Friday, August 29, 2014

In Search Of Truth, Hebrews 7:1-3

First some quick background on Melchizedek, since the author of Hebrews is drawing a lot from what little we know of him.

In Genesis 14, Abram (who would become Abraham), the father of the Hebrew people, had just returned from rescuing a family member out from the middle of a conflict between kingdoms. Two kings met Abram as he returned. One was the "king of Salem", Melchizedek. He gave Abram bread and wine and blessed him. After receiving the blessing, Abram gave Melchizedek 1/10th of everything he gained from his recent victory in battle. The account in Genesis also identifies Melchizedek as "priest of God Most High".

Genesis 14 tells us all that we know about Melchizedek. Yet the author of Hebrews says that Jesus is a High Priest "after the order of Melchizedek". This phrase comes from Psalm 110, and refers not necessarily to a formal "order of priests" as we would think of an "order of monks". The Hebrew word for "order" means "manner". So the "Lord"(Adonai) of Psalm 110, who is identified in Hebrews as Jesus, is in some way a priest "in the same manner" as Melchizedek. (Hebrews 6:20) The author then makes some observations about Melchizedek that he later applies to Christ.


Melchizedek was a king, but was also priest of "The Most High God". He blessed Abraham. The author will comment on this later. Then Abraham gave Melchizedek 1/10th of the spoils of battle.

In ancient times, this kind of tithe was common as a way of thanking a god for victory in battle. This indicates that Abraham recognized that Melchizedek represented Yahweh, and so Abraham honored Yahweh through his tithe to Melchizedek.

The author tells his readers that the Hebrew name "Melchizedek" translates to "king of righteousness", and that his status as the "king of Salem" makes him the "king of peace", since "Salem" comes from the Hebrew word for "peace".

The author observes that, as far as the record is concerned, Melchizedek is "without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever". The author isn't saying here that Melchizedek literally had no parent, that he was never born and never died. He is showing us that the absence of information about Melchizedek is significant concerning how the record of Melchizedek can be metaphorically applied to Christ.

There are already several implications about Jesus we can see in these verses.

1. Jesus is a king. His role is to rule over us. If we are thinking of Jesus in the right way, we should remember that he is our boss.

2. Jesus is a priest of the Highest and greatest God in existence. Any other so-called "gods" are cheap imitations in comparison to the Most High God, and yet we have access to relationship with this God through Jesus, who acts as the perfect, priestly go-between.

3. Jesus is a "righteous" king. This classically "churchy" word in its broad sense means "in the state one ought to be" or "in a state that is pleasing to God". If someone is "righteous", they are living in the "right" mode according to God's perfect standards.

4. Jesus is the king of peace. The implications aren't spelled out here, but we know from scripture elsewhere that Jesus will bring about peace in his ultimate reign over humanity and already brings about the peace of reconciliation between God and humanity. (Colossians 1:19-20, Revelation 21:3-4)

5. Jesus has no beginning or end. At the time this was written, the genealogy of a priest was important. If the lineage of a priest could not be confirmed he could not serve as a priest. (Nehemiah 7:64) So the idea that Jesus did not HAVE a genealogy (speaking of his divine nature) places him in a totally different category from all other priests.

So what do all of these traits of Jesus mean for our day to day grind through life?

I think being a geek can often come with an increased concern for what people think of you. That's certainly true in my case. Even before I was a geek I was overly concerned with the approval of others, and embracing my geekiness in later childhood and adulthood seemed to bring with it increased preoccupation with how others perceive me.

But Jesus sees me as I really, truly am. He doesn't fall for the image I try to present to others. I am completely exposed to him. And that brings some discomfort as I become more aware of the reality of that exposure.

I think in the light of that exposure we can tend to over-emphasize certain traits of Jesus and de-emphasize others that make us uncomfortable. But it's those contrasting traits of Jesus that make him the perfect fit for our needs, and I see that in these first verses of Hebrews chapter 7.

He is my king. He's the boss. I am not permitted to compartmentalize any part of my life. He has the right to rule over every shadowed corner of who I am.

By contrast, he's my priest. He opens the door and welcomes me into Yahweh's throne room. He  makes it possible for me to not simply cower and tremble in relationship with God, but to run up to his throne and into his arms. Scripture tells us that through Jesus we now have God not just as our father, but as our "daddy"! (As the word "Abba" translates in the New Testament. Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:6)

Jesus is righteous. He himself lives perfectly and commands us to live perfectly. (Matthew 5:48) There is a net of mercy and grace when we fail, but that does not nullify the command to chase after perfection.

By contrast, Jesus is the king of peace. We will repeatedly, shamefully fail. But that same righteousness of Jesus is now credited to those who place their faith in him, which means there is no reason in the slightest for conflict between us and God. We have peace with him now, and are promised complete peace in the future, when our struggle with sin itself will be over and gone.

Jesus is the ultimate priest. It's good to confess and wrestle through sins with other believers(James 5:16). But Jesus alone provides restored relationship with God. He's not like the leaders we have in our local churches, as useful as they are and as grateful as we should be for their service. Jesus doesn't get tired. He knows the pain of resisting temptation and has felt the consequences of sin, but he has no corruption or hypocrisy in him. He will never retire or have a schedule that's too busy for you. And he is affirming each of us to Yahweh every moment, saying, "Yes. I paid for her sin. Yes, I died for him."

I'm discovering that life with this Jesus is difficult at times. There is straining and stretching. But because of who he is, there is also rest and untiring love, forgiveness and acceptance.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

T-Shirts 15% Off!!

From now until September 2nd you can get our T-Shirt at 15% off the regular price! A variety of colors, sizes and fits are available, so don't miss this chance to express your Christ-honoring geekery and support the efforts of Spirit Blade Productions at the same time!

To take advantage of this sale, use the promo code SHIRTS15 when you checkout from our spreadshirt store!

Don't wait! This sale will come and go before you know it!

Friday, August 22, 2014

GenCon and Table Top Games (Inside Paeter's Brain)

In Search Of Truth, Hebrews 6:17-20


We're back-tracking just a bit this time to get a running start at the new verses we'll be looking at. In verses 13-18 of chapter 6, the author of Hebrews establishes the reliability of God's promises. He specifically cites God's promise to Abraham, to bless and multiply him, and then refers to later believers like us as "the heirs of the promise"(v.17).

In what ways do we "inherit" the promise to Abraham? This can be answered by looking at the "extended version" of the promise, which is only partially quoted in verse 14.

(Genesis 22:17-18, ESV) I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”

Jesus, as a descendant of Abraham, fulfills the promise that "in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed". And believers in Jesus are the "heirs" of this promise, who now benefit from this blessing promised thousands of years ago.

In verses 13-18 the author establishes the trustworthiness of Yahweh based on his character, and by referring to believers as "heirs of the promise" he reminds us that this particular promise to Abraham is fulfilled in Jesus. In this way, Jesus is tangible proof of God's character and a living example of how God is faithful to what he promises.

As Christians, our hope is not found by summoning up the strength to live in denial, embracing empty yet comforting thoughts. The testimony of history and applied logic is that Jesus was and is the "one of a kind" Son of God, who proved his identity through his physical resurrection. This being the case, we know we can trust in God to make good on his promises, which includes the promise of blessing and rest as we love, trust and serve him.


The hope we have in God's promise of blessing and rest, based on the reality of Jesus' resurrection, acts as an "anchor" for our souls. Since the purpose of an anchor is to keep a boat from drifting away, this seems to specifically call back to the author's warnings for believers not to "drift" or "fall" away. (Hebrews 2:1, 6:6) Pursuit and remembrance of truth yields hope in the life of the believer.

This hope we have has another layer to it as well. Our hope in God's promised rest and blessings acts as a stabilizer in life's stormy seasons, but it also allows for close relationship with Yahweh.

The reference to going "behind the curtain" is a reminder that in our default, fallen state, we have no access to relationship with God. Before Jesus paid for our sins, only a High Priest could enter the inner place in the temple associated with God's presence, and only once each year. (Leviticus 16) But the inner curtain covering this place was torn in half when Jesus died (Matthew 27:51), since through the sacrifice of Jesus there is no longer separation between God and humanity.

We now have hope that grows out of relational access to God. As believers in this life, we have the freedom to "have it out with God" as we struggle through difficult seasons. We have the freedom to ask boldly for blessing, based not on our merits, but on the merits of Jesus. And we can hope in anticipation of being fully reunited with God in the future.


In his perfect relationship with God the Father, Jesus acts as a "forerunner" for believers. Through Jesus as our ultimate high priest/mediator, we have relational access to God right now, and will have unhindered and direct access to God in his future kingdom on earth and throughout eternity.

Even as believers we experience a perceived distance from God right now. But Jesus gives us a glimpse of our current and future status. Right now, like junior copies of Jesus, we are "priests". No collar or formal training required. And as growing believers we mature in our roles as priests, eventually culminating in our re-creation as perfect priests, with the capacity to perfectly relate to God and represent him to others.

(Exodus 19:6, ESV) and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”

(Revelation 1:4-6, ESV)  John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

(Revelation 20:6, ESV) Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

As for what it means for Jesus to be patterned after Melchizedek, we'll get a better idea of that in Chapter 7.

I've wondered lately if being a geek statistically increases the chances of someone feeling insecure about who they are. No matter how much we may assert that we're glad to be unique and that being a geek is cool, in my experience being a geek also means some funny looks and raised eyebrows now and then. And it never feels good.

I care entirely too much about what people think of me. And I do that because I'm constantly trying to base my identity around what I do. What I like, what I create, what I say and what I know. My natural tendency is to dislike having to rely on the righteousness of Jesus on my behalf. But a slowly crushing weight bears down on me with increasing intensity when I try to measure my identity and worth based on what I do. A weight that is only relieved when (often in tears these days) I give up and admit that I am not the person I'd like to envision myself as.

The strain and effort in trying to maintain that illusion for myself is taken away when I remember the reality of who I am: Someone who is (for some strange reason I don't get) loved deeply by the Creator of all reality. Someone strategically placed to represent God to others in a time and way that no one else can or will. Someone designed to help carry out God's agenda for the universe. Someone with unimaginable purpose and value that can't be improved upon or diminished by my efforts or shortcomings.

I can't do a thing to make myself more or less valuable. Neither can you. We are already more unique, valuable and significant than we can possibly understand in this life. And that reality can give us hope that pushes us onward into what God has for us in the next few hours, days and forever.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Voyages Of The USS Sasquatch: First Flight

The Spirit Blade Underground Alliance is pleased to present their newest audio drama:

Voyages Of The USS Sasquatch: First Flight

A young graduate prepares for her first space-faring assignment aboard an unusual ship with an unorthodox crew. But danger doesn't wait for preparations, and soon the crew of the USS Sasquatch holds the fate of many in their hands.

Download and listen to it now for free on The Spirit Blade Underground Alliance Page!