HEBREWS 4:12    




The Bible says in Hebrews 4:12, “For the Word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” This verse is telling us some of the great values of the Word of God. The Word of God is alive. The Word of God is powerful. And the Word of God is “sharper.” The image of the Word of God being like a two-edged sword was given because a sword pierces the body and goes into the inward parts. Of course, with the Word of God we are talking about piercing in a spiritual manner. That is why this verse speaks of the “soul and spirit.” The Word of God is capable of reaching the human heart with spiritual truth.


What takes place when someone hears or reads the Word of God and the Word is used by the Holy Spirit to touch their heart? The process is described right here at the end of verse twelve. It says that the Word of God “is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” To say that the Bible is a discerner of your thoughts means that it is the best critic that you can have. You need a counselor. You need a means of having your plans and ideas and intentions reviewed and evaluated. The Word of God will do that important role for you. For example, the Word of God says, “Love your enemies.” Everyone has enemies. When you read this commandment with the proper amount of reflection, you must ask yourself how are you treating your enemies. Are you showing love to them?


The Word of God “is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” It is not only what we do that is important, but why we do it. And it all starts with the thought process. If the thoughts are right, every thing else will be right. The problem is that the more that you are away from God’s Word, the more that purely human thoughts will come into your mind. These purely human thoughts will lead you down the wrong road if they are not balanced out by the critic: “the discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” When you read the Word of God, make sure to allow it to replace the purely human thoughts that you have acquired.


Hebrews 4:13 carries on with the same theme and says, “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” This verse speaks of the omniscience of God, and it also speaks to how God uses His Word. God knows what each of us need, and as we read and hear His Word, God uses His Word to touch us with just what we need at that time. It is not like any other book that can be read just once and then its contents are known. The Bible is a living book. “The Word of God is alive and powerful and sharper than any twoedged sword


One of the things that the Word of God will do is convict us of our sins. It will show us where we have failed Him. But we should not be discouraged because of the message that the next few verses give us. It says in Hebrews 4:14-15, “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Once again we are told that Jesus is our high priest. We know that many of the first Christians in the first century had a Jewish heritage. It would be an important teaching to remind them that their high priest is Jesus Christ. There are things from the Old Testament that Jesus did away with because Jesus was the fulfillment of so many things. There were things practiced in the Old Testament that Jesus did away with because He fulfilled them. He completed them. He removed the need for them to exist. All of the ceremonies around the sacrificial system Jesus fulfilled. Jesus was the Lamb slaughtered as a sacrifice. He is our sacrifice. The high priest of the Old Testament stood before God and represented the people before God. Jesus is our representative. He is our mediator. He is our high priest. Jesus represents us in a tender and compassionate way. He understands that we are weak. He knows that we fail easily. He experienced the temptations and trials that we experience. He faced them without sin, but He knows how difficult it is. And we can be certain that He will be merciful to us.  


Because Jesus is our great high priest and because He understands, the Bible says in Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Jesus is God. Jesus sits at the place of authority in heaven. The place where Jesus sits is called “the throne of grace.” Jesus is the author of good things. He gives freely good things to those who do not deserve them. The most important good thing that He gives is forgiveness of sins. All of the good things that happen to you that you do not deserve come from Jesus. But you also need mercy. If He punished all of us for all of the sins that we commit, there would be no hope for anyone. But He does not do that. Jesus is merciful. Believers can have full confidence that Jesus is gracious and merciful. They can come to Him, bow down to Him, and present every need at His feet.


Several times already in the book of Hebrews we have been told that Jesus is our high priest. Hebrews chapter five is going to go into some detail explaining two things about Jesus as high priest. We are going to be told in what way Jesus is high priest. And we are going to be told what Old Testament example exists to justify the fact that Jesus is high priest even though Jesus did not come in the lineage of Aaron. Hebrews 5:1 says, “For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.” Jesus qualifies in these two ways. He was taken from among men, and He offered the greatest of all sacrifice for sin: Himself.


Another characteristic that should be found in a high priest is compassion for sinful people. Hebrews 5:2 says, “Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.” Human beings are weak. You are weak, and so is everyone around you. Do not have unreasonable expectations, and do not be too harsh. Everyone makes mistakes. As the Bible puts it in Romans 3V23, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” It says in Psalm 103:13-14, “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” Jesus is the greatest of all high priests because Jesus has the most compassion. He is the friend of publicans and sinners.


Hebrews 5:3-4 says concerning the high priest, “And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins. And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” A very important phrase in Hebrews 5:4 to notice is: “called of God.” Aaron was called of God. In other words God decided who would be the priest. Man did not decide. One of the serious problems in organized Christianity is that a great number of pastors and preachers have been chosen by man instead of by God. The judgment will be a very revealing time. Oh how things might have been different if only the administrators and deacons knew how to find the ones who are “called of God, as was Aaron.” Of course, Jesus was chosen of God. That is one of the things that is significant about the name “Messiah.” It means the “Anointed One,” and if refers to the One especially chosen by God. It is a great honor to be called of God to lead God’s people, but beware: “no man taketh this honor unto himself


Hebrews 5:3 said that the high priest had to offer sins for the people, and “also for himself.” This is one way that Jesus was different from the other high priests because He did not have to offer for His own sins. He was tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Another way in which Jesus is different from the other high priests is that Jesus did not come in the lineage of Aaron like the other high priests. Jesus came in a way similar to a priest named Melchisedec. It was important to the apostles and it was important to the Holy Spirit that there be a scriptural principle and a scriptural precedence to the doctrines that they taught. It is a great error to add to the Word of God or to twist the Word of God to justify what is being done or what is being taught in a church.


Concerning Jesus being a high priest, the Bible says in Hebrews 5:5, “So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my son, today have I begotten thee.” Christ glorify himself: Christ was chosen of God. There are those who have positions of leadership in religion for the purpose of self-glorification. These are the control-freaks and the ego-maniacs who thrive on self-interest. That is why they give themselves great titles and put their names up in lights. Jesus said, “He that seeks his own glory speaks of himself, but he that seeks the glory of him that sent him, the same is also true.” Listen to a speaker. The one that he speaks about is the one to whom he seeks to bring glory. A person who stands in the pulpit and speaks of himself is a person who seeks to glorify himself. Jesus did not do that. Jesus “glorified not himself.” Jesus spoke of the one who sent him. Jesus spoke of the Father. The Holy Spirit points to Jesus and glorifies Jesus. Those who are filled with the Holy Spirit also glorify Jesus. Listen carefully to those who claim to speak in the name of God. If their words are not bringing glory to Jesus Christ, then they are not filled with the Holy Spirit.


It is interesting to notice the relationship between two things in Hebrews 5:5. The first is to notice that Jesus was called to be a high priest. The second is to notice that this calling is related to the statement made by the Father, “Thou art my son, today have I begotten thee.” We know that Jesus has always existed from eternity to eternity. Therefore, this statement must refer to His birth as a human being when He came into the world. Jesus came into the world, and the moment that He came into the world His destiny had already been decided. His earthly calling originated at the time of His birth. From this we can conclude that every person who is given life is also given a calling. Find out what God wants you to do. God has a plan for you. Find out what that plan is and be faithful to it.


How is it that Jesus Christ could be a high priest in the plan of God when all the other high priests had to be born in the lineage of Aaron? The truth is that before Jesus came, there was one other person who was a priest without having been in the lineage of Aaron. His name was Melchisedec. Hebrews 5:6 says, “As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec.” This statement is actually a quotation from Psalm 110:4. There are many prophecies about the Messiah in the Old Testament and Psalm 110:4 is one of them. Jesus fulfilled them all including the one that says that He will be “a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec  


All of Psalm 110 is a Messianic Psalm. The entirety of Psalm 110:4 says, “The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” The reason that Jesus was a priest after the order of Melchzedek and not in the lineage of Aaron was because one thousand years before Christ was born  the Father said that it would be that way. Probably one reason that it was done this way is because the Aaronic priesthood ended. God did away with it. Its purpose was finished. Jesus is the last high priest. Jesus made sacrifice for sin once for all. Jesus is the Mediator between God and man.


The only way to know God is through Jesus. You need the forgiveness of sins. You need to know Christ as your Savior. Today you can bow at the feet of Jesus and become one of His believers. He is the great High Priest. He can save you.                         




Copyright; 2006 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved