Hebrews 4:14-5:14 - Outline of Hebrews (MENU page)
4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest,
that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God,
let us hold fast [our] profession.
seeing then- ie., these things being so...
Thus far, in considering Christ (3:1), we have found Him to be superior to Moses, and to provide a better rest than Joshua.
We will now consider the High Priesthood of Christ (4:14-10:18).
First, we see that His priesthood is superior to the Aaronic priesthood (4:14-7:28).
passed into {through} the heavens-
not merely through the veil into the holiest place, in an earthly temple (as did the OT high priest).
our profession- GK=homologia, lit., ''speaking the same thing,'' confession,
We are to continually acknowledge the truth. What truth?
  • The truth concerning Christ (eg., 3:1-; 10:23),
    which is declared by the testimony & conduct of believers (eg., 11:13). cp. 1Tim 6:12
  • The truth concerning my fleshly weakness,
    which is revealed by the scrutiny of God's Word (eg., 4:12,13; 1Joh 1:8,9).
4:15 For we have not an high priest
which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities;
but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin.
touched with the feeling- GK= sumpatheo, compassion.
Christ can sympathize with our fleshly weakness.
He became a man and experienced the effects of sin (2:17,18). cp. Mat 8:17
tempted- ie., tested...
in all points- cp. the three points of temptation common to all sin:
"The lust of the flesh, The lust of the eyes, and The pride of life." 1Joh 2:16
Satan used each of these in attacking Eve, Jesus, and all men. Gen 3:1-6; Luke 4:1-13
We, like Eve, fail on all three. But Jesus is...
without {apart from} sin- As the God/Man, He could not sin.
But He did not have it easy. He endured pressure, beyond that to which we are subjected, precisely because He was immovable. A ship tossed at sea is less battered by the storm than a ship grounded on rock. Joh 14:30; Heb 7:26
4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace,
that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
therefore- ie., Since we have such a High Priest...
boldly- GK=parrhesia, lit., ''with all speech,'' with freedom of speech.
(Not 'brazenly' or 'flippantly' as the English word 'boldly' might imply.)
We can come 'freely' with complete 'openness,' knowing that He understands.
mercy- applies retroactively for sins already committed. Titus 3:5; 1Joh 1:9
grace to help- provides timely assistance in present & future testing.
He is able to deliver. If we would confess our temptation & weakness and trust Him, we would find rest- even in the presence of our enemies.
Hebrews 5:1-14
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:
vs.1-4 Define the requirements of 'every high priest' in the Levitical Priesthood.
A priest must...
  1. Be a man- 'taken from among men...'
    So that he can represent men before God. '...for men' (v.1,2)
  2. Be appointed by God- 'ordained... to God' (see v.4).
  3. Bring acceptable sacrifices for sins (plural) to God (see v.3).
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.
compassion- GK=metriopatheo, lit., ''measured emotions,'' care without undue harshness...
...on the ignorant- Those who should have known better.
...on the wayward- Those who should have done better. Pro 14:12; Rom 3:12
The human priest, because of his own physical & moral weakness,
can understand the weakness of the men whom he represents before God.
5:3 And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people,
so also for himself, to offer for sins.
Because every human priest is himself a sinner,
he must make sacrifice for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people. Lev 16:1-24
5:4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself,
but he that is called of God, as [was] Aaron.
Every true priest must be appointed by God, not by man, not by self.
Severe judgment falls upon those who usurp this position.
(eg., Korah Num 16:1-35 and Saul 1Sam 13:9-14)
5:5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest;
but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.
{Psa 2:7}
vs.5-10 Demonstrate that Christ satisfies the above requirements for Priesthood.
The following points will be developed in subsequent chapters.
1. Christ was Appointed by God-
A. Not as the multitude of human priests, but as God's unique Son.
The day of this glorification was the day of His resurrection. Acts 13:33
5:6 As he saith also in another [place],
Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
{Psa 110:4}
B. Not as a priest in the common Levitical order (of Aaron), but as a unique priest in a unique priestly order.
  • Melchizedek is mentioned only twice in the OT: Psa 110:4; Gen 14:18-20
  • The Aaronic priesthood pictures Christ's ministry, but the picture is flawed and incomplete. The Melchizedek priesthood completes the picture (as ch. 7 will explain).
  • Jesus could not have been an Aaronic priest because He was of the tribe of Judah, not of Levi. There is no lineage connected with the Melchizedek priesthood. (cp. 7:13,14; 8:4)
5:7 Who in the days of his flesh,
when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears
unto him that was able to save him from
{out of} death,
and was heard in that he feared;
2. Christ, as a man, demonstrated that...
  • He understands our weakness because 'in the days of his flesh...'
    - He was 'touched with the feelings our infirmities' (4:15).
  • He is fit to represent us before God.
    - He offered powerful prayer to God. . . for others. . . for Himself. (v.7)
    eg., Joh 11:33-44; 12:27; Luk 22:44; Mat 27:46,50
    - His prayers were heard, because He feared God.
    fear- GK=eulabeia, lit., to speak well.
    ie., He looked always to God, even in the midst of His sorrows. Psa 27:11-14
    - His own resurrection is a primary example of answered prayer. Psa 40:1-3
5:8 Though he were a Son,
yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
obedience- GK=hupoakoe [hupo- of, by, under; akouo- to hear with discernment, cp. 4:7]
He was, as a man, in submission to God. He conducted Himself according to that which He discerned was God's will, even at the high cost of suffering & death.
The Son, "who had always commanded, learned practically what obedience meant." [HAIronside]
     Psa 40:6-8; Isa 50:5-7; Php 2:7,8; Mat 11:28-30
3. Christ suffered as the sacrifice for sin. (cp. Psa 40:6 above)
(This will be developed in subsequent chapters.)
5:9 And being made perfect,
he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
made perfect- ie., complete, fully equipped as the 'captain' of salvation.
cp. Heb 2:9,10 (where the word for 'author' is trans. 'captain')
Note that salvation is-
  • Eternal. He offers no other kind. Salvation which can be lost is not eternal.
    The One, who is priest 'forever,' secures eternal salvation (cp. v.6; 7:25)
  • For them that obey Him.
    obey- GK=hupoakouo, see v.8 note above. cp. Joh 6:28,29; Rom 10:16
5:10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. {see v.6}
The perfection, or completeness, of Christ as our High Priest will be better understood when compared with the priesthood of Melchizedek (in ch. 7).
5:11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered,
seeing ye are dull of hearing.
vs.11-14 Rebuke the spiritual immaturity of the readers.
of whom...- ie., about Christ and Melchizedek...
dull- ie., slothful, sluggish.
ie., This profoundly important subject matter is difficult to communicate, because of the spiritual imperception of the hearers.
5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers,
ye have need that one teach you again
which [be] the first principles of the oracles of God;
and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
the time- ie., the time elapsed since you first believed.
the first principles- ie., the primary elements, rudimentary principles, the ABC's (eg. 6:1,2).
the oracles of God- ie., God's written Word, Rom 3:1,2
strong meat- ie., solid food.
5:13 For every one that useth milk [is] unskilful in the word of righteousness:
for he is a babe.
Milk is essential for babies. But it is not an adequate diet for mature men.
Believers, who neglect chewing on the Word, stunt their own growth. 1Pet 2:1,2; 1Cor 3:1,2
5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age,
[even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised
to discern both good and evil.
Having rebuked us for our spiritual immaturity (in vs.11-14), the writer now seeks to build us up with stronger spiritual food and exercise. The goal is discernment (cp. 4:12) between good (GK=kalos) and evil (GK=kakos) doctrine. Note that to the untrained ear, these two Greek words sound similar. But their meanings are opposites.

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