The Bible tells us that when Christ ascended to heaven, He took up the ministry of High Priest to all who come to Him by faith. "...this man [Jesus], because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood" (Hebrews 7:24).
Jesus is unchangeable! He is the same yesterday, today and forever. As long as you live, He will be your High Priest in heaven, interceding on your behalf. And He will remain your High Priest until you go home to be with Him.
Our High Priest Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, in the seat of authority: "...We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty..." (8:1). Our High Priest has all power and authority at His command!
Jesus is in the Father's presence right now, interceding for us. He confronts our accuser, the devil, and says, "I rebuke you, Satan! This one is mine because he is sprinkled in My blood. He is secure, his debt fully paid. He is set free!"
Yet I believe there is even more for us to learn about our wonderful High Priest's ministry on our behalf.
Two Priesthoods Are Mentioned in the Old Testament
-- the Aaronic Priesthood and the Melchizedek Priesthood.
We know that Aaron, the high priest, was from the tribe of Levi. But Melchizedek -- introduced to us in Genesis 14:18-19 -- was a most mysterious figure. Biblical scholars know very little about him, and there has been a lot of conjecture about who he was. Here is the setting into which the high priest Melchizedek is introduced:
Genesis tells us that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, where Abram's nephew Lot lived, were attacked by a confederated army made up of several kingdoms. This army had plundered the cities' food and other supplies and taken captive many of the inhabitants, including Lot and his family.
Abram, directed by God, took a small army of 318 men and defeated this plundering confederation: "And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people" (Genesis 14:16).
Here is the picture: Abram had just won an incredible victory, bringing down this whole confederated army. Now he was returning home from battle. On the way he met the high priest, Melchizedek, King of Salem, who came out to meet Abram "...and brought forth bread and wine..." (verse 18).
Hebrews tells us this about the high priest: "For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually" (Hebrews 7:1-3).
This sounds like some super-human. He has no beginning or end -- and that means he would have had to be God! Yet I believe Melchizedek is a flesh-and-blood man who serves as a type of Christ.
As the writer of Hebrews tells us, Melchizedek's name means "King of Righteousness," and his title, "King of Salem," means "King of Peace." Now, we call Los Angeles the "City of Angels" and New York the "Big Apple." Apparently, God put His hand upon this man and anointed him to be high priest of Salem, a city affectionately referred to as the "City of Peace."
The phrase "without father or mother" means simply that Melchizedek had no lineage of priesthood, as did the Levitical priesthood. "Without descent" means "without a priestly genealogy." He was not of a "generations of priests," as Aaron was. Rather, he was divinely appointed a priest by God.
The writer of Hebrews also tells us that Melchizedek was "made like unto the Son of God" -- meaning, he was like Jesus in that he had no priestly genealogy: "...our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood" (verse 14).
Jesus' father, Joseph, was not a priest; he had no genealogical line out of Judah, from which the Levitical priests descended. So we see here that Melchizedek was a foreshadowing of Jesus' priesthood. This earthly high priest was meant as a type of our High Priest in glory -- Jesus, King of righteousness and King of peace!
Abram paid tithes to Melchizedek from all the bounty he had taken from the defeated armies. Scripture tells us that, in turn, the high priest blessed him: "And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God..." (Genesis 14:19).
Here is a beautiful picture of the very ministry of Jesus our High Priest. You see, it was the duty and privilege of the high priest to come forth from the Holy of Holies and bless the people. The Lord instructed Moses:
"Speak unto Aaron and his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace" (Numbers 6:23-26). In other words: After the high priest takes the blood into the Holy of Holies, sprinkles it on the mercy seat and waves the incense, then he is to come out, face the people and bless them.
This was the final act in the sequence of the high priest's ministry. He was to emerge from the Holy of Holies, raise his hands and bless the people with the blessing God gave him: "...The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace" (same verse).
This is the unchanging ministry of our High Priest, by God's prescription. Our High Priest Jesus says, "I will cover you with My blood. I will intercede for you before the Father. And I will come forth and bless you!"
It is important to understand that these blessings Jesus bestows on us are not temporal but spiritual: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3).
In the Old Testament, the high priest's blessings were temporal. God promised to bless crops, livestock, cities and all the people's activities. It was all physical, with no spiritual dimension, such as we have today -- because the veil had not yet been rent in two. Yet because we walk in a spiritual realm today, the blessings we receive are spiritual in nature.
You may ask, "Doesn't God bless us with outward, physical blessings?" Yes, at times God does bless us with material things -- but only as they produce a spiritual outcome! Any material blessings that draw our heart away from Jesus can quickly be withdrawn.
Sadly, many believers think of God's blessings only in terms of material things. They pray, "Lord, lay Your blessings on me. Load me down with Your benefits!" Yet, inwardly they think, "I want a newer car, a nicer apartment, better furniture, more money in the bank."
The Lord does take good care of His children. He told us to seek Him first, and that all our necessities for living would be provided. However, Christ's blessings to us are primarily spiritual!
When the Old Testament priest spoke this blessing to the people, it was not just a wish for them. He didn't say, "I wish you peace. I wish the Lord to shine His face upon you..." No -- the blessing was backed by the full power of God!
"And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them" (Numbers 6:27). This means, "The priest will speak with the full authority of My name -- and I will honor it. This blessing will have the power of My Godhead behind it!"
Likewise, when Jesus our High Priest blesses, He does not just wish us good. He pronounces His blessing with authority -- and it is done!
You Must Understand That Our Lord Jesus
Delights in Blessing His People!
Many Christians think God delights only in chastising and correcting us. No! The Bible tells us He takes no pleasure in disciplining us. On the contrary, Jesus says, "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32). He assures us, "I'll give you everything you need -- because My heart is set on blessing!"
Nowhere in the Bible do we ever find Jesus cursing anyone. (The only thing He cursed was a fig tree.) No preacher, apostle, prophet or shepherd in history ever blessed people more than Jesus did. He pronounced blessings everywhere He turned!
Consider the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5. Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed are you who mourn. Blessed are the meek. Blessed are you if you hunger and thirst after righteousness. Blessed are the merciful, the peacemakers, the persecuted, the reviled." Everywhere Jesus turned He pronounced, "Blessed...blessed...blessed..."
He took children in His arms and blessed them. He blessed those who held feasts for the poor, crippled, lame and blind: "...thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just" (14:14). "...he lifted up his hands, and blessed them" (24:50).
It touches my heart deeply that Jesus' last words before He left His disciples were words of blessing. Luke says Christ "...opened their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures" (Luke 24:45) -- and then "...he blessed them..." (verse 51).
At this point you may be thinking, "I can understand how the Lord would bless children, or new converts, or even Christians in poor countries who need miracles just to have food on their table. I can see how He would bless imprisoned believers in foreign countries, miraculously providing them with glorious revelations of Himself.
"Yet, I can't understand those kinds of blessings for myself. I just don't think I ever live up to the light I have received. I feel God is mostly displeased with me. I don't feel worthy of His blessings."
Beloved, I hope you understand by now -- you'll never be worthy of God's blessings! No one earns His blessings. Rather, He comes out to us -- strictly in His mercy and grace -- and blesses us with spiritual blessings beyond our comprehension.
I am a father of four children, all of whom are married and have children of their own. Whenever my children face any kind of difficulty, I do not get angry at them. On the contrary -- I am delighted when they call on me. Whether I can help them by providing prayer, counseling or financial blessings, I take great pleasure in reaching out to them and blessing them.
How much more does our Lord Jesus delight in blessing His children in their time of need? He tells us, "You earthly fathers know how to give good gifts to your children. How much more does your heavenly Father want to bless you?" (see Matthew 7:11).
Yet some of the most blessed people in God's house are blind to their blessings. They do not see or discern the great things the High Priest has given them -- and thus they don't enjoy them.
For example -- you may look around in the body of Christ and see other Christians who seem more talented and blessed. Some can memorize and quote whole passages of Scripture. Others can can preach, teach or sing to God's glory. You say to yourself, "How blessed they are by God. But, poor me! I don't have the brainpower to memorize God's Word. I don't even have the ability to remember a sermon. I don't have any of the gifts my brothers and sisters have to serve God."
Beloved, you don't know how blessed you are! Are you poor in spirit? Is it difficult for you to rejoice or even to smile? Do you mourn over your weaknesses? Do you lament over seeing no spiritual growth in your life? Do you grieve because you feel inadequate, left out, unneeded?
Jesus says, "You are blessed! You have nothing to be proud about. And in that way, you serve Me best -- because My strength rests in your weakness! I can use you more readily than all others."
What a blessing this truly is! Jesus never said, "Blessed are the strong, the happy, the self-sufficient, the forceful." No! Our Lord blessed the weak, the reviled, the persecuted, the downcast -- those who are considered nothing in the eyes of others. He is saying to you, "You know you have great need of Me -- and therefore you are blessed!"
Our High Priest Has Blessed You
With the Blessing of Abraham!
Paul writes: "So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham" (Galatians 3:9). What is this blessing of Abraham?
James tells us, "...Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness..." (James 2:23). Abraham believed that he was in right standing with God, even though he was still being sanctified.
Beloved, this is the blessing of Abraham -- the knowledge that we are justified by faith! "That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith" (Galatians 3:14).
This blessing is the knowledge that Jesus paid with His blood to blot out all our sins and iniquities. The Father credits Jesus' own righteousness to us, and we are made right in His eyes. We don't have to try to work to earn God's favor. Instead, we are to trust and believe in the finished work of Jesus on the Cross. And even though we still struggle -- even though we sometimes fall and fail Him -- we have right standing with Him as we continue in faith and repentance.
David understood this and was able to enjoy the blessing of Abraham: "Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputed righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin" (Romans 4:6-8).
As we are being blessed by God with the blessing of Abraham, our faith begins to expand. Soon we see and believe that the same Christ who justifies us gives us power to overcome sin. God says to us, "Now we're going to work on your holiness and sanctification. But you must understand that in the meantime, you are secure in Me. You are My child -- and I'm going to keep you from falling!"
Has the blessing of Abraham fallen upon you yet? If you fully accept Christ's righteousness by faith, then you are blessed with faithful Abraham and David. Indeed, you are one of the most blessed people on earth!
Yet, millions of Christians have neither heard nor believed this. As a result, they live their whole life in spiritual poverty and fear. They do not know what it is like to lay their head down at night with peace. They sin and confess, sin and confess, repeatedly. They have no security, no strength, no knowledge.
God wants such Christians to lie down in His arms, knowing they are completely justified in His presence! Having the blessing of Abraham means having absolute confidence that Jesus is continually sprinkling His blood on us. It also means giving Him a constant, saving faith. We are to come to Him, saying, "Lord, I know I am Your child and that You will not cast me away. I know I've failed You and sinned against You. I've got dirt on my feet. But I come to You now to be cleansed. Cleanse me, Lord!"
There is yet another aspect to this blessing of Abraham. It includes trusting in the Lord to be our shield. You see, God made a covenant with Abram: "After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward" (Genesis 15:1).
The Lord gave Abram this blessing as he was on his way back from battle. Some biblical scholars believe Abram was greatly fearful at this time. He may have thought the Asiatic kings would regroup and come against him while he had only 250 men. Or, he may have thought he would be attacked by the Canaanites, who had seen him grow strong while dwelling in their land.
We have to remember also that Abram had been promised by God he would be the father of many nations. Here Abram might have been thinking, "Look at all the time that has passed, and still I have no son. Now I am surrounded by mad armies and by people who feel no mercy toward me. My family, my heritage, is in jeopardy. I don't see any evidence of God's promise being fulfilled."
Have you ever been in this place? Perhaps you have been slandered on the job. Maybe your home life is miserable. Your prayers go unanswered. Or perhaps a close friend has betrayed you. You've prayed about it for days, weeks, months -- but nothing has happened. You say to yourself, "I don't see any evidence of God's blessing. On the contrary, I feel dejected and despairing. What can I do?"
Numerous times I've gone to prayer and had it out with the Lord! I've cried, "Father, You know there are some very important things I haven't seen come to pass. When are You going to answer my cries? Why are You waiting? Don't You hear my prayers at all? I have no more tears left. I believe Your Word -- but I don't see any evidence of Your blessing. Lord, where are You?"
Abram was in just such a fearful condition when the high priest Melchizedek came out to meet him. Scripture says: "After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram..." (Genesis 15:1). This verse means, "After Abram looked around fearfully at the enemies surrounding him...after he felt dejected, that he hadn't made any progress...the Word of the Lord came to him...."
The first thing God told Abram was, "Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward" (same verse).
In this single verse, God has given us the secret to the greatest blessing any believer could ever have! You see, the first thing our High Priest Jesus says to us when He comes out to us from the Holy of Holies is, "Don't be afraid!" He sees our fearful condition and assures us, "No devil or demon in hell can touch you. You are under My blood -- and you are not to fear!"
"...I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward" (Genesis 15:1). The actual meaning in Hebrew for shield here is "protector, defender." This verse means, "I will be your champion. I will fight for you!"
The Lord is saying to Abram, "Go ahead and look at all those armies surrounding you. I will be your defense against them all! Nobody can touch you -- because I am your shield. Entrust your life and future into My hands. If you will turn to Me as your source of fulfillment, I will reward you with more peace, more joy, more completeness than you have ever known!"
Indeed, this same verse tells us the Lord is much more than a shield to us. He is also our exceeding great reward! God says to Abram here, "You will have your son, and he will be a joy to you. You will rejoice for a season that I have fulfilled My promise to you, and that your seed has come. But I want to be your heart's reward, Abram! Even when you see My promises fulfilled, your son will not be your reward. No -- I will be the One who fulfills your deepest needs!"
God knows all about human nature. He knew that Abraham would have a great measure of joy when he got his son. Abraham could then say, "God did it! He promised this to me, and He kept His Word." Yet God also knew that Abraham would not be totally fulfilled when the child came. He would still have an inner hunger, a restlessness, an unexplainable need that no human could touch.
Isn't this what happens to us when we finally get the thing we've wanted so badly? All along we think, "If only I can get this one thing, I'll be happy. It will make my life wonderful. It will end all of my problems."
No, it won't! And you need to settle it once and for all: There is no man, no woman, no pastor or evangelist who can touch that deep need in you. We all have this same need: It's the need for total dependency on the Lord! And it can't be met by a mate, a child or a friend. Only the Lord Himself can fully satisfy our deepest need.
That is the spiritual blessing! Our High Priest says, "If you really want to know the secret of My blessing -- it's that I'm what you're looking for. I am your reward -- your answer, your blessing!"
The Surest Evidence That the Lord's
Hand of Blessing Is On You Is That
Others Are Being Blessed Through You!
God said to Abraham, "...in blessing I will bless thee...in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed..." (Genesis 22:17-18). He was saying, "The reason I'm blessing you, Abraham, is so that you can bless all the nations!"
Obviously, very few of us are called to bless entire nations. But each of us has a circle of family, friends, colleagues and coworkers. How many in your circle are being blessed by what the Lord is doing in you? Is Jesus' glory in your relationship with Him overflowing to those around you? Are your friends and family being blessed by Christ in you? Whom have you blessed lately?
When you start blessing others in the midst of your trials, you'll know that God's hand of blessing is on you. This is what happened with David. When his enemies showed him no mercy, he testified, "Let them curse, but bless thou: when they arise, let them be ashamed; but let thy servant rejoice" (Psalm 107:28). David cried out to God for help and blessing as his enemies cursed him.
Jesus commands us: "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you" (Matthew 5:44). If you can keep this word, you are surely blessed of the Lord!
Finally, those who are being blessed are being drawn ever closer to the Lord. God never blesses without drawing that person closer to Himself, urging, "Come closer to Me." That is more of the blessing -- increasing nearness to Him!
Perhaps you're still wondering, "I see no evidence of God's blessing in my life. My life isn't marked by any of these things you've mentioned. How can I have God's blessing?"
I ask you: Do you love His Word? Do you love coming to His house with other believers? Does your mind keep running to Jesus throughout the day? Do you talk to Him? If you can answer "yes" to any of these questions, you can rest assured: He is drawing you, blessing you!
Rejoice, dear saint! If you find yourself lacking in the gifts you see in others...if you hunger and thirst for more of Him...if you are weak, broken, grief-stricken, mourning over your sin, you can rest assured -- your High Priest is blessing you with all spiritual blessings. Come to Him in faith. He delights in blessing you!
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This data file is the sole property of World Challenge. It may not be altered or edited in any way. It may be reproduced only in its entirety for circulation as "freeware," without charge. All reproductions of this data file must contain the copyright notice [i.e., "Copyright © 1999 by World Challenge"]. This data file may not be used without the permission World Challenge for resale or the enhancement of any other product sold. This includes all of its content with the exception of a few brief quotations. Please give the following source credit: Copyright © 1999 by World Challenge, Lindale, Texas, USA.
This material is solely for personal use and is not to be posted publicly on other web pages. The Lorain County Free-Net Chapel holds exclusive rights from World Challenge, Inc. to publicly post these messsages on its web page. You are free to download, copy, print and distribute this material, so long as you do not post it on a different Internet site. You may, however, link this site to reference these messages.
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