Hebrews Chapter Seven
The epistle, returning to the subject of Melchizedec, reviews therefore the dignity of his person and the importance of his priesthood. For on priesthood, as a means of drawing nigh to God, the whole system connected with it depended.
Melchizedec then (a typical and characteristic person, as the use of his name in Psalm 110 proves) was king of Salem, that is king of peace, and, by name, king of righteousness. Righteousness and peace characterise his reign. But above all he was priest of the Most High God. This is the name of God as supreme Governor of all things-Possessor, as is added in Genesis, of heaven and earth. It is thus that Nebuchadnezzar, the humbled earthly potentate, acknowledged Him. It was thus He revealed Himself to Abraham, when Melchizedec blessed the patriarch after he had conquered his enemies. In connection with his walk of faith, the name of Abraham, victorious over the kings of the earth, is blessed by Melchizedec, by the king of righteousness, in connection with God as Possessor of heaven and earth, the Most High. This looks onward to the royalty of Christ, a Priest upon His throne, when by the will and the power of God He shall have triumphed over all His enemies-a time not yet arrived-first fulfilled in the millennium, as it is commonly expressed, though this rather refers to the earthly part. Abraham gave tithes to Melchizedec. His royalty was not all, for Psalm 110 is very clear in describing Melchizedec as priest, and as possessing a lasting and uninterrupted priesthood. He had no sacredotal parentage form whom he derived his priest hood As a priest, he had neither father nor mother; unlike the sons of Aaron, he had no genealogy (compare Ezra 2:62); he had no limits assigned to the term of his priestly service, as was the case with the sons of Aaron. (Num 4:3) He was made a pries, like-in his priestly character--to the Son of God; but, as yet, the latter is in heaven.
The fact that he received tithes from Abraham, and that he blessed Abraham, shewed the high and preeminent dignity of this otherwise unknown and mysterious personage. The only thing that is testified of him-without naming father or mother, commencement of life, or death that may have taken place-is, that he lived.
The dignity of his person was beyond that of Abraham, the depositary of the promises; that of his priesthood was above Aaron's, who in Abraham paid the tithes which Levi himself received from his brethren. The priesthood then is changed, and with it the whole system that depended on it.
Psalm 110 interpreted by faith in Christ-for the epistle, we need not say, speaks always to Christians-is still the point on which its argument is founded. The first proof the, that the whole was changed, is that the Lord Jesus, the Messiah (a Priest after the order of Melchizedec, did not spring evidently from the sacredotal tribe, but from another, namely, that of Judah. For that Jesus was the Messiah, they believed. But, according to the Jewish scriptures, the Messiah was such as He is here presented; and in that case the priesthood was changed, and with it the whole system. And this was not only a consequence that must be drawn from the fact that the Messiah was of the tribe of Judah, although a Priest; but it was requisite that another priest than the priest of Aaron's family should arise, and one after the similitude of Melchizedec, who should not be after the law of a commandment which had no more power than the flesh to which it was applied, but who should be according to the power of a never ending life. The testimony of the psalm to this was positive: "Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek."
For there is in fact a disannulling of the commandment that existed previously, because it was unprofitable (for the law brought nothing to perfection); and there is the bringing in of a better hope, by which we draw nigh to God.
Precious difference! A commandment to man, sinful and afar from God, rep]aced by a hope, a confidence, founded on grace and on divine promise, through which we can come even into God's presence.
The law, doubtless, was good; but separation still subsisted between man and God. The law made nothing perfect. God was ever perfect, and human perfection was required; all must be according to what divine perfection required of man. But sin was there, and the law was consequently without power (save to condemn); its ceremonies and ordinances were but figures, and a heavy yoke. Even that which temporarily relieved the conscience brought sin to mind and never made the conscience perfect towards God. They were still at a distance from Him.. Grace brings the soul to God, who is known in love and in a righteousness which is for us.
The character of the new priesthood bore the stamp in all its features, of its superiority to that which existed under the order of the law and with which the whole system of the law either stood or fell.
The covenant connected with the new priesthood answered likewise to the superiority of the latter over the former priesthood.
The priesthood of Jesus was established by oath; that of Aaron was not. The priesthood of Aaron passed from one person to another, because death put an end to its exercise by the individuals who were invested with it. But Jesus abides the same for ever; He has a priesthood that is not transmitted to others. Thus He saves completely, and to the end, those that come unto God by Him, seeing that He ever lives to intercede for them.
Accordingly "such a high priest became us." Glorious thought! Called to be in the presence of God, to be in relationship with Him in the heavenly glory, to draw near to Him on high, where nothing that defiles can enter, we needed a High Priest in the place to which access was given us (as the Jews in the earthly temple), and such a one as the glory and purity of heaven required.What a demonstration that we belong to heaven, and of the exalted nature of our relationship with God ! Such a Priest became us: " Holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, exalted above the heavens"-for so are we, as to our position, having to do with God there-a Pr iest who needs not to renew the sacrifices, as though any work to put away sin still remained to be done, or their sins could still be imputed to believers; for then it would be impossible to stay in the heavenly sanctuary. As having once for all completed His work for the putting away of sin, our Priest offered His sacrifice once for all when He offered up Himself,
For the law made high priests who had the infirmities of men, for they were men themselves; the oath of God, which came after the law, establishes the Son, when He is perfected for ever, consecrated in heaven unto God.
We see here that, although there was an analogy and the figures of heavenly things, there is more of contrast than of comparison in this epistle. The legal priests had the same infirmities as other men; Jesus has a glorified priesthood according to the power of an endless life.
The introduction of this new priesthood, exercised in heaven, implies a change in the sacrifices and in the covenant. This the inspired writer develops here setting forth the value of the sacrifice of Christ, and the long-promised new covenant. The direct connection is with the sacrifices; but he turns aside for a moment to the two covenants, a so wide-embracing and all-weighty consideration for the christian Jews who had been under the first.
── John Darby《Synopsis of Hebrews》
A comparison between the priesthood of Melchizedec and that of Christ. (1-3) The excellence of Christ's priesthood above the Levitical priesthood is shown. (4-10) This is applied to Christ. (11-25) The faith and hope of the church encouraged from this. (26-28)
Commentary on Hebrews 7:1-3
(Read Hebrews 7:1-3)
Melchizedec met Abraham when returning from the rescue of Lot. His name, "King of Righteousness," doubtless suitable to his character, marked him as a type of the Messiah and his kingdom. The name of his city signified "Peace;" and as king of peace he typified Christ, the Prince of Peace, the great Reconciler of God and man. Nothing is recorded as to the beginning or end of his life; thus he typically resembled the Son of God, whose existence is from everlasting to everlasting, who had no one that was before him, and will have no one come after him, in his priesthood. Every part of Scripture honours the great King of Righteousness and Peace, our glorious High Priest and Saviour; and the more we examine it, the more we shall be convinced, that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
Commentary on Hebrews 7:4-10
(Read Hebrews 7:4-10)
That High Priest who should afterward appear, of whom Melchizedec was a type, must be much superior to the Levitical priests. Observe Abraham's great dignity and happiness; that he had the promises. That man is rich and happy indeed, who has the promises, both of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This honour have all those who receive the Lord Jesus. Let us go forth in our spiritual conflicts, trusting in his word and strength, ascribing our victories to his grace, and desiring to be met and blessed by him in all our ways.
Commentary on Hebrews 7:11-25
(Read Hebrews 7:11-25)
The priesthood and law by which perfection could not come, are done away; a Priest is risen, and a dispensation now set up, by which true believers may be made perfect. That there is such a change is plain. The law which made the Levitical priesthood, showed that the priests were frail, dying creatures, not able to save their own lives, much less could they save the souls of those who came to them. But the High Priest of our profession holds his office by the power of endless life in himself; not only to keep himself alive, but to give spiritual and eternal life to all who rely upon his sacrifice and intercession. The better covenant, of which Jesus was the Surety, is not here contrasted with the covenant of works, by which every transgressor is shut up under the curse. It is distinguished from the Sinai covenant with Israel, and the legal dispensation under which the church so long remained. The better covenant brought the church and every believer into clearer light, more perfect liberty, and more abundant privileges. In the order of Aaron there was a multitude of priests, of high priests one after another; but in the priesthood of Christ there is only one and the same. This is the believer's safety and happiness, that this everlasting High Priest is able to save to the uttermost, in all times, in all cases. Surely then it becomes us to desire a spirituality and holiness, as much beyond those of the Old Testament believers, as our advantages exceed theirs.
Commentary on Hebrews 7:26-28
(Read Hebrews 7:26-28)
Observe the description of the personal holiness of Christ. He is free from all habits or principles of sin, not having the least disposition to it in his nature. No sin dwells in him, not the least sinful inclination, though such dwells in the best of Christians. He is harmless, free from all actual transgression; he did no violence, nor was there any deceit in his mouth. He is undefiled. It is hard to keep ourselves pure, so as not to partake the guilt of other men's sins. But none need be dismayed who come to God in the name of his beloved Son. Let them be assured that he will deliver them in the time of trial and suffering, in the time of prosperity, in the hour of death, and in the day of judgment.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on Hebrews》
 For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;
The sum of this chapter is, Christ, as appears from his type, Melchisedec, who was greater than Abraham himself, from whom Levi descended, has a priesthood altogether excellent, new, firm, perpetual. Genesis 14:18, etc.
 To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;
Being first — According to the meaning of his own name.
King of righteousness, then — According to the name of his city.
King of peace — So in him, as in Christ, righteousness and peace were joined. And so they are in all that believe in him.
 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.
Without father, without mother, without pedigree — Recorded, without any account of his descent from any ancestors of the priestly order.
Having neither beginning of days, nor end of life — Mentioned by Moses.
But being — In all these respects.
Made like the Son of God — Who is really without father, as to his human nature; without mother, as to his divine; and in this also, without pedigree - Neither descended from any ancestors of the priestly order.
Remaineth a priest continually — Nothing is recorded of the death or successor of Melchisedec. But Christ alone does really remain without death, and without successor.
 Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.
The greatness of Melchisedec is described in all the preceding and following particulars. But the most manifest proof of it was, that Abraham gave him tithes as to a priest of God and a superior; though he was himself a patriarch, greater than a king, and a progenitor of many kings.
 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:
The sons of Levi take tithes of their brethren — Sprung from Abraham as well as themselves. The Levites therefore are greater than they; but the priests are greater than the Levites, the patriarch Abraham than the priests, and Melchisedec than him.
 But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.
He who is not from them — The Levites Blessed - Another proof of his superiority.
Even him that had the promises — That was so highly favoured of God. When St. Paul speaks of Christ, he says, "the promise;" promises refer to other blessings also.
 And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.
The less is blessed — Authoritatively, of the greater.
 And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.
And here — In the Levitical priesthood.
But there — In the case of Melchisedec.
He of whom it is testified that he liveth — Who is not spoken of as one that died for another to succeed him; but is represented only as living, no mention being made either of his birth or death.
 And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.
And even Levi, who received tithes — Not in person, but in his successors, as it were, paid tithes - In the person of Abraham.
 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?
The apostle now demonstrates that the Levitical priesthood must yield to the priesthood of Christ, because Melchisedec, after whose order he is a priest, 1. Is opposed to Aaron, Hebrews 7:11-14. 2. Hath no end of life, Hebrews 7:15-19, but "remaineth a priest continually." If now perfection were by the Levitical priesthood - If this perfectly answered all God's designs and man's wants For under it the people received the law - Whence some might infer, that perfection was by that priesthood.
What farther need was there, that another priest — Of a new order, should be set up? From this single consideration it is plain, that both the priesthood and the law, which were inseparably connected, were now to give way to a better priesthood and more excellent dispensation.
 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
For — One of these cannot be changed without the other.
 For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.
But the priesthood is manifestly changed from one order to another, and from one tribe to another.
For he of whom these things are spoken — Namely, Jesus.
Pertaineth to another tribe — That of Judah. Of which no man was suffered by the law to attend on, or minister at, the altar.
 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.
For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah — Whatever difficulties have arisen since, during so long a tract of time, it was then clear beyond dispute.
 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest,
And it is still far more evident, that — Both the priesthood and the law are changed, because the priest now raised up is not only of another tribe, but of a quite different order.
 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.
Who is made — A priest.
Not after the law of a carnal commandment — Not according to the Mosaic law, which consisted chiefly of commandments that were carnal, compared to the spirituality of the gospel.
But after the power of an endless life — Which he has in himself, as the eternal Son of God.
 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.
For there is implied in this new and everlasting priesthood, and in the new dispensation connected therewith, a disannulling of the preceding commandment - An abrogation of the Mosaic law.
For the weakness and unprofitableness thereof — For its insufficiency either to justify or to sanctify.
 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
For the law — Taken by itself, separate from the gospel.
Made nothing perfect — Could not perfect its votaries, either in faith or love, in happiness or holiness.
But the bringing in of a better hope — Of the gospel dispensation, which gives us a better ground of confidence, does.
By which we draw nigh to God — Yea, so nigh as to be one spirit with him. And this is true perfection.
 And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest:
And — The greater solemnity wherewith he was made priest, farther proves the superior excellency of his priesthood.
 (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)
The Lord sware and will not repent — Hence also it appears, that his is an unchangeable priesthood.
 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.
Of so much better a covenant — Unchangeable, eternal.
Was Jesus made a surety — Or mediator. The word covenant frequently occurs in the remaining part of this epistle. The original word means either a covenant or a last will and testament. St. Paul takes it sometimes in the former, sometimes in the latter, sense; sometimes he includes both.
 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:
They were many priests — One after another.
 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.
He continueth for ever — In life and in his priesthood.
That passeth not away — To any successor.
 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
Wherefore he is able to save to the uttermost — From all the guilt, power, root, and consequence of sin.
Them who come — By faith.
To God through him — As their priest.
Seeing he ever liveth to make intercession — That is, he ever lives and intercedes. He died once; he intercedes perpetually.
 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
For such an high priest suited us — Unholy, mischievous, defiled sinners: a blessed paradox! Holy - With respect to God.
Harmless — With respect to men.
Undefiled — With any sin in himself.
Separated from sinners — As well as free from sin. And so he was when he left the world.
And made — Even in his human nature.
Higher than the heavens — And all their inhabitants.
 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
Who needeth not to offer up sacrifices daily — That is, on every yearly day of expiation; for he offered once for all: not for his own sins, for he then offered up himself "without spot to God."
 For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.
The law maketh men high priests that have infirmity — That are both weak, mortal, and sinful.
But the oath which was since the law — Namely, in the time of David.
Maketh the son, who is consecrated for ever — Who being now free, both from sin and death, from natural and moral infirmity, remaineth a priest for ever.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on Hebrews》
Chapter 7. Melchizedek
Beginning of Days
Without End of Life
I. A Symbol Representing Jesus the Lord
II. How Jesus Surpasses Aaron
III. Perfect High Priest
── Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》
The Greatness Of Melchizedek (7:1-10)
1. Thus far in our study, we have seen the writer mention
a. That Jesus is a priest "after the order of Melchizedek" - He
b. It has only been a brief mention, for the dullness of the readers
required a necessary digression - cf. He 5:11-6:20
2. But now the writer returns to his theme concerning Melchizedek, in
a. Establishes the greatness of Melchizedek - He 7:1-10
b. Shows the significance of Melchizedek's priesthood - He 7:11-19
c. Thereby illustrating the greatness of Christ's priesthood - He
3. Since this subject is "meat" compared to the "milk" of the Word (cf.
a. We want to approach it slowly and carefully
b. Allowing ourselves to slowly "digest" what is said in this
seventh chapter of Hebrews
[For this reason, this lesson will limit itself to the first ten
verses, in which we read of "The Greatness Of Melchizedek". To
appreciate his greatness, we must be aware of...]
I. THE HISTORY OF MELCHIZEDEK (1-3)
A. THE HISTORICAL RECORD AS FOUND IN GENESIS 14...
1. We first read of "The Battle Of The Kings" - Gen 14:1-11
2. In which
Lotis captured, and then rescued by Abram (Abraham)
- Gen 14:12-17
3. Upon his return, Abram is met by Melchizedek - Gen 14:18
a. Who is "king of
" (thought to be later known as Salem
b. Who is also "the priest of God Most High"
4. In this meeting, two things happen...
a. Melchizedek blesses Abram (Abraham) - Gen 14:19
b. Abram pays tithes to Melchizedek - Gen 14:20b
B. IN REFERRING TO MELCHIZEDEK, THE AUTHOR OF HEBREWS...
1. Summarizes the events in He 7:1-2
a. How Melchizedek met Abraham and blessed him
b. How Abraham gave "a tenth part of all" (i.e., tithes) to
2. Explains the meaning of his name and title - He 7:2
a. The name "Melchizedek" means "king of righteousness"
b. The title "king of
" means "king of peace" Salem
3. Makes some intriguing statements about Melchizedek...
a. "without father, without mother, without genealogy"
b. "having neither beginning of days nor end of life"
c. "made like the Son of God"
d. "remains a priest continually"
C. WHO IS THIS "MELCHIZEDEK"?
1. Some have suggested that he was:
a. An angel (Origen, Didymus)
b. Enoch (Husius, Calmet)
c. Shem (Jerome, Luther)
2. Others have taken the statements in v.3 to suggest that
Melchizedek was a "theophany" (a pre-incarnate appearance of
Christ), for the following reasons:
a. The name Melchizedek, meaning "king of righteousness" (v.2)
b. The designation "king of peace" (v.2)
c. The possibility that the lack of recorded genealogy
mentioned in v.3 is due to actual lack of ancestors, rather
than the mere absence of historical record
d. He is said to remain "a priest continually" (v
e. He is contrasted with "mortal men" (v
f. Of him "it is witnessed that he lives" (v.8b)
3. Most take that he was simply a man (note v.4), but because he
appears suddenly in Scripture as a priest...
a. With no mention of parentage or genealogy
b. With no mention of his birth or death
c. With only a mention of him as a priest of "God Most High"
...that he is a "type" of Christ, and what His priesthood
would be like
[While the true identity of Melchizedek may remain a mystery because of
the brevity of scriptural information, his importance as it relates to
the superiority of Christ's priesthood becomes very clear as we
II. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF MELCHIZEDEK (4-10)
A. MELCHIZEDEK RECEIVED TITHES FROM ABRAHAM (4
1. Abraham paid a tenth to Melchizedek
2. Just as the nation of
would later pay a tenth to the Israel
sons of Levi
-- Thus Abraham, great as he was, showed his deference to
B. MELCHIZEDEK BLESSED ABRAHAM (6b-7)
1. Melchizedek blessed him "who had the promises" (Abraham)
2. There is no dispute that "the lesser is blessed by the better"
-- Thus Melchizedek is clearly "better" than Abraham
C. MELCHIZEDEK'S SERVICE WAS NOT AFFECTED BY DEATH (8)
1. In the priesthood under the Jewish system (i.e., the Levitical
or Aaronic priesthood), tithes were received by "mortal men"
(whose service ended at death)
2. But it has been witnessed that Melchizedek "lives"("remains a
priest continually" - He 7:3)
3. How he lives and remains a priest continually, the Bible does
-- But in this way Melchizedek is greater than the Levitical
priests (a point made concerning Jesus later in the chapter)
D. EVEN LEVI PAID TITHES TO MELCHIZEDEK (9-10)
1. Levi was "in the loins of his father" Abraham when
Melchizedek met him
2. Thus Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes "through Abraham,
so to speak"
-- Again illustrating the greatness of Melchizedek, as one
greater than Levi!
1. There is a lot more I wish I knew about Melchizedek...
a. Was he a "theophany", a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ?
b. Was he is an angel? Enoch? Shem?
c. Was he simply a man?
1) One whose Biblical record is such that he serves as a "type"
2) If so, I would love to know where he came from, and how he
came to be "priest of God Most High"
d. And how does he remain a priest continually?
2. But what I do know is this...
a. Jesus is "a priest forever according to the order of
Melchizedek", as God swore He would be in Psa 110:4
b. And that Melchizedek is clearly presented to be greater than
Abraham and Levi!
Understanding "The Greatness Of Melchizedek" helps prepare us to
appreciate the superiority of Christ's priesthood over the Levitical
(Aaronic) priesthood, which we will consider later...
The Significance Of Christ's Priesthood (7:11-19)
1. A major theme in "The Epistle To The Hebrews" is the priesthood of
a. His humanity prepared Him to be "a merciful and faithful High
Priest" - He 2:17
b. He is the "High Priest of our confession" - He 3:1
c. He is "a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens"
- He 4:14
d. He is a sympathetic High Priest, for He "was in all points
tempted as we are, yet without sin" - He 4:15
e. His calling as High Priest came from God Himself - He 5:5-6
2. His is a unique priesthood, however...
a. It is NOT according to the "Levitical priesthood"
1) He is a not priest in the order of Aaron
2) A priesthood that began with the giving of the Law through
b. His priesthood is "according to the order of Melchizedek" - He 5:
1) Melchizedek was a priest "of God Most High" who met Abram
- Gen 14:14-20
2) And God swore that the Messiah would be a priest like
Melchizedek - Psa 110:4
3. In our previous study, we saw Melchizedek was superior in that...
a. He received tithes from Abraham - He 7:4
b. He blessed Abraham - He 7:6b-7
c. Even Levi, in the loins of his ancestor Abraham, paid tithes to
Melchizedek - He 7:9-10
-- All of this proving that the priesthood of Christ, which is after
the order of Melchizedek, is superior to the Levitical priesthood
4. That Jesus would come to serve as a priest after the order the
Melchizedek is not without significance and major implications...
a. Regarding the efficacy of the Levitical priesthood
b. Regarding the law of Moses itself!
[Some of the significance and implications of Christ's priesthood is
described in He 7:11-19. As we consider "The Significance Of Christ's
Priesthood", we note first that ...]
I. THE LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD WAS LACKING (11)
A. IT DID NOT BRING "PERFECTION"...
1. Otherwise there would not have been another priest to arise
2. That one was foretold (Psa 110:4) and has come proves the
order of Aaron was lacking
B. THE MEANING OF "PERFECTION"...
1. Perfection means "completeness" and in this context it speaks
of making men acceptable to God (Believers' Study Bible)
2. The Old Law with its priesthood could never fully reconcile
man back to God
a. Animal sacrifices could not make one "perfect" - He 10:1
b. They could not cleanse the sinner's conscience - He 10:2-3;
c. They could not take away sin - He 10:4; cf. 10:11
[Jesus coming as a priest after the order of Melchizedek implies that
the Levitical priesthood, while having served the purpose for which it
was intended (to foreshadow the sacrifice of Christ), was not able to
provide man what he really needs.
The priesthood of Christ also signifies...]
II. THE LAW HAS BEEN ANNULLED (12-18)
A. A CHANGE IN THE PRIESTHOOD SIGNIFIES A CHANGE IN THE LAW...
1. Jesus came from the tribe of Judah, not Levi - He 7:13-14;
cf. Mt 1:1-2
2. Moses had not authorized anyone from
to serve as priest; Judah
indeed, God specifically forbid anyone other than a descendant
of Aaron - cf. Num 16:40
3. For Christ to serve as priest, then, a change must have
occurred - He 7:14
4. Especially for one who serves "according to the power of an
endless life" - He 7:15-17
a. The Levitical priests were "mortal men", whose service
ended at death
b. But Jesus is a priest "forever", His priesthood is
therefore unchangeable - He 7:24
B. WITH THE CHANGE IN PRIESTHOOD, THE LAW IS NOW ANNULLED...
1. "Annulled" means "to declare as void, to invalidate, to
2. The "former commandment" (as the Law is called) has therefore
been set aside - He 7:18
a. Because it was weak and unprofitable
b. In the sense of making us "perfect" (acceptable to God)
- cf. He 10:1
3. That the Law has been done away should not surprise us...
a. God foretold this would happen - cf. He 8:7-13
b. Jesus implied that the Law would be done away once it was
fulfilled - Mt 5:17-18
1) One "jot" or "tittle" would not pass from the law until
it was fulfilled
2) If the priesthood has changed, then it must have been
fulfilled and done away!
c. Paul described how Jesus abolished it in His death on the
1) To the Ephesians - Ep 2:14-16
2) To the Colossians - Co 2:14-16
[This significance of Christ's priesthood has powerful implications.
With the Law annulled, it is folly to seek justification by the Law
(cf. Ga 5:4); it also explains why we should not go to the Old Law to
find our authority for the work, worship, and organization of the
Finally, there is that significance of Christ's priesthood which should
be most precious to us...]
III. THERE IS NOW A BETTER HOPE (19)
A. THROUGH WHICH WE CAN DRAW NEAR TO GOD...
1. As seen earlier, the Levitical priesthood did not offer
a. Its sacrifices could not make one "perfect" regarding:
1) Consciousness of sins, for sacrifices were "year by
year" - He 10:1-3
2) Actual forgiveness of sins, for "it is not possible
that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins"
- He 10:4
b. Thus the Law, because of its "weakness and
unprofitableness", "made nothing perfect" - He 7:18-19
2. But now we have in Christ "a better hope"
a. Here we find the keyword of this epistle: "better"
1) First used in comparing Jesus to angels - He 1:4
2) Used later in contrasting the new covenant and its
promises with the old covenant - He 7:22; 8:6
b. Our hope in drawing near to God is now "better" than
SUPERIORPRIESTHOOD IS THE BASIS OF THAT HOPE...
1. Because Jesus is "a priest forever according to the order of
Melchizedek", our hope for drawing near to God is much
a. As we've seen, Melchizedek is superior to Abraham and Levi
b. Therefore his priesthood is superior to the Levitical
-- Making Jesus' own priesthood superior
2. More evidence of superiority will be considered shortly (cf.
He 7:24-28), but for now note again how the greatness of
Jesus' priesthood should strengthen our hope in drawing near
a. Our High Priest has "passed through the heavens" - He 4:14
b. Our High Priest can "sympathize with our weaknesses"
- He 4:15
c. Our High Priest makes it possible to "come boldly to the
throne of grace" and "obtain mercy and find grace to help
in time of need" - He 4:16
-- Can we see how His service as our High Priest provides "a
better hope, through which we draw near to God"?
1. More is yet to come regarding Christ's Priesthood, but perhaps we
can appreciate how...
a. The Levitical priesthood does not provide what man really needs
(access to God)
b. There has been a change in the Law; indeed, it has been replaced
with a new covenant
c. In Jesus, our hope in drawing near to God is much better than
2. In view of such things...
a. Why would the Hebrew Christians ever want to leave Jesus and
return to the Law?
b. Why would people today seek to use the Law to justify religious
practices, as many do when they turn to the Old Testament to
establish authority for such things as a separate priesthood
(clergy), burning of incense, or even instrumental music?
Jesus is the only way to God (cf. Jn 14:6). Are you willing to come
to the Father through Him? Let us be sure to serve God through Him
only! - cf. Ga 5:4-6
The Superiority Of Christ's Priesthood (7:20-28)
1. In the first seven chapters of "The Epistle To The Hebrews", the
main thought is the superiority of Christ...
a. To the prophets - He 1:1-3
b. To angels - He 1:4-2:18
c. To Moses - He 3:1-5
d. To Aaron and his Levitical priesthood - He 5:1-10; 7:1-28
2. In showing the superiority of Jesus' priesthood, the author has done
a. Jesus is qualified to be a priest by virtue of His calling by God
and His suffering - He 5:1-8
b. He has been called to be "a priest forever according to the order
of Melchizedek" - He 5:9-10
c. The priestly order of Melchizedek is shown to be superior by
comparing Abraham and Melchizedek - He 7:1-10
d. That Christ has become such a priest has several implications
- He 7:11-19
1) The Levitical priesthood could not make one perfect before
2) The Law upon which the Levitical priesthood was based has been
3) Christ now provides "a better hope, through which we draw near
3. This brings us to He 7:20-28, in which we find a climatic
a. Where Jesus is contrasted with those who served in the Levitical
b. Where "The Superiority Of Christ's Priesthood" is clearly
[In this passage, we find at least four points illustrating Jesus'
superiority, the first of which pertains to...]
I. HIS DIVINE APPOINTMENT (20-22)
A. LEVITICAL PRIESTS WERE APPOINTED BY A "COMMAND"...
1. Beginning with Aaron, he and his descendants served in the
2. It was a divine command that so appointed them - Exo 28:1-4
3. While divinely commanded, it was not with an oath
A. JESUS WAS MADE A PRIEST WITH AN "OATH"...
1. Again, the reference is to Psa 110:4, in which God swore an
oath concerning the coming Messiah and His priesthood
2. We saw earlier that a promise joined with an oath really
confirms the "immutability" (unchangeableness) of God's
counsel - cf. He 6:17
2. Appointed by an oath and not just a command, Jesus has become
"a surety of a better covenant"...
a. "surety" means "guarantor" (
b. Appointed by such an oath from God, Jesus guarantees the
new covenant, that it is "better" (there is that key word
[The superiority of Christ's priesthood is also illustrated by...]
II. HIS ETERNAL INTERCESSION (23-25)
A. LEVITICAL PRIESTS WERE LIMITED IN SERVICE BY "DEATH"...
1. When one died, another took his place
2. Of necessity there had to be "many priests"
B. JESUS "EVER LIVES" TO MAKE INTERCESSION FOR US...
1. That is because "He continues forever"
2. As seen earlier, Jesus came "according to the power of an
endless life" - He 7:16
3. He therefore "has an unchangeable priesthood"
a. He is "able to save to the uttermost those who come to God
1) He can do what the law could not do: make one "perfect"
- cf. He 7:19
2) That is, make one "holy, and blameless" - cf. Co 1:21-22
b. And "He ever lives to make intercession for them"
1) I have always been impressed by this phrase
2) For it suggests what Jesus is doing for us now, and is
most willing to do!
[As we continue in our text, we see yet another contrast with Levitical
III. HIS PERFECT CHARACTER (26-27)
A. LEVITICAL PRIESTS WERE "SINNERS"...
1. Some more so than others
2. Even the best of them had to "offer up sacrifices"...
a. On a daily basis
b. For his own sins before offering sacrifices others
B. JESUS IS "SEPARATE FROM SINNERS"...
1. We see our High Priest described in regards to...
a. His holy character: "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate
b. His preeminent position: "higher than the heavens"
-- Thus He does not need to offer sins for Himself
2. This makes Him a High Priest "fitting" (becoming, seemly) for
[Add to His perfect character another element that shows His superior
IV. HIS PERMANENT SACRIFICE (27)
A. THE LEVITICAL PRIESTS SACRIFICED "DAILY"...
1. Every day they offered sacrifices for their own sins and for
those of the people
2. That they had to be continually offered implies a fundamental
weakness in the efficacy of the sacrifices themselves
3. Later we learn that the problem was the inability of animal
sacrifices to make one perfect and to cleanse the conscience
of sins - He 10:1-4; cf. 9:9
B. JESUS OFFERED HIMSELF "ONCE FOR ALL"...
1. This implies the efficacy of His sacrifice
2. The superiority of Jesus' sacrifice will be explained further,
later on- cf. He 9:11-15; 10:11-14
1. In verse 28, we find a summary statement that contrasts the two
a. The "law", upon which the Levitical priesthood derives its
authority, appoints men who "have weaknesses"; for example:
1) They are sinners themselves, and death terminates their
2) Their sacrifices cannot truly remove sin, so had to be
repeated daily and yearly
b. The "oath", given after the law and the basis for Christ's
priesthood, appoints the Son "who has been perfected forever";
1) His humanity and the obedience learned through suffering makes
Him most "fitting" to be our High Priest - cf. He 2:17-18;
2) His sinlessness makes the sacrifice of Himself the perfect and
all-sufficient sacrifice, given once for all! - cf. He 10:
2. In chapters 9 and 10, the focus of this epistle will center on the
superiority of Christ's sacrifice; but for now, our attention has
been on those things that illustrate what our great High Priest:
a. His appointment by an oath from God, not just a command
b. His eternal intercession, not limited by death
c. His perfect character, untainted by sin
d. His permanent sacrifice, offered once for all when He offered
Don't you desire to have such a High Priest interceding in your behalf?
Then as Christians...
"Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we
may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." - He 4:16
Let us never forget that "He ever lives to make intercession" for those
who come to God through Him!
Without beginning of days
Without end of life
I. A symbol representing Jesus the Lord
1. Similar background
2. Superior position
3. A priest forever
II.How Jesus surpasses Aaron
1. The power of an indestructible life
2. A better hope
3. Mediator between God and men
III. Perfect High Priest
1. Love forever
2. Intercede for men
3. Everlasting salvation
－－ Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》