A priest forever

mount-edgcumbe-house-420056_1280Hebrews 7:17: For it is testified, “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”

This is a direct reference to Jesus in his priesthood role. The writer of the book of Hebrews took the pain to enlighten us that though Jesus by natural lineage had nothing to do with the house of Levi, (to whom belonged the priesthood, though his cousin John the Baptist came from there), he was ordained to be priest spiritually.

God created another rule/route different from the legal rule/route of Moses, as outline in the books he wrote. That rule was a prophetic rule.

Through David it was declared that there is one coming in the order of Melchizedek who will be a priest forever (Psalm 110). That verse from which the writer of the book of Hebrews derives the words of the focus verse were messianic.

Jesus even quoted it as referring to the messiah (Matthew 22:42-46). And that must have been the consensus understanding in Israel. Even the Pharisee who had a preoccupation with the scriptures (though with the wrong motivation) and taught Israel agreed with the interpretation of Jesus that the chapter in the Old Testament was about the Christ. The point is: the coming Messiah, was also a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.

As for how valid the prophetic word was, the bible says God does nothing except he reveals it to his servants the prophets (Amos 3:7). God uses his word as the light to show us the way he wants to go (Psalm 119:105), to point to the way he was going to take in his operation on the earth, the way he has set things, the same thing he did in the first verses of the bible (Genesis 1:1-3)

Remember the mount on which Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James, and John, that Moses and Elijah was standing with him, iconic men of the Old Testament, iconic men of law and the prophetic (Matthew 17:1-9)?

As the Lamb the law referred to Jesus, and a Priest John the Baptist identified Jesus as the Lamb of God (John 1:29), and laid hands on him (Luke 3:21), just as the priest would do according to the Old Testament. But we needed the prophetic ministry of David of the tribe of Judah who was the progenitor of Jesus, to point to him as a priest; there was no such provision in the old covenant.

The job of the writer of the book of Hebrews was to display Jesus (who brought a new covenant, a new order in the relationship of God with man) as greater than anything the Old Testament have to offer, in the men and the structure of things. Getting down to it, he said that while the old priesthood was established without an oath, the priesthood of Jesus was established by an oath, God binding himself to it in absolute irreversible commitment. There was no such commitment of God to the Old Testament.

Jesus comes with an irreversible, unchanging mandate to be a priest. Therefore, the bible says that Jesus forever lives to intercede for us (Hebrews 7:25), i.e. to stand in the gap for us, to serve as our means into everything God, everything divine (Ephesians 2:18). The bible says Jesus’ divine power has given us everything for life and godliness through the knowledge of him (Jesus) who calls us to his own glory and goodness (2Peter 1:3).

While as Lamb of God he made a sacrifice once and for all (Hebrews 10:10), as priest his work is ongoing, eternal, in a continuum, in an endless work of maintaining our access to God, as a mediator of the new covenant (Hebrews 12:24), who has an undying nature, and he is able to minister eternal life to us, since you cannot minister what you do not have. He sustains us by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:3).

Because he is priest he has also made us priests (Revelation 1:6). We are his body, so we are who he is. He is who we should be, being the way, the truth and the life for us (John 14:6). As the way he leads up along, showing us the right way, he brings us to God; as the truth he brings God to us; while as the life he lives in us being the life-giving Spirit.

As a priest he needed to have something to sacrifice. And Jesus sacrifice himself, the whole dynamics of that is in the realm of the mystery of God, right up there at the level of the incarnation of Jesus. So if you can believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, just as it was prophesied that a virgin will get pregnant and give birth to a son and it happened just like that, you can believe in the eternal priesthood of Jesus, how he offered his own blood to God (Hebrews 9:24-26).

Jesus is a priest forever by the word of God, just as everything we see on the earth. The bible says in the first verses of the bible, everything in nature was made by the word of God, by divine determination. What God declares is.

The challenge is to realise the riches we have in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1: 15-21) and not like the Israelites desiring to go back into bondage, choosing the rule of Pharaoh and rejected the rule of God through Moses (Numbers 14).

After God delivered them from bondage in Egypt, where there was death, stagnancy, disappointment, hopelessness, limitation, they wanted to go back, rejecting life, progress, power and purpose, they ought to experience in God. That is difference between the Old and New Testament in which Jesus is now our priest. Paul called the Old Testament, the ministration of death (2Corinthians 3:7).

With the law, the Old Testament, the people went about in cycles, of years and months, with regular rituals, but in the priesthood of Jesus we move progressively into oneness with God, from glory to glory, from faith to faith.

It cost Paul a lot to move into the new of God having rejected all that he knew as a well taught Pharisee (Philippians 3:4-14), committed to the Old Testament as anyone was. He was confronted with the truth about Jesus, how he is the new thing. Then he jumped ship and was established as a crusader for the truth of Jesus.

But he paid the prize in persecution, he suffered the loss of all things, saying it was so that he may gain Christ and be found in him not having his own righteousness which is by the law by through faith in him.

While the majority of the Jews wanted to hold on to the rituals handed down to them in the tenets laid out by Moses, Paul embraced a new order set in Jesus. He was rejected because of that, but he did not care as long as he was accepted by God. He was not disobedient to the heavenly vision (rejecting the earthly outlines of rules, regulations and rituals), but pressed on and refused to be stopped.

But the children of Israel did not want to move into the land of Canaan, and they came up with all sorts of complaints against moving forward, desiring to draw back.

The writer of the book of Hebrews said he was assured that his audience, are not those who draw back to perdition but believe to the saving of the soul (Hebrews 10:39). Those who press on into Jesus from whatever background, and past, will experience him as high priest which is the ultimate there is.

God told Israel said that he allowed them to be hungry in the wilderness so that they will know that man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Deuteronomy 8:3). Life proceeds from the mouth of God, and that is what we experience in Jesus, the priest forever (John 6:68).

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