A study By Timothy M. Youngblood
Copyright © The Master's Table
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First I want to make the point that we do not know who the author of the book of Hebrews was and my research has found that the text is different than Paul's text and style so I refer to the author simply as "The author". It is very important to understand the following study from the book of Hebrews if we are to truly understand the Gospel of Jesus. I believe that one reason many churches are divided is because they have not studied in-depth and understood the great and fantastic points made in the book of Hebrews. What many don't seem to grasp is that the book of Hebrews was written for those that had lived under the old covenant and needed to understand the great plan of God to bring in a spiritual covenant with the grace of God that in it's self would produce good conduct because as I stated in the sermon Law Vs. Grace those that accept Jesus' blood sacrifice would change and do good works out of an understanding given from God's Holy Spirit that sin is harmful and should be rejected for that reason and not just conforming to Laws.
The translators of the Geneva bible of 1560 had an interesting comment concerning the "The author" of the book of Hebrews you might want to read. It is titled "The Argument" which you can find the link at the end of this study.
What is a Covenant?
The definition of a covenant is an agreement, between two or more persons to do or not do something specified. The conditional promises made to Israel by God, as revealed in Scripture was a covenant, and God promised to protect and bless them if they kept His law and was also faithful to Him. With that covenant came laws, ordinance, lands, and the priesthood to enforce the laws, as well as teach, and perform worship services for the people on the Sabbath and the seven annual holy days which came much later. God desired for Israel to grow into a great Nation by using His laws and wisdom to show all mankind what life could be like if all mankind would follow and obey Him.
The new covenant God has made with mankind is the same as the marriage covenant
we make with our mates in that the husband turns his life over to the wife,
and the wife turns her life over to her husband. When we repent of our sins,
accepting Jesus' shed blood, and are baptized, and then receive God's Holy
Spirit by the laying on of hands, we are in fact entering into a marriage
relationship with God, stating that we are willing to turn our lives over
to Him. Some Christians believe they are still under the old covenant to some
extent without truly understanding the statement by Jesus Himself in Mark
1:14-15 14 which states; "Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came
to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, "The
time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe
in the gospel." Just what did Jesus mean by this statement that ministers
love to quote? Well my friend it could just as well have been written as...The
time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand repent, of the old covenant
and believe the new teaching of the new covenant. We find in the book of Hebrews
that this is just what Jesus and His apostles taught. We will get into this
in great detail later in this study.
The Two Covenants:
To understand we need to realize that there are only two main covenants God established with mankind; and the key is to understand that one was physical, and the other is spiritual. The physical covenant had to be structured much differently than the new covenant because, before Jesus came, mankind was cut off from the Most Holy Father. Everything had to be on physical terms and the priesthood was set up to be the mediator between God and mankind. In order to come to the truth about the new covenant we must start out asking if Jesus did away with the old priesthood when He made the new covenant with mankind. Also what would be the reason for changing the order of government when the covenant changed? As stated above, because the old covenant was physical and the new covenant is spiritual. In the new and better covenant Christ is governing His Church not by law, but by love. (This does not mean the Ten Commandments were done away.) As you will see from scripture Jesus is now governing from His throne in heaven.
When did the new covenant start? We read that Jesus brought in the new covenant
at the Passover as recorded in Mark 14:22-24. It states..."And as they
were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them and
said," "Take, eat; this is My body. "Then He took the cup, and when He had given thanks
He gave it to them, and they all drank from it and He said to them,"
This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many." (The old
covenant with physical
Now at Passover we eat the broken unleavened bread resembling the broken body of Christ so we can receive healing in our bodies which can be found in Isa. 53:5. The drinking of wine resembles the shed blood of Christ for our sanctification. So we see with baptism and the taking of the broken body and blood of Christ we enter into a new spiritual covenant with God. We also keep at Passover the example Jesus set for us to wash the feet of those with us. This shows a humble spirit and true willingness to serve and Jesus stated that if He being our Lord would wash the feet of those around Him then we should do the same to one another. John 13:3-14. We MUST always come before God at the Passover deeply realizing the great sacrifice of the Son of God for humankind. Although we can never become worthy of Christ's sacrifice by works or law, we are in great need of it.
The New Covenant:
In this section we will cover the Superiority of Christ's Person, His Superiority over the Prophets, His Superiority over the Angels, the Superiority of Christ's Priesthood, & Jesus' Superiority over Moses and the old covenant.
(Before we proceed however let's go back to see when God made the promise to Abraham and look at some scriptures in the Old Testament concerning Melchizedek.) "When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly." 'Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying:' "As for Me behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you and I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. 'And God said to Abraham:' "As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations." Gen 17:1-9.
(We see that the author of Hebrews also explained this old covenant God made with Abraham before he began explaining the new covenant and how the old covenant had been changed from the priesthood to Jesus as the high priest.) Heb 6:13-20 "For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, "Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you." And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, which means unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek."
Jesus' superiority over the priesthood:
Heb 7:1-8:13. "For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated King of righteousness, and then also King of Salem, meaning King of peace, without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually." (This can only be speaking of a person of the Godhead if He was without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life. Some ministers are teaching that Jesus was not Melchizedek, King of Salem. Gen. 14:18. Some are even stating that Melchizedek was Shem, the great, great, great grandfather of Abraham. Some may ask…Why does it matter if Jesus was, or was not Melchizedek, and why does it matter who Melchizedek was back in the Old Testament anyway?)
(Let’s answer the last question first. Why does it matter who Melchizedek was back in the Old Testament anyway? The reason it matters who Melchizedek was is because it shows that God had established His priesthood even before the Levitical priesthood was born. This shows that the priesthood was, is, and always has been God’s priesthood. The term priesthood means the “office of the priest” and always designates the one that is in charge of the church. God set up the Levitical priesthood or, office of the priest, for man to be a part of it serving the people of God, but God was always the head of the priesthood. When God took the priesthood from the children of Levi by the establishment of the “new covenant” through Jesus the Messiah whom was not a Levite, but a Jew, He did not destroy the priesthood as some suppose. God simply re-established the priesthood of Melchizedek through the One Who has always been the High Priest; the One that became Jesus the Messiah. So we see again from Scripture that Jesus is our High Priest and is the Word of God as is also recorded in John. 1:1;15. And we find in the written word of God that He was re-established as the King of Salem and after the order of Melchizedek. We can also see by the written word that the office of the priesthood must continue throughout eternity, as is recorded in Heb 5:6.)
“As He also says in another place: "You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek"; (also in Heb 6:20.) ”where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” Vs. 4-10 "Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils. And indeed those who are of the sons of Levi, who receive the priesthood, have a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law, that is, from their brethren, though they have come from the loins of Abraham; but he whose genealogy is not derived from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better. Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives. Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him. (Now notice the point here is that Melchizedek had to be God in order for Abraham to pay tithes to Him, and the Levitical priesthood had not yet been born, and notice in vs. 11 what the function of the priesthood was.) 11 "Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood; for under it the people received the law, what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron?" (The point being made here is that the Levitical priesthood was not the beginning of the priesthood and to abolish it is not the end of the priesthood because Melchizedek is the priest and Jesus is Melchizedek. The Jews failed to understand that God is the center of all He does. It seems that we humans always forget that what God establishes or what He might create He also can change or abolish.)
New Note: (March 2013) See DEAD SEA SCROLLS TEXTS Pages 500 ~ 502 Titled "The Heavenly Prince Melchizedek" section11Q13. You can also access the information at the end of this article.
(Now let's move on for more understanding. In vs. 12 of Heb. 7: we see that the priesthood was changed.) 12 "For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law. 13 For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. 15 And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest 16 who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life. 17 For He testifies: "You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. 18 For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness," (Notice the term "there is an annulling? To annul is to make void or abolish; cancel; invalidate; to annul or cancel a marriage. Now continuing in vs.19 we see a better hope, and a better covenant.)
19 "for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. 20 And inasmuch as He was not made priest without an oath 21 for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him: "The Lord has sworn and will not relent, 'You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek' , 22 by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant. 23 Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. 24 But He, (Jesus) because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (Under the old covenant with Israel the people could not go directly to God but had to go through the priesthood. Under the new covenant we can individually go directly to God the Father and therefore the governmental structure has to be on an individual bases and our relationship is a personal one to God the Father through Jesus His Son. Let's continue now in Heb. vs. 26) "For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people's, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever."
(So we see biblical proof here that Melchizedek was the Son of God vs. 5
and established a priesthood before the Levitical priesthood, and came as
Jesus the Messiah vs. 13 & 14 to bring the new covenant to mankind as
God promised so long ago recorded in Jer 31:31-33.
We see that Jesus became the new high priest and we are to look to Him only.
There can't ever be another high priest or priesthood on earth until Jesus
returns. If any man states that we will be lost if we don't belong to their
Church, than they are false teachers bringing another gospel of which God
will destroy because the true gospel points us to Jesus as our savior alone.
Continuing in Heb. 8:1-2) "Now this is the main point of the things
we are saying: We have such a High priest, who is seated at the right
hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary
and of the true tabernacle which
the Lord erected, and not man."
The Superiority of Jesus' Covenant:
(Jesus is the author of the new covenant. Let's read Heb 9:1-10:31.) "Then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary. For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lamp stand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary; and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All, which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron's rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services. But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people's sins committed in ignorance; the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing.
It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience--concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation. But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.
Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, "This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you." Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another-- He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation."
(So we find here that the office of priest was fulfilled in Jesus the Messiah by the Son of God becoming a man so that He might offer Himself as sacrifice "once to bear the sins of many"; so as we see here in scripture there's no longer a need for priests to offer a sacrifice to atone for man's sins. A permanent sacrifice has been made by Jesus the Messiah through His death on the stake. By the New Testament period, the position of priests in the nation of Israel had greatly changed. The Temple functions were taken over by the "chief priests" called the Scribes and Pharisees. These are two special groups that arose to present the Law and interpret its meaning for the people and it was the Sanhedrin, the Jewish high court that was instrumental in the death of Jesus and the apostles. They knew what Jesus preached was of God, and was the new covenant, but they did not want to give up their seat of authority over the people and they knew that the new covenant places Jesus as High Priest, thus giving the people direct access to the Father in heaven. The priest was out of a job! The Sanhedrin still exists today trying to destroy the new covenant Jesus the Messiah came to give mankind in order to release us from the old covenant, and the old Authoritarian hierarchical type of government and to free us to worship God the Father and Christ in true love. Not by force, but by choice! Christ instructed us to never have a hierarchical government over the Church, as recorded in Matt 20:25-27 but many misguided men continue to set up this type of system. Why do they want to put God's people back in bondage? God will judge!)
(We have learned that the new covenant Jesus brought was prophesied thousands of years ago, and is the plan of salvation God the Father has determined to fulfill. Jesus and the apostles were murdered because of the teaching of this new covenant, and those who teach, and keep it alive in the future will have to face the same opposition because those who run these hierarchical Churches will not want to lose their positions of authority as well. The reason we must never turn from this truth to those hierarchical Churches is because they teach another gospel as well as worship other gods. They will lead people away from their true savior, and to themselves thus leading people into the end time great false Church. The Church will be deceived and will go into the false Church in the very near future, and the reason I can say this dogmatically is because of the prophesy in Rev. 18:4 "Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues." The term "Come out of her, MY PEOPLE" reveals that God is referring to His Church, and the fact that this prophesy is yet future, the term "come out " denotes that the Church has to "go into her" in order to have to be called out of her. Please remember we are warned that in the end times many would be deceived and fall away from the truth. The scriptures even state that the truth would offend many. The truth offends because it shines a light on their evil deeds, exposing their false gospel and false doctrines for what they are. We can be sure of this fact brethren; God will destroy those false Churches that lead His people into idolatry and if the ministry does not repent He will destroy them along with their false Churches.)
Mysteries of God:
(King David records in Ps 25:14 that "God will show this secret [mystery] to those who fear Him, and can be stated to those who obey Him." These mysteries are hidden from those who do not obey God or those that worship idols such as the cross, Madonna, Easter, or any god other than the true God in heaven. The mystery is also about the covenant God makes with His People. The real term mystery is a divine truth that one can know only by revelation from God. Denounce these false gods and you very well may see more than you ever dreamed of in this life, and in the one to come. There's a very profound mystery revealed to King Nebuchadnezzar and interpreted by God through Daniel recorded here in Dan. 2:18-47 and this has to do with God's plan of salvation. Notice verses 34 & 44-45. 34 "You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces." Vs. 44-45 "And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. "Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold-- the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure."
This is clearly speaking of the time when the Messiah will rule all nations. We can tie this in with Rev. 11:15 when "the Kingdoms of this world will have become the Kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" Jesus is coming to set up a Kingdom and Government thus proving that the Church is not the Government on earth today as some teach. We read in Isa. 9:6 that the government is on the shoulders of the Messiah not some Church organization. Notice what is recorded in Acts 3:21. It states in part..."The heavens have received Jesus "until" the time of restitution." Restitution is the act of restoring to the rightful owner, a return to, or restoration of a previous state or position. Jesus is the King, and rightful ruler of all the earth and universe. This is what the seven annual holy days given to the Hebrew people picture, and is the mystery that is revealed in the gospels. Jesus explained the mystery of God's kingdom to His disciples, but to others He declared, "All things shall be spoken in parables"; so they could not understand.
Most of the occurrences of the word mystery are in the Apostle Paul's epistles. These mysteries refer to the revelation of God's plan of salvation as that plan focuses on the new covenant Jesus made and is making with those God the Father is calling if they respond to this calling. We read in Rom. 16:25 that the gospel has been a mystery from the foundation of the world. This mystery from the foundation of the world was revealed by God through the prophetic Scriptures to the prophets of old and to Paul and the Church as recorded in 1 Cor. 2:7; Eph. 6:19; and Col. 4:3. We also read in 1Cor. 15:51 how the mystery points to the future resurrection of Christians, and the summing up of all things in Christ and in Eph. 1:9-10; the adding of Gentiles in the Church, and the future salvation of Israel as recorded in Rom. 11:25-27. It states..."For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins."
God's Seven Point Plan of Salvation:
The Old Testament Scriptures teach there are seven annual feasts and holy days that were ordained by God to be observed as special convocations as we mentioned above under the title "What is a Covenant?" It is very interesting that these feasts and holy days portray God's plan of salvation for mankind. Although it is not a matter of salvation if we keep them they do picture the plan of salvation. Paul never explained in any known text the feast days to the gentiles and there is a great deal of information they would need to know in order to keep it the way the Hebrews did. The question I have is why the gentiles were not admonished to keep the feast? Most people don't realize that there are no known text that show if Abraham himself, as well as Isaac, and Jacob ever kept the holy days. The new Testament reveals that keeping the feast was a sign of things to come and Jesus fulfilled them. As the holy days are annual Sabbath days, they may fall on any day of the week (except Pentecost, which always falls on a Sunday). When a holy day falls on a weekly Sabbath, the special observance of the annual holy day takes precedence. God's feasts and holy days are to be observed from sunset to sunset in accordance with scripture. The seven annual feasts and holy days from the Old Testament are as follows:
Old Covenant commanded scriptural date of observance:
1) Passover, 14th day of the first month. Ex. 12:1-14;
2)Unleavened Bread, (7 days) 15th through 21st days of the first month. (The 15th & 21st are holy days.) Ex. 12:15-20;
3) Pentecost, fifty days are counted, beginning with the first sabbath during the Days of Unleavened Bread, The feast is observed on the fiftieth day, which always falls on the first day of the week. Lev. 23:15-17;
4) Trumpets, 1st day of the seventh month. Lev. 23:23-25;
5) Atonement, 10th day of the seventh month. Lev. 23:26-32;
6) Tabernacles, 15th - 21st days of the 7th. month. (The 15th is a holy day.) Lev. 23:33-44;
7) Last Great Day, 22nd day of the seventh month. (A holy day) Lev. 23:36;
God the Holy Father, and Jesus our elder Brother wants us to come to them because we have realized that their ways are full of life, joy, health, and prosperity. They want us to repent because we understand how harmful sin is, and how magnificent it will be to live in their Kingdom they are preparing for us now. They want us to love them because we know they are wonderful and fantastic and their wisdom and knowledge is fantastic, and not for what we think we can get from them. They want our love for them to be just as their love is for us, - unconditional. This kind of love is free love, and when this kind of love is within a family, Church, or nation, no one wants to do anything to harm any of the others, but looks for ways to help, and serve. This is the true gospel and true covenant God desires to give all mankind after death or the resurrection; question is...are we willing to receive it? I pray you will seek and be granted the love of the truth so we all can rejoice together in the soon coming Kingdom with our Father and elder Brother Jesus. Brethren…Keep the faith!
See ~ Scriptural & Historical Order of events from the start of the New Covenant. Covenant timeline
As stated at the start of this study it is unclear as to who wrote the book of Hebrews, however the author most likely wrote the book in Hebrew or Aramaic or what is called Hebraeus. The translators of the Geneva bible of 1560 had an interesting comment concerning the "The author" of the book of Hebrews you might want to read. It is titled "The Argument"
See "The Heavenly Prince Melchizedek" DEAD SEA SCROLL TEXTS.
You can hear sermons on many of these topics at... Audio Sermons.
Regards and may God be with you!
Pray for the Messiah to return soon.
Timothy M. Youngblood
Webmaster of The Master's table