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Book of Hebrews: Chapter 4 (Part 2), Chapter 5 (Part 1)

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Chapter 4 Verse 14

Jesus was first called a High Priest in 2:17 and now we will discuss this more in depth. No other priest in the Old Testament was ever called a great High Priest. The word 'great' means wonderful or first-rate; very good. In Luke 18:19, Jesus said, Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. If only God is good and Jesus is described as a great High Priest, then Jesus is God. God is our High Priest.

We also learn that our High Priest has passed through the Heavens. This is a comparison to the Jewish priests. The Jewish priests literally passed through an earthly veil into the Holy of Holies, but our High Priest, Christ, has gone into the divine presence in Heaven (9:24).

Our High priest is the Son of God-this focuses on His humanity and divinity.

"Let us hold fast our confession"-What confession did we make right before we became Christians? That Jesus is the Christ, is the Son of God. (Matthew 16:13-17).

Read 1 John 2:18-25.In this context we learn what an antichrist is. It is NOT a specific person, but EVERYONE WHO DENIES THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST. When I was stationed in San Antonio, I worked with an Army guy who said he was a Christian. He believed that the antichrist was a specific person and had not yet revealed himself. This thought is far from what the Bible teaches. However; the man of sin that 1 Thessalonians talks about, I believe that this is a specific person, namely the pope, but this is another discussion for another day.

This section of Scripture also demands that Christians abide by what they've heard from the beginning. It is Biblical to say that Jehovah's witnesses are antichrists. They do not deny Jesus' existence; they just deny that He is the Messiah. They hold him to be a great prophet. It is Biblical to say that those who hold fast to the Islamic faith are antichrists. They do not deny Christ's existence, but they deny that He was the Messiah and hold to the belief that Muhammad is the Messiah. It is Biblical to say that Mormons are antichrists. To them, Jesus is not the Christ, but just a great prophet. To them, Joseph Smith, which by the way, there is no record of him every living, is the one who brought a new revelation. (This revelation changes depending on the circumstance.) A few years ago there was a interracial couple who wanted to marry in the Mormon church. One of them was Black. The church told this couple that Black people were a curse so they would not allow them to marry. The groom served in an attempt to sue them and then that iss when the Mormon church was said to have "received a new revelation from God" that they will allow interracial marriages in their church.

Believing in God does not mean that it is impossible to be outside of God. You can believe but still be in danger of eternal damnation. All believers aren’t the same. Jesus said in Matthew 10:32ff, So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in Heaven. But whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in Heaven. Some versions even read: whoever disowns me before my Father…this implies believing and then turning away from that belief. A few classes ago we read verses that talks about those who turn away from the truth and how they are likened to a dog eating his own vomit. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. You can also reference 1 John 4:3 for the antichrists.

Perhaps there were Jewish Christians who were not holding fast or who denied Christ to return to Judaism.

Verse 15 notes

The priests in the Old Testament were human so they were weak at times and sinned. Aaron was a high priest but sinned. For example, in Numbers 12 Aaron and his sister Miriam spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman he married. Commentors, through their research, suspect that the Cushite woman was Black. Aaron and Miriam disagreed with Moses' choice. However; the Bible does not give the reason for Aaron's and Miriam's contention with Moses's wife. Whatever the reason, God did not approve of their behavior. The point is Aaron was a high priest and sinned. Christ, our High Priest, human as well, did not sin. Verse 16 concludes by saying, "…"

CHAPTER 5, Verse 1

vv 1-4 specifies the qualifications of the high priest. Verse 1 says he must be chosen from among men. Verse 4 says that he must be called by God. If only one or none of these qualifications are met, a man could not be considered for the position of high priest.

"chosen from among men" means the high priest must be taken from among his fellowmen as their representative. Every city has a mayor. The mayor knows the needs of the city, the schools and the people's concerns. For example, the residents of New York city would vote for an official from New York city who has been in that city for years. It would not make much sense for an candidate who lives in San Antonio to run for mayor of New York city; he/she knows not the needs of the city, schools or the people. It's the same concept with the high priest; He must be chosen or taken from among his fellowmen.

Verse 2 notes

The high priest as a human is beset with weaknesses therefore is able to deal gently with the ignorant and wayward. This is how we should deal with one another. We all sin. We know how broken-hearted and ashamed it makes us feel, therefore we should not be too quick to shame our fellow brother or sister when he/she sins.

Verse 3 notes

This verse makes this point--the high priest is obligated to offer sacrifices for his own sins just as he does for those of his people.
A commentator puts it this way: The author knows well that only Jesus meets the conditions of that longed for high priest. Only he can "deal gently" (v. 2) with those going astray. The word translated "deal gently" is rare in the Greek language. It is a "middle word," standing between the extremes of indifference and sentimental indulgence. For example, some parents don’t care about their children at all. Whether they are fed or clothes or out on the streets are matters of little concern to them. Other parents "love" their children so much that they allow them to do almost anything. A child can storm in the house with muddy feet, scatter his room topsy-turvy, and even demolish the furnishings. And the parents would say "he's just a child. Isn't he cute?"

In summary, Jesus, our High Priest, deals moderately and gently with us. He does not overindulge us, nor does He turn in indifference away from us. He moderates his anger toward us and bears with our mistakes. He is the supreme ideal of what a high priest ought to be.

Verse 4 notes

This verse now compares Aaron and Jesus.

Verse 5 notes

vv 5-10 expresses the qualifications of Jesus as High Priest. In the previous chapters, the Son of God is what Jesus is called. But now, we will notice that He is now called Christ, which means 'Messiah' or 'Anointed One'. We see His divine appointment. Christ waited for His call to become High Priest. In the Gospel Accounts, we read that Jesus on a few occasions said, it is not my time, or we read how He performed miracles and told those who were healed not to go broadcasting that He had healed them. It was not to be revealed that He was the Son of God until He took Peter, James and John to the mountain and God said, This is my son in whom I am well pleased and Thou art my Son, today I have begotten you.

Verse 6 notes

According to the OT, the high priestly office was strictly hereditary; the priest could come from any tribe. Priests had to be from the tribe of Levi, physically descended from Aaron. But Jesus was neither a Levite nor an Aaronite. How did He become High Priest? Well, remember the qualifications we read in verse 1 and 4. He must be taken from among His brethren and called by God. Jesus was taken from among His people, the Jews. And He was called from God. He literally was sent forth, or begotten, from God. Psalms 2:7 and Psalm 110:4 is referenced in vv. 5 and 6.

Verse 7 notes

"In the days of His flesh" implies that Jesus has/had other days that are not "fleshly days."
"Offered up prayers and supplication"-remember in the Garden of Gethsemane He prayed to God-You can write down Luke 22:42ff as a reference for that. Also on the cross He cried out, My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me? And, Forgive them, for they know not what they do.

v 7b talks about why Jesus' prayers were heard. It says that He was heard because of His reverence. You ever hear people say prayers that are irreverent? Some call God "The man upstairs", or "Jesus, my BFF", or "bless my tummy, bless my feet, bless my food, cuz ims gone eat." This shows a lack of godly respect and piety for the Almighty God. When we are irreverent in our prayers, be assured that God will not hear them.

The word "reverence" in the Greek language is 'eulabeia', and it means 'godly respect, fear for God'. 'Reverence' is not a title. It's a verb. It's what we do, not who we are. Therefore when these so-called religious people call themselves reverend, what are they implying or asking? We do not reverence men, but God only. God does not require anyone to call Him reverend, but we are commanded to reverence Him. There's a difference.

Verse 8 notes

Learning and suffering are linked together. We learn by suffering. How did we learn as children? spankings; falling down and getting hurt; etc.

Verse 9 notes

Jesus was made perfect through suffering. And because of that, on the basis of His sufferings, He was "perfectly qualified" to be our High Priest. He became the source or cause of our salvation.

Verse 10 notes

V. 6 tells us that Christ is a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek. This means that the old order of Aaronic priests has passed away and also that because Christ is a priest forever, no one is coming after Him. There is no other Messiah or Law to come after Christ. There is no "after-Christ" because He is God. God is eternal--He has no beginning or end.

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