Epistle to the Hebrews (7:20-24)   Leave a comment

Epistle to the HebrewsThis new system was established with a solemn oath. Aaron’s descendants became priests without such an oath,but there was an oath regarding Jesus. For God said to him,“The Lord has taken an oath and will not break his vow:‘You are a priest forever.’Because of this oath, Jesus is the one who guarantees this better covenant with God.There were many priests under the old system, for death prevented them from remaining in office. But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.” Hebrews 7:20-24

It is a new system established by Jesus-Christ. This covenant gives a brand new view to man’s sinful state, to salvation and justification. It’s salvation by grace through faith. This new system came to replace the defective old covenant. Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God is Himself God’s perfect sacrifice. No more bulls’ sacrifice, no more need of priests and to follow the levitical system. He cried out on the cross “It is finished!”

God sealed this eternal covenant with an oath. Why does God Almighty need to make an oath? Most probably to give us humans this blessed assurance that our heart can rest and trust in Jesus Christ the High Priest. His priesthood is perfect, stable and endures forever. There’s no fear that Jesus will one day fail to be our representative, intercessor, mediator and High Priest in front of the Holy God of Heaven. After 1000 years that we dwell in heaven, God will not change His mind towards you and me. Jesus guarantees this covenant between you and God Almighty forever.

The levitical system was well established, God clearly explained to Moses how it should operate. It was a prerequisite that those involved in the priesthood duties should be descendants of Aaron. Did God change His mind when He sent His Son to establish something new?

Of course not.  I’ll need some lengthy materials from Paul for explanations:

Dear brothers and sisters,here’s an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or amend an irrevocable agreement, so it is in this case. God gave the promises to Abraham and his child. And notice that the Scripture doesn’t say “to his children,” as if it meant many descendants. Rather, it says “to his child”—and that, of course, means Christ. This is what I am trying to say: The agreement God made with Abraham could not be canceled 430 years later when God gave the law to Moses. God would be breaking his promise. For if the inheritance could be received by keeping the law, then it would not be the result of accepting God’s promise. But God graciously gave it to Abraham as a promise.Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised. God gave his law through angels to Moses, who was the mediator between God and the people. Now a mediator is helpful if more than one party must reach an agreement. But God, who is one, did not use a mediator when he gave his promise to Abraham.Is there a conflict, then, between God’s law and God’s promises?Absolutely not! If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ.Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed.Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian. Gal 3:19-25

God’s promises to Abraham was not made to his descendants but to his descendant i.e. Jesus. It is true that the Israelites are the biological descendants of Abraham but the real children of Abraham are those who have faith in Jesus.

In the same way, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.”The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God.What’s more, the Scriptures looked forward to this time when God would declare the Gentiles to be righteous because of their faith. God proclaimed this good news to Abraham long ago when he said, “All nations will be blessed through you.”So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith.” Gal 3:6-9

The law given was temporary, it was like a guardian which tried to make us behave rightly. At the same time it showed us that we sinners would be unable to fulfill all of God’s requirements and standards. We were kept by it in “protective custody” until God’s salvific plan was revealed i.e. trusting Jesus for salvation. The law could not save people from their sins but only show them how sinful they were. When faith in Jesus was revealed to be the way of salvation, the law lost it’s raison-d’etre  since it was superseded by a perfect, supreme and final sacerdotal system.

This said, we can now see a clear distinction between the law and faith. Faith has put an end to ALL sacrificial system. No more sacrifice since Jesus is the ultimate and perfect sacrifice who cleansed perfectly our sins. No more high priests since there’re no more sacrifice and our High Priest lives forever! In most religions there’re sacrifices required and things that need to be done to get right with God. Not so with Christianity, there’s no need to do things to get right with God. Jesus did what was needed. No more rules, laws and regulations! Can you imagine what a burden has been removed on our shoulder? 600+ commandments where contained in the law of Moses. Jesus came and gave only 2 “laws” – Love God and love people.

Jesus replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

Paul said in Romans 13:

Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.”These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.”

Is not it simpler to love than to follow rules? If you love people you won’t hurt them so why will you need laws? If you love God, you will do what He desires so why would you need laws? Is not it better to accept by faith that only Jesus can save us and that we cannot do any sacrifice to forgive our sins? Is not it of high importance to know that Moses, Abraham and Aaron were servants but Jesus is God?

Jesus lives forever and holds the permanent office of High Priest(Hebrews 7:24). He intercedes for us when the devil accuses Christians night and day (Rev 12:9) before God’s throne. Did you know that you have an enemy who night and day works and accuses you of your sins before God Almighty?

This is why John said : “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” 1 John 5:12

Without such a perfect Advocate, we would all be damned. It is no longer a man defending our case, but God Himself. If it was a man, the devil would have discredited the human advocate who is also a sinner. Who can thwart or make appeal to God’s verdict of ‘Not guilty’ when Jesus says He paid the whole ransom?

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.” Rev 12:10

The old covenant and the new covenant are as distinctive as a stone and a heart.

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Posted December 8, 2012 by Cedric in Theology

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