“For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.” (Hebrews 7:28 NIV)
Previously we detailed the relevance and difference between promises and oaths. Yahweh spoke powerful promises to the Levitical Priesthood; but to His Son He swore an oath. The Oath was spoken through King David in Psalm 110:
“The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.’” (Psalm 110:4 NIV)
Hebrews 7:20-22 reads:
“And it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any oath, but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him: ‘The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever.”’ Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant.” (NIV)
The Mosaic Law ordained the line of Levi and specifically the line of Aaron for holy and priestly function. These were men set apart through pedigree and outward rituals and cleansings. They serviced the Old Covenant Mosaic Law, using the blood of bulls and goats.
Centuries later, Yahweh swore an oath establishing the new and greater Priesthood of Christ. The Priesthood of Christ, based on the Book of Genesis’s Priest Melchizedek, was sworn into existence as to displace and replace the old order Levitical Priesthood and the Law it serviced.
The Melchizedek Priesthood of Christ is a new and better priesthood serving a New and Better Covenant — the wonderful New Covenant cut within the person of Jesus Christ and offered through men and women who are united with Him in that pact.
“Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” (Hebrews 7:23-25 NIV)
Since Jesus is an eternal being, He makes the ideal Priest. He both starts the intercession process in a person’s life and then finishes it. He draws the person to the Father, saves the person’s soul, cleanses him, fills him with the Holy Ghost, puts him in Christian community, disciples him, and sends him into ministry as a priest within the multimembered Priest (and priesthood of) Jesus Christ.
The Hebrews text states that Jesus always lives to intercede. Though that’s completely true, it’s not as most have assumed. The intercession of Christ is not happening in humanity’s time and space paradigm, but has already occurred in the “it is finished” world of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. On the cross Jesus spoke, “It is finished,” and that’s exactly what He meant. In one incredible and sacrificial act, Jesus accepted all mankind’s judgment and curse, and then died with it all. He then allowed humans to place their faith in His perfectly righteous life, thereby being endowed with His righteousness. “He always lives to intercede” means Jesus lives in His resurrection body as PROOF POSITIVE that all who die in Christ’s death come alive and live forever in His resurrection. Jesus finished all sickness, punishment, curse and poverty on the cross. He resurrected from the grave three days later without sickness, poverty or curse. Through identification with Christ, believers gain all that Christ is: righteousness, holiness, wisdom, authority, sonship, health, inheritance and more. People receive Christ’s intercessory work when they, by faith, step into the IT IS FINISHED world of Jesus Christ.
“Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.” (Hebrews 7:26-27 NIV)
The prime function of the Levitical Priesthood was in offering sacrifices, millions and millions of sacrifices for Yahweh’s chosen people. All the sacrifices were types and shadows of the one true sacrifice to come. The Lord Jesus Christ came to the earth as mankind’s Perfect Sacrifice. But this sacrifice didn’t remain dead; Christ arose from the dead as a prophetic forerunner to those the sacrifice was offered for. They, too, would rise from the dead, all members of the Last Adamic Man (1 Corinthians 15:45), the Body of Christ.
“Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.” (Hebrews 8:1-2 NLT)
Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Heavenly Father, literally becoming the Right Hand or “Power” of God. Jesus’ priestly and intercessory work is found within the sanctuary/temple of God, for the sanctuary/temple of God, and through the sanctuary/temple of God. Apostle Paul declared:
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16 KJV)
Redeemed human beings are the Household of God, the Sanctuary of God, the Tabernacle of God, the Church of Jesus Christ. Manmade buildings, temples, organizations and cathedrals are not the Lord’s House. For the past 2000 years the House of the Lord has been the Body of Jesus Christ alone.
“Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer.” (Hebrews 8:3 NLT)
The sacrifice Jesus offered was His own Body, a living sacrifice to atone for fallen humanity. There is no longer need for sacrifices and offerings that lead to salvation or redemption, but only those that spring forth from salvation and redemption. Humble people become sacrifices and thank-offerings to the Lord for that which has already been accomplished through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Apostle Paul said:
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (Romans 12:1 KJV)
“If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: ‘See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.’” (Hebrews 8:4-5 NIV)
Jesus was the blueprint for the Mosaic Law, Levitical Priesthood and the Tabernacle in the Wilderness. The Heavenly Father was looking at and describing His Beloved Son in types and shadows to Moses, who drew a sketch — the Torah — so God’s holy nation could get to know Christ’s personality and nature and ways. Eventually when Jesus, Abraham and Israel’s rightful Heir, would step onto His terrain, Yahweh’s people would naturally recognize, know and worship Him. This didn’t occur. The nation lived by and worshiped only the sketch drawn by Moses and not the living Christ it pointed to.
“But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises. If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it. But when God found fault with the people, he said: ‘The day is coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and led them out of the land of Egypt. They did not remain faithful to my covenant, so I turned my back on them, says the Lord. But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.’” (Hebrews 8:6-10 NLT)
The weakness of the Old Testament is that it depended upon humans to interpret it, dispense it and obey it. And humans are notoriously faulty. Instead of the Law creating a people who loved Yahweh more and loved each other more, it widened the gap between people and God, exposing the sin and failure of priest and layman alike. Instead of the Mosaic Covenant making people holy unto the Lord, it separated people from Him and created a paradigm that separated people from other people who didn’t think exactly alike (denominations behave similarly).
The strength of the New Covenant is that it depends solely upon Jesus Christ to interpret it, dispense it and obey it. And Jesus Himself is God Almighty. The believer dies with Christ in His death, and is raised with Him in His resurrection (Romans 6:1-11). He is filled with the Spirit of Jesus, then discipled, led and made fruitful with the gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit. He is deemed righteous, holy and pure, a beloved son to the Heavenly Father. The New Covenant in Jesus’ blood makes people holy, completely one with the Lord.
The New Covenant in Jesus’ blood is far superior to the Old Testament Law. And the priesthood of Jesus/Melchizedek is far superior to the Levitical Priesthood. Men and women’s proclivity to live by law, preach law and listen to men and women who purport law is unfortunate. Old Covenant style law will continue until people take a stand in the blood of Jesus and refuse to live by any other force save Jesus Himself. People’s adherence and dependence upon law, including the religion of Christianity’s external regulations and practices that supposedly make people holy, rests upon the fervent hearts and zealous obedience (and sometimes religious spirits) of men and women who vainly profess to live by such precepts. They set themselves up as spotless Christian examples, gaining ignorant, pride-driven and fear-driven disciples by the bucket-load, but are really leading people into “doctrinally correct” but eternally fruitless ditches.
Most Christians today live by Old Testament or Old Testament-style laws thinking that God requires such. These people have been lied to. Jesus Christ was the end of all law and the beginning of one new and eternal law and paradigm: LOVE.
“By calling this covenant ‘new,’ he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.” (Hebrews 8:13 NIV)
Jesus Christ is God’s New Covenant for humanity. It is He who enters the minds and hearts of seeking men and women, giving them new minds and new hearts — minds renewed to Yahweh’s thoughts, hearts passionate with Yahweh’s passion. The New Covenant in Jesus’ blood is the link between the Heavenly Father and the race of mankind. The New Covenant is sanctification, reconciliation and absolute freedom for seeking sons and daughters. Those who enter by faith into Christ become part of God’s New Covenant Flesh, members of the Heavenly Father’s family.
The Old Covenant is Ma Bell, analog, eight-track tapes, roller skating parties, drive-in theaters, hair bonnets, Chrysler Plymouths and sitting around singing, “Give me that old time religion.” That stuff is old and aging. In due time, there will no longer be a trace of old order religion or law. In due time, Christ will be known and loved as all religion and all law. Jesus is the whole of Yahweh’s belief system, value system, financial system, expectations and eternal Kingdom. Everything else is obsolete and aging and will eventually disappear.
Know the Lord
“No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:11-12 NIV)
When Jesus went to the cross, mankind’s sin was forgiven: all of it. To receive that good news and accept God’s forgiveness is salvation. When a person receives Jesus’ sacrifice and forgiveness, the door to relationship with the Heavenly Father is opened. Intimate fellowship with Christ and God can begin when a man or woman awakes to the fact that no sin or punishment is standing against them. Sin separates, but forgiveness opens the door to relationship.