“November 11–17. Hebrews 7–13: ‘An High Priest of Good Things to Come’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: New Testament 2019 (2019)
“November 11–17. Hebrews 7–13,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2019
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Even faithful Saints at times suffer “reproaches and afflictions” that can shake their confidence (see Hebrews 10:32–38). Paul knew that Jewish converts to Christianity were experiencing serious persecution because of their new faith. To encourage them to stay true to their testimonies, he reminded them of the long tradition of faithful believers from their own history: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sara, Joseph, Moses—“a cloud of witnesses” that God’s promises are real and worth waiting for (Hebrews 12:1). This heritage of faith is shared by all those who look “unto Jesus [as] the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). Because of Him, whenever adversity makes us want to “draw back,” we can instead “draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:22, 38). For us, as for the ancient Saints, Jesus Christ is our “high priest of good things to come” (Hebrews 9:11).
For centuries, the Jews had exercised the Levitical Priesthood, also known as the Aaronic Priesthood. But with the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ came the greater Melchizedek Priesthood, which offered even greater blessings. What do you learn about the Melchizedek Priesthood from Hebrews 7? Here are some examples of truths you might find:
- Joseph Smith Translation, Hebrews 7:3, 21:
Those who are ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood “are made like unto the Son of God” and are “[priests] forever.”
- Hebrews 7:11:
The Levitical Priesthood does not offer “perfection” and was therefore superseded by the Melchizedek (see D&C 84:18–22).
- Hebrews 7:20–21:
The Melchizedek Priesthood is received through an oath (see D&C 84:19–44).
What blessings have you received from the Melchizedek Priesthood and its associated ordinances?
See also Alma 13:1–13; Doctrine and Covenants 121:36–46; Gospel Topics, “Melchizedek Priesthood,” topics.lds.org; Guide to the Scriptures, “Melchizedek,” scriptures.lds.org; Henry B. Eyring, “Faith and the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2008, 61–64; Dallin H. Oaks, “The Keys and Authority of the Priesthood,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 49–52.
The original Hebrew readers of this epistle would have been very familiar with the ancient tabernacle and the ordinances Paul described. But some did not fully recognize that the purpose of these ordinances was to point to the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
In biblical times, on a yearly holiday called the Day of Atonement, a high priest entered the holiest place (or Holy of Holies) in the Jerusalem temple and sacrificed a goat or lamb to atone for the sins of Israel. Paul explained that Jesus Christ is a high priest who offers a single sacrifice—His own life—to atone for the sins of the world (see Hebrews 9:24–10:14).
Think about the ordinances you participate in today. How do these ordinances point you to Jesus Christ?
To learn more about ancient Jewish ceremonies and their symbolism, see the videos “The Tabernacle” and “Sacrifice and Sacrament” (LDS.org).
If someone asked you to define faith, what would you say? Sister Anne C. Pingree, former member of the Relief Society General Presidency, drew on language from Hebrews 11 to give this definition: “Faith, the spiritual ability to be persuaded of promises that are seen ‘afar off’ but that may not be attained in this life, is a sure measure of those who truly believe” (“Seeing the Promises Afar Off,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2003, 14).
As you read the scriptures with your family, the Spirit can help you know what principles to emphasize and discuss in order to meet the needs of your family. Here are some suggestions:
You might invite family members to share spiritual experiences when they felt “illuminated” with truth. How can these experiences help us “cast not away therefore [our] confidence” in times of trial or doubt?
How can you help your family members learn from the faithful examples mentioned in Hebrews 11? It might be fun to act out the stories of some of these examples. Or perhaps your family could discuss the examples of other faithful people you know—including ancestors, Church leaders, and members of your community.
According to this verse, why was Jesus willing to endure the pain and suffering of the cross? What does this teach us about how we can endure our trials? President Russell M. Nelson gave some helpful insights on this verse in his message “Joy and Spiritual Survival” (Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2016, 81–84).
Why does the Lord chasten and correct us? What do family members notice about the way the Lord sees chastisement as you study these verses together? How do these verses affect the way you give or receive chastisement?
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.