Hebrews 7-10

Melchizedek.   Did you know that there is a book out there that purports to know who Melchizedek was, and who his father was?   This will surprise you.
Read Hebrews 7-10                                               2014 blog post
Joshua 10:13  mentions a book not in the Bible called “the Book of Jashar”.   A quick Google search will provide you with several sources of the book, all proclaiming to be authentic.   Within the book you will find that Melchizedek was actually Shem, the son of Noah.   Well, then.   There you have it.   Mystery solved.     There’s only one small problem….the real book of Jashar is lost to history.   In the late 1600’s someone came up with the idea to write their own epistle and call it the “Book of Jashar”.   Over the years, several others have done likewise…including some Jews who wrote a copy in Hebrew…that would make it even more tempting to believe.       Here’s the thing:  we know there was such a book, but we don’t have it anymore.   So, if you read something referencing Jashar as a citable source….run.
“Salem” means peace.   King of Salem is king of peace.   Jerusalem is “city of peace”.   One author who studied ancient names said that the word peace actually means “to consume evil”   I guess that’s one way of looking at it.   From that perspective, the city absorbs all the evil and destroys it, leaving only peace in it’s place.   Places of peace “consume” or “destroy” evil.    That is what Christ did on the cross, right?   Took our sins upon himself and restored the peace.
Since Paul’s opinion of Melchizedek is so high (as he points out, Abraham should have received from others…and yet here he is giving tribute to Melchizedek to offer to God) there are some who believe that Melchizedek was actually Jesus before the incarnation.   This is unlikely to be true, since Melchizedek probably had a family and ancestors…they are just lost to time because the record of them is gone.   There’s no reason to believe that Melchizedek mysteriously appeared on the earth as a priest without explanation, and received tribute from Abraham.
The tithe precedes the law.   The law, which later came through Moses and Levi instructed the people on how and what to give.   But here is Abraham many years earlier giving a tithe.   Clearly the concept and expectation of tithing was in effect before the law was written down.    There must have been an verbal record of law handed down through generations.
Today’s reading is rich, and heavy with meaning.   It would take hours of study just to do a survey of what we read today.    For the purposes of this blog, let me just say the following:
1.  The old covenant (the part that applies to sacrifice, forgiveness and salvation) is finished, not abolished; but completed.   Christ has superseded it with a new covenant.
2.  If we reject the truth that Christ has paid the price for our sins and has filled us with the Holy Spirit, and continue to sin….we forfeit our salvation.    I’m not speaking of unintentional sin here, but wilful, intentional sin.
3.  God has already made us perfect, and we are in the process of being made holy.
One thing caught my eye today:   Paul is encouraging the people not to abandon their faith. (10:35) That’s not surprising, but what is interesting is that these people have already suffered for their belief in Christ.    Some of them have been beaten and thrown into jail (10:33).    It’s a reminder to me that even though we have lived a life of sacrifice and service we should still be careful to keep our faith and relationship with Christ fresh….because even those who had suffered for the Gospel must have had some temptation to quit.     I’m not sure of the exact intended audience of this letter, so we can’t examine one specific town to see why Paul felt as he did.   In fact, it might have been a preventative warning…not addressing a certain behavior, but just a reminder that we need to stay faithful all the way to the end