Every high priest is a man chosen to represent other people in their dealings with God. He presents their gifts to God and offers sacrifices for their sins. And he is able to deal gently with ignorant and wayward people because he himself is subject to the same weaknesses. That is why he must offer sacrifices for his own sins as well as theirs. And no one can become a high priest simply because he wants such an honor. He must be called by God for this work, just as Aaron was. (Hebrews 5:1-4 NLTse).
After the author introduced Jesus as High Priest, he has no choice but to provide some sort of evidence. Who is on trial here, sinners or Jesus? On earth, the world placed Jesus on trial. Not everyone agreed with the death sentence Jesus received, but in one form or another, people placed Jesus on trial. The Gospels proved that point. Everyone had doubts to one degree or another. Peter, who thought he was without doubt, proved he fell short when he denied Jesus three times. We all fall short in our own ways.
A new symbol is introduced, Aaron as the high priest. To deal with that symbol, what do we need to do? We could look back at Aaron’s life. We could look at how he was dressed, the services he conducted, and the most important factor, how God trained Aaron. Having studied this extensively, the scriptures showed me how the plagues in Egypt were also lessons designed to teach Israel about the priesthood God would later offer the entire nation. God first battled the magicians, gods, and Pharaoh in Egypt. Notice how Jesus had a series of battles against religion and government powers. To take the role of King and High Priest, Jesus had to battle human leaders in both areas at the same time. Jesus also faced the priests and Roman governor during His trial.
When we look at Aaron’s life, we can use what is referred to as the rule of first mention, which brings us to a lesson creating an important impact on related stories recorded later in scripture. That is another type of signature God used in His Word. When the Tabernacle was dedicated, we can refer to it as its grand opening, what did Aaron sacrifice?
“Bring the young bull to the entrance of the Tabernacle, where Aaron and his sons will lay their hands on its head. Then slaughter the bull in the LORD’s presence at the entrance of the Tabernacle. Put some of its blood on the horns of the altar with your finger, and pour out the rest at the base of the altar. (Exodus 29:10-12 NLTse).
Aaron and his sons were supposed to lay their hands on the bull’s head and confess their sins. Why do you think God used a bull? What was that supposed to remind Aaron about?
When Jesus was up on His mountain giving all those instructions to Moses, his brother Aaron was building an idol for Israel to follow, a golden calf. Right under Jesus’ nose, Aaron used what he learned in Egypt to create a new religion. What does that tell us about today? For one thing, Israel couldn’t help but notice God’s presence on that mountain. Lightening flashed, thunder crashed, and smoke rose from the mountain top. Jesus even spoke to Israel from that mountain top, and everyone heard His voice. That didn’t stop Aaron and Israel from going their own way, inventing their own religion, and relying on what they learned from this world. As Moses stood on that mountain meeting with, and receiving instructions directly from God’s throne, Aaron and Israel went about doing what they thought was best.
When we look at the Book of Hebrews, we should understand how it was arranged to send us back to particular stories that help explain what was presented. When Hebrews introduced Jesus as High Priest, Aaron’s life was given as a piece of evidence. Do we investigate that piece of evidence like our lives depend on it, or do we choose to go the way of the world, depending on what the world teaches on the subject? Israel needed a god and religion to follow. Aaron relied on what he learned in Egypt to create a new religion at the very moment his brother Moses received direct instructions from God, including the construction of the Tabernacle, how Aaron was to be dressed, and of course, extreme details on what Aaron was to sacrifice. That bull that reminded Aaron about the golden calf he made a god. Evidence like this is what the world needs to not only believe there is a living God, but that He sees everything. It is the sort of evidence the author of Hebrews presented when he introduced Jesus as High Priest. This is the type of evidence we need to deliver to the world, then let them choose between worldly religion, and approaching God’s throne.
Hebrews gave us two chapters to study. The first is a quote from David. Do we follow the ways of the world, convincing ourselves, we already know what the Spirit is trying to show us, or do we roll up our sleeves, sharpen our pencils, put on our thinking caps, and follow the path the Spirit carved out for us at this moment? We look at the chapter the Spirit directed us to.
Why are the nations so angry? Why do they waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the LORD and against his anointed one. “Let us break their chains,” they cry, “and free ourselves from slavery to God.” But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them. Then in anger he rebukes them, terrifying them with his fierce fury. For the Lord declares, “I have placed my chosen king on the throne in Jerusalem, on my holy mountain.” The king proclaims the LORD’s decree: “The LORD said to me, ‘You are my son. Today I have become your Father. Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the whole earth as your possession. You will break them with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots.'” Now then, you kings, act wisely! Be warned, you rulers of the earth! Serve the LORD with reverent fear, and rejoice with trembling. Submit to God’s royal son, or he will become angry, and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities– for his anger flares up in an instant. But what joy for all who take refuge in him! (Psalms 2:1-12 NLTse).
By Godly design, the author pointed us to another chapter that pretty much gives us an overview of the world on Bible Study. Man made preparation and plans are nothing compared to God’s. We can plan all we want, follow leaders, and mark out our own courses. All of those are contrary to God.
We can’t help but notice how Psalms 2 is related to Aaron’s story, and the stories about Israel leaving Egypt mentioned earlier in Hebrews. We should be able to see how the Book of Hebrews was written by divine inspiration.
We’re faced with a lot of decisions to make every time we open the Bible. Do we let the Spirit guide us? How do we allow the Spirit to guide us? How close will we follow the Spirit’s directions? How do we find those directions in scripture in ways we can explain them to others? Will we allow the Spirit to make us the teachers He wants to make us, or do we shun the responsibility? Do we rely on ourselves, and what the world taught us to teach about the divine word, or do we learn at Jesus’ feet? The Book of Hebrews used plans from kings and leaders as a contrast to teach a lesson. Influences from this world can be contrary to God’s teaching methods.
Some people like to use and teach simple Bible Study methods. Where did they learn those methods? Just pray, open up a page in the Bible, and run with the first thing that pops into your mind. Hebrews tells us to approach God’s throne when we have a question. Hebrews showed us how God decided to insert evidence into His Word long before we decided to open that Bible. Hebrews showed us how God’s Word, and His Spirit actually direct us to additional information, as well as the evidence we need. In short, Hebrews showed us some rather reliable methods we can use to study scripture in every book of the Bible.
The author sent us to another story to look at. We owe it to ourselves to look at that story in the context presented in Hebrews chapter 5.
When Abram heard that his nephew Lot had been captured, he mobilized the 318 trained men who had been born into his household. Then he pursued Kedorlaomer’s army until he caught up with them at Dan. There he divided his men and attacked during the night. Kedorlaomer’s army fled, but Abram chased them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. Abram recovered all the goods that had been taken, and he brought back his nephew Lot with his possessions and all the women and other captives. After Abram returned from his victory over Kedorlaomer and all his allies, the king of Sodom went out to meet him in the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). And Melchizedek, the king of Salem and a priest of God Most High, brought Abram some bread and wine. Melchizedek blessed Abram with this blessing: “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who has defeated your enemies for you.” Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the goods he had recovered. The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give back my people who were captured. But you may keep for yourself all the goods you have recovered.” Abram replied to the king of Sodom, “I solemnly swear to the LORD, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, that I will not take so much as a single thread or sandal thong from what belongs to you. Otherwise you might say, ‘I am the one who made Abram rich.’ I will accept only what my young warriors have already eaten, and I request that you give a fair share of the goods to my allies–Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre.” (Genesis 14:14-24 NLTse).
Here we are faced with the choice to place ourselves in the scene described, or examine this shred of evidence from what we’ve been taught. I prefer to place myself in the middle of the scene.
Abram lead 318 of his closest friends into battle against the largest army ever assembled on earth at that time. That army wiped out a number of nations without any problems. Vastly out numbered, Abram approached the enemy camp spread out over a large valley. Do the math. What would it take for you to follow Abram into that battle? What does that tell us about Abram and the people who followed him? To gather the amount of courage required to join that battle, each and every soldier had to receive personal assurance from God, they would live to see victory. If we could see Satan’s angels around us, we’d see the same odds stacked against us when we decide to turn to God and break the chains that bind us to this world.
Something told Melchizedek to go out and meet Abram. Something told Melchizedek, God was on Abram’s side, and he would return with all the people, cattle, and goods. Melchizedek also had to listen to God to be in the position described in the story.
Abram was so thankful for the victory, the goods meant nothing compared to that experience with God. Abram’s adrenaline was at an all time high when they advanced to battle the enemy. Abram was on an all time spiritual high when he marched home from that battle. And who does he meet, a man the scriptures compared to Jesus, Melchizedek, the high priest with no beginning or end, a fitting symbol of Jesus placed in scripture long before Jesus was born.
Melchizedek blessed Abram in a way, it appeared as if he saw the battle, or knew about its end long before it began. Melchizedek knew more about the circumstances than what was on the surface. Abram gave a tenth of what he captured. Not from his own funds, but from what the Lord handed Abram that day.
The author compared the battle Abram fought to the one Jesus faced. While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God. Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him. (Hebrews 5:7-9 NLTse). This served another purpose. We face the same battles. Now we know how Jesus can relate to the temptations and trials we face.
There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong. (Hebrews 5:11-14 NLTse).
Why would the author say this when his main focus is on introducing Jesus as High Priest? It stands to reason, Jews had a difficult time judging between God’s plan of salvation and tales created to cover up that plan. Today people, like the Jews, people like to think they know that plan, and see little reason to study it any further. Like those so called, “simplified methods of Bible Study,” people have used those man made methods of study to create simple explanations for a very important subject. A subject the author of Hebrews says, we should know well enough to teach. So far, the author here has written five chapters to explain Jesus’ role as High Priest, and continues to explain that role in a number of other chapters. Men have taken this book and condensed it down to a twenty minute sermon, five minute explanation, one paragraph definition, and a series of other simple, man made explanations. The Book of Hebrews shows how the information presented in this book expands. Some people have chosen to ignore that expansion in exchange for a condensed version. When we follow the tide of that expansion, we see evidence presented in such a way, we know God saw that was going to happen, and placed warnings inside this message. Warnings that are not at all hidden, but take your time and dedicate yourself to study. Like a road map, the Spirit highlighted the road to travel through this book. That stands for all the books and stories in the Bible.
When a group was gathered to form what we know as the King James Bible, they collected every piece of writing that stood a chance of being added to the Bible. Those men were smart enough, prayed enough, and listened to God’s Spirit enough to see patterns God used to write every piece of the Bible. The books in the Bible were written by a number of men spanning generations. Each used God’s unique style of writing, which reveals itself in links established between one book and others.
Some books were not included in the King James Bible, and some people disagree with those decisions. Those books can be examined to see if they contain the same patterns God used in the sixty six books included in the Bible. Learning those links and patterns is moving from milk to meat. Seeing those patterns is seeing and experiencing a part of God’s personality.