Superiority of Christ, Part 1

In our doctrine of the ECS (Edification Complex of the Soul) we have seen Heb 6 where we are commanded to build upon the foundation we have in our human spirit which is in our souls.

The ultimate goal of the Christian should be to bring glory to God:

The only way we bring glory to Him is the process of growing towards, attaining, and maintaining Spiritual Maturity.

The only way we grow to Spiritual Maturity is by building our own ECS.

The only way to build your ECS is to renew our minds by Perceiving, Metabolizing, and Applying the word of God (Bible Doctrine).

The only way you can PMA BD (Bible doctrine) is to utilize the Grace Apparatus for perception.

The only way the GAP (Grace Apparatus for Perception) can function is if you have a Foundation in your soul (Human Spirit).

The only way you can have a foundation/Human Spirit is Faith in TLJC (the Lord Jesus Christ).

The only way you can have faith in TLJC is through positive volition towards God’s word, specifically the gospel message.

The only way you can have Positive Volition is by the Grace of God as a personal gift to you based on his foreknowledge.

So beginning with your Salvation and working your way to Spiritual Maturity, you have equal opportunity to glorify God.  You glorify God when you construct the building in your soul, which we note as the Edification Complex.

In Heb 6:1 we see the command to move on from salvation (that foundation) and grow to spiritual maturity.  We also see the stern warning to those who although they have heard the gospel message and participated in the worship of God, they have become disenchanted with Christianity, and turned back to the ritualistic worship of God and legalism, vs. 4-6, thereby they trample on the propitiation of Christ.  These individuals have a hardening of the heart and the arrogance within their souls so blinds them that they will not be able to break out of the arrogance complex and build the ECS.  They have [now so] rejected God’s provision for their experiential sanctification and because of the bondage of their ritualistic worship they, if continuing in that ritualistic worship, will not be able to be renewed to spiritual adulthood.

So now we will explore in some detail one of the most misunderstood verses in the New Testament.  As a reminder, chapter and verse numbering is not divinely inspired.  Most of the time they are quite helpful in delineating various topics.  But here in Hebrews the chapter break between 5 and 6 has contributed to the misunderstanding of the topic.  And when teaching or learning about Hebrews 6, we really must include Hebrews 5:11-14 with 6:1-8.

We will study many of the words in these verses to gain a better understanding of the meaning.  Whenever you attempt to fully understand a topic, you must do an exegetical study. In addition, you must understand the historical background related to the subject to fully analyze the meaning.  That is what is called Isagogics.  In addition, scripture must be compared with scripture – Categories of scripture, i.e. Doctrines.

Analysis using the ICE (Isagogics/Categories/Exegesis) principle is the compass of the Pastor/ Teacher.  He must apply all three in the analysis of the word of God.  If you want a correct interpretation of any particular detail in the Bible, you must reduce it to a science of analyzing the passage using the ICE principle.  If applying the ICE principle, the interpretation eliminates all discussion as to one’s theological background or personal views.  Applying the ICE principle is playing the game according to the rules, not offering an interpretation colored by whatever theological background or personal opinions the teacher may have.  That is applying 2 Tim 2:15 “rightly dividing the word of truth”.

So lets begin by noting that the book of Hebrews was written prior to 70 AD but after the ascension of our Lord.  In Heb 10:11-12, Priests where still offering sacrifices in the temple.  Therefore, the Temple had not been destroyed yet.  And our Lord is seen seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven after His ascension.  The date of writing is between 33 and 70 AD, most likely 67 AD, 64-68 AD as we saw in the doctrine of salutations.

The central purpose of Hebrews is to prove that a certain proposition was true.  As stated in the following passages, Heb 8:6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.

Heb 7:22, so much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.

Heb 8:7-8, For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second. 8For finding fault with them, He says, “BEHOLD, DAYS ARE COMING, SAYS THE LORD, WHEN I WILL EFFECT A NEW COVENANT WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AND WITH THE HOUSE OF JUDAH; [JER 31:31]

Heb 10:9, then He said, “BEHOLD, I HAVE COME TO DO YOUR WILL.” He takes away the first in order to establish the second. [Ps 40:7,8]  That proposition [being] “The New Testament in Jesus’ blood is superior to and supplants the First Testament in animal blood.”  (Kenneth S. Wuest, Word Studies from the Greek New Testament)

Hebrews wasn’t written to prove that Christianity is superior to Judaism.  Hebrews reveals the reality and fulfillment of the typology shown in the First Testament.  Blood sacrifices were the symbol and type for Salvation and Sin offerings.  The New Testament is the revelation of the types being fulfilled once and for all.

The New Testament is a covenant made with the Jewish nation.  It is not a matter of a choice between Judaism and Christianity [with which the writer is dealing but between:

a)    The type and the reality,

b)    Levitical sacrifices and the substitution atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Hebrews shows the supplanting of the First Covenant with the New Covenant.  Read Heb 9:18 then read Heb 9:15-24.  And, the writer of Hebrews proves the significance of the proposition he advances from two different standpoints.

1)    Hebrews compares the relative merits of the founders of the testaments, arguing that a superior workman turns out a superior product.

a)    Christ the Founder of the New Testament is superior to the founders, under God, of the First Testament, Heb 1:1-8:6.

Who are those founders which Christ is superior to?

1.    The Prophets (1:1-3), [as founders of the first testament, the prophets represented God to man, and spoke His message as it was revealed to them.  But this One (the Christ) who was the Son, being from a far greater realm, had by this same degree a much greater message.  The prophets spoke the message of God; the Son was the message of God.

2.    Angels (1:4 – 2:18), [Christ is superior to Angels, this is proven by quoting seven different Old Testament passages in Chapter 1, and three more in Chapter 2.   Read Acts 1:4-14]

In summary, The Son is greater in two ways:

(a)   He is the Creator; they are creatures (chapter 1).

(b)   He identified Himself completely with humanity (chapter 2).

Angels are always angels so they cannot do what Christ did for man. Angels serve man; but the Son became man in order to serve in a far greater capacity.

3.    Moses (3:1-6), Moses delivered the entire nation from bondage. Christ is even greater. He, Christ is the Architect of the deliverance (3:3).

(a) Moses was a servant in the house, but Christ is the Son (3:5-6).

(b) As the Son is superior to the servant of a house, just to this very proportion was the Messiah superior to Moses.

4.  Joshua (3:7-4:13).  In Heb 4:8 the word “Jesus” is the Greek word for “Joshua”, and so should be understood.

The Greek word is Iesous = Jesus or Joshua.  In Hebrew its Joshua or Jehoshua = “Jehovah is salvation”, Heb 4:8, For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that.

Acts 7:45, And having received it in their turn, our fathers brought it in with Joshua upon dispossessing the nations whom God drove out before our fathers, until the time of David.  Joshua led the nation into the land, but he could not give them rest.

Since a rest was promised, there remained One who is greater than Joshua to come and bring them into a place of rest, because He (Christ) had “ceased from His own works.”  The exhortation is given to the Hebrews to “enter into that rest” (4:11).  And we see that the throne of grace is the place of rest (4:16).  The rest is provided because a greater than Joshua ceased from His own work as God did from His.  The example here is that of God’s rest of creation].  When He finished creation He pronounced everything “very good” and then He experienced a Sabbath rest, Gen 1:31, (The one thing that wasn’t pronounced good was the atmosphere, because that was/is the dwelling place of the fallen angels.)

Then something happened. Sin came into the world, and there was no more rest for God.  Likewise, only after the Lord had a redeemed people, redeemed through blood, did He institute the Sabbath rest for them.  Yet there still was no rest for God.  This is seen by our Lord saying:  “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” John 5:17.  There had been no rest in the Godhead and could not be until there was a completed work.  Only after Christ exclaimed: “It is finished” was their rest.

The angels who were sitting, not standing, in the empty tomb depict the same analogy.  John 20:12 (representing His justice and righteousness; completed work, completely satisfying, able to rest.)

Today Christ sits on high because the work is over.  We can enter into His rest of a completed work.  Have you done this?

4.    Aaron (4:14-8:6), [Here Christ is contrasted to the best in the Jewish economy: Aaron, and the Aaronic priesthood.  But three times it is said of the Son:  “Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”  Melchizedek was a king of a Semitic clan living in and around Jerusalem and a priest of “the most high God” Melchizedek, = “My king is righteousness” was king of Salem (Jerusalem).  Salem means Peace or Prosperity (shalom) Gen 14:18-20

Turn to Psa 110:1-7: “Melchizedek,” is one of the most mysterious figures in the Bible. The priesthood of Melchizedek serves as a type of the priesthood of Christ in at least three aspects.

Three Aspects of the Typology of Melchizedek

a)    In the person of Melchizedek, as is also the case with Christ, the offices of king and priest are combined (Gen 14:18; Heb 7:1)

b)    Melchizedek represents a man] Ordained by God as a priest in his own right, irrespective of genealogical credentials (cf. Heb 7:3), and

c)    The priesthood of Christ is similar in that Jesus was not an Aaronic priest, He is of the tribe of Judah rather than the priestly tribe of Levi (Heb 7:14) The priesthood of Melchizedek both began and ended in himself, i.e., there is no evidence of any priestly lineage in Melchizedek’s family either prior to or subsequent to Melchizedek, and the same, of course is true regarding the priesthood of Christ. ” (Heb 6:20)

Under the first mention principle the word “priest” (kohen) first occurs in the Bible in this account of Melchizedek.  Typically the way a word is first used sets the precedent for its usage throughout the Bible.  And so this usage sets the standard for the ultimate priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ; He is a priest-king.

After the time of Moses These offices were carefully separated in the history of Israel so that the uniqueness of our Lord, the King-Priest could be exemplified and differentiated from the Levitical priests.

[Melchizedek is held to be higher than that of Aaron, for the superiority of Melchizedek was acknowledged by Abraham, Levi’s great-grandfather:  [read] Heb 7:4-10

1.   When he paid tithes to Melchizedek.  Levi, son of Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham, though unborn, was involved in the tithe (7:9).  So Aaron paid tithes to Melchizedek while yet unborn.

2.  When Abraham was blessed by Melchizedek; When Melchizedek blessed Abraham, he was blessing the house of Levi as well. (Heb 7:7), “the lesser is blessed by the better”.

Aaron is a “type” brought forward to show the more excellent glory of the work of Jesus; whereas Melchizedek is “made like unto the Son of God” (7:3), and in Heb. 7:15 Jesus is said to be “after the likeness of Melchizedek”  Melchizedek was both king and priest, and so is Jesus.  No priest in Aaron’s line ever sat on a throne. In fact, the Aaronic priests did not sit down at all (spiritually speaking), for their work was never done.

There were no chairs in the tabernacle or temple! Mark 16:5, John 20:12,

Another significant aspect of the Christ in the order of Melchizedek is that] Mel. was “without father, without mother, without genealogy” Heb 7:3a.  He did not come to the throne because He had a claim on it through descent; He owed it to appointment.

“Without father,” (Heb 7:3), refers to priestly genealogies.

Melchizedek is not found on the register of the only line of legitimate priests; His father’s name is not recorded, nor his mother’s; no evidence points out his line of descent from Aaron.  Yet the Aaronic priests had to defend their office by family records (Neh. 7:64).  Neh 7:64, These searched among their ancestral registration, but it could not be located; therefore they were considered unclean and excluded from the priesthood. (w/ Ezra 2)

The Hebrew saying “quod non in Thora no in mundo”  “What is not found in the Torah is not in the world”. No mother or Father found in the Torah for Me.  They did not exist, he is eternal.

Melchizedek offers an expressive type of Christ [the King-Priest, especially of the Messiah’s work in resurrection, inasmuch as the ancient character offers bread and wine, memorials of sacrifice. (Oh yeah! this is just a coincidence, right!)  Abram had just won a strategic victory against the Chaldoreans? And, then was given bread and wine as a memorial for the victory by Melchizedek.

Christ won the strategic victory in the War of the Angelic Conflict and is now memorialized with Bread and wine.  Christ will in the coming Kingdom age assume both offices in His Person.

The prophet Zechariah graphically shows the typological crowning of Joshua, as High Priest (Zech 6:9-15).   This is a different Joshua, Jeshua.  This is around 538 BC when Cyrus the Great, ruler of the Persian Empire, freed the Jews from their Babylonian captivity.  Zerubbabel, (The head of the tribe of Judah at the time), and Joshua lead the freed nation in the rebuilding of the Temple which was destroyed by fire by Nebuchadnezzar in 586BC.  This significant event foreshadowed the millennial period when Messiah the Branch will “sit and rule on His throne” vs. 13.  Thus, He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices (Zech 6:13); that is, both kingship and priesthood will be united in one Person.

So each was superior to Aaron’s Priesthood because they are:

a)    Not of the Levitical tribe;

b)    Superior to Abraham;

c)    Beginning and end unknown;

d)    Not only priests, but also kings of righteousness and peace.