DEVOTIONS FROM HEBREWS
By Henry Jaeg
TO PERFECT UNDERSTANDING
For when God made promise to Abraham because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made a high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. (Hebrews 6:13-20)
In considering these closing verses of chapter 6, we notice that Paul wasted no time in considering the subject that he began in chapter 5:10. "Called of God a high priest after the order of Melchisedec. Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing".
We are now about to discover these "hard things to understand".and t seems evident, that these Hebrew Christians are now ready to progress forward in their understanding. There are some things we cannot always determine from Scripture, and that is the time and details that took place prior to receiving this new subject. We must remember, that Paul is entering a new transitional area where he presents Christ, not only as greater than the angels and the prophets, but he is now addressing the subject of Christ priesthood as being superior to that of Aaron.
We might think that it is strange by so abruptly changing the subject, but evidently Paul thought nothing harmful in that approach. He perceived that they were now ready to hear the message that he began so he proceeds in his explanation...
What he is addressing in these verses, is the subject of "an oath”. The reason he does this is that when he quoted the passage from Psalm 110, he saw it and explained it as an oath given by God concerning His Son. What that means, is that declaration was important enough from God to be considered more than a promise but an oath. So, we ask, what is an oath and why is it important?
He begins at the time when he made promises to Abraham. Abraham's faith in God led him simply to take God at his word without requiring any collaboration (or backup). Abraham's faith was anchored to whom he knew God to be and that he was a God who never failed to keep his promise. That was good enough for Abraham but as we think of it in a practical, personal sense, sometimes we think we need more than that.
Then Paul goes on to explain the details of an oath. Try to understand it this way. Let's say, two men are entering into a contract. In order to gain the trust of the other, one man in order to back up his promise tells the other, if perchance, something happens and I fail in my promise, I have 100 cattle that I will give to you in order for you to gain my trust. Now the one who made that offer can only have authority if he owns those cattle. Once the other party to the agreement knows that, he can confidently agree to the terms.
The verse continues and tells us concerning the oath when God had nothing greater to offer to Abraham to confirm his faith, he offered himself. Abraham believed that it was all he needed to have for him to trust God. You may ask, "where are we going with this?" Simply this.
Jumping to the promise that God made and confirmed in Psalm 110, we see that God made an oath concerning a priesthood that would be greater than any priesthood devised by man. It was a priesthood began with God and confirmed, once again, like in the case of Abraham with the promise with himself being the collateral. Now, what is the sum of this? God has ordained that a greater priesthood than that of Aaron has been determined in the mind of God. That kingdom was seen in the historical person of a man named Melchizedek, who visited Abraham after his battle with the Kings. As far as we know, this is the first priest mentioned by God in Scripture and he referred to a king who was part of an eternal kingdom rather than a material one.
In the message simply was this: Jesus was ordained to be the greatest priest who ever lived and in his priesthood would be superior to any human kingdom or priesthood.
In completing these words we must consider that this Jesus, ordained by God, confirmed after the order of Melchizedek becomes an anchor to our soul. That means that when we place our trust in him, it is like an anchor cast on the rock for security and when we place our faith in this anchor, we have this assurance and confidence that he is there when we need him.
Having said that, we are now about to approach the question of why? In chapter 5, we discuss the question who.