Accreditation - RR198G13

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Accreditation
Course: Course - Hebrews
Subject: Subject:Conversations and Sermons
Lesson#: 13
Length: 0:27:39
TapeCode: RR198G13
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission

Let us worship God. Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth. Seeing that we have a great High Priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the son of God, let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Let us pray.

Our Father we come to Thee in time of need and in time of plenty. To thank Thee, to seek Thy help and to rejoice that Thou art our God. Grant Oh Lord that this day and always we may be ever mindful of how rich Thou art towards us. Teach us to count our blessings, to name them one by one, knowing how great is thy continuing mercy, Thy providential care, and Thy gifts unto us. Oh Lord our God, fill us with a spirit of gratitude, in Christ’s name, amen.

Our scripture is Hebrews 7:1-6. Hebrews 7:1-6, our subject: Accreditation.

“1For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;

 2To 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;

 3Without 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.

 4Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.

 5And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:

 6But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.” [00:03:04]

Hebrews begins very early, by insisting on declaring

Hebrews begins very early, by insisting on declaring Christ to be our great and eternal High Priest. And this statement at once raised questions within the minds of all Hebrews within the church: “What were Jesus’s credentials for that office?” We can understand their mindset if we think in terms of our times. Anyone claiming to be a valid healer for example, or a valid scholar, will at once be asked to produce his credentials. Also: “What is your membership in certain organizations, professional organizations?”

Now it is unrealistic to assume that people then were no less suspicious of any unusual claims. The office of High Priest was most powerful in Judea, and for any man to declare himself to be the valid office holder without the mandatory credentials was normally unthinkable. For Jesus to be declared High Priest, required thus the joint statement of an apostolic fellowship. As far as we know, no one in the entire history of Israel had ever dared claim they were the High Priest, if they were not of the house of Aaron.

Well, first, the fellowship writing this letter reminds the Hebrews that Melchisidec was a high priest, and that also at the same time he was king of Salem, later known as Jerusalem. He was a High Priest, and nobody knew what his human credential were. Then second, Abraham was blessed by this Melchisidec, which means that Melchisidec was the greater man before God than was Abraham. And Abraham recognized that. Third, this king/priest Melchisidec was the king of righteousness, or the king of justice. And king of peace. Fourth, we are told that Melchisidec was without Father, without Mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days or end of life, but made like unto the Son of God, abideth a priest continually. [00:06:14]

In more modern speech, this could be rendered in these

In more modern speech, this could be rendered in these words: Melchisidec lacked any genealogy or hereditary right to his office. Neither did it begin at a particular time nor did it end with his death. He was forever a priest. Now the expression: “Without Father, without mother, and without decent” was not necessarily a complimentary one. A man converting to Judaism was for centuries according to the Rabbi’s, and at least until recently if not currently among the Orthodox, a man without a Father, or a mother, because he had no prior heritage in Jerusalem or Judea. He was not in other words, a Jew. So he was without any ancestry.

Now the Hebrew reader faced a strange contradiction. To have no inherited right to an office made a man ineligible, or at the best a questionable claimant. On the other hand there was a strange witness of Genesis 14:18-24, and Psalm 110, both of which highly exalted Melchisidec. Various odd interpretations were used to get around Melchisidec. According to the Rabbi’s he was supposedly Shem under another name, and therefore Abraham was one of his great grand children. But, God set aside this priesthood, according to the Rabbi’s, when He created Aaron. So this eliminated Melchisidec as a problem. Now to link Jesus to Melchisidec was a startling and major interpretation, one looking forward rather than backward. The incontestable fact was that Abraham had paid a tithe, a tenth of the spoils, to Melchisidec. This meant that Abraham recognized Melchisidec and his priesthood as a valid one. Coming from the covenant God. In Abraham’s person the Levitical priesthood acknowledged the priority of Melchisidec and of his office. Melchisidec received tithes, and he gave a blessing, he was thus superior to Abraham and to the Levitical priesthood. [00:09:23]

In these few verses Hebrews undermines the Jewish view

In these few verses Hebrews undermines the Jewish view of the High Priest from the words of the Old Testament. Moreover the perspective was shifted from the past to the present and the future. And of course, the absurdity of saying Melchisidec was Shem was obvious to any but those Rabbi’s who were determined to get rid of Melchisidec. After all, if you had a very important ancestor living a short distance away in Salem and you were wandering around the country, wouldn’t you stop by to pay your respects to him? Wouldn’t he at this point have acknowledged Melchisidec as a forebear? Of course the whole interpretation is fanciful. An attempt to get around the fact that here is a superior priesthood, and one the church recognized.

In these few verses, Hebrews undermines the Jewish perspective. But implicit also was another important, very important consideration. How old the view is of Melchisidec as Shem we cannot say, so many interpretations of Judaism were subjected to revisionism, to blunt the force of the early churches use of the Hebrew Scriptures. If you read carefully through Acts for example, you find that again and again the apostolic appeal is to the Old Testament. All the doctrines of god, including the trinity were derived from the Old Testament, all the prophecies of Christ were derived from the Old Testament, so it meant after the first century, the Rabbi’s had to re-interpret the Old Testament to make it mean something that could not be usable to the Christians.

Well, if the plain text stands, Melchisidec was a priest/king of Salem, totally outside the Hebrew heritage. Had he been a relative, had he been Shem, major attention would’ve been called to that fact. But Melchisidec is a foreigner, an alien and a Canaanite, a very remarkable fact, and it points to the Universality of the faith. The covenant God does not limit himself to one people,. In Amos 9 verse 7 God tells Israel that to Him they are no different than the Ethiopians, whom if He chose He could bring forward as His chosen people, and replace Israel with them. [00:12:56]

Men are concerned with humanistic forms of accreditation

Men are concerned with humanistic forms of accreditation, and within reason these sometimes have their place. But this does not give them God’s Imprimatur. The old high priest hood was now forever dead. With Christ’s crucifixion there was no longer a possibility of atonement by the blood of animals. The old priest hood of Aaron at its best was never the King of Justice, nor peace. Its functions ended with Christ’s atonement. The new High Priest, Jesus Christ, gives access to heaven, to the throne of grace, because He sits and reigns there. His accreditation is that as the eternal Son of God, He is the source of all authority and all power. He is the great prophet, the Son of God, and the king over all creation. The totality of His work and office includes the priesthood. Jesus Christ cannot be understood as other than King, Priest, and Prophet.

As for accreditation, He is the source of all validity, all authority, all accreditation. His royal and prophetic office required that He be also our High Priest, His central work for our redemption atonement, for our salvation required that he be our High Priest also. But there is another important fact. We must remember that Hebrews tells us in verse 2 that He is the king of righteousness or justice, and also king of peace. That’s an important statement, what it tells us is that without justice there can be no peace.

The nations now are working for world peace, and all their efforts are foolishness, because they will not recognize the only source of justice, God and His word. And when they seek to establish a justice on other grounds, they build on sand. Nothing more clearly reveals that than what we are doing today, in Bosnia. We are going against everything we have stood for in the past. We are overturning all our previously held standards, we are going in because we are determined to help the Muslims, and we are determined to help some who are viciously anti-jewish, because our international policy requires us to line up with former friends of Hitler. We are doing one thing after another in plain violation of what we previously held. Can we imagine that peace can come out of injustice? No. Only when we are ruled by justice and the king of all justice can we have the king of peace. Let us pray. [00:17:21]

Our Father, we thank Thee for this Thy word and for

Our Father, we thank Thee for this Thy word and for Thy grace unto us through Jesus Christ. We thank Thee our father that we live move and have our being in Thee, that Thou art our habitat, and not the rulers of this world. We pray our father for patience as we make our way through a trouble filled and evil time. Strength to know and to trust in all things in Thee. Grant us this in Christ’s name, amen.

Are there any questions now about our lesson? Yes.

[Audience Member] Umm, Melchisidec was an actual person, what I’m trying to say is that in verse 3 it says “He had no beginning of day’s nor end of life.” He is made like the son of man and abides a priest perpetually, how would that relate to the fact that he was an actual human being?

[Rushdoony] Yes, the point there is that his priesthood was without ancestry, in other words, he didn’t get it from his father, or from his mother. We inherit certain things; some people inherit their office, but the reference is not to the person of Melchisidec but to his office. He was not like the priesthood of Aaron, by descent. You could not be a high priest in Israel unless your Father was a priest and your mother was of the priestly line. So, this is to say, his priesthood did not rest upon descent. It was totally from God. And that’s why he was such a baffling figure for the Hebrews. How could they account for him? Because for them, priesthood rested on your father and your mother, upon genealogy. And it began when you assumed the office and it died when you died, if not for some other reason, incapacity, earlier. But this was a priesthood directly from God, so it had no beginning or ending. [00:20:21]

Are there any other questions?...

Are there any other questions?

This is why accreditation, then and now is so important, and why the whole point of Hebrews here is to say: “Your human forms of accreditation do not apply here.” We are very much given to accreditation now, it’s a sad fact but there are hundreds upon hundreds of kinds of jobs that require accreditation. Well, we can see why perhaps a contractor should be able to pass a test that he knows something about construction and about earthquake proofing and that sort of thing. But what about gardeners, barbers, and so on? In fact, barbers as we once knew them are becoming a lost generation, because now the examinations require that the barber be good at hair dressing, like a beautician. So fewer and fewer men are, in California at any rate, becoming barbers. And so more and more men have their hair cut by women. Because of the license requirements. All kinds of things that you would think anybody could do, with any commonsense, now require tests and accreditation. And it’s because we ‘ve gone overboard on this, and this is not new. Over and over again I n history men have tried to control every area of life and work; in the latter part of the middle ages the working men’s guilds controlled every area of labor, they controlled it so much that they rendered themselves obsolete, and finally the guilds died because people could no longer use them. They were too constrictive. And in my lifetime I’ve seen the AF of ICLO go from being the most powerful force in the country, to being increasingly a minor force, because of its overly ridged controls.

So, the whole point here is simply accreditation. They were no less given to it in those days than now, and therefore it was necessary to keep track of your ancestry if you were in the priesthood, to prove that your genealogy was the correct one. And here was Melchisidec, without any accreditation. And this is why it’s so important for Hebrews to take pains to deal with this issue, because none of the Hebrew believers or most of them for that matter, would recognize the priesthood of Jesus until that question of accreditation was settled. So Hebrews is dealing with that, and saying: It wasn’t by man. It was by God. After all you have always believed that the messiah is simply from God, no human agency accredits him. Well, so is the great High Priest. [00:24:24]

Any other questions or comments?...

Any other questions or comments?

Well.. Yes?

[Audience Member] So Melchisidec wasn’t necessarily acknowledged by all the Hebrews or the people of that day, only by those who were given insight? They did not recognize him as the High Priest?

[Rushdoony] No, that was the point of this letter, because they did not recognize Him as the high priest, well, He was the messiah, but they didn’t understand His plan, why after resurrection he didn’t establish His kingdom. And you remember in Acts 1, that was the top question in the minds of the disciples. “Lord, wilt thou at this time establish the kingdom?” So, the king was gone, what was He going to do? But there was a High Priest in Jerusalem, and when you read Acts you find that when Paul returned from his last journey, they told him to go to the temple for purification, and to recognize the validity of it all, because there was a great deal of hue and cry that he was so anti-temple and anti priesthood. So he went and they arrested him. Well, the point of this book was to tell the Hebrew believers, the gentiles didn’t need it: “Jesus is the High Priest, after order of Melchisidec.” And why, he cannot be your savior unless you see Him as your High Priest who made atonement for you. That’s the whole point of Hebrews. And when you recognize Him as King and Priest, then you have a program for taking over everything in Christ’s name. To disciple all the nations.

Are there any other questions or comments?

Well, if not let us conclude with prayer. Our Father, we thank Thee for this Thy word, and we thank Thee that we have a great high priest, our redeemer Jesus Christ, that he is the king of justice, and therefore the king of peace. Teach us day by day to be faithful to Him, and to seek first his kingdom and His justice.

And now go in peace, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, bless you and keep you, guide and protect you, this day and always, amen. [00:27:31]

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