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Hebrews Chapter 5

Heb 5:1 …Every high priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. (NIV)

The high priest's function is primarily to represent mankind's best interests in matters related to God, especially in the arena of reconciliation. And he must be a human being. No angels are allowed to hold that job because they cannot relate to human beings any more than human beings can relate to an oak tree or a dandelion.


Heb 5:2-3 …He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people. (NIV)

The Aaronic priesthood is staffed by mortal flesh and blood men who sin just as much as their parishioners. So they too have to be purified by sacrifices just like any other sinner. But that keeps them humble too. If your priest is a sinner, he's more likely to go easy on you rather than crashing the wrath of God down around your head and blowing his top. After all, the high priest is only human himself. People who are too *perfect* tend to be somewhat strict with others.

The reason given for the high priest offering sacrifices for his own sins is the very same reason given for the parishioners: ignorance and going astray. And both are regarded as weakness. That is puzzling isn't it? How could he be ignorant? After all, he's the high priest. If anyone is supposed to know the score, it would surely be him. So that word *ignorant* must imply something far more serious than merely being uninformed.

Paul said that he received mercy from God because he acted in unbelief and ignorance.

1Tim 1:13 ...Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. (NIV)

And Jesus asked his father to overlook the actions of the world when he was crucified because they did it in ignorance.

Luke 23:33-34 ...When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, Luke 23:33-34 ...When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals— one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. (NIV)

The ignorance of the priesthood, and the ignorance of the masses, is an ignorance related to spiritual IQ. So mankind, by nature, is spiritually stupid, and that's the sad truth of it— whether clergy or layman makes no difference. It's truly a universal malady. Mortal minds struggle to relate to God, and they have trouble understanding what makes Him tick. So they just quite naturally get all screwed up when it comes to spiritual stuff.

God's spirit has the power to rescue mankind from its spiritual stupidity; and from its tendency to rebel against God.

2Pet 1:3-4 …His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (NIV)


Heb 5:4 …No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was. (NIV)

That is extremely important to note. The office of high priest isn't a career choice. It's a closely regulated appointment personally supervised by Almighty God himself. This is one of His pet projects and heaven forbid that any man should pursue a personal ambition to become a priest of the Aaronic order merely because he decides to go for it. The office of high priest is staffed by draftees, not by volunteers. The candidate must be recruited— hand picked by the Almighty Himself; and the candidate absolutely has to be one of Aaron's blood kin male descendants; no exceptions.

Num 3:10 ...You shall make Aaron and his sons responsible for observing their priestly duties; and any outsider who encroaches shall be put to death. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

Mormonism has two degrees of priesthood, and one of them is the Aaronic Order; which is a blatant fraud unless priests can prove they are Hebrew males genetically related to Aaron.


Heb 5:5-6 …So Christ also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father." And he says in another place, "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek. (NIV)

A second degree of priesthood in Mormonism is the Order Of Melchizedek. I'm sure you can see right off that Mormonism is blatantly fraudulent in that priesthood too because Melchizedek's order is a *high priest* kind of order who's sole occupant is, once again, hand picked by God. I say *sole occupant* because only one man at a time may occupy the high priest's position; just like Catholicism has only one Pope at a time.

There's a major point of difference between Aaron's order and Melchizedek's. A man selected for Aaron's order has to be a male Hebrew genetically related to Aaron. But a Melchizedekian priest's genetic lineage is unimportant. However, only one man at a time can occupy the office of High Priest. So Mormonism is in gross error on that point because it appoints many, many males to both the Aaronic Order and the Order Of Melchizedek who serve simultaneously rather than one at a time.

Part of Heb 5:5-6 is a reference to another Psalm.

Ps 110:1-4 ...The Lord said to my lord, “Sit at My right hand while I make your enemies your footstool.” The Lord will stretch forth from Zion your mighty scepter; hold sway over your enemies! Your people come forward willingly on your day of battle. In majestic holiness, from the womb, from the dawn, yours was the dew of youth. The Lord has sworn and will not relent, “You are a priest forever, [after the manner of Melchizedek.] (1985 JPS Tanakh)

Just as Aaron was hand picked for his job; so Jesus was hand picked for his; which tells me that God is perfectly satisfied with Messiah's priesthood and therefore it is okay to trust him with our future. We'll look into the order, or manner, of Melchizedek more in chapter 7.


Heb 5:7-8 …During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered. (NIV)

During Jesus' public ministry, there were several attempts made on his life; but via prayers and obedience; he escaped them all by God's providence.

From the wording in that passage, we might conclude Jesus was disobedient until such a time as he *learned* to be obedient. That's a bit misleading since the Bible clearly says he never disobeyed God (John 8:29, Heb 4:15, Heb 7:26-28, 1Pet 2:22). No; what God's word learned, from first-hand experience, is what everybody else has known all along even from the days of Adam— it is very difficult to be faithful to God as a human being.

That's what makes Jesus such a good high priest. He didn't live a sheltered life up in heaven's gardens, nor come down here as an angel— aloof, insulated, and indifferent to the plight of mortals. No, he came down here, not only among the Jews, but as one of the Jews, and got a good dose of the world from a Jewish human being's experience.


Heb 5:9 …and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.. (NIV)

Wasn't Jesus perfect already? Yes; but he wasn't a valid atonement until death. In that respect he was imperfect (or rather: incomplete) as regards redemption until he perished on the cross. The righteous lifestyle Jesus lived down here on the planet was all well and good for himself, but was of no value to anybody else until the man who lived that righteous life was put to death in proxy for Man's sins.

So Jesus is now the source— or rather; the causative: Greek aitios (ah'-ee-tee-os) —of eternal salvation. However, although he is the savior of all men, he becomes *your* savior only at such a time as you yourself become confident that Jesus' crucifixion is able to rescue sinners from the wrath of God.

John 3:14-18 ...Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. (NIV)

[In order to get the drift of John 3:14-18, it's first necessary to be familiar with an historic incident that occurred in the 21st chapter of the book of Numbers. For additional comments regarding that incident, and how it relates to the effectiveness of Jesus' crucifixion, please Click Here.]


Heb 5:10-11 …and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek. We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. (NIV)

Though the author of the letter to Hebrews was no doubt duty-bound and inspired by God to write it, I can sense reluctance in his tone-- not because his audience lacked enough spiritual acumen to keep up. No, nothing like that. The Greek word for "dull" primarily means sluggish, i.e. lazy, slow, and/or indifferent, i.e. a lack of interest. In other words, he knew that the recipients of his letter would likely be bored to tears by his discussion of Jesus Christ's association with the high priest order of Melchizedek, and would resist making an honest effort to understand it.


Heb 5:12a …In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. (NIV)

Less than 10% of the world's Jews today are Orthodox. The overwhelming majority are secular, even in the country of Israel. That is tragic indeed. The Jews were given the privilege of accumulating the knowledge of God, and of being the source of that knowledge to the Gentiles. But of late, Gentiles are actually doing a much better job of disseminating that knowledge than Jews. The author's Jewish audience actually had a very poor grasp of their own Scriptures— if any grasp at all. They were old enough that they should have been capable of teaching Gentiles but couldn't pull it off because they just didn't know the Bible well enough themselves to do it. That condition still exists today, so that this Hebrews letter is just as pertinent now as when the author penned it.

Heb 5:12b ...You need milk, not solid food! (NIV)

Nobody starts out in life with tee-bone steaks and corn on the cob. It's a pretty level playing field in that respect. Little children, the baby ones, don't have teeth, so their diets consist mainly of liquid and/or mushy foods. But toothless babies are not the end-all. It's a totally abnormal child who stays an infant and never grows up.


Heb 5:13-14 …Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (NIV)

In this case, distinguishing good from evil doesn't concern moral issues. No, it's the experience we gain as growing children to know which foods are good for us and which are not so good; e.g. adults are fully aware that it's not wise to attempt to live on a diet consisting of only Doritos and Krispy Kremes. That could lead to serious deficiencies; and put one's health at risk. If kids were left to themselves, no doubt many of them would live on animal crackers and gummy bears; and think nothing of it. The author's Jewish audience was just like kids in respect to knowing what foods are good for them and what foods are not so good for them. Thus, their knowledge of the Scriptures was so poor and inadequate as to be stunting their spiritual growth like a malnourished child; and rendering them unable to handle concepts appropriate for their age.


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