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of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” There has been a ready application of this passage to
. the corruptions of Popery—and justly so, as its leading terms sufficiently indicate-but the connexions of the passage show that a door may be opened for "seducing spirits and doctrines of demons,” where nothing so gross, in the perversion of Christianity, as Popery is in question. In the last verse of the 3rd chapter, the whole blessed ground-work of faith is presented in “ the mystery of godliness:” “And without controversy great is the mys
" tery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” And the next thing stated is, that " in the latter times some shall depart from the faith,” etc. The connexion of the two is striking enough, and full of warning, if the division of the chapters is disregarded.
But in the establishment of that kingdom to which the Melchizedek priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ looks forward, not only will the Church be delivered from Satan's power in conflict in heavenly places, as now, but Satan himself will be cast down from his position, and no longer be allowed to control the springs of
power on high, as “ the prince of the power of the air," and, with his emissaries, as "the rulers of the
" darkness of this world.”
That which the Melchizedek priesthood especially sets aside, is apostate power on earth, and Satanic power, or " wicked spirits in the heavenlies.” The one illustrated in Nebuchadnezzar, the first head of Gentile universal empire, and the first of whom we read, who used that power for the compulsory establishment of false religion; but more fully disclosed in the destruction of the fourth beast on account of the blasphemies of "the little horn," which makes way for the setting up of the kingdom given to the “ Son of Man" by " the ancient of days." Of this kingdom it is said (Dan. vii. 27), “ The kingdom
and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High.” The other, viz., the setting aside of Satanic power in the heavenlies, is marked in the declaration, the Lord shall
so punish the host of the high ones that are on high (as well as] the kings of the earth upon the earth.” And the same thing is more fully seen in the casting of Satan and his angels down, so that “their place is not found any more in heaven;" and in his subsequent binding and being cast into the bottomless pit.* Rev. xii. 7-9, compared with xix. 19. to xx. 3.
Until then, the display of heavenly dominion must of necessity be circumscribed, and the channels of heavenly blessing be impeded. For " while Satan has the power, and while those hold the possession, subject to his power, sorrow, discord, and death, are the sad and unwelcome companions of man's voyage; he is seduced to every folly; he is but as the convict in the ship, its guidance and its power are in other hands.” But when “ the Most High God” is known as "possessor of heaven and earth,” where shall be the tempter then ?
66 Not in heaven: the Most High possesses that: not on earth; the Most High reaches in His possession to that; and the very ends of the earth shall feel the blessing of His pervading comprehensive blessedness.”
When this wide sphere of heaven and earth shall be thus cleared—whether of “the gods many and lords many," that have held sway therein, or of those that have destroyed the earth—and, as in Solomon's kingdom, “ there is neither - adversary nor evil occurrent," this blessed priest of the Most High God will come forth in the full display of His Melchizedek glory, “King of Righteousness,” and “ King of Peace,” the supreme and universal minister of blessing in heaven and earth.
It is not that power had not been in the hands of Him who is to be known as King of Righteousness and King of Peace, before He comes upon the scene as the Priest of
a For a fuller illustration of this and some other points of interest, which are but slightly touched here, I refer to a paper of the same title in the first volume of the “ Christian Witness.”
the Most High God; but it is at this point that He comes forth as Melchizedek in the exercise of His priestly glory, based upon His kingly rule. As in Hebrews it is argued He was first, as His
name imports," King of Righteousness," and after that also, “ King of Salem, which is King of Peace.”
In the same way, the glory of the first resurrection is seen in Rev. xx., in the thrones and those that sat on them, and their living and reigning with Christ. It is not the act of resurrection which is thus presented, but the sphere of glory which belongs to it, and belongs to the epoch which it marks. " The first resurrection" has its result in this glory on the part of those who are partakers of it. “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years."
From this and from other Scriptures, it appears that believers will not until then, in association with Christ, be known in their full priestly character and glory. “ He hath made us kings and priests unto His God and Father” (Rev. i. ver. 6). And again, “ Thou hast made us unto our God kings and priests; and we shall reiga on the earth” (Rev. v. 10). And also “ Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood” (1 Pet. ii. 9).
No doubt in the sense of worshippers all believers are priests now; having in the sacrifice and intercession of the High Priest of their profession the full and perfected ground of free access to God; but their royal priesthood will not be seen until the Lord Jesus himself “shall sit and rule upon His throne, and He shall be a priest upon His throne."
This is but in accordance with the Lord's own position. For though He is a priest of no other order than that of Melchizedek, it is equally certain that His present service in the sanctuary is according to the pattern of of Aaron's service and not of Melchizedek at all.
It is not sufficiently observed, that the Epistle to the Hebrews, merely asserts the order of the Lord Jesus Christ's priesthood to be after Melchizedek, and not after Aaron, *This fact is reasoned upon in its bearing upon VOL.III.PT.III.
the dispensation that was now passing away; and it is shown that “the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law;" but the subject is not pursued in its prospective bearing. That which is pursued is the bloodshedding of our Lord Jesus Christ, as giving Him a title “ to enter into heaven itself appear in the
presence of God for us;" and where His present service is typified, by the position of Aaron on the great day of atonement, when he had entered within the veil with the blood of the sin offering.
The especial bearing of the Epistle to the Hebrews is upon the subject of worship; showing that a transfer has been made of all its grounds and elements from earth to heaven. And, therefore, it does not present the cross of Christ down here, as the display of the enormity of man's sin, and the infinite depth of God's love to sinners; but it rather insists on the efficacy of the sacrifice of the cross in heaven, as giving a place before God to Him who hung upon it, in atoning mercy, by which He can bring nigh to God, and sustain in that nearness, notwithstanding their being surrounded by infirmities and imperfections, “all that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
And most comforting is it to the heart of a saint, under the daily consciousness of imperfections and shortcomings, to see the whole force and efficacy of Christ's work on earth thus brought to bear upou his acceptance before God in his daily access and worship.
Who can sufficiently estimate, in a day like this, the rest of soul afforded by the perception that all the typical value of “sacrifice, and offering, and burnt offerings, and offering for sin,” is concentrated in the one accomplished sacrifice of Him who said, “ Lo, I come to do thy will, O God!" and that all the sanctifying efficacy of the washings and cleansings of the Tabernacle have their issue in that word of encouragement, “ Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water; let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering !"
It is indeed no light thing for the people of God to
find themselves thus recognised by God as duly anointed and cleansed as priests for his sanctuary; and to know that the full answer of all which was accomplished in type for Israel, in the High Priest's entrance into the holiest of all, with the blood of the sin-offering sprinkled seven times before the
mercy seat, is found in that one simple declaration. “Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into Heaven itself, now
in the presence of God for us.” It may seem hardly necessary for those to whom this paper will possess any interest, to notice that an air of
, mystery has been thrown around the person of Melchizedek, and much argument has been thrown away in attempting to prove him to have been a mystical and not a real person. This has arisen from a misapprehension of the terms employed in relation to Melchizedek in the Epistle to the Hebrews, and also from the desire to be " wise above that which is written." In Heb. vii. 3, he is said to be “ 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.” But this language is evidently used
' merely to indicate the way in which he is introduced upon the scene-being in perfect contrast with that which marked the priesthood of Aaron. There is no genealogy, no descent, no intimation of his induction to the priesthood, nor any point in which he quits it; none preceded him in its exercise, none succeeds him in it. He stands in perfect isolation as to his history in the divine record, and is thus the fitting type of him, who, 66 because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.”
But the whole force of the terms in question is clearly indicated in Heb. vii. 6, “ He whose descent is not counted from them," etc., i.e., his ancestry, or pedigree, is not deduced from this source.
And there is no more ground to question whether he was a real person than there is about Abram himself, or any others whose names occur in this historical scene. Nor is there any greater difficulty connected with his