In the last article we considered how that a sinner could not be made perfect under the Levitical priesthood. Therefore, there was a change needed in that priesthood. That change was to revert back to the order after Melchisedec. If the priesthood changed, and the Law of Moses did not, what would have been done with all of the instructions concerning the Levities under the Law? Obviously, the whole system of offerings would change. There would be mass confusion. So, there had to be a change in the Law. Thus, our text under consideration in this article is the following: “For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law” (Hebrews 7:12).
Most people don’t like change, that is especially true with big changes. The Jews held fast to their way of life. Not only did they esteem Moses highly (John 5:35-47 and John 9:28-29), they even had their own customs that they held to very strongly (Mark 7:1-9). To illustrate these facts, notice what happened when many, including the priests, obeyed the Gospel of Christ: “And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith. And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God. And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council, And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us” (Acts 6:7-14). As you likely know, the end for Stephen was not good. If you continued reading into the next chapter, Stephen was stoned to death (Acts 6:15-7:60).
The inspired penman of this letter is trying to get the recipients of this epistle to reason. If you consider the evidence above, you should be able to understand how hard it was for first century Jewish Christians to fully walk away from the Law of Moses. Whole congregations erred because they could not fully let go of the Law of Moses and see the better things in Christ (Galatians 1:1-6:18). To prevent further apostasy, these truths needed to be grasped.
The change from the Law of Moses to the Law of Christ was profitable for all of humanity. When Paul and Barnabas preached at Antioch in Pisidia, this was part of the message delivered to the Jews that were present: “Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent. For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him. And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre. But God raised him from the dead: And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people. And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David. Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption. Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses” (Acts 13:26-39).
There was a weakness that came with the carnally focused Law of Moses (Romans 8:3). Jesus is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth (Romans 10:4). However, those Jewish Christians who continued in the Law of Moses did not attain the law of righteousness in Christ (Romans 9:31). They could not have part of the Law of Moses and part of Christ (Galatians 5:1-4). If they could see and accept the changes in the priesthood, they then needed to accept the change of the Law.
To us, this is a no brainer. Why were they struggling so much? They were foretold that they were going to be under a new covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34). Shouldn’t they have been prepared for the change? Take some time to think about how people often struggle with accepting something new, even if it is better for them. This is where we should take time to think about ourselves.
As Christians, we are told to examine ourselves (II Corinthians 13:5). If you were a first century Jewish Christian, would you have resisted the change in the priesthood and the law? Is it possible that any of us or all of us get stuck in things we are accustomed to and are unwilling to consider positive changes? Of course it is possible. We are not going to face a new law (Matthew 24:35). However, sometimes lawful things are not expedient (I Corinthians 10:23). Remember the Jews when it comes to considering lawful changes (Romans 15:4)!
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