still.

     The readers trusted in Christ, but they had still not grasped the elementary *teachings of the word of God. They were like babies, who cannot eat meat yet, but need milk. The writer could not give them any more teaching, because they were not ready for it. They had not advanced, but were still like babies in their *belief. They could take in only the most simple teaching. All who are like this are beginners in the word of God and his ways.

    Verse 14 The mature Christian is like a person who can eat solid food. This means that he can understand the things of the *spirit. He studies the word of God and prays. He learns how to see in each situation what is good and what is bad and what God wants him to do. As he does this, he grows strong in his *belief. This is not just the use of the mind. It is the use of both the mind and the *spirit. Then he does what is right and not what is evil. In this way he learns to grow in the Christian life.

    In Hebrews 
               ...Jesus, is our High Priest!

    Chapter 6

    >Do YOU have "arrested spiritual development"? 
    Chapter 5: 11-6:20
    Warning Against Falling Away  (Maturity)
    11We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
    Chapter 6
    1Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death,a and of faith in God, 2instruction about cleansing rites,b the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3And God permitting, we will do so.
    4It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6and who have fallenc away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. 7Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.
    9Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case—the things that have to do with salvation. 10God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 11We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. 12We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
    The Certainty of God’s Promise
    13When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself,14saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.”d 15And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.
    16People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument.17Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. 18God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. 19We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.
    MATURITY (V11 to14)
    Verse 12-13 The readers had been Christians for some time and should by now have been able to teach others. They were not yet able to teach, because they had not grown strong as Christians. As we grow strong through the word of God, we should be able to teach other people. If we do not grow and learn, we shall need to learn the first lessons again. If we do not go ahead in our *belief, we shall go back. We cannot stand still.
     The readers trusted in Christ, but they had still not grasped the elementary *teachings of the word of God. They were like babies, who cannot eat meat yet, but need milk. The writer could not give them any more teaching, because they were not ready for it. They had not advanced, but were still like babies in their *belief. They could take in only the most simple teaching. All who are like this are beginners in the word of God and his ways.
    A mature believer studies the word of God and prays. He learns how to see in each situation what is good and what is bad and what God wants him to do. As he does this, he grows strong in his *belief. This is not just the use of the mind. It is the use of both the mind and the *spirit. Then he does what is right and not what is evil. In this way he learns to grow in the Christian life.
    Ch. 6: Verses 1-2 The readers had learned some basic truths about the Christian life, but had not progressed further. These basic truths include:
    ·turning from wrong actions that lead to death, and to *belief in God that leads to life
    ·Jewish rules about washing ceremonies
    ·the special use of hands to bless and to heal
    ·God raising the dead
    ·the final judgement to come.
    Jesus died to take all our *sins upon himself. The first step to take to become a Christian is to admit to God that we have *sinned. We must be really sorry for this and turn from it. As we turn from our *sin, we must put our trust in God. It is by giving our *sins and ourselves to God that he gives us new life in Jesus.

    Hebrews 5:11-6:20:

    The Race to Maturity

    Andrea and I hadn't meant to be too-long-gone-away from the mini-van.  We thought we'd leave all four kids alone for just a brief time while we dashed away to look at a potential home.  The sight was horrific when we returned a few minutes later.  RJ had taken Josh's bottle and began to squirt milk all over the minivan....ceiling, walls, windows and his siblings too.  He didn't miss...he got it all!  Just another day in a parent's life....but what a mess!

    As I watch my kids grow up in front of my eyes, what an absolute thrill it is to watch the growth process.  At one point they weren't able to eat anything but strained vegetables, and of course ...suck the milk bottle. I'll save you all the messy details in between (I'm still trying to forget), but somehow believe it or not, they later they progressed to tiny pieces of meat.  

    Around perhaps age 8, they began to ask questions of what they were eating, ... was it chicken, pork or beef.  Questions like, "...what is pork?", "...Is fish meat?" ... were often entertained around the supper table.  Learning dictated that their food be considered and categorized as they sorted out their taste buds.

    I remember grilling BBQ chicken with chipotle sauce and my youngest son Jeffrey loudly declaring, "Dad this is the best meat I've ever eaten - it's my absolute favourite!"  Then the same with burgers.  ...and then a few years later announced he'd again changed his favourite. "Dad, I think I like steak-meat the best of all!"

    This is normal progressive development, from "only-strained-vegetables" to "steak".  Wouldn't it be incredibly odd, if my teenagers hit a plateau somewhere along the way and couldn't get past strained vegetables ??

    ·         One of the most common things that afflict the church is ....arrested spiritual development.  Watch out for that in YOUR life!  After coming to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, a person plateaus.  When you talk to someone who has reached a plateau....they talk about the same spiritual things they talked about 25 years ago.  This is "arrested spiritual development" ....that person is no farther along in maturity than they were 25 years ago ???  They are still drinking their bottles of milk, looking for entertainment in their church.  They can't take the strong meat!  

    V1 - "Let's grow up; let's go on to maturity"
    ·         "build on the foundation of faith"
    ·         Peter Snell, former Olympic gold medalist, said that the only way to win a race is to "get in front and go flat out." Prior to that, he said, it takes a whole lot of hard training and self-discipline.
    ·         The Hebrews were in desperate danger of quitting the race, so the writer urged them to go forward. This is a chapter with four strong appeals: "Let us go on to maturity" (v. 1). "Show diligence" (v. 11). "Do not become lazy" (v. 12). "Take hold of the hope" (v. 18).
    V4 - Not sure exactly what it means; (perhaps a hardened heart)
    ·         Jesus said "He who comes to me, I will in no wise cast out" -John 6:37
    ·         but it reminds of the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13:
    ·          3Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.9Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
    ·         How would you describe the failures of the Hebrews (5:11-14)?
    • In view of their resources and opportunities for growth, how do you account for their problems?
    • According to 6:6, why is it absolutely essential to develop Christian maturity?
    • What hope does the writer see for better things to come (vv. 9-10)? Why?
    • What essential part of God's nature encourages the Hebrews to be positive and hopeful about their future (vv. 13-18)?
    Verse 14 The mature Christian is like a person who can eat solid food. This means that he can understand the things of the *spirit.
    No second chance 6:4-8
    v4 They who turn against God cannot come back to him. These people once knew the truth. They have glimpsed heaven. They have had an experience of the Holy Spirit. v5 They have known the goodness of God’s word. They have known something of the powers of the world to come. v6 Now they refuse all this. It is as if such people fix the Son of God to the cross once again. They bring shame on him in public. v7 The ground that drinks the rain that often falls upon it, makes plants grow for the people who farm. God blesses that ground. v8 But if the land grows nothing but weeds, it is not worth anything. In the end men will burn it.

    Verses 4-6 Here is a warning to us that we Christians must not turn away from the truth about Jesus that we have come to know.
    There are some people who once said that they were Christians, but now have turned against Christ. They saw the true light of the good news of Jesus. They tasted the goodness of God. They knew something of the work of the Holy Spirit. They heard and knew the truth of the word of God. They had some impression of the coming age when we shall see the power of God. They once knew all this. But now they deny it. Now they cannot expect God to forgive them again. By turning away from Jesus, they have cut themselves off from life with God. Their action puts Jesus to public shame. It is as if they are killing him again. They will not find any way back to God.
    Many people understand this part of the Bible to show that a *believer can turn from Christ. He can lose his life in Jesus. If this were to happen, he would be in a worse state than before. He would not be able to *repent and come to Christ again.
    To understand the Bible, we need to look at all that it teaches. A true *believer is a changed person. He has a new life in Jesus. That new life will be forever with Jesus. That life can never die or be destroyed. The true Christian is, therefore, safe in Jesus. He is not able to fall from *belief. It is not possible for him to go back to what he was before. So these verses are not talking about a true *believer.
    It may be that many *Jews had come to see the truth in Jesus. But when they saw the trouble that came to Christians because of their *faith, they turned back to their old ways.
    The message for us is that we must always trust in Jesus. We must go on to know God better. We must not turn back but continue to follow him.
    Verses 7-8 The writer gives an example to show the fate of the person who turns back from Christ. The ground often has the good rain fall upon it. If it grows good crops for the farmer, God blesses it. If it only grows weeds, it is *useless. People will burn the weeds. We who trust in Jesus must show our *faith by the way that we live. As God blesses us, we should become what he wants us to be. If we do not receive the blessing of God, we shall not be what he wants us to be. If we grow as God wants, he will bless us. If we are not what he desires, God will judge us.
       In Hebrews 
                            ...Jesus, is our High Priest!
    Chapter 7

    > Is Jesus in the Old Testament?
    > What is a "Theophany" or a "Christophany"?

    New Living Translation
    Melchizedek Is Greater Than Abraham
    1This Melchizedek was king of the city of Salem and also a priest of God Most High. When Abraham was returning home after winning a great battle against the kings, Melchizedek met him and blessed him. 2Then Abraham took a tenth of all he had captured in battle and gave it to Melchizedek. The name Melchizedek means “king of justice,” and king of Salem means “king of peace.” 3There is no record of his father or mother or any of his ancestors—no beginning or end to his life. He remains a priest forever, resembling the Son of God.
    4Consider then how great this Melchizedek was. Even Abraham, the great patriarch of Israel, recognized this by giving him a tenth of what he had taken in battle. 5Now the law of Moses required that the priests, who are descendants of Levi, must collect a tithe from the rest of the people of Israel,a who are also descendants of Abraham. 6But Melchizedek, who was not a descendant of Levi, collected a tenth from Abraham. And Melchizedek placed a blessing upon Abraham, the one who had already received the promises of God. 7And without question, the person who has the power to give a blessing is greater than the one who is blessed.
    8The priests who collect tithes are men who die, so Melchizedek is greater than they are, because we are told that he lives on. 9In addition, we might even say that these Levites—the ones who collect the tithe—paid a tithe to Melchizedek when their ancestor Abraham paid a tithe to him. 10For although Levi wasn’t born yet, the seed from which he came was in Abraham’s body when Melchizedek collected the tithe from him.
    11So if the priesthood of Levi, on which the law was based, could have achieved the perfection God intended, why did God need to establish a different priesthood, with a priest in the order of Melchizedek instead of the order of Levi and Aaron?b
    12And if the priesthood is changed, the law must also be changed to permit it. 13For the priest we are talking about belongs to a different tribe, whose members have never served at the altar as priests. 14What I mean is, our Lord came from the tribe of Judah, and Moses never mentioned priests coming from that tribe.
    Jesus Is like Melchizedek
    15This change has been made very clear since a different priest, who is like Melchizedek, has appeared. 16Jesus became a priest, not by meeting the physical requirement of belonging to the tribe of Levi, but by the power of a life that cannot be destroyed. 17And the psalmist pointed this out when he prophesied,
    “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”c
    18Yes, the old requirement about the priesthood was set aside because it was weak and useless. 19For the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God.
    20This new system was established with a solemn oath. Aaron’s descendants became priests without such an oath, 21but there was an oath regarding Jesus. For God said to him,
    “The LORD has taken an oath and will not break his vow:
    ‘You are a priest forever.’”d
    22Because of this oath, Jesus is the one who guarantees this better covenant with God.
    23There were many priests under the old system, for death prevented them from remaining in office. 24But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. 25Therefore he is able, once and forever, to savee those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.
    26He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven.f 27Unlike those other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins. 28The law appointed high priests who were limited by human weakness. But after the law was given, God appointed his Son with an oath, and his Son has been made the perfect High Priest forever.


    This past week I was assigned a Montreal area "working" weekend.  So Andrea flew down to join me and together we enjoyed a great weekend driving through rural Quebec in the Laurentian Hills region.  As we rounded a curve, much to our delight we suddenly found ourselves in front of an old long red covered bridge constructed in 1918.  As I immediately hit the brakes, we both together exclaimed, "WHAT?"  We soon had the car parked and began to investigate the old 145 foot long bridge.

    We hadn't expected an encounter with anything this grand, and it definitely was surprising to see something so exquisite in such a rural setting.  That is exactly the sort of reaction one gets, soon after opening Hebrews Chapter 7. 
    "WHAT?" you exclaim as you hit the brakes.  "Who was Melchizedek?"
    Given that our Hebrews study centers on Christ's function as our High Priest, perhaps we should look at this passage closely and at least attempt to unravel this mystery.  In the Old Testament, religion and priests go hand in hand. Moses had carefully laid out all the rules for the Levites, the priestly clan of Israel. But the Hebrew Christians had departed from their old religion that was centered on priestly functions. Yet some of them hankered to return to their old ways. "Don't turn back," the Hebrews writer appeals. "You have something far better in Christ." In chapters 7—10 the author tells of Christ's superior priestly origin, his better covenant and his sufficient-for-all-time sacrifice of himself.  So to start with ...the "order of Melchizedek" came before the "order of Levi" or the levitical priesthood, and it was a higher "order".  
    ·         The dictionary defines "order" as: "the arrangement or disposition of people or things in relation to each other according to a particular sequence, pattern, or method."
    ·         Melchizedek came "way-before" the priest-hood established at Mt. Sinai by Moses and Aaron (on which the Old Testament law was based).
    ·         Christ came from the tribe of Judah; Levi was the tribe that served as the Old Testament priests. i.e. Christ was a distinctly different "order".
    There are a number of times in the OLD Testament that bible scholars point out the pre-incarnate (before he came in the flesh) appearance of Jesus, often considered by another less-obvious names, like "the Angel of the Lord" or seemingly in this Hebrews passage as "Melchizedek"?  

    OK so let's go slightly off our Hebrews track to get our learning-juices flowing; sort of like "thinking outside the box".  

    The Bible contains phrases like “the Angel of the Lord and “an angel of the Lord” which appear in the Old Testament and New Testament respectively.
    (Note: One should not automatically assume that these necessarily refer to the same individual).
     Let’s take a look at some of these passages, referred to as a "theophany" (appearance by God) or "Christophany" (appearance by Christ):
    ·         The “Angel” is referred to with masculine pronouns (Genesis 16:13; Judges 6:21).
    ·         He is identified as God (Judges 6:11, (14); Zechariah 12:8).3
    ·         He performed miracles (Judges 6:21; 13:20).
    ·         Gideon and Manoah thought they would die because they saw the “Angel” face to face (Judges 6:22; 13:22).
    ·         The “Angel” accurately foretold future events (Judges 13:3).
    ·         His name is “wonderful” (Judges 13:18; cf., Isaiah 9:6).
    ·         He destroyed 185,000 soldiers of the Assyrian army in one night (2 Kings 19:35).4
    ·         The 4th man in the fire  ~Some believe another theophany occurred in the fiery furnace when Nebuchadnezzar claimed to see four men walking in the midst of the fire. According to the NKJV, Nebuchadnezzar said that “the form of the fourth is like the Son of God” (Daniel 3:25). This may seem like an obvious reference to Jesus, and it may have been Him, or it may have been an angel.
    ·         Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. . . . And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.”And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there. So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” (Genesis 32:24–25, 28–30)
    ·         The Old Testament also mentions “the Angel of the Lord” on several other occasions. For example, this “Angel” appeared to Manoah’s wife to tell her that she would give birth to Samson.
    "And the Angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Indeed now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. Now therefore, please be careful not to drink wine or similar drink, and not to eat anything unclean. For behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. And no razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.”
    So the woman came and told her husband, saying, “A Man of God came to me, and His countenance was like the countenance of the Angel of God, very awesome; but I did not ask Him where He was from, and He did not tell me His name". (Judges 13:3–6)
    ·         While angels have occasionally performed some of these actions, such as miracles and prophecy, there are clear examples when “the Angel of the Lord” cannot be viewed as a normal angel. He is occasionally identified as God, accepted worship, and at least two people who saw Him thought they would die for seeing Him face to face. These same attributes and activities are clearly attributed to God elsewhere in Scripture.
    ·         There are a few other statements to consider. In Zechariah 3:1–2, “the Angel of the Lord” is distinguished from Yahweh because He talks to Yahweh.
    ·          John 1:18 states, “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” So man has only seen the Son of God, not the Father or the Holy Spirit.
    ·         Also, the “Commander of the army of the Lord” (Joshua 5:14) is likely the same individual as “the Angel of the Lord.” Joshua saw this “Commander” holding a sword, and He accepted Joshua’s worship, something the holy angels refuse to do (Revelation 19:10, 22:8–9).
    ·         Finally, “the Angel of the Lord” does not make any appearances after the birth of Christ in the New Testament, although ...
    ·         the risen Jesus did appear to Saul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1–6; 22:6–10; 26:14–19; 1 Corinthians 9:1; 15:8).


    OK NOW Back to Melchizedek:
    Few mysteries of the Bible have been as intriguing as the mystery of the identity of Melchizedek. Who is he? Some have speculated that Melchizedek is Jesus (or Yeshua in Hebrew).  There is little said about him in the Bible, but we are given several clues.
    The first time he is mentioned is in Genesis 14. Abraham had just returned from his defeat of king Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him; and having rescued his nephew Lot and his possessions, he met with the king of Shalem in the King's Valley (the valley of Shaveh). Here is the account:
    And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said, "Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand." And he gave him a tenth of all. (Genesis 14:18-20)

    Who was this Melchizedek, whom Abraham honored and acknowledged; to whom Abraham gave a tithe of all he had gained in battle?

    Then he is mentioned again in Psalm 110, which is clearly speaking of the Messiah (Yeshua?) that will come to reign on the earth; and that this Messiah will judge the nations on the day of the Lord.
    The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind, "Thou art a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek." (Psalm 110:4)
    ·         Why is the priesthood of Melchizedek special and why does it last forever?
    In the New Testament, the entire 7th chapter of the book of Hebrews is devoted to the priesthood of Jesus, and to the Melchizedek connection. There are some very interesting details in Hebrews 7, which clue us into who Melchizedek was, and together with this matrix, I believe this mystery has been solved. Melchizedek is Jesus! He is the second in the trinity, the righteousness of Yahweh, which is Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew). Here are some of the basics:
    If you look at his name or title, Melchizedek is translated as King of Righteousness.
    ·         Who could be king of righteousness, but Jesus our Messiah?
    ·         Melchizedek was the king of Salem, which is king of peace. Jesus is known as the prince of peace. Who could be king of peace over Jesus? No one!
    ·         Melchizedek was without father or mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life. Who could this be said of, other than God himself? No one! 
    ·         Melchizedek has an indestructible life and abides a priest perpetually. No human could fit this bill. And could there be two who abide as a priest to God forever (a man and also Jesus)?
    ·         It was also said that Melchizedek was made in the image or likeness of the Son of God. This could be taken as the image of the son of God (the second in the trinity) or as the image of the begotten son of God, when the Lord took on a fleshly body. But they are one and the same.
    ·         Q's: What was there about Melchizedek that made him so great (vv.1-3)?
    ·         Jesus inaugurated a new era and set aside the old because he was not of the priestly tribe (vv. 11-14). On what does his priestly authority rest (vv. 15-17)? What is there about Christ's character and sacrifice that sets him far above other earthly priests (vv. 26-28)?
    I cannot conclusively say that Christ and Melchizedek are one and the same, however the possibility is there.  We have discovered a bit more about Christ and so at least it is a fascinating study. In Hebrews, Jesus is my High Priest!

    In Hebrews 
            ...Jesus, is our High Priest!
    Chapter 8 :  The "new deal"

    I will put my laws in their minds
    and write them on their hearts.
    I will be their God, and they will be my people.

    New International Version
    Chapter 9: The High Priest of a New Covenant
    1Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.
    3Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. 4If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. 5They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”a6But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.
    7For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. 8But God found fault with the people and saidb :
    “The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. 9 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.
    10This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel
    after that time, declares the Lord.
    I will put my laws in their minds
    and write them on their hearts.
    I will be their God,
    and they will be my people.
    11No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. 12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”c 13By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.


    •        The Abrahamic Covenant: (Genesis 12: 1-3) 1The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.2“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
    • The "Replacement Theology" people say that "the church" has "replaced" ISRAEL.  There is one word for that teaching: WRONG! ~ Do your own research.  God is a Covenant-Keeper...God never changes a covenant! Oh and by the way...Israel is not occupying the land, they OWN it...and they don't need anyone's permission to defend themselves.

    • The Mosaic Covenant: (Exodus 19) The Mosaic Covenant is a conditional covenant made between God and the nation of Israel at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19-24).  It includes the Ten Commandments(Ex. 20).  It is sometimes called the Sinai Covenant but is more often referred to as the Mosaic Covenant since Moses was God’s chosen leader of Israel at that time. The pattern of the covenant is very similar to other ancient covenants of that time because it is between a sovereign king (God) and his people or subjects (Israel). At the time of the covenant, God reminded the people of their obligation to be obedient to His law (Exodus 19:5), and the people agreed to the covenant when they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do!” (Exodus 19:8). This covenant would serve to set the nation of Israel apart from all other nations as God’s chosen people and was as equally binding as the unconditional covenant that God made with Abraham because it is also a blood covenant. The Mosaic Covenant is a significant covenant in both God’s redemptive history and in the history of the nation of Israel through whom God would sovereignly choose to bless the world with both His written Word and the Living Word, Jesus Christ.

    • The Mosaic Covenant was centered around God's giving His divine law to Moses on Mount Sinai. In understanding the different covenants in the Bible and their relationship with one another, it is important to understand that the Mosaic Covenant differs significantly from the Abrahamic Covenant and later biblical covenants because it is conditional in that the blessings that God promises are directly related to Israel’s obedience to the Mosaic Law.  If Israel is obedient, then God will bless them, but if they disobey, then God will punish them. The blessings and curses that are associated with this conditional covenant are found in detail in Deuteronomy 28. The other covenants found in the Bible are unilateral covenants of promise, in which God binds Himself to do what He promised, regardless of what the recipients of the promises might do. On the other hand the Mosaic Covenant is a bilateral agreement, which specifies the obligations of both parties to the covenant.

    • The Mosaic Covenant is especially significant because in it God promises to make Israel “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:6). Israel was to be God’s light to the dark world around them. They were to be a separate and called-out nation so that everyone around them would know that they worshiped Yahweh, the covenant-keeping God. It is significant because it is here that Israel received the Mosaic Law that was to be a schoolmaster pointing the way towards the coming of Christ (Galatians 3:24-25). The Mosaic Law would reveal to people their sinfulness and their need for a Savior, and it is the Mosaic Law that Christ Himself said that He did not come to abolish but to fulfill. This is an important point because some people get confused by thinking that keeping the Law saved people in the Old Testament, but the Bible is clear that salvation has always been by faith alone, and the promise of salvation by faith that God had made to Abraham as part of the Abrahamic Covenant still remained in effect (Galatians 3:16-18).

    • Also, the sacrificial system of the Mosaic Covenant did not really take away sins (Hebrews 10:1-4); it simply foreshadowed the bearing of sin by Christ, the perfect high priest Who was also the perfect sacrifice (Hebrews 9:11-28). Therefore, the Mosaic Covenant itself, with all its detailed laws, could not save people. It is not that there was any problem with the Law itself, for the Law is perfect and was given by a holy God, but the Law had no power to give people new life, and the people were not able to obey the Law perfectly (Galatians 3:21).

    Also see this video: What's the BIG DEAL about Israel video!
    •        Old Covenant v.s. New Covenant
    • The New Covenant:  “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel - after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.    ~Jer. 31  /  Hebrews 8:10
                (Jeremiah 31, and here restated again in Hebrews 8:10) 

    • In this chapter, the writer of Hebrews announces God's "new deal"—a new covenant, or agreement, between God and humanity. It's not that the Old was "bad" or "wrong" is just that the NEW IS FAR BETTER!  This is a MAJOR point of the writer in Hebrews, so don't miss this point!
    • It offers far superior promises to those of the "old deal" (Old Testament laws and regulations)

    • I want to include an Old Testament look at a few covenants God made with his people; otherwise we cannot fully appreciate the significance of the "New Covenant" that we find here in Chapter 8.  Each of these covenants are "eternal" in that they are still in as much effect as they were when God made them.  God is the "Covenant-Keeper" with his people; He keeps his promises.  
    • How does a Covenant differ from a contract? 
    • In simple terms, a covenant is an agreement between two parties, as is a contract.  Significant though, is that a contract is based on mis-trust, while a covenant is based on trust.

    • Covenant of Grace: The covenant of grace promises eternal life for all people who have faith in Christ. It is part of the primary covenants in the Westminster Confession of Faith. He also promises the Holy Spirit.  The Covenant of Grace, promised eternal blessing for belief in Christ and obedience to God's word. It is seen as the basis for all biblical covenants that God made individually with Noah, Abraham, and        David, nationally with O.T. Israel as a people, and universally with man in the New Covenant. 

    • Without faith, it is impossible to please God. ~Hebrews 11:6

    ·         Davidic Covenant: (2 Samuel 7:12-16)
    (This is God talking to David through the Prophet Nathan) "When your time comes and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up after you your descendant, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. I will be a father to him, and he will be a son to Me.  When he does wrong, I will discipline him with a human rod and with blows from others.  But my faithful love will never leave him as I removed it from Saul; I removed him from your way.  Your house and kingdom will endure before Me forever, and your throne will be established forever." (~ 2 Samuel 7:12-16)

    • The Davidic Covenant refers to God’s promises to David through Nathan the prophet and is found in2 Samuel 7and later summarized in1 Chronicles 17:11–14and2 Chronicles 6:16. 
    • This is an unconditional covenant made between God and David through which God promises David and Israel that the Messiah (Jesus Christ) would come from the lineage of David and the tribe of Judah and would establish a kingdom that would endure forever. 
    • The Davidic Covenant is unconditional because God does not place any conditions of obedience upon its fulfillment. The surety of the promises made rests solely on God’s faithfulness and does not depend at all on David or Israel’s obedience.
    • The Davidic Covenant centers on several key promises that are made to David. First, God reaffirms the promise of the land that He made in the first two covenants with Israel (the Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenants). This promise is seen in2 Samuel 7:10, “I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore.” God then promises that David’s son will succeed him as king of Israel and that this son (Solomon) would build the temple. This promise is seen in2 Samuel 7:12–13, " I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name.”

    • But then the promise continues and expands: “I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (verse 13), and “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever” (verse 16). What began as a promise that David’s son Solomon would be blessed and build the temple turns into something different—the promise of an everlasting kingdom. Another Son of David would rule forever and build a lasting House. This is a reference to the Messiah, Jesus Christ, called the Son of David in Matthew 21:9.

    • The promise that David’s “house,” “kingdom,” and “throne” will be established forever is significant because it shows that the Messiah will come from the lineage of David and that He will establish a kingdom from which He will reign. The covenant is summarized by the words “house,” promising a dynasty in the lineage of David; “kingdom,” referring to a people who are governed by a king; “throne,” emphasizing the authority of the king’s rule; and “forever,” emphasizing the eternal and unconditional nature of this promise to David and Israel.

    •  The New Covenant:  “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel - after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. ~Jer. 31
     (Jeremiah 31, and restated again in Hebrews 8:10) In this chapter, the writer of Hebrews announces God's "new deal"—a covenant, or agreement, between God and humanity. It offers far superior promises to those of the "old deal" (Old Testament laws and regulations).
    ·         "We do have such a high priest" (v. 1) refers to the description of Jesus in 7:23-28. What additional facts do you learn about him (vv. 1-2)?
    ·         What is Christ's heavenly ministry (vv. 3-6)?
    ·         Verse 6 looks back to prove Christ's superior ministry and ahead to prove that we have a superior covenant with God. The key is "better promises." What was the problem with the first covenant (vv. 7-12)?
    ·         What guarantees God's "new deal" (v. 12)?
           (See also vv. 1-3; 9:14.)

    *Note: was helpful to research these covenants.

    Cruising Chapter 9
     In Hebrews  ...Jesus, is our High Priest!
    > There is Power in the Blood!
    7But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood,... ~verse 7

    Hebrews 9: New International Version
    Worship in the Earthly Tabernacle
    1Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. 2A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand and the table with its consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. 3Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, 4which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. 5Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.
    6When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry.7But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. 8The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning. 9This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. 10They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings—external regulations applying until the time of the new order.
    The Blood of Christ
    11But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here,a he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. 12He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtainingb eternal redemption. 13The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death,c so that we may serve the living God!
    15For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
    16In the case of a will,d it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, 17because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. 18This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood. 19When Moses had proclaimed every command of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. 20He said, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.”e 21In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. 22In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
    23It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. 25Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own.26Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

    a 11 Some early manuscripts are to come
    b 12 Or blood, having obtained
    c 14 Or from useless rituals
    d 16 Same Greek word as covenant; also in verse 17
    e 20 Exodus 24:8

    ·         The Jews today ......(v22) "no shedding of blood" = "no forgiveness" Temple sacrifices stopped a few years after Christ's death 2,000 years ago. So really, the Jews have a significant problem with sin...they rejected the second covenant or the "new-covenant" and they don't keep the first covenant either! They teach the traditions of man (good works atoning for evil or sins; hopefully your good works outnumber the bad?)., but that isn't what scripture says!  They will apparently resume temple sacrifices in the seven year period following the rapture when the church is taken out, and God begins to work again with Israel.  The bible says that "...the Anti-Christ will come during that seven year period following the Rapture and cause the oblations and sacrifices to cease", so it's obvious that sacrifices will be resumed by Israel in their temple during this time. ...but currently they don't have scriptural basis for the putting away of their sins.

    • Contrast what Jesus did (vv. 11-14) with the old system (vv. 1-10).
    • Why was the shedding of sacrificial blood required even under the old covenant (vv. 16-22)?
    • The writer explains why the offering of Jesus' blood is not only necessary, but also a superior sacrifice. Why is it important to direct our attention to "heavenly things" (v. 23)?
    • What difference would it make to those steeped in Old Testament religion to know that        Jesus once-for-all offered his own blood, rather than offering animal blood (vv. 25-26)?
    ·          Also certain is Jesus' Second Coming (v. 28). In light of his blood offering, how should you spend your time waiting for him?


           Would you be free from the burden of sin?
    There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;
    Would you o’er evil a victory win?
    There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.

            Would you be free from your passion and pride
           There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood; 
            Come for a cleansing to Calvary’s tide;
            There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.
              Would you be whiter, much whiter than snow?
    There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;
    Sin-stains are lost in its life-giving flow;
    There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.
              Would you do service for Jesus your King?
    There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;
    Would you live daily His praises to sing?
    There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.

       There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
       In the blood of the Lamb;
       There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
       In the precious blood of the Lamb. ?
    ~ Lewis E. Jones 1899

     Hebrews 9:

    The "Power" is the Blood of Christ!

    In view of the colossal problems around us—drugs, divorce, depression, to name a few—it seems like a gross oversimplification to say that the blood of Jesus Christ is the solution. But, in a different context, the Hebrews faced similar problems of neglect, unbelief and immaturity. They were in danger of dropping out of the race and turning back to their old ways. Seemingly, they lacked the power and purpose to advance and press on in their faith-race. What was the solution given to them? The blood of Jesus. Only a full and perfect knowledge of what Jesus is and does for us can bring us to a full and perfect Christian life.
     ·         The Old Covenant was based on MAN's Faithfulness;               
            The New Covenant was based on GOD's Faithfulness!

    The Tabernacle:
    ·         Tabernacle was 45' x 15' wide and 15' high
    ·         Located inside the "Court of Israel" & divided into two sections; The Holy Place (or "Sanctuary") and the Holy of Holies.  The Altar of incense was immediately just inside the entrance. The priest would daily offer the incense unto God by swinging it daily (symbol of the prayers of the saints).

    ·         Altar of Incense where incense would be swung; Lampstand -the priest would go into this first part of the temple and trim the wicks on the "menora" (lampstand with 7 candles); 7 lamps symbolize the Holy Spirit... God wanted this lampstand to burn continually.
    ·         Also in the first part (Holy Place) was the "table of shewbread".  Weekly the priest would change the shewbread on the table; there were 12 loaves each representing the 12 tribes of Israel.
    ·         Sacrifices: -people would bring offerings to give to the Lord during the day, and the priest would sacrifice them as they came in.
    ·         The priests would each serve for about a month at a time.
    In the Holy of Holies you would find:
    ·         Golden censor
    ·         Ark of the Covenant which was overlaid in gold, containing the tablets of stone (10 Commandments that God gave them.)
    ·         Golden Pot containing manna preserved from their forefather's wilderness days.
    ·         Aaron's Rod that had budded; This budding was God's confirmation that Aaron was selected to establish the "Aaronic order" priesthood.
    ·         The "Cherubim's of Glory" overseeing the "Mercy Seat or bema" (symbolizing a model of heaven, as the throne of God is surrounded by cherubims).
    ·         Daily the priest would perform his priestly duties; trimming the wicks, refilling the oil, offering sacrifices for sin that people brought to him.
    ·         The High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies through "the veil" only once a year (on "Yom Kippor", which means "The Day of Atonement", and "not without blood"; since they haven't had a temple for many years, they currently call this "The Day of Reflection") ....a sacrifice that he would offer for himself first, and then for the people. He would go into the Holy of Holies first for cleansing for himself after he bathed; he would kill an ox and enter with the blood of the ox and sprinkle it on the "mercy seat".  He would bathe again, and then take two goats aside for consideration for the sins of the people; ...both goats were used to "pay" for the sins of the Israelis, but one would be slain, and one would be set free. (Generations later....Barabbas was set free while Christ was slain). After casting lots over the two goats, he would slay the goat upon which the lot fell, and set the other one free somewhere in the wilderness.  After slaying the goat, he would enter into the Holy of Holies again for the sins of the nation with the blood of the goat. The "puttting away" of sins was the idea and as the goat was set free signifying that God would remember their sins no more.
    ·         This could only happen once per year and that signified the "separation" of man from GOD! The heavy veil of the temple separated them as the Holy Spirit was not yet given to man. We read later that when Jesus was crucified, the veil of the temple was ripped "from the top to the bottom"...God ripped it!; if man had ripped it, it would have been ripped from the bottom to the top. This veil-ripping signified that the way into God's presence was available for all men! We can enter into God's presence by ourselves! Because Christ is our High Priest!

    If you look at the Old Testament placement of the Israelite camp during their time wandering in the wilderness, each tribe was situated so that the whole assembly made the shape of a cross!!!  This is a foreshadowing of things to come in God's plan.  Remember, this was thousands of years before the New Testament and the story of Christ and His power to save because of His death on the Cross!  The tent of meeting was positioned in the middle.

    Cruising Chapter 10
     In Hebrews  ...Jesus, is our High Priest!

    > 15The Holy Spirit also testifies to us... 16“This is the covenant I will make with them...I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”
      ~ Hebrews 10
    NIV  ~ Christ’s Sacrifice Once for All
    1The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. 3But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. 
    4It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
    5Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:
    “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
    but a body you prepared for me;
    6with burnt offerings and sin offerings
    you were not pleased.
    7Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—
    I have come to do your will, my God.’ ”a
    8First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law. 9Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
    11Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. 14For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

    15The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:
    16“This is the covenant I will make with them
    after that time, says the Lord.
    I will put my laws in their hearts,
    and I will write them on their minds.”b
    17Then he adds:
    “Their sins and lawless acts
    I will remember no more.”c
    18And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.
    A Call to Persevere in Faith
    19Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,25not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
    26If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”d and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”e 31It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
    32Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering.33Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. 35So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
    36You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37For,
    “In just a little while,
    he who is coming will come
    and will not delay.”f
    “But my righteousg one will live by faith.
    And I take no pleasure
    in the one who shrinks back.”h
    39But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.

    a 7 Psalm 40:6-8 (see Septuagint)
    b 16 Jer. 31:33
    c 17 Jer. 31:34
    d 30 Deut. 32:35
    e 30 Deut. 32:36; Psalm 135:14
    f 37 Isaiah 26:20; Hab. 2:3
    g 38 Some manuscripts But the righteous
    h 38 Hab. 2:4 (see Septuagint)

    You could say that the Law was ...just a shadow of the cross that was coming!

    Stay in the Race!
    Faced with seemingly eternal years of schoolwork and a multitude of rules to obey, children get discouraged. When that happens, parents say, "Look at your great opportunities. Take advantage of what you have now. Don't throw it away."
    The writer of Hebrews, in chapter 10, reaches the heights of Mt. Everest with a picture of Jesus that offers his readers encouragement. From those lofty heights he tells them to ...
    ·          warm up to God,
    ·           hold their faith in him, and
    ·          stir up one another in Christian faith and practice.
    Recall an opportunity you missed because it sounded too good. What did you miss by not believing the evidence?
    • The writer continues to discuss Jesus and the Old Testament offerings. How do verses 1-4 prove that the Old Testament system was a shadow, not the real thing?
    • Contrast Jesus' sacrifice (the reality) with the shadow (vv. 5-10). Why is his sacrifice better?
    • As you meditate on verses 11-18 and the awesome love and power of Jesus to take away your sins, what are the responses in your heart and mind?
    • In light of what God has done for us in Christ (vv. 19-21), what three commands does the writer feel compelled to issue (vv. 22-24)?
    • If we fail to draw near to God, hold fast our faith and stir up one another, what is likely to happen (vv. 25-26, 38-39)?
    • How can you help hold someone you know "unswervingly" to faith?
    • What purposes could be achieved in your life by both this strong encouragement and this stern warning?

    ·         ...stir up one another in Christian faith and practice!

    ·        ...not giving up meeting together (v.25)

    The Five Offerings in the Old Testament

    (or think of it this way ...."This was the Penalty of the Law")

    Burnt Offerings (Leviticus 1; 6:8-13; 8:18-21; 16:24)

    The burnt offering was always to be a male animal: a ram, a goat, a bullock or a pigeon; and it had to be without blemish. The worshiper placed his hands on the animal to show that it was a sacrifice for his own shortcomings. The burnt offering symbolized the entire surrender to God, therefore the whole animal, except for the skin, which went to the priests, was offered to God. It was left to smoulder all night into ashes, and the ashes were removed in the morning. The blood of the animal was thrown on the corners of the altar as a further sign that the life of the animal given in death had been dedicated to God.
    The burnt offering formed the daily morning and evening service in the Tabernacle, while on sabbaths, new moons, and festivals additional burnt offerings followed the ordinary worship.

    Grain Offerings (Leviticus 2; 6:14-23)

    This was an offering of flour, baked cakes, or raw grain, together with oil and frankincense. It was a good-will offering to God. Part of it - 'a memorial portion' - was burnt on the altar. So it was a way of asking God to 'remember' the worshiper for good. The priests ate the remainder. Again, it was a sacrifice of the best the worshiper could give.
    The grain offerings may have been offered separately from the burnt offerings, or along with them. Besides flour or raw grain, a worshipper could offer dough from flour baked in an oven; cooked on a griddle; fried in a pan; or roasted to make bread. All grain offerings were prepared with oil and salt, but no honey or leaven could be used

    Peace Offerings (Leviticus 3; 7:11-34)

    This sacrifice was similar to that for the burnt offering, except that here only the fatty portions were burnt on the altar. The animal's blood was collected and poured around the edges of the altar. Then the fatty portions (fat and entrails) were burnt on the altar, and the meat was shared by the worshiper and his family. Since God also shared in the sacrifice, it was thought of as a friendship meal with God too, and therefore was also referred to as the 'fellowship offering'. This sacrifice expressed the worshipper's desire to give thanks or praise to God.
    The peace offerings involved any animal without defect from herd or flock - usually oxen, sheep or goats. Along with the animal sacrifice, both unleavened cakes and leavened bread were offered. The use of leavened bread in an offering was unusual, since leaven represents something that is false, impure, sinful. Here it signifies the offering of sinners to God so that they can also make peace with God (Romans 15:16)

    Trespass Offerings (Leviticus 5:14-19; 6:1-7; 7:1-6)

    The trespass offering was to atone for specific transgressions where restitution was possible, such as sins of ignorance, usually connected with fraud. For example, if a man had unwittingly cheated another, a ransom that was equal to the same value of the amount taken plus one-fifth would be repaid to the former property owner. If the offence is related to holy things, such as tithes and first-fruits, then the worshipper will repay the amount owed plus one-fifth to the priest.
    The trespass offering was also prescribed in the cases of healed lepers in Leviticus 14:12, since leprosy was considered as a wrong to the congregation as a whole.
    In this offering, the sacrifice was always a male (generally a ram, which was never used as a sin offering). The blood was thrown on the corners of the altars, like that of the burnt offering.

    Sin Offerings (Leviticus 4; 5:1-13; 6:24-30; 8:14-17; 16:3-22)

    The sin offering was the most important of all sacrifices. It symbolized general redemption. It made atonement for the whole person of the offender, whereas the trespass offering only atoned for one special offense. The blood of the sacrifice of sin offering was sprinkled. Every spot of blood from a sin offering on a garment conveyed defilement, as being loaded with sin, and all vessels used for such sacrifices had either to be broken or scoured.

    The highest kind of sin offering was to sacrifice a bullock, when the High Priest had sinned, or if the whole congregation had sinned unintentionally. The next kind would be a male goat for the ruler. The third kind consisted of a female goat for individual Israelites. The lowest grade was turtle-doves or young pigeons as a subsitute for other sacrifices in case of poverty.

    Let's take a quick look at Eschatology in Hebrews:

    >   Cruising Chapter 11
     In Hebrews  ...Jesus, is our High Priest!

    ...6And without faith it is impossible to please God (v.6)

    New International Version ~ Faith in Action
    1Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2This is what the ancients were commended for.
    3By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
    4By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.
    5By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.”a For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
    7By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.
    8By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because sheb considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
    13All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
    Note on v.16: The spirits of the OLD Testament saints could not go into heaven until Jesus died for their sins, so they went to Sheol (Hell). Jesus taught that Sheol was divided into two parts, with Abraham the head of the part for those who believed in God's promises (Luke 16:19-31, Psalm 16:10, Isaiah 61:1, Matthew 27:52,53) ~ Pastor Chuck Smith's explanation. (he has prepared a city for them.~ v.16)
    17By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”c19Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.
    20By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.
    21By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.
    22By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.
    23By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.
    24By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.
    29By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.
    30By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days.
    31By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.d
    32And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection.36Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37They were put to death by stoning;e they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—38the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.
    39These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

    a 5 Gen. 5:24
    b 11 Or By faith Abraham, even though he was too old to have children—and Sarah herself was not able to conceive—was enabled to become a father because he
    c 18 Gen. 21:12
    d 31 Or unbelieving
    e 37 Some early manuscripts stoning; they were put to the test;

    4So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. 5He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there. 6Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspringc I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.  ~Genesis 12
    As the years go by, there seemed to be no heir in sight. Neither Abram nor Sarai were getting any younger!  ....yet Abram continued to wait on God ....because Abram knew God was faithful to his Word!  He was very old now as was Sarai  (the mother to be).  Perhaps they wondered aloud at night as they drifted off to sleep, " this going to really happen?"  Abram knew it would but perhaps he began to have doubts it seemed, because the text shows he began to include Eliezer in his estate planning!
    In Genesis 15 we see more of Abram's faith, and God continuing to promise Abram that He would fulfill what   God had promised many years prior.

    "... the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:
    “Do not be afraid, Abram.
    I am your shield,a
    your very great reward.b ”
    2But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inheritc my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”
    4Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” 5He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspringd be.”
    6Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness. - Genesis 15
    Abram was indeed a wealthy man.  In this agricultural society, his wealth was measured in terms of his abundance of livestock.  Abram had it all in this society.  However in this society, if one didn't have an heir (son), it meant that at death the wealth would pass to the steward (manager) of the wealth.  Nowadays, wealth by law passes to the family, but at some point, it seemed to Abram, that Eliezer his manager, was going to inherit all of Abram's mighty wealth.  Can you hear Abram's frustration at the thought of it all just slipping through his fingers when he died? 
     ““Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inheritc my estate is Eliezer of Damascus? (God)...You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”

    Hebrews 11: "A Gallery of Faith"

    Probably no subject is so glibly misunderstood as faith. Nearly everyone professes to have some of it. Many people would like to have more. The writer to the Hebrews takes faith out of religious theory and clothes it with flesh and blood. The author does this with what we today call role models. These models inspire us to go on believing in Jesus.
    ·         Faith is confidence ... (v.1)
    ·         We have never seen the wind.  We see the effect of the wind, the evidence for the wind on trees, blowing dust, blowing our hair, feeling it on our face. 
    ·         We have never seen magnetic forces.  But we only see evidence of it, we haven't actually seen the force.
    ·         We have never seen God. Yet we see the evidence of God all around us.  Faith in God helps us to realize God because of the evidence all around us.
    ·         God said, "Let there be light"; God said, "Let the waters above the firmament be divided with the waters beneath the firmament"; God said, "Let the earth bring forth herb-yielding fruit after it's own kind".
    ·         by Faith we learn that the world was made by God's command!

    ·         The Hall of Faith begins here.  These are people who were known for outstanding faith.
    ·         Abel (v.4) Abel's sacrifice was offered in faith, Cain's was not.  Cain got angry that his offering was rejected!  
    ·         Gen 4:2 ~ Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.6Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” 8Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.”d While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
    ·         Enoch (v.5) ...he was commended as one who pleased God.  Just as Enoch was spared from the judgment of God upon the earth during the Flood, so the Church will be spared from the tribulation.

    ·         Noah (v.7) When God warned Noah about the rains to come,   Noah accepted His word by faith, though it had never rained before.  He so believed God's word that he was motivated by fear to build the ark.  Noah's building of the ark condemned the people around him for their unbelief, and made him an heir of righteousness.  Noah's faith prompted him to positive action.  Faith and works go hand-in-hand.  Righteousness by faith produces works that are consistent with what we believe, whereas the righteousness in God's eyes is the result of our faith, never our works.

    ·         Abraham (v.17) Abraham is called the father of those who believe.  
    ·         His first step of faith was to leave the land of his father to journey to the Promised Land.
    ·         The birth of Isaac was based on God's faithfulness in performing that which He had promised - not on Sarah or Abraham's faith.

    ·         Sarah (v.11) was past childbearing age (over 90) and Abraham was over 100 years old, "as good as dead," and yet God gave them a child and innumerable descendants.

    ·         In Genesis 12 we read the (famous) Abrahamic covenant (promise) that God held with Abram (later called Abraham).  God's promise to them concerned giving them the child (later named Isaac) they always wanted to have. Remember at this time Abram and Sarai his wife were elderly when God gave this promise to Abram.  Track with me as we observe Abram's faith, and what it means to us in today!

    1The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
    2“I will make you into a great nation,
    and I will bless you;
    I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.a
    3I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
    and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.”b

     Just when it seemed to Abram that the promise wasn't going to be fulfilled in his lifetime, he had a fresh word from the Lord......God reminded Abram again of His earlier promise!  God reminded Abram of who put the stars in place!  God reminded Him that yes indeed, a son would be born to Abram and Sarai even in their old age.   God always keeps his promises !

    4Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man (Eliezer) will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” 5He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspringd be.”
    6Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness. - Genesis 15

    Here now, we can fast-forward to the New Testament and then find that we can lay claim to the fruit of our faith!

    7Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. 8Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles (gentiles...that would be you!) by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”d 
    9So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.    ~Galatians 3:7-9

    Here in these passages, we see we humans easily have a tendency to let doubt creep in, even though the very God of Heaven offers us His promises.  This is a classic case of God's man trying to work things out his own way, even after God had given him a promise!  Abram began making plans for Eliezer to take over Abram's estate, until God took him aside and reminded Abram of the promise he'd make to him earlier.

    Genesis 15:1-6. And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

    ·         Isaac (v.20)
    ·         Jacob (v.21)
    ·         Joseph (v.22)
    ·         Moses (v.23)
    ·         Rahab (v.31)
    ·         Gideon (v.32)
    ·         Barak  (v.32)
    ·         Samson (v.32)
    ·         Jephthah (v.32)
    ·         David (v.32)
    ·         Samuel (v.32)
    ·         The Prophets (v.32)

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