Hebrews 7

We have covered 6 chapters so far. These chapters have made some very powerful and explicit points.

This chapter shows the greatness of Jesus as our high priest. It is a testimony of how guaranteed and secure His priesthood is. It also shows the purpose of this priesthood is to bring is close to God.

Melchizadek is greater than the Levitical priests

Melchizadek is a picture of Christ our high priest as we have seen in the previous chapters. Melchizadek blessed Abraham before Abraham did anything to deserve it.

Hebrews 7:1 1 Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of the Most High God. He met Abraham who was returning from defeating the kings and blessed him.

Abraham gave from the spoils of a war against 5 kings which he miraculously won through God's favor.

Other bibles say "king of righteousness" instead of king of right. So we see peace comes after righteousness. Only a righteous person can have true peace. We are not capable of becoming righteous by doing the works of the law trough our self-effort. But thank God He sent his son to die for our sins and make us righteous. That is why, after the cross and Jesus' resurrection, but before Jesus ascended to heaven, he left us His peace (John 14:27). He had done the work to make us right, so now we can enjoy His peace.

Hebrews 7:2 2 Abraham gave him a tithe of all that he had won. Melchizedek's name means "king of right" while king of Salem means "king of peace."

Here, the bible is explicitly stating that Melchizadek is a picture of Jesus Christ our high priest. Notice it says like the Son of God. This seems to imply Melchizedek is not Jesus, just a picture of Jesus.

Hebrews 7:3 3 We don't have any information about his father or his mother or his family tree. We don't know when he was born or when he died. Like the Son of God he continues as a priest forever.

He is telling you to think how great Melchizedek ("this man") was, so we would have a better understanding of how great Jesus is. This was written to the Hebrews, who regarded Abraham very highly. To say someone was greater than Abraham was a powerful statement.

Hebrews 7:4 4 Think how great this man was for Abraham the patriarch to give him a tithe of what was won in battle.

Again, Abraham had God's promises. God's promises do not depend on man and cannot be earned. They are given out of grace and received in faith.

Hebrews 7:5-6 5 Yes, the sons of Levi who are priests were commanded by the law to receive a tithe from the people, their brothers and sisters, who are descended from Abraham. 6 But Melchizedek who doesn't share their ancestry received tithes from Abraham, and blessed the one who had God's promises.

The focus is still that Melchizedek's priesthood is greater than the Levitical priesthood. By extension, Jesus as our high priest under the new covenant is greater then mortal men as our priests under the old covenant. God is telling us that Jesus priesthood is more excellent and supersedes the levitical priesthood for 2 reasons:

  1. Melchizedek blessed Abraham (greater blesses lesser).
  2. The Levites paid tithes to Melchizedek through Abraham.

Notice that the focus and theme of the first 10 verses is concerning priesthood and not tithes. Tithes are just used as an example to make a point about Jesus' greatness and supremacy. This follows the theme of Hebrews that we have been experiencing through the first 6 chapters: it's all about Jesus and what He has done for us as our savior and priest. It is not about what we can or should do for Him.

Hebrews 7:7-10 7 There's no argument that the lesser person is blessed by the one who is greater. 8 In the one case tithes are received by men who die, but in the other by one who is said to be living. 9 So you could say that Levi, the one who receives tithes, has paid tithes through being a descendant of Abraham, 10 for he was yet to be born from his father when Melchizedek met Abraham.

Melchizedek is a picture of Jesus Christ

Here we see the first hint of the theme of the next 3 chapters. The old covenant is gone and the new covenant is here.

The law cannot make you perfect. You can never attain righteousness by doing the works of the law. Therefor, it was necessary to establish a new covenant with a new priesthood. Chapters 8-10 will more explicitly explain the replacement of the old covenant with the new covenant.

Hebrews 7:11-12 11 Now if perfection could have been achieved through the priesthood of Levi (for that's how the law was received), what was the need for another priest to come following the order of Melchizedek, and not following the order of Aaron? 12 If the priesthood is changed, then the law needs to be changed too.

Verses 13-15 show how Melchizedek is a picture of Jesus. Jesus is the true "eternal priest". And he is for us.

Hebrews 7:13-17 13 The one we're talking about comes from a different tribe, a tribe that has never provided priests to serve at the altar. 14 It's clear that our Lord is a descendant of Judah, and Moses said nothing about priests coming from this tribe. 15 What makes it even clearer is when another priest appears who is similar to Melchizedek, 16 and who didn't become a priest by virtue of his human ancestry but by the power of a life that cannot be ended. 17 That's why it says, "You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek."

Jesus' Priesthood is Perfect, Forever and Supreme

The law did not make us close to God. Only grace and mercy through the work of Jesus Christ can accomplish that. The law is holy and righteous, but it is powerless in making us righteous. The new covenant gives us a better hope than the old.

Hebrews 7:18-19 18 So the previous rule has been set aside because it was powerless and didn't work, 19 (for the law didn't make anything perfect). But now it's been replaced by a better hope by which we can come close to God.

Under the old covenant, the Levites were chosen by God, but they were NOT sworn into duty by an oath. Under the new covenant, Jesus was chosen by God to be high priest AND He was sworn into duty by an oath from God.

Hebrews 7:20 20 This a was not without an oath, even though those who become priests do so without an oath.

Jesus priest hood is guaranteed. God wants us to feel secure in our high priest and the salvation, forgiveness, purification, holiness, and righteousness that He provides us through the cross.

Hebrews 7:21 21 But he became a priest with an oath because God told him, "The Lord has taken a solemn vow and will not change his mind: You are a priest forever."

God made an oath that Jesus is our priest forever. This opens the door for us to have a relationship with God that is so much better than what we would have under the law of the old covenant. Under the old covenant, we could only have a master-slave relationship with God in a spirit of fear. Under the new covenant, we have a father-child relationship with God in a spirit of son-ship.

Why is this relationship possible? It is because Jesus paid for our sins at the cross and made us adopted children of God. That is what makes His priesthood so effective.

Hebrews 7:22 22 This is how Jesus became the guarantee of an agreed relationship with God that is so much better.

The Levites were sinful men, so they died. Every generation of levitical priests eventually died and was replaced by the next generation. But Jesus is perfect and without sin, he lives forever and is our high priest forever.

Hebrews 7:23-24 23 There have been many priests because death prevented them from being able to continue; 24 but since Jesus lives forever, his priesthood is permanent.

Because of this we can be sure of our salvation in Christ. See how Jesus is for us and working on our behalf.

Hebrews 7:25 25 As a result he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, living always to plead their case on their behalf.

Jesus is perfect and without sin. This is what makes Him qualified to be our high priest forever.

Hebrews 7:26 26 He is exactly the high priest we need: holy and without fault, pure and separate from sinners, and given a place in the highest heavens.

The work Jesus did on the cross to pay for our sins was perfect. It is a finished work. He did it once perfectly, so no more sacrifice for sins is required. All the sins of everyone have already been paid for.

Hebrews 7:27 27 Unlike those human high priests, he doesn't need to offer a daily sacrifice for his sins and then the sins of the people. He did this once, and for everyone, when he offered himself.

If you depend on men to be your priests (whether yourself, or someone else) to offer sacrifices because of sin to God on your behalf, you will never be perfectly cleansed and never enter into a close relationship with God because your guilt remains. But if you depend on Jesus to be your high priest, you are perfectly cleansed of all sin and guilt and can freely come close to God.

Hebrews 7:28 28 The law appoints imperfect men as high priests, but God gave his solemn vow after the law, and appointed his Son, perfect forever.

The next three chapters will deal more explicitly with the replacement of the old covenant with the new covenant and what that entails.

(All verses from the Free Bible Version Bible)

Author: Lyall Jonathan Di Trapani 14 Dec 2014