Hebrews 7 picks up themes that are familiar already to readers of the book. The writer defends the superiority of Christ’s priesthood to the Levitical priesthood of the Old Testament on the basis of his connection to Melchizedek. A key part of this strategy is to declare that Levi “paid tithes to Melchizedek, being still in the loins of his ancestor” (Abraham). How are we to understand this idea? This episode tackles this difficult issue, as well as the tradition that Melchizedek was Noah’s son Shem.


McNamara, “Melchizedek: Gen 14:17-20 in the Targums, in Rabbinic and Early Christian Literature,” Biblica 81 (2000)

Orlov, “The Melchizedek Legend of 2 (Slavonic) Enoch,” Journal for the Study of Judaism Vol. 31, No. 1 (2000): 23-38

 

Our series on the book of Hebrews continues the writer’s emphasis on the faithful priesthood of Christ – this time as the basis for turning away from a theology of dead works and clinging to faith. The centrality of not turning from the true gospel of faith in the work of Christ and God’s acceptance of the ministry of his Son – of continuing in “believing loyalty” to the gospel – is the central focus of the controversial statements in Heb 6:4-6. Does this passage teach that believers can lose salvation or reject salvation? Is there a difference? What about eternal security? This episode focuses on these questions.

Hebrews 4:14-5:10 focuses on the fact that our high priest—the person who runs interference between us and God when it comes to eternal life—is the same person who gave his life for that purpose: Jesus. It is inconceivable in the writer’s mind that anyone who believes in Christ would be turned away from eternal life because Jesus, our high priest, understands the weakness of humanity and the power of external temptation. After all, he became a human precisely to provide salvation, knowing that it would mean experiencing human weakness and temptation. Human weakness and failure are therefore not going to change Christ’s disposition toward those who believe in him.

NB 183 Transcript

Hebrews 4:1-13 continues an important theme introduced in Hebrews 3—holding fast to faith so as to enter into God’s rest (i.e., inherit the promise of eternal life). The writer strikes an analogy between the rest of God, earlier related to entrance (or not) into the Promised Land (Numbers 14), and God’s rest at the end of his creation work. God’s Sabbath rest is therefore identified with eternal life—a rest that is the result of God’s efforts, not ours. Since Christ is the one who provided eternal life through his work on the cross, Christ is our Sabbath.

NB 182 Transcript

Hebrews 3 is the reader’s first introduction to what will be a familiar tension in the book: conditional statements about the believer’s salvation status. This episode focuses on this tension, pointing out that conditional statements in Hebrews are not attached to breaking the laws of Torah, or any sins of commission or omission. The conditional statements are not about works in any regard, as though believers could lose salvation when they sin. Rather, the focus is on how a believer can fall into unbelief—how they can choose to not believe the gospel. The end result is that believers are eternal secure if they believe (do not reject the gospel), but no one who rejects the gospel and therefore does not believe it has eternal life.

NB 181 Transcript

This episode continues our discussion of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) from the previous episode. Our guest on this episode is Dr. Michael L. Brown, biblical scholar and host of the well-known radio show, Line of Fire. Dr. Brown has long been part of the charismatic wing of Christianity and has ministered in a wide variety of capacities in that context. He has also been a persistent internal critic of the abuses and fringe behaviors within the charismatic movement. In this episode Dr. Brown relates his own experience with the NAR as an infrequent point of discussion within charismatic circles. He therefore doubts its validity as a movement, though the general influence of charismatic ministry has had great impact despite clear abuses in doctrine and practice.

Book:
Michael L. Brown,
Saving a Sick America: A Prescription for Moral and Cultural Transformation

 

NB 180 Transcript

What is the New Apostolic Reformation, with Holly Pivec

The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) seems to quite clearly justify labeling it a movement or denomination. Millions of people around the world are part of its network of churches. However, many NAR leaders and advocates deny that it’s a denomination or movement. Many Christians who are attracted by NAR teachings and practices have no idea that something called the NAR even exists. For those aware of its influence and presence within Christianity, the NAR has branded itself as representing the return of authoritative apostles and prophets to the modern church, complete with miracles such as healing and raising the dead. On this episode, we talk to Holly Pivec, an authority on the NAR, to learn what it is, what its defining characteristics are, and how we should think about its teachings.
NOTE: Shortly after our interview, Holly Pivec informed us that her statement about Michael Brown teaching at C. Peter Wagner’s school was inaccurate. Dr. Brown is the founder of FIRE School of Ministry in Charlotte, NC. The doctrinal statement for that school is located here and includes a statement on modern apostles and prophets.
Holly Pivec resources:
Blog: Spirit of Error
Books:
A New Apostolic Reformation?: A Biblical Response to a Worldwide Movement

God’s Super-Apostles: Encountering the Worldwide Prophets and Apostles Movement

 

NB 179 Transcript

September 23 has come and gone. The world didn’t end. Jesus didn’t return. There was no rapture. Planet X (Nibiru) never showed up. Why not? The answers involve both astronomy and sound biblical interpretation. We’ll leave the astronomy to experts in that field. We’ll consider the biblical reasons why the September 23 prophetic date-setting was nonsense. Those reasons are actually transparent, at least if we care about paying attention to the biblical text. In this episode of the podcast, we talk about five features of the passages used by false teachers who promoted Sept 23 as having end-times meaning. Join us for an episode on how to ineptly interpret the Bible.

Check out Mike’s links to the PseudoAstronomy podcast for the astronomical flaws of Planet X (Nibiru)!

NB 178 Transcript

In Hebrews 2 the writer continues to focus on the supremacy of Christ to the Law (Torah) and angels. Christ is superior for many reasons, but chiefly because only he, through his sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection could provide the eternal sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins and bring humans back to right relationship with God. As Hebrews 2:1415 say God became a man in Jesus Christ so that, “through death he [Jesus] might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” This statement is followed by another one whose significance is overlooked by many, especially those who mistakenly believe that the offer of salvation through Christ is extended to fallen angels: “For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect.” This episode of the podcast focuses on the necessity of the incarnation not only to the superiority of Christ, but to the problematic idea that fallen angels can be forgiven.

NB 177 Transcript

The writer of Hebrews builds on his assertions that the particular son of God (Jesus) who was the agent of creation, eternal wisdom, and the essence of God, by comparing him to other supernatural sons of God (angels). But what does a phrase like “You are my son, today I have begotten you” mean? Does this mean Jesus was a created being? This episode notes the use of this phrase and other Old Testament passages utilized by the writer of Hebrews to explore its actual meaning. Along the way, the episode discusses two links in Hebrews 1 to the Deuteronomy 32 worldview and the divine council.

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NB 176 Transcript