Resuming the discussion of Jesus as High Priest, the superiority of Melchizedek to Abraham and Levi is first demonstrated (1-10). Reasons are then given why a new priest after the order of Melchizedek was necessary, which also required a change in the Law (11-19). Finally, the greatness of Jesus as our new High Priest is explained (20-28).
POINTS TO PONDER
* The superiority of Melchizedek to Abraham and Levi
* The change in the priesthood and the annulment of the law
* The superiority of Jesus’ priesthood to the Levitical priesthood
1) What are the main points of this chapter?
- The greatness of Melchizedek - He 7:1-10
- The need for a new priesthood - He 7:11-19
- The greatness of Jesus’ priesthood - He 7:20-28
2) Where in the Old Testament can we read about Melchizedek?
(1) - In Gen 14:18-20; also Ps 110:4
[Gen 14:18-20 NKJV] 18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he [was] the priest of God Most High. 19 And he blessed him and said: "Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand." And he gave him a tithe of all.
[Psa 110:4 NKJV] 4 The LORD has sworn And will not relent, "You [are] a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek."
Note that Salem was the old name for Jerusalem.
3) What do Melchizedek and the Son of God appear to have in common? (3)
- Both appear to be without father and mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life, remaining as priests continually
4) Why is Melchizedek greater than both Abraham and Levi? (4-10)
- Abraham was blessed by Melchizedek, and the lesser is blessed by the greater
- Melchizedek received tithes from Abraham and from his descendant Levi (so to speak)
5) Why was there a need for a change in the priesthood? (11)
- The Law which established the Levitical priesthood made nothing perfect
6) What was required for there to be a change in the priesthood? (12,18)
- The law had to be changed, indeed, annulled
7) What evidence is there that the Law has been changed? (13-17)
- The priest (Jesus) came from the tribe of Judah, not Levi as required by the Law
- The priest (Jesus) has the power of endless life, as foretold in Ps 110:4
8) List some of the qualities of Jesus’ priesthood. (20-28)
- By the oath of the Lord
- Surety of a better covenant
- An unchangeable priesthood
- Able to save to the uttermost
- Always lives to make intercession
- Holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners
- Offered up Himself once for all
- Has been perfected forever
The King of righteousness
[Heb 7:1-28 NKJV] 1 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated "king of righteousness," and then also king of Salem, meaning "king of peace," 3 without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually. 4 Now consider how great this man [was], to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils. 5 And indeed those who are of the sons of Levi, who receive the priesthood, have a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law, that is, from their brethren, though they have come from the loins of Abraham; 6 but he whose genealogy is not derived from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. 7 Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better. 8 Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he [receives them], of whom it is witnessed that he lives. 9 Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, 10 for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.
Need for a new priesthood
11 Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need [was there] that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? 12 For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law. 13 For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar. 14 For [it is] evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. 15 And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest 16 who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life. 17 For He testifies: "You [are] a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek." 18 For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, 19 for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, [there is the] bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.
Greatness of the new priest
20 And inasmuch as [He was] not [made priest] without an oath 21 (for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him: "The LORD has sworn And will not relent, 'You [are] a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek' "), 22 by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant. 23 Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. 24 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. 26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, [who is] holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people's, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, [appoints] the Son who has been perfected forever.