Monthly Archives: May 2015

Who’s this Melchizedek?

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. (Heb 6:19-20 NASB)

 Get prepared to be nourished, inspired, surprised and intrigued by some amazing words of God.

You might ask : why this unexpected entry of this strange, mysterious, immortal figure, Melchizedek, in this Letter to the Hebrews?

Now Jews were used to having a high priest. The author of The Letter to the Hebrews is giving these people of Jewish background every reason for them to prefer Jesus’ high-priesthood to that of the Old Covenant system of Moses still being practiced in their day. They must not go back into Judaism.

Melchizedek appears first in Genesis 14:17-20 as part of the story of Abraham. Melchizedek is described as ‘priest of God Most High’. But for a Jew, who could be greater than their illustrious father, Abraham? Yet this Melchizedek is clearly greater. Abraham pays tithes to him. Abraham receives Melchizedek’s blessing.

Melchizedek is described as king of Salem, priest of the Most High God and his name meant king of righteousness and king of Salem (= peace). He is without father or mother or ancestry, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but having been made like the Son of God, he remains a priest forever. (Heb 7:1—3)

Who is this mysterious Melchizedek really? And who else does this description of him bring to your mind?

Of course! In this letter, Jesus is being compared with Melchizedek who appears twice in the Tanakh, the Old Testament scriptures – the bible Jesus read.

That passage in Genesis 14:17-20 seems quite irrelevant in the story of Abraham—a strange intrusion in the narrative. Yet this superlative, towering figure, Melchizedek, and the description there, are now at the end of the day, our day, seen to be of great significance.

In the letter we are given quotes from David’s Psalm 110, in which the LORD God is said to invite David’s ‘lord’ to ‘sit at my right hand’ (110:1) and then swears to this David’s lord that he is ‘a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek’ (110:4). This second mention of Melchizedek also must have seemed puzzling for its readers at that time. Just who is David’s ‘lord’ if it is not the LORD God but One to sit at His right hand?

You may remember Jesus threw that puzzling question from Psalm 110 about ‘David’s lord’ to his religious antagonists 1000 years after David wrote that: “How is it that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? (Mat 22:43-44, Luke 20:41). That question remained unanswered and no wonder. Do you get it? Do you see what Jesus was claiming here?

So then, not long after Jesus put that critical question to the religious authorities, this Melchizedek pops up again in this First Century letter. Jesus is our great high priest after the order of Melchizedek—that is, after the order of an indestructible life! This is obviously superior to the Levitical priestly order (the Old Testament/Covenant). Jesus is THE great high priest, the only mediator. Eternal. The temporary priestly order of the Old Testament is now obsolete! Jesus is our great high priest who meets our needs now by divine appointment and in the power of an endless life.

Truly, we have a sure advocate with the Father, one who knows what it’s like to be human! At the place of ultimate power and authority is a man who is the Son of God our mediator. Praise the Lord.

Here is remarkable evidence of the unity of the scriptures and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Firstly, we have a prophetic view given to Abraham about future times, far beyond anything yet to come in the Law of Moses, or the Old Covenant. Then, right out of the blue, God reveals his eternal mind to David, the Psalm writer. God made that promise to the Son to come by speaking a millennium far into the future. Thirdly, Jesus knew the Psalms and understood this was about himself, the Son of God! Then fourthly, in this Letter to the Hebrews, placed there by the same Holy Spirit, we are reading something that shows up plainly where no one had gone before, to draw attention to the awesome work that Messiah Jesus carries on in the heavenly place. For us!

Do you get it? Are you excited? Aren’t the scriptures amazing?

That’s another reason why I trust God that these ancient writings preserved for us so carefully by the Jewish people are sufficient and trustworthy to speak to my heart and mind the things God wants to say.

He speaks today! Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your heart.

He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (Heb 7:24—25, NASB).



Michael I feel your pain. I am also tempted as you are. Jesus was tempted as we are. But to Messiah Jesus, Scripture never rang hollow. Perhaps we can say that there was one hour when scripture did seem hollow—when for our sakes, on the cross, he cried “My God why have you forsaken me?” Yet he trusted God and triumphed. So must we. The last thing we should do is to hold God responsible. Study Jesus.

Nobody’s experience . . . ? Really? Sometimes we can actually ignore the tremendous evidence of God at work in countless men and women. Their experience exceeds with what I have said here—I can refer to thousands, maybe tens of thousands. Almost daily I am informed by trustworthy sources of God’s saving and healing demonstrations throughout the world. It is extraordinary! Would you like me to lay it out for you?

We are without excuse. Absolutely.

Listen, even if we had NO such affirming evidence, God’s promises would stand firm. “Let God be true though ever man be a liar!”

We all who enter the Kingdom of God struggle sometimes to come to terms with a loving God who has graciously allowed us to choose to love him back. Yet his offer to us, his new covenant, is such a good deal. Amazing grace. Unbeatable. Where else can we find such salvation but from this ever-loving God?

Have you got a better deal?

It is the enemy who tells us we are empty, frustrated and joyless and that it is all God’s fault. We must hold the enemy responsible, not God. We have a formidable accuser who will not stop muttering to us that God cannot be trusted. Satan enlists others in his wretched project which is to destroy God’s kingdom of love, health, freedom and joy.

This enemy will do anything to stop our inheritance even to urging us into religious practices—‘exhausting prayers, fastings’ which can just end in emptiness and, God forbid, the shipwreck of our faith. We must turn from his lies to the clear word of God.

Satan began with our first ancestors and has continued ever since. He asked the woman “Has God really said don’t eat it?” She knew the word of God, “don’t touch that tree or you die.” Yet incredibly she believed the lie “No, you won’t die . . . . . in your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God . . . . .” (Gen 3).

The awful result is we begin to accuse God, to hold God responsible, if we listen to such filthy trash. Stop it!

You would think by now we would learn the lesson that we humans continually try to shift blame from ourselves to others and worst of all, on to the One who lovingly created us and has done the ultimate to show us his character of love. Study Jesus again. And again.

Our enemy is a liar from the beginning and continues. You know how the accuser has infiltrated the minds of many religious people to try to turn the glorious family of the New Covenant into a tangled mess of self-opinionated, self-righteous, self-justifying commercialised competing corporations.

As always, the way forward is to turn from unbelief to trust, despite any prevailing circumstances. Help is at hand from your many fellow-travellers.


Why are some people not physically healed through prayer and even die prematurely? Some friends have said to me “perhaps we need to see the big picture—the one which God alone can see”. And “God’s ways are so hidden to us”.

 Now that sounds nice and spiritual. But are God’s ways so mysterious and unavailable to us?

No. God has already has given us the “big picture” in sending His Son to us. “In these last days he has spoken to us by His Son!” (Hebrews 1:2). There are many things in God’s big picture and these he does not keep from us, his friends! He makes his ways known to his friends. Let’s see what the apostle Paul says in 1 Cor 2:9-10 . . .

Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him. For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. (NASB)

Many preachers just quote verse 9 and leave out verse 10. This is terribly wrong.

Verse 9 is from the prophet Isaiah (Isa 65:9) who looked forward to its fulfilment. Now it is fulfilled! Now we have a better covenant with better promises.

The Lord Jesus calls us “no longer servants for the servant does not know what his master’s plans are, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you” (Jn 15:15). We, in the New Covenant, in Jesus, are His family, His friends.

So, He does not keep from us the bigger picture of what He has in store for us. They are revealed to us …. “even to the depths of God”. What a privilege! And what a responsibility! His big picture is to save us—from our sins and from our sicknesses and deliver us from oppression and set the captives free (Mat 8:16—18, Luke 4:20—21). That is the big heart of the Father. It is why Jesus came. It is why he suffered for us. And it is why he calls us to heal the sick and do what he did—by the Holy Spirit.

Wait a moment. Can you really imagine Jesus praying for a paralysed person like this: “Father if it is your will, heal this paralysed man?”

Of course, that would be utterly foreign to the Gospel accounts.

No. “Jesus went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the Devil” (Acts 10:38). Please note that Jesus never prayed for the sick. He did not need to ask the Father whether it was God’s will but he consistently spoke to the sicknesses and diseases and commanded wholeness. God has revealed his will to us.

This power and authority he has given to his followers and that has never been withdrawn. As Jesus was in the world, so must we, his followers be.

Jesus’ Parable of the Weeds Explained

In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus told a parable comparing the kingdom of heaven with a man who sowed good wheat seed in his field but an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat. However the farmer stopped the workers from rooting out the weeds “because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest.” At harvest time then they can first collect the weeds to be burned, and then gather the wheat into the barn.

But His disciples came to him and asked Him to explain the parable. He answered,

“The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man.  The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.

 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear. (Matthew 13:37—43)

So Jesus explains in his parable that the field is the world, and not the “church” as many wrongly assume.

That “the church” is not in Jesus’ mind here is clear. In fact, there are only two references to “church” in the gospels and both are in Matthew’s Gospel and neither mean what we mean today by the word “church”. And apart from these two, Jesus said nothing about “church”. Rather he spoke continually about the Kingdom of God and our relationship with His Father. How faraway we are in our thinking from Jesus!

Actually, the word “church” has a pagan, not a biblical origin as it comes from the Greek mythological goddess of magic, Circe, (Greek Κίρκη Kírkē). However the Greek word ekklesia which means “assembly” or “gathering” has been mistranslated in most English bibles and consistently rendered “church”, conveying a religious organisation, something not envisaged in the New Covenant scriptures.

So this parable has nothing to do with a local assembly of Christian believers who are “called out” of the world to be different—people of the Kingdom—“shining like the sun”! There, they must deal with a person who refuses to repent from open sinning and exercise discipline, even separation from the gathering, as the apostle Paul taught.

Last Hours of Andrew and Myuran

I went to bed last night rejoicing in the Lord, my sadness of the injustice turning to joy after reading a fB piece posted by a friend taken from THE AUSTRALIAN newspaper 1st May 2015– the true story of the hours before their death ….

Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran spent their last hours with Salvation Army ministers before they became the first prisoners to be led from their cells for execution.

Father Charlie Burrows, a priest who ministers prisoners in Cilacap, said there were no tears as Chan, 31 and Sukumaran, 34, were handcuffed and taken to the firing range on Nusakambangan Island to be shot dead.
“There was no crying because I would say the dominant things in their mind was to lessen the suffering of the people being left behind,” he told the Seven network today.
“They didn’t want them to suffer any more than needs be and they were definitely going to be strong, not for themselves but for their loved ones, the people they were leaving behind.”
Fr Burrows said the men’s hands were handcuffed to the front so they could shake hands with the “big number of warders outside.”
“When the time came to be taken out to the place of execution, they all shook hands and spoke together — also with the warders,” he said earlier.
He said the prisoners had agreed they would not cause difficulties for warders, who were “just doing their job, nothing personal”.
Earlier, it emerged that in his last three days, Andrew Chan developed a soul-saving routine to prepare, as best as possible, himself, Myuran Sukumaran and their fellow death-row inmates for their executions.
It is understood Chan, 31, gathered the condemned prisoners to worship together each morning.
He won the hearts of the guards, who allowed the other prisoners — four Nigerian men, Okwuduli Oyatanze, Martin Anderson, Raheem Agbaje Salami and Silvester Obiekwe Nwolise, Brazilian Rodrigo Gularte and Indonesian Zainal Abidin — to join in prayer.
Before the executions, Chan led them in worship for two hours, says a pastor who did not wish to be named. It was “a time of joyful yet solemn worship as they prepared … for eternity with God’’.
A Catholic priest who attended Gularte said the mentally ill man did not understand he was to be killed until being shackled to the stake.
Charles Burrows, a Cilacap parish priest who has been witness and spiritual adviser at several executions on Nusakambangan, said he had tried to prepare Gularte. “But Rodrigo only seemed to grasp that he was being executed when they started putting the chains on his hands and feet — he said then, ‘Am I being executed?’”
Gularte, 42, who was arrested in 2004 for importing cocaine, was later diagnosed as a severe paranoid schizophrenic but Attorney-General Muhammad Prasetyo repeatedly refused to consider this as reason to lift his death sentence.
Despite their fear, Father Burrows said all the convicts were “relatively calm, singing hymns and praying” with their spiritual advisers.
Witnesses described the scene as amazing.
While being prepared for the firing squad, the prisoners sang hymns, including Amazing Grace and Worship His Holy Name, even as they were tied to the stakes. They reportedly refused to be blindfolded. They were shot while singing.
Pastor Karina De Vega said she had never seen people die who were so joyful, at peace and seeming excited to be meeting God.
Earlier, as supporters sought to comfort Chan and Sukumaran, it was in fact they who prayed for and comforted their families.
“They were ready to meet God and were looking forward to meeting Jesus,” the pastor said.
“The impact of their faith and joy in facing the trauma of death is a testimony that will resound for many years. They are dead but their testimony lives on.’’
Kerobokan art teacher and minister Tina Bailey, who supported the families in Cilacap as the ¬executions took place, said “it was a very long night’’.
Melburnian Anne-Maree Pearce, who started the Mothers’ of Mercy campaign in Bali, kept vigil through the night with a group that included New Zealand evangelist preacher Owen Pomana and four former prisoners whom Chan had baptised.
In the spirit of Chan’s wishes, the group sang joyously. “Andrew asked people to sing and be joyful at the time of the shooting,’’ said Mr Pomana.
Former prisoner and evangelist preacher Matius Arif Mirdjaja, who was baptised by Chan, declared that Chan and Sukumaran were martyrs under Indonesian law. “Depravity and corruption of our judicial system is a Mount Everest in our country and must be opposed,’’ he said.