Saturday, March 4, 2017


"And no one takes the honor to himself,
but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was.
So also Christ did not glorify Himself
so as to become a high priest,
but He who said to Him,
'You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You';
just as He says also in another passage,
'You are a Priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.'"

The author, and if it is Paul, is very familiar with all the hoopla with the Council and the High Priests in Jerusalem.  So were those to whom he wrote this letter, the Hebrews.  This is a little back-handed critique of the current condition of the priesthood.  Here's what Gill's Commentary said..

"Now no man might take this honorable office upon himself, or intrude himself into it, or obtain it by any unjust method, or in any other way than by a call from God; nor did any man dare do it, until late, when some got in it themselves and some were put in by the Roman governors, and even purchased it of them...the apostle has some respect to these wicked practices and tacitly reproves them, as what ought not to be." 

Oh my, corruption in the temple, political infighting.  Remember in my last post I mentioned that some thought that Joseph of Arimathea's father and brother were murdered, who were in line to be the high priest.  They were also wealthy.  Perhaps Joseph was left because he had mines in Corning, England, that helped fill their coffers.  And as I mentioned before, some believe these were Mary's father and grandfather who were murdered.  It is thought that perhaps Mary was under the guardianship of Joseph of Arimathea, who would have been her closest relative left, and he kept her as a servant in the temple until she came of age and was engaged to Joseph, the carpenter.  Hmm.  Meyer's calls it "usurpers," whereas the Cambridge Bible calls it "man's caprice."

Meyer's Commentary says, "alien Sadducees, not descended from Aaron who had been introduced into the Priesthood from Babylonian families by Herod the Great and who kept the highest offices with frequent changes...who completely degraded the dignity in the eyes of the people." 

As you can see, all was not well in Jerusalem.  These puffed up priests may not have been struck down immediately, but Jesus prophesied the destruction of the temple, which happened just as He said about 70 A.D. They went down!

There are warnings in Scripture as to what happens to someone who dares to trifle with the priesthood.  Exodus 28:1 "any 'stranger that cometh nigh' --i.e. that intruded unbidden into the Priesthood--was to be put to death."  Numbers 3:10 and 16:40 speak of the fate of Korah "they were destroyed by fire, or swallowed up by the earth, that disputed (Aaron's) call, and this was confirmed by a miracle, by his dry rod budding, blooming, and bringing forth almonds." (Gil)
We can remember this by the beautiful budding of flowers all around as spring has unofficially sprung.

Christ was the fragrant sacrifice, the Rose of Sharon, the Lily of the Valley, greater than a blooming stick as it was His own body which was sacrificed in order that it would bring forth fruit into eternity by His resurrection and entering into the heavenlies to be our High Priest forever.

Gill said poignantly, "So also Christ glorified not Himself to be made an high was a condescension in Him to become a priest.  Meyers says, "Not a path of self-glorification was it, but a path of anguish and suffering, by which Christ obtained glory."  Likewise, the Cambridge Bible notes, "the high priest, 'honor'; but of Christ's Priesthood, he uses a stronger word, 'glory.'

"If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing;
it is My Father who glorifies Me,
of whom you say, 'He is our God.'"
(John 8:54)

Actually, we A.D. types forget what it was like to worship before Jesus became our High Priest.  Since He was the final sacrifice, "The Lamb slain before the foundation of the world," there were no more sacrifices.  We don't do church like that.  The priesthood ended for us in Christ.  No more succession by Aaron's lineage.  Now "He ever liveth to make intercession for us."

"Thou art a priest forever."
(Psalm 110:4)

As for this reference to Melchizedek, he is a mystery man mentioned in Genesis 14:18, that was before the priesthood of Aaron was established.  The distinguishing thing about him was that "Melchizedek was both a priest and a king.  He was a foreshadowing of Christ Himself.  None of the kings of the Jews were priests; nor were any of the priests elevated to the office of king."
(Cambridge Bible)

"And Melchizedek king of Salem
brought out bread and wine (communion foreshadowed);
now he was a priest of God Most High."
(He blessed Abraham and Abraham paid him tithes.)

"You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You."
"You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek."
"Thou art a priest forever."
(Psalm 110:4)

God has chosen His Son.  So be it.
He is our Priest-intercessor, and our King
from eternity, God's Son from the beginning of time,
to eternity forever and ever and get it.

Adam Clarke says, "As God alone had the right to appoint His own priest for the Jewish nation, and man had no authority here; so God alone could provide and appoint a high priest for the Jewish people; Christ, for all mankind...the office itself was to cease on the coming of Christ, after whom there could be no high priest; nor can Christ have any successor, therefore  He is said to be a priest for ever, for He ever liveth the intercessor and sacrifice for mankind...The man Jesus Christ, was also appointed by God to this most awful yet glorious office, of being the High Priest of the whole human race.  The Jewish high priest represented this by the sacrifices of beasts which he offered; the Christian High Priest must offer His own life: Jesus Christ did so; and rising from the dead, He ascended to heaven, and there ever appeareth in the presence of God for us...He never dies , He can never have a successor...none can now pretend without blasphemy, for the Son of God is still the High Priest in His temple."

By the way, Did you notice that there was another "Today" in there in this passage? That makes four times that it has been used to far in the last couple of chapters.  Must be important, something to pay attention to.  It makes me think of another "Today" in Scripture, when our High Priest was giving the ultimate sacrifice.  It was when the criminal hanging beside Him cried out, "Jesus, remember me when you come into Your kingdom!" and Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, Today you shall be with Me in Paradise."  That is opening the way, through the curtain, to the holy of holies, to the heavenlies!

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