Hebrews 5–7 on the Melchizedek Priesthood, the “Once Saved Always Saved” Doctrine and the Torah Upheld

Hebrews 5

Hebrews 5:2, Ignorant and going astray. Or ignorantly erring.

Hebrews 5:6, Order of Melchizedek. Or King of Righteousness. This is the original priesthood that YHVH established to represent him on the earth and to teach humans his ways. This was a patriarchal priesthood where the heads of families or tribes passed down YHVH’s Truth to their children. This priesthood was temporarily replaced by the Levitical priesthood which was established after the golden calf incident when the tribal leaders failed to prevent their families from turning away from YHVH for idolatry. When Yeshua established the apostolic church and with the destruction of the Second Temple along with the priesthood, the Levitical system ended. The apostolic writers reveal that the priesthood belongs to the saints, who are to become kings and priests, a kingdom of priests or a royal priesthood (1 Pet 2:5, 9; Rev 1:6; 5:10; 20:6). It appears that both the Melchizedek and Levitical priesthoods will be operating contemporaneously for a while during the Millennium (Isa 66:21). The saints will be ruling and reigning under Yeshua the King of kings-High Priest co-reigning with him in his eternal kingdom, which will be universally established with the advent of his millennial reign after  his second coming. It was always YHVH’s will for his saints to become a kingdom of priests to evangelize the world (Exod 19:6), but the Israelites failed in this endeavor.

Hebrews 5:9, Having been perfected. This verse begs a question: How could Yeshua be perfected when he was already perfect? To understand the meaning of this phrase, one has to look into the meaning of words. A word may mean one thing in one language and something completely different in another language. In English, the primary meaning of the word perfect is “having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be; free from any flaw or defect in condition or quality; faultless.” By contrasts, in biblical Greek, the word perfect is teleioō meaning “to complete, that is, (literally) accomplish, or (figuratively) consummate (in character).”  As it is plain to see, between the English and the Greek, the word perfect has two completely different meanings. Yes, Yeshua was perfect, sinless and without any spiritual defect or fault, yet in his humanity, he learned what it was like to struggle against and to overcome the world, the flesh and devil and the temptations to sin. This experience allows him to be the saints’ perfect Great High Priest advocate or defense attorney in the court of heaven before or at the right hand of the throne or judgment seat of YHVH Elohim.

Hebrews 5:11, Dull of hearing. This seems to be perennial problem among the saints and is akin to “a famine of the hearing of the word of Elohim” (Amos 8:11 cp. Isa 29:13)

Hebrews 6

Hebrews 6:1, Elementary principles of Messiah. What follows are the six principal doctrines of the redeemed believer, yet they are all subsets of faith in Messiah Yeshua, which is foundations upon which it all rests.

Repentance from dead works.True biblical repentance involves turning from a lifestyle of Torahless and lining all aspects of our lives up with the Torah-Word of Elohim.

Hebrews 6:2, Doctrine of baptisms. (Also see notes at Matt 28:19.)

Laying on of hands. Ordination is something that YHVH instituted in the Torah when he charged Moses to impose hands upon the Levites, and instructed all Israel to do the same (Num 29:10). We also have the example of Moses anointing with oil Aaron (Exod 29:10). Of course, kings of Israel were also anointed with oil to consecrate them for their official duties by the laying on hands.

Laying on of hands/ordination was earth’s confirmation of a heavenly calling. Elohim had already called someone into ministry and men were simply confirming what Elohim had already determined. Ordination doesn’t confirm the calling, but the other way around.

In the Testimony of Yeshua, by lot, the 11 apostles chose Matthias to replace Judas (Acts 1). This was heaven’s choice, yet no mention of ordination is recorded. After that, we have the choosing of the seven in Acts 6:1. These were men who were already full of the Spirit and wisdom, so the apostles simply confirmed the work of the Spirit in them by laying hands on them (verse 6).

The same is true in the other examples of ordination in the Apostolic Scriptures. Men would be mentored by a leader/apostle, and after a period of time (“lay hands on no one suddenly” 2 Tim 5:22)—much like the five years of mentoring that occurred with a priest in training in the Torah (from age 25 to 30), and after meeting the qualifications of eldership (see 1 Tim 3:1–12 and Tit 1:5-9) they were appointed. Of course, those who were the mentors had oversight over those they mentored. It was less of a authoritatively-hierarchical system and more of patriarchal system with the older men lovingly overseeing those they had raised up — and only exercising strict authority when needed, which occurred only rarely.

Of course, there was no such thing as licensing or even denominations which issue licenses in the Apostolic Scriptures. To me, that seems more like a man-made thing for the purposes of maintaining power, control and keeping the money flowing upward. 

In the entire Bible, there are no examples of or precedence for women being ordained. Paul says in 1 Timothy 5:22 “to lay hands suddenly on no man.” He is gender specific. Women did, however, minister in conjunction with their husbands — their spiritual heads, which is something Paul is very clear about in Ephesians 5:21–24. Even though in the body of Yeshua there is neither male nor female so that all are equal before Yeshua, when it comes to governance in the congregation, the Bible upholds male leadership. Now that doesn’t mean that women can’t hold high positions of authority, but always in conjunctions with their husbands. We have the example of the apostolic team of Andronicus (husband) and Junia (wife) whom Paul called apostles (Rom 16:7), Aquila and Priscilla who were co-laborers. Sometimes Priscilla’s name is mentioned first. Obviously, this husband and wife team were such a tight unit that it didn’t matter whose name was mentioned first. Of course, we have examples in the Scriptures of women prophets. Deborah, though she was a judge in Israel, seems to have been married to Barak the military general. If so, we have an apostolic-prophetic team operating together to lead the Israelite nation. Huldah was a prophetess who seemed to operate without male headship, though she hung out with other prophets in a “school” or neighborhood where the prophets lived. So there was must have been some accountability between her and the other prophets, although she was the most gifted of YHVH since hers is the only name mentioned. Then we have the daughters of Philip the evangelist who were prophetesses—again, presumably under the spiritual leadership of their father (Acts 21:8-9).

Hebrews 6:6, If they fall away, to renew. 

Is the “Once Saved Always Saved Doctrine” Biblical?

Is the “once saved always saved” doctrine of the Protestant reformer John Calvin biblically accurate? Apparently not everyone in Christendom since that time thought so. Jacobus Arminius didn’t. Neither did John Wesley and Charles Finney. Some notable biblical personalities didn’t subscribe to this doctrine either including Yeshua the Messiah, Paul and the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews. 

The Bible clearly indicates in several places that one can lose one’s salvation.

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away [or apostatize], to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. (Heb 6:4–6)

For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins… (Heb 10:26)

In the Parable of the Sower, Yeshua teaches that when the good seed of the Word of Elohim is sown onto the ground, three-fourths of the seed begins to germinate, but eventually dies. Only one-fourth of the seed actually falls onto good soil and produces fruit (Matt 13:1–9). He then goes on to explain that many people who receive the word of Elohim can and will eventually fall away due to a variety of factors (vv. 18–23). 

Paul specifically mentions two people who became believers, but whose faith become shipwrecked and they lost their salvation.

This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme. (1 Tim 1:18–20)

The Book of Acts gives the account of Simon the Samaritan (who is well known in early Christian historical accounts as Simon the Sorcerer and who became an enemy of the gospel) who was saved and even received the Spirit of Elohim, but because of his evil heart, lost his salvation (Acts 8:14–23).

Paul even suggests that he could lose his own salvation.

But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified [or become a castaway, KJV]. 1 Cor 9:27)

Paul warns the saints that they could lose their salvation, and even includes himself in this warning.

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified [Greek, unapproved, rejected, reprobate]. ( 2 Cor 13:5–6)

New believers are especially vulnerable to losing their salvation, since they are like young and tender plants that are not deeply rooted spiritually. Once one has walked in the faith for a long time, had their faith tested, passed the tests, and has repeatedly overcome the pulls of the world, the flesh and the devil, assuredly they are less likely to lose their salvation. In fact, in several places the Bible talks about being sealed by the Spirit of Elohim (John 6:27; 2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:13; 4:30; 2 Tim 2:19). This seems to indicate that at some point, one either can’t or is less likely to lose one’s salvation because they have established a proven track record of faithfulness to Elohim, and they would die before turning from their faith. 

However, Paul, the might apostle of Elohim, in humility, never assumed that about himself. He erred on the side of caution in assuming that he could lose his salvation. Maintaining such a mental disposition assured that he would always stay alert, keep up his defenses and his guard against anything that could imperil his salvation. The wise saint will follow Paul’s example.

Hebrews 7

Hebrews 7:2, Being translated. Gr. means “explain, interpret or translate.” If the Epistle to the Hebrews was originally written in Hebrew, this phrase would be unnecessary, since the Hebrew readers would have known the meaning of the Hebrew word melchizedek. It is possible that Hebrews was originally written in Hebrew, but that those who translated the Hebrew of Hebrews into Greek added this phrase editorially to aid their Greek readers. It is also possible that Hebrews was originally written in Aramaic, which is different enough from Hebrew that this explanatory phrase may have been needed to aid those who knew Aramaic but not Hebrew. Interestingly, the nineteenth century Aramaic scholars Ethridge, Murdock along with Lamsa in his 20th century Aramaic translation all translate this verse similarly to the KJV. The same is true of Trimm’s HRV. Additionally, The Comprehensive New Testament, which lists and documents variant readings of NT texts among the major Greek NT manuscripts, lists no variant readings to Hebrews 7:2. In other words, all the oldest and most reliable NT Greek texts apparently agree with each other. Based on the above evidence, it would appear that this reading is original to the autograph, or it was editorially added very early. In other words, if Hebrews were originally written in Hebrew (or Aramaic), then it is possible that it was translated into Greek at such an early date that no extant Greek manuscripts have noted its addition, since it seems to have always been there.

Hebrews 7:11, Received the law. Moses gave the Israelites the law in codified and a complete written form for the nation of Israel much like a written constitution. This is not to say that the law originated with Moses. In fact, elements of it had already been given to the Israelites before Mount Sinai, but not in a codified and written form.

Hebrews 7:12, Priesthood being changed…a change also of the law [Torah]. The Greek words for being changed and a change are respectively metatithemi (a verb) and metathesis (a noun). The the verb means“to transpose, to transfer, to go or pass over, to fall away or desert from one person or thing to another.” Many people interpret this verse to mean that YHVH’s Torah-law was changed (i.e. has been invalidated or annulled) by the new covenant, but is this what the author is saying here?

Before going further in our discussion, let’s lay out some basic truths of the Scriptures. 

  • YHVH doesn’t change (Mal 3:6; Heb 13:8; Jas 1:17). The word torah [in English, translated as law] means “instructions, principles, teachings” and came directly from YHVH to his people. The Torah teaches men how to love YHVH and love one’s fellow man. It is YHVH’s instructions in righteousness and reflects his very character and nature. Who YHVH is doesn’t change.
  • It is a sin (a violation of the Torah) to change the Torah (Deut 4:2; 12:32).

So in this light, what is this verse really saying? It declares that the priesthood was changed. The Levitical priesthood that was temporarily and parenthetically inserted into the Melchizedek priesthood (both priesthoods are revealed in the Torah, see Exod 19:2, 4 cp. 28:1; 32:29). In the former priesthood, a father acted as the priest over his family interceding for them before Elohim via sacrifices and offerings (Gen 8:20; 12:7, 8; 13:18; 22:9; 26:25; 33:20; 35:1, 3, 7; Exod 17:15; Job 1:5). In the latter priesthood, YHVH designated the descendants of Aaron as priests over Israel replacing the heads of each home as the priest of each family (Exod 30:31).

The writer of Hebrews reveals to us that with the coming of Yeshua, the Aaronic or Levitical priesthood was replaced by the original order of Melchizedek with Yeshua as its High Priest. This makes sense when we realize that Yeshua is not only the builder of his spiritual house, the church (Heb 3:3), but also the head of it, for he is the High Priest over the spiritual house of Elohim (Heb 10:21), which is comprised of the saints who are living stones and are apart of that house (1 Pet 2:5) and temple (1 Cor 3:16; 2 Cor 6:16; Eph 2:21–22) with Yeshua as the chief corner stone and the apostles and prophets the foundation (Eph 2:20). The saints are currently a part of this original Melchizedek priesthood, which has attained to the higher spiritual level through Yeshua, regardless of their tribal lineage (1 Pet 2:9; Rev 1:6; 5:10; 20:6). 

This verse is also telling us that since the Levitical priesthood reverted to the original priestly order, certain temporary regulations within the Torah pertaining to the Levitical priesthood had to revert back to the original Torah priesthood. The Epistle to the Hebrews makes it clear what this change or transfer involves. The Levitcal priesthood—an expansion of the Melchizedek priesthood—was also a prophetic shadow-picture of the new priesthood to come. The temporary Levitical priesthood in all of its aspects pointed to Yeshua’s sinless life, his death, burial, resurrection, and then his role as our Great Heavenly High Priest. The Levitical priesthood was a spiritual road sign that pointed to Torah’s greater fulfillment in the Person of Yeshua. So what was changed or transferred? The writer of Hebrews clearly answers this question throughout this book. Yeshua once and for all permanently replaced all the repeated sacrifices and the temple ceremonies associated with them, as well as the priesthood that administered these rites and rituals. That’s all that was “changed” or transferred. YHVH’s sabbaths, feasts, dietary laws, and his other instructions in righteousness have never been annulled. In fact, Yeshua upholds the Torah in every way (see Matt 5:17–19), and even tells us that we are not only to follow its letter, but also its spirit (Matt 5:21–48). Paul calls the Torah holy, just and good (Rom 7:12), and tells us in the strongest terms that the grace of YHVH doesn’t annul, but rather establishes the Torah (Rom 3:31). His adherence to the Torah to the end of his life is validated by the biblical record (Acts 21:24), and by the testimony of his own lips in two courts of law (Acts 24:14; 25:8).

During the Millennium, it appears that the two priesthoods will be operating simultaneously. Assuming Ezekiel’s temple is a prophetic description of a millennial temple (not all Bible experts believe this), the Levitical sons of Zadok will be officiating at the temple in Jerusalem (Ezek 44:125), while the Melchizedek priesthood of all believers (Peter calls them the royal priesthood, 1 Pet 2:9) will be ruling and reigning over the earth with Yeshua during the Millennium. In other words, these priest are the saints that John mentions three times in the Book of Revelation who will be priests during the Millennium (Rev 1:6; 5:10; 20:6). Presumably their role will be to teach the Torah and the Testimony of the Yeshua to the peoples of the earth and to act as judges, since this was the historic role of the ancient Levite priests. Meanwhile the sons of Zadok will be officiating at the temple in Jerusalem. Interestingly, Isaiah talked about a millennial era priesthood that would be comprised of both Levites and redeemed Gentiles (Isa 66:18–21). 

Hebrews 7:14, Sprang out of Judah. How could Yeshua, a non-priest (non-cohen) be our Great Heavenly High Priest, since he was from the tribe of Judah and not from the tribe of Levi, much less a descendant of Aaron? Here are some things to considers that explain how he could be our High Priest without violating scriptural principles.

a) Moses was a Levite, but not a descendant of Aaron, so why was he able to go into the tabernacle including the holy of holies, and fulfill so many of the priestly duties? Because he was an uber-priest or a high high priest, if you will. The same is true of Yeshua of whom Moses was a prototypical forerunner (Deut 18:15–19). Paul makes the case that Yeshua was of the priestly order of Melchizedek who preceded the Aaronic priesthood (see notes at Exod 19:2, 4), and was thus part of that greater, more permanent original priesthood. The Levitical priesthood was a temporary parenthetical priesthood established because of Israel’s rebellion at the golden calf.

b) Yeshua likely had cohen-Levite blood in him along with Jewish blood. How is this? Mary was cousin to Elizabeth who was married to a cohen. Priests could not intermarry outside their tribe and still be a priest. We know that Zechariah was an Torah-obedient priest or else he wouldn’t have been ministering in the temple. So Elizabeth must have been full cohen-Levite herself making Mary at least partly of cohen-Levite lineage—possibly through her mother’s side.

c) With the corruption of Eli, YHVH made a shift in the priesthood to Samuel who was born in the territory Ephraim (1 Sam 1:1), but was actually a Levite, but not a descendant of Aaron and thus not technically a priest (1 Chr 6:28). Samuel, though only a Levite, acted as both prophet and a priest in that he offered up sacrifices — a duty reserved only for the priesthood and not for Levites (see notes at Num 1:50). In fact, Elohim calls him “my priest” (1 Sam 2:35) although his lineage doesn’t trace back to Aaron (1 Chr 6:16–28). What was YHVH doing here? With the demise of Eli and his two evil sons, the priesthood shifted to a righteous man who was a Levite, though not a priest (or cohen). This teaches us that YHVH’s plans will go on despite the lack of righteous priests to fulfill them. YHVH can choose and sanctify anyone one he wants whenever he wants to accomplish his purposes. This keeps men humble, since just because one has the right pedigree, doesn’t necessarily qualify one for YHVH’s service. John the Baptist addressed this issue with the religious Jews of his day who claimed special privileges, since they were descendant of Abraham. John responds that YHVH can raise up rock to accomplish his purpose for lack of suitable human instrument (Matt 3:9)! He’s sovereign. In a sense, Samuel was a priest after the order of Melchizedek. YHVH can insert a priest after the order of Melchizedek into the Levitical system anytime he wants if there aren’t any cohen-Levites who are worthy to fill the role and accomplish his purposes. When Yeshua became a priest, who among the priestly Sadducees of that day were worthy to be called a high priest? At that time, the office of high priest was totally corrupted and it was bought and sold by the highest bidder as determined by the king. It was an appointment based on money and politics only — there was nothing righteous about it.

d) Moses by the Spirit of Elohim prophesied that one like him but greater than him would come in the future. This individual would be a prophet like Moses. He would be a spokesman for Elohim to his people who would be required to hear him (Deut 18:15–19). As we have noted in the introductory notes to Hebrews, Moses was the only personage in the Tanakh who was a prophet, priest and a king. For Yeshua to fulfil the Deuteronomy 18 prophecy, he too would have to fulfil all three of these roles including priest.

Hebrews 7:19, The law made nothing perfect. In the Greek, the word perfect is teleioo meaning “complete, carry through, accomplish, bring to an end, add what is yet wanting inn order to render a thing full.” In the Aramaic this verse reads, “For we maintain that the Torah is not able to complete us which are otherwise without the coming of a greater hope through which we approach Elohim” (HRV). What is this verse really saying? 

This verse is not saying that the Torah was abolished, but only that it doesn’t have the capacity to bring us to spiritual completion or maturity and into intimate relationship with Elohim. Something more is needed. 

In reality, the Torah points us to the one who will lead us to the Father (it was the “tutor” [NAS] or “child-conductor” [YLT] that led us to Yeshua, Gal 3:24 )—that greater hope. 

Through Yeshua’s sacrifice, our sins are forgiven once and for all. Through Yeshua’s life one earth, we have an example to follow of how to live the Torah. Through Yeshua’s Spirit living in us, we have the internal strength to die to the flesh and live out YHVH’s Torah. Through Yeshua’s intercession as our Great Heavenly High Priest, we have an advocate in heaven to plead our case before the heavenly court of justice. Through Yeshua, our righteousness is made complete despite our failed efforts to love him by following his commands perfectly.


3 thoughts on “Hebrews 5–7 on the Melchizedek Priesthood, the “Once Saved Always Saved” Doctrine and the Torah Upheld

  1. Hope everyone’s safe out there! Haven’t seen many comments from all. About one week till Trumpets!

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