Welcome back to our study of the book of Hebrews, today our focus will be on Hebrews 7:11-28. Last week, we talked about the identity of Melchizedek as we looked at verses 1 through 10. We established that he was the only one ever allowed to assume both the role of a priest and a king. We also talked about the meaning of his name; Melchizedek meant King of righteousness but He was also king of Peace. Righteousness and Peace go hand in hand, without them we have no relationship with God. We also mentioned the endless life of Melchizedek, His superiority over Aaron and the legitimacy of His priesthood. In the following presentation, we will see the connection between Jesus and Melchizedek and the implications thereafter.
Jesus Likened To Melchizedek Hebrews 7:11-28
Jesus Compared to Melchizedek
11 Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? 12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. 13 For the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.
15 This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, 16 who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is witnessed of him,
“You are a priest forever,
after the order of Melchizedek.”
18 For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness 19 (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.
20 And it was not without an oath. For those who formerly became priests were made such without an oath, 21 but this one was made a priest with an oath by the one who said to him:
“The Lord has sworn
and will not change his mind,
‘You are a priest forever.’”
22 This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.
23 The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, 24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost[a] those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. 28 For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.
- Verse 11
We just learned that Melchizedek’s priestly order is greater than that of Aaron. Now the writer is going to build another case after setting his foundational argument. Before we do that, we need to understand what the word “perfection” means in the verse. It means complete, fulfilled. See the Levites couldn’t fulfill the work of God to its full extent, their ministry was a shadow of things to come. We talked about that in earlier chapters. We said that under the Levites, the people’s sins were only covered and not washed away. We talked about the weakness of the old system under the Levites. We also need to go to Jeremiah 31:31-34. There is a reason why God declared under oath that Jesus was going to be a priest after the order of Melchizedek in Psalm 110:4. From Jeremiah 31, 31-34, we learn that God declared that HE was going to make a new covenant with the house of Israel and Judah because of the weakness of the old covenant. We’re going to look at this portion in more depth in later chapters. Right now, we just needed to know why God declared that another priest would rise after the order of Melchizedek. Now we need to know what the implications are. The new priest under the order of Melchizedek was an everlasting one, one whose life is endless, therefore HE has not only surpassed Aaron but HE has replaced Him. Consequently now that this priest, namely Jesus has come, there is no longer a need for the Levites and their priestly order. For us this doesn’t really shake us to the core, but imagine being a Levite , hearing this. Do you know what this meant? It meant they were no longer needed, that’s all they existed for, that was their vocation.
- Verses 12-14
The new priest, the one that was established after the order of Melchizedek, could not be priest under the law of Moses, because he wasn’t from the tribe of Levi. So this is an indication that the law itself had to change in order for this priest to be legitimate. This is the point the writer is trying to make here. He is saying that the change in the priesthood is the by -product of the change in the law. Jesus is of the tribe of Judah touching his humanity, and under the law of Moses, only Levites were allowed to be priests. Since Jesus has now been established as a priest after the order of Melchizedek by God’s own oath in Psalm 110:4, God Himself is declaring that there is a change in the law.
- Verses 15-19
The writer is saying that this change in the law and the priesthood has become more plain and certain because the new priest who has been appointed , namely Jesus, has become priest because of His endless life. An endless life means an endless ministry, and an endless ministry means that the law has certainly changed. And consequently the Levitical priesthood has come to an end. And God himself approves of this by His word in Psalm 110:4. And the writer again gives his listeners and us ultimately the reasons why it had to be this way. He reiterates his point, the law and its regulations and practices made nothing perfect, because under it, sins could not be atoned for and the Holy of Holies wasn’t accessible. The priests under the old system ministered in an earthly tabernacle while Jesus has passed through the heavens and is seated at the right hand of God. Then he adds to his argument the benefit of the new hope that has been brought to his readers and us. This hope that we have allows us to draw near to God, we are allowed into the inner sanctuary, in the Holy of Holies, at the throne of grace. Let’s go to Matthew 27:45-54 to see the beginning of this hope. As the veil of the temple was torn, the Holy Spirit was indicating that by the death of Christ, sins had finally been atoned for and the wrath of God had been satisfied. And as a result, those who would put their trust in this new priest, whose resurrection proved that He was the Son of God, could draw near to God. Because He lives to intercede for them, and lives to die no more.
- Verses 26-28
The writer is now saying that everything that happened had to be this way , the High priesthood of Jesus after the order of Melchizedek was essential, necessary for our salvation. It wasn’t optional, it had to be this way. It was necessary for mankind to have a high priest like Jesus or we couldn’t be saved. And the writer gives the reasons why HE is the perfect High Priest. He is Holy ( because HE is the son of God), innocent, unstained ( therefore can appear before God), separated from sinners ( not isolated from sinners but set apart), exalted above the heavens ( HE has passed through the heavens, not an earthly tabernacle). We saw this in the earlier chapters that Jesus, unlike the Levites didn’t have to offer sacrifices for His sins because HE has no Sin. He entered the inner sanctuary with His own blood ( and the inner sanctuary that He entered wasn’t an earthly one , but the heavenly sanctuary). And as a result He has opened the way for mankind by His blood. When the veil was torn from top to bottom, the Holy Spirit was indicating by then that now mankind could approach God’s actual throne. Under the law, the priests that were appointed by God were weakened by their sinful nature, they only served as a shadow of the things to come, because under them the work of God wasn’t complete. So God declared on oath that HE was going to establish another priest, His own Son after the order of Melchizedek, a priest whose ministry is endless because of His indestructible life. And this priest is Jesus who has been made perfect forever because of His work on the cross.
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