Facing Today: Not Your Average Bible Study
- Thursday, May 12, 2011
Reread 6:13–20. God’s promise to us, like His promise to Abraham, is guaranteed with an oath (6:19–20). This oath involves God appointing Jesus as a high priest (7:17, 21), as well as Jesus entering the inner sanctuary behind the curtain in the temple, where God is in His “holy of holies” (6:19). The sacrifice was offered before God Himself in the heavenly temple, which was represented on earth by the tabernacle and, ultimately, the temple in Jerusalem.
Hebrews 6–8 draws from the story of Abraham (called Abram at the time) and his 318 trained men who defeat King Chedorlaomer and a coalition of other kings. These kings had invaded the city of Sodom, where Abram’s nephew Lot was living. After Abram defeats the kings, the kings of Sodom and Salem come out to thank him. Read the rest of the story in Gen 14:17–24. Pay special attention to the actions of the King of Salem, Melchizedek. Salem is where Jerusalem was eventually built.
How does Melchizedek’s blessing of Abraham (Gen 14:17–24) relate to God’s promise to Abraham in Gen 15?
God has a plan. The story of Abraham and Melchizedek in Gen 14–15 provides the backdrop for the Christ to come, according to the author of Hebrews. What is God doing today that may provide a backdrop for His future plans? (Think about what the Son of God is currently doing for us.)
Continue to reflect and pray through these questions throughout your week.
Hebrews 7–8 (ESV)
For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace. He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever.
See how great this man was to whom Abraham the patriarch gave a tenth of the spoils! And those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to take tithes from the people, that is, from their brothers, though these also are descended from Abraham. But this man who does not have his descent from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior. In the one case tithes are received by mortal men, but in the other case, by one of whom it is testified that he lives. One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him.
Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. For the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.
This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life. For it is witnessed of him, “You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.” For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.
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