14/08/16 Hebrews 5:5-11 “A better priesthood after the order of Melchizedek

Last time we saw that because mankind, even good men, could never be good enough to satisfy an infinitely holy God, then there had to be a way past this seemingly impossible hurdle, that of the universal penalty for sin.

Romans 3:23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Therefore, unless a way could be made to overcome this barrier, then mankind was forever stopped at this stumbling block of sin. What man needed was an intercessor (an advocate) to plead his case before a holy God. In the Old Testament, the high priest, after pleading his own case regarding his own sin before God, was then permitted (even required) to plead the case of all his people – Israel.


The Old Testament high priest (after the order of Aaron – Hebrews 5:4) still had his own sins to be atoned for. Once his sins were dealt with, he had to make atonement for the sins of the people by the blood of bulls and goats.

Leviticus 16:14-1914 And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle [it] with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times. 15 Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that [is] for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: 16 And he shall make an atonement for the holy [place], because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness. 17 And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy [place], until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel. 18 And he shall go out unto the altar that [is] before the Lord, and make an atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put [it] upon the horns of the altar round about. 19 And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.


atonementkaphar (literally to cover over with pitch; to cover over; to make peace with; propitiate; to make atonement for sin) Thus the blood was to cover (make atonement for) their sins. That is, it covered their sin, hid it from the sight of a holy God, but the blood of the offering which was to atone for their sins, could never actually take away one single sin.

Hebrews 10:4For [it is] not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.


Thus, the Old Testament high priestly sacrifices and duties were not perfect, in fact, far from it. Now the writer has to lead us toward a “better” priesthood, in fact, one after the order of Melchizedek.

Hebrews 7:11If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need [was there] that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?

At this point, Christ provides better priesthood after an order of priesthood greater than that of Aaron; He is a priest after the order of Melchizedek.


Hebrews 5:5So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. (Psalm 2:7)


We looked briefly at Hebrews 5:5 last week, that Christ did not make Himself a high priest but was ordained as such by His Father; that Jesus Christ was taken from among men, experienced their infirmities, understood their needs, offering Himself for their sins, having been called by God to this ministry. It was not personal ambition that prompted Jesus to take on this high priestly ministry. Thus, Jesus prayed: not My will but Thine. He as the Son of God did nothing of His own desiring, but instead the will of His Father.

John 5:19; 3019 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. …. 30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.


Hebrews 5:5 can be compared with Hebrews 1:5 where the quote from Psalm 2:7 is used to emphasise the Father-Son relationship.

Hebrews 1:5For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?

We also see that just as Aaron didn’t take the honour of high priest for himself, but was called by God to serve, Christ also didn’t take this of Himself but likewise was called by God to be High Priest.


Hebrews 5:6As he saith also in another [place], Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

from Psalm 110:4The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.


Melchizedek was king of Salem (generally identified as Jerusalem) and a priest of a higher order than Abraham (such that Abraham gave him tithes). His name means “king of righteousness”. Not one priest of the Old Testament was ever a king, and not one king of Israel or Judah was ever a priest, but Melchizedek was both priest and king; both titles are also applied to Christ. The bringing forth of bread and wine can be seen also as a type of the Last Supper of Christ.

Genesis 14:18-2018 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he [was] the priest of the most high God. 19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed [be] Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: 20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.


Salem at some stage became Jebus (after the Jebusites had apparently taken it) – see Judges 19:10. When King David took it, it seems to have already reverted to its original name of Salem (“peace”) by becoming Jerusalem which means probably either “possession of peace” or “foundation of peace”.

Salem is also known as the dwelling place of God.

Psalm 76:1-21 In Judah [is] God known: his name [is] great in Israel. 2 In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion.


order – due or right order; post, rank or position held in civic affairs;  
Barnes says –
The word rendered order … means, "a setting in order — hence arrangement or disposition. It may be applied to ranks of soldiers; to the gradations of office; or to any rank which men sustain in society.

Thus Melchizedek is shown as being of a higher rank, position or order than Abraham. Abraham was in great favour with God, thus of high rank or order in service to God, but Melchizedek was of even higher rank or order, thus “better” than Abraham. And therefore Christ likewise is being depicted as a High Priest of the highest rank or order, “better” than all others.


(for) everaion (for ever, an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, eternity) This is another statement of the eternalness of Christ, another theme that is developed more fully further on in Hebrews.


Hebrews 5:7Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;


prayers – a seeking; asking; entreating; entreaty to God or to man. Can be translated “supplications” (and is translated as such 6 times out of 19 New Testament occurrences).

supplications – literally “an olive branch” (suppliants approached the one whose aid they would implore holding an olive branch entwined with white wool and fillets, to signify that they came as suppliants); supplication. It’s where we get the saying “to hold out an olive branch” when offering terms of peace with another person.
http://idioms.thefreedictionary.comto do or say something in order to show that you want to end a disagreement with someone. An olive branch is traditionally a symbol of peace.

This is the only occurrence of this word in the New Testament.


It was in the days of His flesh, that is, incarnate, as a man, that Jesus had put aside His godhood and had come in all the weakness of a man, one of His creation.

John 1:14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Christ, while yet a man who could feel all the pain and anguish of facing crucifixion, knowing that His Father could save Him from (or “out of” – see further down) this death even at this late stage, offered up the following prayers, not with fear in His heart, but with godly or reverent fear in His submission to the will of His Father.

Matthew 26:37-4237 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. 39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou [wilt]. 40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed [is] willing, but the flesh [is] weak. 42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.

John 12:27Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.


from – out of, from, by, away from. Because Jesus had gone to Jerusalem with the intention of dying on the cross ….

John 10:17-1817 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

….. He knew what was ahead, knew He was going to die on the cross, knew His Father would turn His back on the Son (“My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”), knew He would be put into the grave, men having put God to death in the flesh. Was His offering up of prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears actually a pouring out of His emotions to the Father God who would raise Him from the dead after three days? That is, the prayers were unto Him who was able to save Him (or raise Him) out of the death He was now facing?


feared –a reasonable shunning; reverence (especially toward God); godly fear; anxiety; dread) Some translate this as being delivered from fear. However, the word can also mean godly fear or reverence, and is translated in its only other New Testament occurrence as “godly fear” in the following:

Hebrews 12:28-2928 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: 29 For our God [is] a consuming fire.
Ellicott says that it should read “reverent fear”, saying
here the interpretation given by all the Greek Fathers, followed in most of our English versions (and in the margin of the Authorised itself), certainly deserves the preference over that which, through the influence of Calvin and Beza, found its way into the Genevan Testament, and hence into the Bishops’ Bible and the translation of 1611.


Hebrews 5:8Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;


Though Christ were the Son whom Hebrews Chapter 1 portrays as equal and co-existent with God, not in any way inferior or less God than the Father …..

Philippians 2:6Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

….. yet He learned (= to be increased in knowledge) to be obedient to the Father with whom He was equal to in every way, yet also by His choice remained subject as an obedient Son of the Father, …..

1 Corinthians 15:28And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

….. demonstrating his obedience through His cup of suffering.

Matthew 26:42He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.

Also see Luke 22:42Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.


Christ as God could not have fulfilled completely God’s requirements to be high priest, for only as a man would He understand in order to have compassion on us.

Hebrews 5:2Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.

And only as a man would He be able to understand our weaknesses especially including our strong tendency to give in to temptation to sin.

Hebrews 4:15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling (sympathy) of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin.


learned He obedience – Christ may not have learned to be obedient, as He was already the obedient Son of the Father, but rather He learned about obedience.

John 8:29And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

This viewpoint says that Jesus learned about the suffering of mankind through His obedience, that it was obedience itself that touched Christ with more of a feeling of our infirmities, through His vicarious suffering for us on the cross.


Hebrews 5:9And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;


perfect – to make perfect, complete; accomplish; bring to an end; bring to fulfillment, especially prophecy. This is the same word as used in Hebrews 2:10

Hebrews 2:10For it became him, for whom [are] all things, and by whom [are] all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

Christ’s eternal salvation was the result of being made the perfect Saviour, having fulfilled all the requirements His father had set for Him to obey.


author – that which is the cause of anything. Thus, Jesus is the cause of eternal salvation being for all them who in turn are obedient to Him.

eternal – could mean that man can have eternal salvation, but also likely to be seen as connected to “Thou art a priest for ever” (Hebrews 5:6) and in contrast to “in the days of His flesh” (Hebrews 5:7). That is, His priesthood (in providing salvation) is forever, and His salvation thus is provided for all mankind for all time (forever), not just for the short days of His flesh, but forever.


Hebrews 5:10Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.


called – to speak to; to address. This is a different word to that translated “called” in Hebrews 5:4 which there means more of an appointment or call to office. This word means that Christ was so addressed or spoken to by the Father, that is, given the word. This is the only occurrence of this word in the New Testament. We see a similar usage in the Old Testament Hebrew in Psalm 110:1. In verse 4 of this same Psalm we see where the above quote in Hebrews 5:10 comes from.

See Psalm 110:1; 41 The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. ….. 4 The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.


Hebrews 5:11Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.


This verse, while part of this message today, actually connects the previous verses with the following verses, such that the context continues to flow along like a river.

That is, we have many things to say of Christ who is called of God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.


hard to be uttered – difficult to be explained.

dull – slow; sluggish; dull.

That is, because they are slow or sluggish in their hearing, and therefore probably slow in understanding, they have received this teaching slowly and were consequently slow in believing. This is leading into the problems associated with those who were slow to hear, understand and believe: they weren’t growing in their faith in Christ, but were wandering about aimlessly on the first level (“first principles” – Vs 12) all the time.

Instead of getting solid food, they were like babies continually, always needing the milk and not the solid meat of the Word.

Consequently this is followed by a discourse on such immature believers, and what needs to be done for them lest they fall away, never to be renewed again (Hebrews 6:6).


This is a great weakness in the church today, that those who do indeed come to the cross of Jesus for salvation, pray the sinners’ prayer or similar, never get any further than this. Good solid teaching has given way to easy take-away style sermons that are easy to digest and do not trouble the thinking much, if any, at all. Pastors now, instead of speaking out on serious issues, avoid such, concentrating on messages that won’t offend. It would be a shame, after all, to upset too many people with straight talk on sin and its consequences, because there mightn’t be as much in the offering plate and the pastor’s lifestyle might be reduced. That really would be a shame! The church today, instead of being in the business of educating the world about a holy God and sinful man, is now simply people-minding, keeping them happy with what teachers tend to do at the end of school terms: T.C.A. – Time Consuming Activities, activities that fill in time, keep the class happy, and keep the teacher from getting too stressed out.

If the church were to educate people, then some might fail, so don’t make the standards too high, in fact, keep the standards so low that everyone can pass them. Then everybody can be a “good Christian” yet still able to enjoy the world as well. The church then becomes just a big social club, with people attending for social benefits, because they certainly aren’t going to find out much about God at such places! Take a look at how Rick Warren “educates” people …..



Discover what a sinner wants out of life and give it to him ‘in Jesus’. In a chapter in The Purpose Driven Church entitled ‘How Jesus Attracted Crowds’, Rick Warren states: The most likely place to start is with the person’s felt needs...this was the approach Jesus used...A good salesman knows you always start with the customer’s needs, not the product.”

(Rick Warren, Purpose Driven Church, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995), p. 219 & 225)


Concluding their weak gospel presentations, many church growth preachers lead their audience in a model ‘sinner’s prayer’. Warren advises sinners that, Real life begins by committing yourself completely to Jesus Christ. If you are not sure you have done this, all you need to do is receive and believe...bow your head and quietly whisper the prayer that will change your eternity: ‘Jesus I believe in you and I receive you.’ Go ahead. If you sincerely meant that prayer, congratulations! Welcome to the family of God.” No conviction of sin, no repentance, no forsaking of the sinner’s way, no counting the cost – just ‘accept and receive’ and the job’s done. Do these false teachers actually understand the true need of the sinner?

(Rick Warren, Purpose Driven Life, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), p. 58-59)


Doctrine has been trivialised and expositional preaching abandoned, leading to the introduction of multitudes of false converts and shallow members. A former Willow Creek counsellor admitted Willow Creek is a mile wide and one-half inch deep.”

(G.A. Pritchard, Willow Creek Seeker Services, (Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI, 1996), p. 268)


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