Heaven's Royal Proclamation
By William Handschumacher
Rock of Offence Special Commentary
This is Part 1 of a five-part Bible study.
Click on the appropriate link to access
the next part.
Some Important Comments
Before We Start
Some who are new to the Christian faith may find this study difficult to understand. Yet, the Bible considers it to be ‘Christianity 101’, since it contains many of the essential truths found in New Testament salvation. What is referred to as “Heaven’s Royal Proclamation’ - is found at the very center of Christ’s plan of redemption - and it’s incredibly good news for all believers in Christ. For this reason, we consider it to be an important part of ‘The Basics of Salvation’.
However, beginning in the first century, a counterfeit brand of Christian faith was introduced that sought to undermine the Grace-based salvation provided at the cross. God considered it a serious threat to the redemptive plan of His Son - and exposed its tenants in Acts chapter 15. In response to this threat, we see the gathering of what theologians tend to call; 'The First Jerusalem Apostolic Council', which consisted of the early church leadership, led by the Apostle James our Lord's half brother. The council met in Jerusalem and, after considerable deliberation, condemned this doctrine. Later, the Apostle Paul dedicated an entire epistle to exposing this same error that nearly destroyed the Galatian Church. As a result, some modern-day theologians refer to this doctrine as; 'Galatian religion - or the Galatian error'. Some older Christians often refer to it as 'legalism'. Its primary characteristic is mixing the Old Testament Mosaic Law with the New Testament Grace of Christ ... which causes Christ's salvation to be subject to this modified man-made doctrine. However, this practice that many think is Biblically correct ... actually creates one of the most dangerous heresies found within Christendom.
Unfortunately, over the next 1900 years, this condemned first century theology survived, was reworded and repackaged - and is now part of the foundational doctrine of many mainline denominations on both the Protestant and Roman Catholic sides of the isle. Some Bible Scholars estimate that more than 8 out of 10 churches (but thankfully not all) embrace its illegal ‘law plus grace’ tenants - which often travels under the popular names of 'Biblical and Historical Christianity' and other denominational names.
This vicious conflict, which both Acts chapter 15 and Saint Paul (in his Epistle to the Galatians) so accurately describes ... continues unabated today. Knowing the details that drive this internal church war is crucial - since truly possessing eternal life may depend on which side you are on.
Readers should be aware that this study represents a core truth of Christ's Gospel that also exposes the error of Galatian religion ... which many within Christendom have now been fooled into thinking is ‘authentic Christianity’. Therefore, it should be no surprise that studies such as this often come under attack by those who have unknowingly received the counterfeit.
God's Purpose for the
Epistle to the Hebrews
Hebrews contains some of the clearest revelation into the Jewish roots of the Christian faith. Yet, much of this information also tends to expose certain popular forms of false theology found within Christendom. Our study entitled; 'Heaven's Royal Proclamation' is based on such information that originates from Hebrews chapter 7 and 8. As a result, there is now an effort by certain critics to falsely label these writings as 'only pertaining to the Jews' - and not the Body of Christ (or the Church). It is true that Saint Paul clearly states that Christ's body is not 'Jew or Gentile' - but 'one new man in Christ'. Yet, there continues to be those in the Body who are culturally Jewish. Being a member of the body of Christ does not mean that they must abandon their heritage or culture. It simply means that their salvation and qualifications to be 'in Christ's body' (or to be 'saved') does not depend upon being 'Jewish' (a descendant of Abraham) ... which was a primary requirement to possess salvation under the previous Old Testament program of the Mosaic Law. Paul makes it clear that Christ's salvation is for all races (referred to as the Gentiles) - and is no longer exclusively for the Jewish race ... or any other specific race, gender or social class (See Galatians 3:26-29). However, Old Testament Judaism forbids any Jew from associating with Gentiles (or non-Jewish races) who they consider to be cursed, unclean - and without God in the world (See Ephesians 2:11-22).
This caused intense persecution to fall upon any Jew who placed their faith in Christ - which also made them a member of His body now consisting of mostly Gentiles. Persecution occurred ... because their decision to 'believe on Christ' violates a major tenant of Judaism. As a result, many of these ethnic Jews, who became valid members of the Body - were shunned and rejected by their families and countrymen ... causing many to fall away from the faith. Addressing this problem is one reason the Epistle to the Hebrews was written, since it was causing harm to the 'one new man in Christ'. The Epistle was also written to warn about the horrific spiritual consequences of leaving Christ and returning to Judaism – a grievous offense against the New Covenant referred to as; "willful sin".
On a more positive note, Hebrews includes some of the clearest explanations of what the cross of Christ accomplished for the believer from a uniquely Jewish perspective (hence the name 'Hebrews'). We must remember that, according to the Bible, our Lord Jesus Christ (the head of the Church) was first and foremost ... a Jew who originally came as "The Messiah of Israel" (John 4:25-26). The changing of the Priesthood, from Levi to Judah ... and God's corresponding (and mandatory) 'annulling of the old Mosaic Law' that took place as a result of this act - are subjects covered in Hebrews chapters 7 and 8. Jesus, from the tribe of Judah, is now the new 'High Priest' (a topic of this study). Scripture makes it clear that Christ's high priestly position, along with the New Covenant He initiated at the cross – now governs all believers who are part of His Body. As a result, Hebrews is most certainly directed at the entire Body of Christ ... yet uses language and references that its persecuted Jewish members would best understand.
Readers are encouraged to obtain the study guide; "Hebrews in the Greek New Testament" by Kenneth S. Wuest. The author is a noted Greek Scholar and provides a detailed examination of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Wuest's study guide provides the details as to why our commentary entitled, "Heaven's Royal Proclamation" reveals a major truth of Christ's salvation ... and should be read and understood by those who are new to the Christian faith.
[ End of Comments Section ]
Following the sacrificial death
and resurrection of the Lord
Jesus Christ, Heaven's courtroom
issued a legally binding 'Royal
Proclamation' concerning Christ's
new position as the believer's
The word "Gospel" means good news.
The book of Hebrews teaches about
the annulling of the previous
covenant of Law and the beginning
of Christ's New Covenant
"That provides a better hope".
Throughout his New Testament writings, Saint Paul repeats, in various ways, one key benefit of the cross. The Lord Jesus Christ states that He came to "fulfill the Law" (Matthew 5:17). After He finished this work at the cross, God considers the following changes to now be in effect:
- The law is "taken out of the way and
nailed to the cross" (Colossians 2:13-14)
- The law is abolished (Ephesians 2:11-22)
- All believers in Christ are now "dead
to the law through the body of Christ"
- All believers in Christ have been
"delivered from the law" (Romans 7:1-6)
- Believers are no longer under the law,
but under Grace. (Romans 6:14 - Note: Grace
is also known as the unmerited and undeserved
favor of God purchased for the believer by
- The law of the spirit of life in Christ
Jesus has set all believers in Christ free
from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1-4).
- The program of the law (or law of the
Torah) is now considered to be 'obsolete'
and replaced with Christ's New Covenant
program (the administration of the Spirit)
based on its 'better promises'.
However, In Hebrews 7:11-22 Paul writes
about one more aspect that must be
added to this list of radical changes.
'The previous Old Testament law
is annulled when Jesus became our
new High Priest'
Saint Paul describes this Divine
act in the following way ...
Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? For the Priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the Law. For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord (Jesus Christ) arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life. For He testifies (speaking of Jesus):
“You are a priest forever according
to the order of Melchizedek.”
For on the one hand, there is an annulling (Note: Annul means to make something legally invalid or void) of the former commandment (or Old Testament Law) because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the Law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. And inasmuch as He was not made priest without an oath (for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him:
“The Lord has sworn and will not relent,
‘You are a priest forever according to the
order of Melchizedek’”),
By so much more Jesus has become
a surety of a better covenant.
(Hebrews 7:11-22 - Emphasis Added)
The Royal Proclamation of Hebrews
Chapter 7 Provides a Dividing Line
Between Authentic Christianity and
falsely religious churches and
their members who are...
'Christian in Name Only'
Very few modern-day churches and denominations will answer the question; "What is the Gospel of Christ". The reason for their refusal is both simple and tragic. Answering this all important question will cause massive division and infighting within Christendom ... since many church members will find themselves on the wrong side. Others will twist and distort Scripture to make it appear that only they possess God's truth as 'Bible-believers'.
However, as we discover in this
study, Bible-believers often
'believe the Bible wrong'.
As a result, the Christian
Church finds itself in the
midst of a crisis of its
In order to hold together it’s rather fragile coalition and political influence, it must avoid offending its membership, which would otherwise break into hundreds of factions. The often over-used cliché: 'United we stand and divided we fall' certainly applies here. Unfortunately, this 'fracturing' has already taken place. In order to get the problem under control, a generalized church-wide 'unity agenda' was created that discourages offensive and divisive dialogue - especially those that give the correct answer to the question; "What is the Gospel". Some denominations refer to this suppression as being "seeker sensitive" and often attach it to the Biblical command to 'walk in love". Yet, ‘walking in love’ is never to be used as justification for a ‘false unity’ that essentially allows the original meaning of Scripture to be altered. As a result, in order to achieve this kind of unity, almost any doctrine or theology that uses Scripture in its tenants can call itself 'Christian'. The tidal wave of apostasy that is currently sweeping over the church is a direct result of this non-offensive 'peace at any cost' agenda.
However, the Bible reveals that there is a type of division that carries God's approval. The New Testament refers to it as; 'Contending Earnestly for the Faith' (Jude 1:3-4). This type of 'contention and division' is designed to keep false doctrines and heresies out of the Church. But, it also offends many tithe-paying church members who may decide to fellowship somewhere else if their beliefs aren't supported.
God never designed
His Church to operate
according to this false
'unity at any cost'
Our Heavenly Father always places the truth of His Word above unity. He rejects the popular idea of seeking unity by accommodating almost anything that claims to be 'Christian'. As a result, He demands that the truth be preached - first. This causes those who seek truth to 'unify' around it. But, it also offends those who insist on embracing religious falsehood. This Divine method of achieving unity is rarely used, since it runs contrary to the ministry plans of many (but thankfully not all) church leaders today.
The truth found in Hebrews
chapter 7 represents a core
tenant of the authentic
Gospel of Christ
The 'annulling of the previous law'
is a well documented fact in the
New Testament. Yet, a very
uncomfortable question must now
After Jesus fulfilled the Law, took it out of the way and nailed it to His cross - why do a vast majority of Christian churches reinsert the same Law (the one Jesus died to fulfill and remove) - back into their doctrine and evangelistic message?
Answer: Saint Paul warns that there is only one way this can happen. These churches are not preaching the authentic New Testament Gospel established on 'the new and living way of Christ'. Rather, they are preaching the Old Testament brand of 'meritorious salvation' (or works-based salvation) that God considers 'obsolete' ... and therefore; no longer honors. As a result, the New Testament warns that if we embrace this kind of doctrine - we will be 'cut-off and separated' from Christ (Galatians 5:4). Our Heavenly Father never treats this particular problem as just a minor 'difference of opinion'.
Due to the eternal consequences
involved, Paul gave the following
command to all Christians ...
"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." (2 Corinthians 13:5)
Why did Paul give such a command?
Because a counterfeit Christian
faith, based on the Law that Jesus
fulfilled and 'took out of the way'
(or 'annulled' - according to
Hebrews chapter 7) is also being
preached throughout the Church.
The following is one example:
After being confronted by a member
of his congregation concerning
the truths found in Hebrews 7:11-22,
one angry pastor shouted from
the pulpit ...
Nobody changes God's Law!
This certainly sounds good in a sermon. However, the pastor's response contradicts the New Testament Scriptures (specifically Romans 3:20 Romans 6:14, Romans 7:4-6, Galatians 3:10-12, Galatians 5:4 - and most importantly Hebrews 7:11-22).
By carefully examining 'Heaven's Royal
Proclamation' in Hebrews chapter 7, we
discover that it is God Who is changing
what previously existed as 'His own Law"
No man is making this
change - God is making the
Why is this important? After the cross, the Priesthood is now governed by Jesus Christ from the Tribe of Judah ... and is no longer under the authority of the Tribe of Levi as it was in Old Testament times. This change in the priesthood (from Levi to Judah) is the reason God was required to annul the old Levitical law (or what we often call 'Old Testament Law or the Law of Moses) and introduce a new legal system that Paul refers to in Romans 8:1-4 as; 'the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus'.
This new legal system or 'New Covenant
of Christ' is not an update, extension
or continuation of the previous Old
Testament Levitical program. Insisting
that the New Covenant is just 'a contin-
uation or extension of the old' is how
various church leaders 'get around' God's
Heavenly Decree. Yet, what they are
actually doing is disguising their denial
of the finished work of Christ with a
'false form of godliness' that fools
many sincere Christians.
This Divine proclamation concerning the new ‘High Priesthood of Christ’ contains such clear language that it's difficult to misunderstand God's intentions. The reason a vast majority of church leaders reject, ignore or try to redefine God's decree - is because most Christian ministries have established their doctrine on the law of the Old Testament that God has now declared to be obsolete following His Son's sacrificial death.
In these passages we see that God, through the cross of His Son, didn't just change Old Testament law; He took it completely out of the way. In the language of Hebrews 7:11-22 the entire law is 'annulled' (or invalidated). As a result, God now demands that His true ministers and their followers embrace this change. Yet, agreeing with our Heavenly Father on this subject will discredit many cherished yet false traditions and church doctrines found within Christendom.
How God's Royal Proclamation
in Hebrews Chapter 7 Affects
the Power of Sin
The Lord Jesus Christ and the Apostle
Paul reveals an important key that
unlocks our understanding about how
the cross takes away our sin. The
fulfillment of Old Testament Law and
its removal was always at the center
of God's redemptive plan.
Let's now take a look at why this is
so vitally important.
Old Testament Law (also known as the Law of Moses) both defines and empowers all human sin. The Law is what gives sin its power and authority to condemn the sinner to eternal damnation. However, if the Law is fulfilled and then 'taken out of the way', the sin that receives its power from that same law is made null and void (or cancelled). The Apostle Paul reveals this life-changing New Testament truth when he said ...
"And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,
Having wiped out the handwriting of
the requirements that was against us
(Old Testament Law), which was
contrary to us. And He has taken
it out of the way, having nailed
it to the cross."
"For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law." (Romans 5:13)
"The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 15:56-57)
"For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect, because the law brings about wrath (or judgment);
For where there is no Law there
is no transgression (or sin).
Therefore it is of faith that it might be
according to grace ...
(Romans 4:13-16 - Emphasis Added)
How does Christ give us the
victory? He fulfilled and then
removed what was giving sin its
power to condemn us. This absence
of condemnation brings victory!
Paul is communicating a tremendous
truth to the Church:
Since the law was fulfilled, taken out of the way (abolished) and nailed to the cross (Read Ephesians 2:11-22 and Colossians 2:13-14), sin (past-present-future) can no longer be imputed (or charged) to those who have placed their faith and trust in Christ.
God cannot impute or charge
us with sin if Old Testament Law
is annulled (invalidated) and
therefore, no longer governs.
This is Part 1 of a five-part Bible study.
Click on the appropriate link to access
the next part.
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