Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 3 * BOOK 50
Hebrews 6:11 – 7:19
Well, Iris just reminded me that we’re in Book 50 if anyone wants to order any material from today’s lesson. I tell all my Oklahoma classes, I wouldn’t last a day without her, and I truly mean that. I just wouldn’t last without her, because she keeps everything pretty much straightened out.
Okay, back to Hebrews chapter 7 and we’re going to continue on in our study of this Melchisedec, a high priest of “the most high God.” Now I always have to emphasize; God is God. We don’t have two or three different God’s in Scripture. We have One God! But Scripture does associate Him with different names. Especially back in Genesis. You’ve got El Shaddai, El Elyon, and you’ve got Elohim and you’ve got Jehovah and those are all various names of the same God. Of course, Jesus Christ, born in Nazareth, was the appearance in the flesh of that same God. So, when we come to Melchisedec I have to feel we’re speaking of the same God. Jesus Christ in a theophany, as a priest of The Most High God.
I know I ruffle a few feathers once in a while, that but I guess that’s the beauty of being independent. I’ll never forget one time I had filled the pulpit for a church in our area and on the way out, one of the ladies asked why I wasn’t a pastor in their denomination. And without even thinking, I said, “I couldn’t stand the peer pressure.”
Well, I mean that. I have to hold myself responsible only to the Lord of glory and that I do not take lightly. Whenever I open the Scripture I realize that this is an awesome responsibility. But I do feel that Melchisedec was Jesus Christ in a theophany. In other words, back in Genesis 18, my goodness, who in the world sat down and at the fatted calf under the oak tree with Abraham? Well, it was the Lord. We know it was because Scripture said it was. And other times the Lord appeared in human form and then went up. And so I see no reason to take anything away from the fact that Melchisedec was simply Christ again, in an earthly manifestation. Because after all, Jerusalem in 2000 BC wasn’t some metropolis that needed a king. His title of king was a future thing more than a present. And so I have to feel, especially in view of verse 3 of this chapter 7, it could be no one but the Lord.
After all the Lord of glory is everything. He’s God the Father, He’s God the Son, He’s God the Spirit and you can’t take anything away from Him. And then, Colossians tells us that Jesus Christ was the Godhead in bodily form. Well, I don’t know how you can take anything away from that. So now as you come into verse 3, this Melchisedec, the king of peace was:
“Without father, without mother, without descent, (or without a genealogy) having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; (now if that isn’t a description of God I don’t know what is! And nothing else would fit, at least in my book.) but made like unto the Son of God;”
Well, in human form for a little while. And we know like I pointed out in the last program, you don’t even hear the name Melchisedec for another thousand years. So He must have left that opportunity of presenting Abraham with the bread and wine and then just simply went back into the invisible Godhead as He did in Genesis 18, and at the burning bush and various other places. Alright, the last part of verse 3.
“…abideth a priest (not a year at a time. Not for 50 or 60 years. But how long?) continually.”
It never ends. He’s eternal in the heavens. And so His priesthood is that which never ends. Now in verse 4. Paul, and remember who he’s talking to, is talking to Jews who had embraced Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah but they were still practicing the Law. The were not ready to break from the legalism and step into grace. At least that’s the way I have to look at this whole scenario. So now he’s using all these Old Testament things to convince these Jews that he wasn’t some renegade coming from out of left field. He was simply bringing them from one period of time and an area of instruction into another. We’ve covered that when we went into chapter 6 verse 1. What did he say? “Now leave the principles of the first words of Christ?” Paul didn’t say, to abandon them, but to move on.
I gave you plenty of illustrations of what I thought that meant. You just simply don’t abandon what’s behind but you build on it and it’s a progressive revelation. Alright, so now verse 4 where Paul says:
“Now consider (just stop and think for a little bit) how great this man was,…” You know what word throws a curve at everybody? “Man” M-A-N. Well, let me show you something. Come back to I Timothy chapter 2 and verse 5.
I Timothy 2:5
“For there is one God, (I’ve already stressed that) and one mediator between God and men, the (what?) man (the man!) Christ Jesus;”
Now that doesn’t take away His Deity. Because all the way through from His birth on through His ministry and on through His revelations to the Apostle Paul, we’re always stressing that He was totally God but on the other hand He was human.
And so, as His mediatorship comes in, it’s the “man Christ Jesus.” And after all, we have to realize – now let me back up – I always have a hard time the night before these tapings trying to determine how much I can cover per half-hour for four half-hours. Now that’s not easy. Well, I’ve just about given up. I’m just going to let the Spirit lead. Come on back to Acts.
Alright, so here is something that I hadn’t even thought of last night. But, when it speaks of the “man Christ Jesus” as being our mediator. Come back with me to Acts chapter 1 because this is fundamental, this is elementary. And I’m not going to take your mind away from the priesthood of Melchisedec but I want you to see how that Christ is the logical explanation for this particular revelation of a priesthood.
“To whom also he (Jesus, coming out of His resurrection) showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them (that is the disciples, the eleven not counting Judas, of course.) forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:”
Alright now come on over to verse 9 still in Acts chapter 1. Remember the eleven saw Him, and Paul rehearses it in I Corinthians 15, the resurrection chapter. “That first He was seen of the eleven. And then of over five hundred at one time and then he says last of all He was seen of me also.” Now we’re not talking about an invisible spirit. We’re talking about a human appearance. Now Acts 1:9. And remember Christ is in His resurrected body with the nail-pierced hands.
“And when he had spoken these things, while they (the eleven) beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.”
Now how do you picture the ascension? Just a puff of cloud going up? Some invisible spirit going up? Why, no. He went up bodily. I just mentioned a verse in Colossians that will help. So let’s find it in chapter 2, and let’s drop down to verse 8.
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Now that’s why I had to use this verse. So that you see Who we’re talking about. That we are supposed to stay true to Christ! Now the next verse.
“For in him (Christ) dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead (how?) bodily.”
Bodily. In human form. That same body that came out of the tomb, where he showed Thomas the nail-prints and where on the Sea of Galilee ,what did He do? Fixed breakfast. Remember I told you in the last taping, that must have been the best tasting fish that any human ever tasted. Because He fixed it and no wonder He asked Peter, “do you love me more than these?” That probably was a tough question because that must have been delicious food if the Lord fixed it. But, was He in some invisible spirit form when He did that? No. They saw him standing there on the shore.
And so this is what we have to establish. That Christ is His resurrected body was just as visible as He was in His earthly ministry. Alright, so as He is now our intercessor, and He’s the mediator. But He’s also the high priest of “the most high God.”
Never forget that. I’m going to drum that, like I said last time, I’m going to let you hear it in your sleep. “The most high God.” That’s who He is the high priest of. Then verse 5 of Hebrews chapter 7.
“So verily they that are of the sons of Levi, (out of whom the priesthood came, remember, who ministered at the Temple) who received the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the (what?) Law,…”
Another verse comes to mind that I never thought of last night. But, I’m going to take you back to it. Flip back to Romans chapter 6, and here it’s as plain as day that tithing, the ten percent, was part of the Law. Remember I want you to see what Romans chapter 6 says about the Law, and let’s drop in at verse 14. I mean this is plain English.
“For sin (or the old Adam) shall not have dominion over you: (in other words, we’ve been set free from his control by virtue of our salvation. Now here it is) for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”
Plain enough? We’re not under any law. Now that doesn’t give us license. You’ve heard me say that a few hundred times. But we’re not under any stipulated law that says, “thou shalt and thou shalt not” command. We are not under the Law but we’re under grace. I better follow that up with what that means – come back with me now to II Corinthians chapter 9. I better do this or I’ll be on the hot seat for a few weeks. Now this is what takes the place of the Law of tithing. The Law of tithing was set aside, along with all the Law, when Christ finished the work of the Cross and put us under Grace. Oh most people don’t know this, because they have not been taught it. But in this next Scripture is where we are at in the Body of Christ, the true Church today!
II Corinthians 9:6-7
“But this I say, he which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.””
What controls the heart of the believer? The Holy Spirit! So as the Spirit gives us directions, we give. Whether it’s 2% or 100%. The Spirit is going to direct us. Alright, and so he says,“As every man purposeth in his heart, so let him give.” Now if the Spirit is going to move us to give, are you going to give grudgingly? Well, of course not. You’re going to give cheerfully.
Now let’s come back again to Hebrews chapter 7. So Abraham of course, gave the tenth of all that he had gotten through the battle with the kings of Chedorlaomer, but he gave a tenth to the high priest, Melchisedec. Now reading verse 5 again.
“And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, (in other words, out of the Nation of Israel. Not from any Gentiles) though they were come out of the loins of Abraham:” Naturally, because Abraham was the father of all these tribes of Israel.
“But he whose decent (or genealogy) is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him who had the promises.”
Well, what promises? Out of you is going to come a nation of people. To you and your people I’m going to give this area of land. Those were the promises to Abraham. Do you see that?
“And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.” What does that tell you? Isn’t that what the whole theme of Hebrews has been? That was good, but this is better.Over and over. Even in the first six chapters, yes, the angels are something else. But who’s better than the angels? Christ. The Law was good but what’s better? Grace. And all the way through, we’ve seen the comparison from that which was good to that which is now so much better.
So again, he says, there’s no contradiction here. That, that which is less, that which was now put behind is blessed because of this which is so much better. Now verse 8.
“And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.” He’s alive ever more. Never to have to lay down His priesthood because of death as we’ll see later in this same chapter. Now verse 9.
“And as I may so say, Levi (the priestly tribe, remember) also, who receiveth tithes, (now this is tough) paid tithes in Abraham.” What does he mean by that? How could Levi pay tithes in, what would that be? His grandfather? Well, you see, it was just by virtue of the promises that out of Abraham would come these twelve tribes of Israel. And everything that followed went back to the promises made to Abraham.
That’s why Paul alludes to Abraham so often when it comes to faith. That we can have faith like the man of faith, Abraham. And Abraham was not saved under Law. He was saved before the Law was given. And he became a believer by faith and faith alone. Even circumcision hadn’t entered in yet. Abraham believed God, Romans says, and it – his believing – was accounted unto him for righteousness.
Then after he became a man of faith, yes, then circumcision followed. Then the Nation of Israel appeared, and then came the Law. But Abraham was never under any of the ramifications of the Law. Alright verse 10 tells us what I just told you. Why did Levi pay tithes?
“He was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him. 11. If therefore perfection (or moving on to a maturity. If that) were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law.) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?”
Now let’s see if we can break this down. What’s he saying? If the legal system of the Mosaic Law, the Levitical priesthood, the Temple worship, the sacrifices, the tithing, all the things that were part and parcel of the Law; had that been perfect would there have been a need for anything else? Well, of course not. If you’ve got something perfect you leave it alone. Isn’t that what we say today. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Sure.
But, the Levitical system wasn’t perfect. Oh, it was anything but. It was perfect from God’s side, naturally. God can’t make anything that isn’t perfect. But see, the Law in its operation depended on the flesh. Now let me show you. Come back to Galatians chapter 4, verses 8 and 9. Remember why we chased some of these verses down. We’re showing now that the Mosaic system or Judaism (as probably we know it better), was not perfect. It was anything but. And, consequently, it had to be left behind and go to that which is better. Here Paul writes to the Gentiles up there in Galatia who were being subjected to legalism.
“Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, (in other words, when they were still in their paganism) ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. (they were worshipping idols.)9. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God,…” In other words, they had become believers. They had become joint heirs with Christ. They’d become members of the Body. Now then he says:
“…how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements whereunto you desire again to be in bondage.” What’s he talking about? What’s the weak and beggarly? The Law. Now if you think through all this, why was the Law beggarly? Well, it demanded things that the human race couldn’t keep and it had no power to give them victory over their temptations.
You know, when I taught Romans, I just stressed over and over, all the Law could do was condemn, condemn, condemn. You’re sinners. You’re lawbreakers, and the Law couldn’t give them any power to overcome it, so, consequently, it was beggarly. Another good one is still in Galatians. Turn the page to chapter 5 verse 1.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty (the freedom) wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
What’s the yoke of bondage? The Law. Now who likes to live under a yoke of bondage? I don’t. But you see, this is exactly what the Law did to Israel and this is why they have such a hard time keeping it. I could take you back to Acts where Peter admits the same thing. He said, “even our fathers couldn’t keep it, because it was a yoke.” Peter used the same word. And so the Law you see, was nothing but demands that the human race could not comprehend. They couldn’t keep it and so we have to tell ourselves; we’re not under Law, we’re under grace.
Well, I guess our time is gone but we’ll come back and pick the next program up again in Hebrews chapter 7 – but always remember that the Law, the Temple worship for its time, it was good. It had all the ramifications that brought us up to the coming of the Messiah. But now as a belief system with this over here on this side of the Cross that is so much better, why not leave it in the dust where it belongs? But you see most of Christendom is still doing the same thing. Most of Christendom is still bringing certain ramifications of the Law into our present day Age of Grace!