Christianity is not one religion among other equals. It’s not even one of an elite group of valid religions. It is the uniquely true, valid, and singular way to God. The Jewish Christian audience to who the writer addressed his remarks needed to really “get” this. But it remains an important matter for modern Christians today lured by popular ideas, strong cultural trends, avoiding social ostracism, or even the Athenian lust for novelty (Acts 17:21). This is the point of the book of Hebrews and the writer in our reading today continues to pile more and more evidence to drive this point home.
The Messiah, the new Melchizedek — 7:1ff
One argument that some Jewish Christians may have had to answer, and which may have caused them a little concern, is the question of priesthood. Here the writer of Hebrews not only assures his readers of a priesthood, but like in the rest of the book, he demonstrates how the Christian high priesthood was superior to the Jewish priesthood. Jesus, as Messiah, was of the prophesied priesthood of the order of Melchizedek (Psa. 110:4) — superior to the Levitical priesthood as demonstrated by Abraham paying tithes to Melchizedek and receiving a blessing in return (Gen.14:17-20). As the writer’s argument progresses in our reading, we find that His priesthood is superior because: it is greater than the order of Aaron (the Levites), it is eternal, and it takes place in the real Temple in Heaven.
Ushering in a new covenant — 8:6
And where there is a change in priesthood, there must also be a change in covenant. Here is where many Jews stumbled hard, the idea of an new covenant. The trouble is was that it was unthinkable that regardless of how faithless Israel might become, God would ever abandon His cove neat with them. And according to Romans 11 He still plans on incorporating Israel again. But there is a new covenant that mustn’t be ignored, because it is the only way to salvation.
The perfect purification — 9:1ff
And where there is a superior high priest offering His own blood, the purification and sacrifice is clearly superior. The references through this section talks both directly and indirectly about the clear superiority of Christ’s sacrifice, which should comfort all who have ever been haunted by their sins — the cleansing agent is the mighty, powerful, infinitely effective blood of the Son of God! No sin is too great for Jesus blood to cleanse and atone for!
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.