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Hebrews Chapter 5

Verses 1-10: Three qualifications for the Levitical priest are presented (in verses 1-4). First, he must minister in behalf of other men by offering “sacrifices for sins”. Second, he must have “compassion” on those who inadvertently sin out of ignorance. Third, he must be appointed by or “called of God”.

No angel or supernatural power could serve as High-Priest. Only men with the weaknesses of humanity could serve as High-Priest (verse 2; 7:28). The position of High-Priest in the Levitical system was by appointment only. No man could legitimately appoint himself High-Priest. The use of the present tense in these verses would seem to indicate that the Levitical system still was being practiced at the time of this epistle.

In (verses 5-10), the author demonstrates that Christ meets these requirements. He reverses the order showing. First, Christ’s divine appointment (verses 5-6), second in (verses 7-8), His compassion, probably relating His Gethsemane experience (Mark 14:32-42). And third (in verses 9-10), His perfect offering for sin.

Hebrews 5:1 "For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things [pertaining] to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:"

“Gifts and sacrifices”: The first term might refer especially to the grain offerings under the Old Covenant, which were for thanksgiving or dedication. That would leave the second term to refer to blood offerings for the expiation of sins (see Lev. 1-5).

However, “gifts” is used (in 8:4), to refer to all the various sacrifices (8:3). The 3 occurrences of the phrase in the New Testament (8:3; 9:9), employ a Greek construction which expresses a closer relationship between the two terms than is normally indicated by the word “and.” This could indicate that no distinction should be made between the terms, and the “for sins”, should be taken with both.

We know that the high priest in the temple was the only one to go into the most holy place. He was not to go in unworthily, and he must carry the blood with him into the most holy place. This blood was not only for the people, but for his sins, as well.

The high priest was the representative of the people to God. God spoke to the people through the Urim and Thummim which was behind the breastplate worn by the high priest. This was symbolic of God speaking to the people through the heart of the high priest. The people had no direct contact with God at this time, but were represented by the high priest.

Hebrews 5:2 "Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity."

“Have compassion”: This verb occurs only here in the New Testament. It carries the idea of maintaining a controlled but gentle attitude in the treatment of those who are spiritually ignorant

and wayward. Impatience, loathing, and indignation have no part in priestly ministry. Such moderation and gentleness comes from realizing one’s own human frailty. The priest would be reminded of his own sinful humanity every time he offered sacrifices for his own sins (verse 3).

The high priest was not a perfect man, but was chosen of God to represent the people. Aaron was a good example of the weakness of the high priests. He was the first high priest. Even though he was chosen of God for this job, and had actually heard the voice of God, he still built the golden calf which God had forbidden.

Moses was gone to the top of the mountain to receive the 10 commandments from God. Aaron and the people decided that he was not coming back, and they did this terrible thing. We find that Aaron's 2 oldest sons were no better than he was. God killed them for their sin.

Leviticus 10:1 "And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not."

Numbers 3:4 "And Nadab and Abihu died before the LORD, when they offered strange fire before the LORD, in the wilderness of Sinai, and they had no children: and Eleazar and Ithamar ministered in the priest's office in the sight of Aaron their father."

Most people believe this strange fire, that they offered was that they were drunk when they made the offering. This is not in the Bible, however. Some of the other sons of high priests sinned and were killed, but we have already covered that here. It is enough to say these were not perfect men.

Hebrews 5:3 "And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins."

This Scripture should cover this fact that even the high priest was many times guilty of sin.

Leviticus 4:3 "If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the LORD for a sin offering."

Hebrews 5:4 "And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as [was] Aaron."

“Called of God”: A High-Priest was selected and called by God into service (Exodus 28; Num. 16:1-40; 1 Sam. 16:1-3).

Ministry, for the priest, or for preachers today, should not be undertaken as a profession. Those who minister must be called of God. To go into the ministry without God calling you to that job, would be a sin.

2 Chronicles 26:18 "And they withstood Uzziah the king, and said unto him, [It appertaineth] not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto the LORD, but to the priests the sons of Aaron, that are consecrated to burn incense: go out of the sanctuary; for thou hast trespassed; neither [shall it be] for thine honor from the LORD God."

This Old Testament Scripture shows that not even a king could take it upon himself to minister in the temple; God is the only one who can ordain someone to minister. I will give one New Testament Scripture on this and then go on.

John 3:27 "John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven."

We see that even the Christians must be called to be God's children.

1 Thessalonians 2:12 "That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory."

Verses 5-6: With the quotations of (Psalms 2:7 and 110:4), the writer demonstrates that Christ’s Sonship and His priesthood were both by divine appointment (John 8:54). That means that the two titles are titles of subordination, the subordination not being in regard to essence or nature (John 10:30; 14:9, 11), but in regard to the fulfillment of the program of redemption.

Neither office diminishes the eternal deity of Christ of the equality of the Trinity. Both offices had a beginning. It is noteworthy that (Psalm 2), recognized the Son as both King and Messiah. Christ is the King-Priest.

Hebrews 5:5 "So also Christ glorified not himself to be made a high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee."

There are so many Scriptures that pertain to this, that it is difficult to choose just one or two. Jesus Christ (for His stay on earth), was the Son of God. In heaven, He is the Word of God. We know that the birth of Jesus was not a natural birth. Jesus was born of a virgin. The Holy Spirit hovered over Mary and she conceived of the Spirit of God.

It was planned by the Father, Word, and Holy Ghost from the foundation of the world for Jesus to die for the sin of the people. In fact, not only did Jesus not glorify Himself, but all 3 of the Godhead glorified Him. The people were the Word's creation, so it was only proper for Him to save them.

John 1:1-3 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." "The same was in the beginning with God.” "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."

John 1:14 "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."

We can easily see from this that not only are we all, the creation of the Word of God, but that Word took on the form of flesh and dwelt among us as Jesus Christ, The Son of God. He took the name of Jesus, for His stay on the earth, because Jesus means Savior.

Hebrews 5:6 "As he saith also in another [place], Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedec."

(Quoted from Psalm 110:4), from which this whole section is expounded.

This Melchizedec is the same as Melchizedek in the Old Testament. The name is different, because the Old and New Testaments are translated from different languages. This Melchizedek has been a mystery for thousands of years.

Genesis 14:18 "And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he [was] the priest of the most high God."

This Melchizedek appeared to only one man that we know of, and that man was Abraham; the father of all the believers. For us to be a spiritual son or daughter of Abraham, he would have to believe the same thing we do.

If this Melchizedec is an appearance of our Lord, then he would believe the same as believers do. This Melchizedec appeared approximately 2000 years after the birth of Adam. Jesus the Christ Child appears approximately 2000 years after this happening. The King of kings and Lord of lords will appear about 2000 years after the birth of Jesus.

Abraham paid tithes to this High Priest. This High Priest served Abraham the same elements that Jesus served the disciples at the Last Supper, bread and wine.

The Melchizedekan priesthood is discussed in detail (in chapter 7).

Hebrews Chapter 5 Questions

1.What are the 2 things the high priest does for the people in verse 1?

2.Who was the only person allowed to go into the most holy place in the temple?

3.What must he carry with him when he goes into the most holy place?

4.Through what, did God speak to the people?

5.Was the high priest a perfect man?

6.Who is a vivid description of how bad the high priest does sin sometimes?

7.What did He do?

8.What did Aaron's sons do, that was displeasing to God?

9.How did God punish them?

10.Was the high priest above the law?

11.What was the high priest's sin offering?

12.How did they become high priest?

13.Should our ministers today preach for the purpose of making a living?

14.Where do we find the Scripture that tells us it was wrong for a king to do the duties of priest in the temple?

15.Who actually glorified Jesus as High Priest?

16.Why was it important for Jesus to be the one to save us?

17.When was the plan made to save us by the way of the cross?

18.How do we know that the Word is Jesus?

19.What does the name Jesus mean?

20.Jesus was a priest after the order of whom?

21.What is the author's opinion of who this is?

22.Who was the only man that Melchizedek appeared to?

23.Approximately how many years after Adam's birth did He appear?

24.What two elements did He feed Abraham?

25.What did Abraham do that showed Melchizedek's priesthood?

26.What does Melchizedek mean?

27.Why was it important for Abraham to see Him and believe He existed?

28.How many different names in the Bible indicate Jesus?


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