“November 6–12. Hebrews 7–13: ‘An High Priest of Good Things to Come,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: New Testament 2023 (2022)
“November 6–12. Hebrews 7–13,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2023
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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 severe 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 (see Hebrews 11; 12:1). This tradition is yours too. It’s a heritage of faith 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 restoration of the greater Melchizedek Priesthood, which offered even greater blessings. What do you learn about the Melchizedek Priesthood from Hebrews 7? Keeping in mind that the purpose of this epistle—like all scripture—is to build faith in Jesus Christ, you might note passages that testify of Him.
Here are some examples of other 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.”
What blessings have you received from the Melchizedek Priesthood and “the ordinances thereof”? (Doctrine and Covenants 84:20). How has the Melchizedek Priesthood helped you come unto Christ?
See also Alma 13:1–13; Doctrine and Covenants 121:36–46; Gospel Topics, “Melchizedek Priesthood,” topics.ChurchofJesusChrist.org; Guide to the Scriptures, “Melchizedek,” scriptures.ChurchofJesusChrist.org; Russell M. Nelson, “Spiritual Treasures,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2019, 76–79; Dallin H. Oaks, “The Melchizedek Priesthood and the Keys,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2020, 69–72.
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.
As you read Paul’s description of these ordinances, look for symbols and teachings that help you better understand the Savior’s atoning mission.
The ordinances we participate in today are different from those in Paul’s time, but their purpose is the same. How do today’s ordinances testify to you of Jesus Christ?
To learn more about ancient Jewish ceremonies and their symbolism, see the videos “The Tabernacle” and “Sacrifice and Sacrament” (ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
If someone asked you to define faith, what would you say? Sister Anne C. Pingree drew on language from Hebrews 11 to give this definition of faith: “The spiritual ability to be persuaded of promises that are seen ‘afar off’ but that may not be attained in this life” (“Seeing the Promises Afar Off,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2003, 14).
What promises do you see “afar off”? How can you show the Lord that you are “persuaded of them, and [have] embraced them”? (Hebrews 11:13).
Hebrews 10:32–36.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?
Hebrews 11.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. You can review some of these stories in Old Testament Stories. Or perhaps your family could discuss the examples of other faithful people you know—including ancestors, Church leaders, and members of your community. You could also sing a song about faith, such as “Faith” (Children’s Songbook, 96–97).
Hebrews 12:2.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).
Hebrews 12:5–11.Why does the Lord chasten and correct us? What do we notice in these verses about the way the Lord sees chastisement? How do these verses affect the way we give or receive chastisement?
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.
Suggested song: “Faith,” Children’s Songbook, 96–97.