Old Testament: Ezekiel 12:1-14:11
Ezekiel 12:1-14:11 Pack Your Bands
Chapter 12 Ezekiel acts out another object lessons by packing his bags to indicate everyone needs to get ready to abscond. Yahweh says that though the people have a proverb about how long He takes to fulfill His prophecies of doom, they are going to take place soon. 2 Pet. 3:3-4 says that in the end times people will be saying that everything has continued in the same way since the beginning of time. Boy, are they going to be surprised!
Chapter 13 The prophets of Baal and the Jewish prophets preaching “prosperity” were two types of false prophets during the time of Ezekiel. The Jewish prophets kept preaching peace though there was no peace (v. 10). False prophets in our time preach false prosperity messages. They act like they are prospering though they aren’t (v. 11). They whitewash their message (v. 12) but it caves under pressure and people will be more depressed than when they first heard the frauds.
Women were wearing “magic bands” (vv. 17-23) which supposedly worked life and prosperity for those who should not have it. Prosperity preachers send out trinkets and “prayer cloths” today. They will all be judged (v. 23). Many cults have been started by women (e.g. Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, cf. Rev. 2:19-23; 1 Tim. 2:12).
Chapter 14:1-11 God refused to give an answer to the elders. They were idolaters and weren’t inquiring of the Lord with good motives. In fact, if someone inquired of a false prophet, God would give a deceptive answer through that false prophet, “And if one of the false prophets gives him a message anyway, it is a lie. His prophecy will not come true, and I will stand against that ‘prophet’ and destroy him from among my people Israel. False prophets and hypocrites– evil people who say they want my words– all will be punished for their sins” (vv. 9-10, Living Bible).
New Testament: Hebrews 7:1-17
Hebrews 7:1-17 Taking Off Your Levites
Chapter 7 compares Jesus to Melchizedek. Melchizedek came out of nowhere and disappeared into nowhere. His story is found in Gen. 14:17-20 and Ps. 110:4 in the Old Testament. He was a “type” or foreshadowing of Christ. Since Jesus was born in the tribe of Judah (vv. 13-14), He could not be a Levitical priest. However, He could fulfill the type of Melchizedek.
After Abraham had won a fortune in his war with various kings, he wanted to give an offering to Yahweh. Abraham preceded Moses and the Levitical priest system so he gave a tenth of all he had just gained (v. 4) to the king of Salem. The king of Salem, Melchizedek, was also a priest of Yahweh. He had no pedigree that was known, thus he was “without father, without mother” (v. 3a). In that sense, he was eternally a priest like Christ (v. 3b).
Normally, tithes (one tenth) would be given to the Levites who are descended from Abraham. Melchizedek obviously was not a relative of Abraham but collected his offering and blessed him (v. 6). That made Melchizedek greater than Abraham (v. 7). Levites, as mortal men, received offerings from mortal men but in the case of Melchizedek men gave their offerings to someone who appeared to be immortal (v. 8). In fact, Levi was still in Abraham, so to speak, when Abraham gave an offering to Melchizedek. In that sense, Levi paid tithes to Melchizedek (vv. 9 -10).
The writer is trying to prove that the Levitical system wasn’t perfect. If it was perfect, there wouldn’t be a need for another priest who was like Melchizedek (v. 11). But Ps. 110: 4 (v. 17) says that there will be another priest on the order of Melchizedek. That priest is Christ.
The writer goes on to say that since there is a change in priesthood, there must be also a change in the system that God is superintending (v. 12). We dispensationalists call that a new dispensation! It means that God relates to mankind in different ways at different times like before and after the Fall, before and after the flood, before and after the Law. It does not mean that salvation is through anything other than faith in Christ. But in the times before Christ, salvation was by obeying the system God had set up during that particular time and looking forward to the sacrifice of Christ. Now we look backward to the sacrifice of Christ. Salvation is always by faith no matter the dispensation.
The writer is trying to exhort the Hebrew readers to stick with their Christian commitment and Christ. Christ is superior to Abraham and the Levitical system since He is like Melchizedek who was superior to Abraham and was priest outside the Law (vv. 15-16).