Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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HEBREWS - Chapter 7

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Hebrews 7

Supplemental Commentary:

I.  SUPERIORITY OF THE NEW DISPENSATION OVER THE OLD  1, 1 -- 10, 18 (continued)

2.  A Superior High Priest  4, 14 -- 7, 28 (continued)

7, 1-28:  The argument for the superiority of Christ's over the Levitical priesthood, which had been broken off at 5, 10, is now resumed.  Melchisedech, a priest of the true God, received tithes from Abraham, the father of the Jewish people, and blessed him (Gen. 14, 18-20), hence Melchisedech must be the greater.  The Levitical priesthood, although originating several centuries later, is represented likewise as paying tithes to Melchisedech in the person of their ancestor Abraham, thus indicating inferiority to Melchisedech's priesthood.  It had been foretold that the Messias would be a priest according to the order of Melechisedech (Ps. 109, 4), hence the priesthood of Christ, who was the expected Messias, must be greater than the Levitical priesthood.

7, 1-3:  Melchisedech More Than Abraham.    1.  The most high God: the true God.    2.  Justice and peace had been predicted of the Messias.    3.  Without genealogy: not that Melchisedech had no father and mother but that Scripture mentions none.  His priesthood was not based on family descent as was that of the Sons of Levi, but was a personal prerogative.  In this it resembles the priesthood of Christ.  As nothing is said in Scripture of his death, his priesthood is looked upon as continuing forever, and hence as typical of the Son of God.  Ps. 109, 4 speaks of the Messias as a priest forever according to the order of Melchisedech.

7, 4-10:  Melchisedech More Than Levi.    8.  The Levitical priests died and had successors.  The priesthood of each ceased with death.  Neither the death of Melchisedech, nor any successor to him is ever mentioned in Scripture, hence his priesthood is considered as living on.    9.  The tribe of Levi was set aside for priestly functions under the Mosaic Law.  This priestly tribe is represented here as paying tithes to Melchisedech through their forefather Abraham.

7, 11-17:  Levitical Priesthood Imperfect.    11.  Order of Aaron: Aaron, the first High Priest, was of the tribe of Levi.    12.  The Levitical priesthood had failed, and with it the Old Law.  A new priesthood had been foretold, and that meant also a change of law, a new system.    16.  Law of carnal commandment: by family descent, or birth.  According to a life that cannot end: by the power of life inherent in His nature as Son of God, which death was not able to dissolve; hence His priesthood continues forever.    17.  Christ conquered death by His resurrection, and hence His priesthood continues forever as foretold in the Psalm (109, 4) quoted.

7, 18-19:  Superseded by Priesthood of Christ.    18.  The Old Law had failed, and was abrogated.    19.  Better hope: through the gospel.

7, 20-25:  A Priest by Divine Oath.    20.  God made a solemn oath that Christ was to be a priest forever.  The priests of the Old Law were established in their office without an oath.  Christ's priesthood, therefore, must be superior.    24.  Since He always lives, He has no successor.

7, 26-28:  Sinless and Perfect.  The sinless Christ is the ideal High Priest.  He offered up the one supreme sacrifice of Himself for the sins of the people, and needs not to offer up daily sacrifices for sins as did the Jewish priests.    28.  The Law: the Mosaic Law.  The word of the oath which came after the Law: Ps. 109, in which the oath regarding the priesthood of the Messias is contained, was written centuries after the Mosaic Law had been given.  The Mosaic Law made mere sinful men to be priests; this oath set up the sinless Son of God as a priest forever.


Confraternity Bible:

Melchisedech More Than Abraham  1 For this Melchisedech was 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 Abraham divided the tithes of all.  First, as his name shows, he is King of justice, and then also he is King of Salem, that is, King of Peace.  3* Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but likened to the Son of God, who continues a priest forever.

Melchisedech More Than Levi  4 Now consider how great this man is, to whom even Abraham the patriarch gave tithes out of the best portions of the spoils.  5 And indeed they who are of the priestly sons of Levi, have a commandment to take tithes from the people according to the Law, that is, from their brethren, though these also have come from the loins of Abraham.  6 But he whose genealogy is not recorded among them received tithes of Abraham and blessed him who had the promises.  7 Now beyond all contradiction, that which is less is blessed by the superior.  8 And in the one case indeed, mortal men receive tithes, while in the other, it is one of whom it is testified that he lives on.  9 And even Levi, the receiver of tithes, was also, so to speak, through Abraham made subject to tithes, 10 for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchisedech met him.

Levitical Priesthood Imperfect  11 If then perfection was by 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 Melchisedech, and said not to be according to the order of Aaron?  12 For when the priesthood is changed, it is necessary that a change of law be made also.  13 For he of whom these things are said is from another tribe, from which no one has ever done service at the altar.  14 For it is evident that our Lord has sprung out of Juda; and Moses spoke nothing at all about priests when referring to this tribe.  15 And it is yet far more evident if there arise another priest, according to the likeness of Melchisedech, 16 who has become so not according to the Law of carnal commandment, but according to a life that cannot end.  17* For it is testified of him,
"Thou art a priest forever, according to the order of Melchisedech."
Superseded by Priesthood of Christ  18 On the one hand there is the rejection of the former commandment, because of its weakness and unprofitableness 19 (for the Law brought nothing to perfection), and on the other hand a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.

A Priest by Divine Oath  20 And inasmuch as it is not without an oath (for the others indeed were made priests without an oath, 21 but he with an oath through him who said to him, "The Lord has sworn and will not repent, thou art a priest forever"), 22 all the more has Jesus become surety of a superior covenant.  23 And the other priests indeed were numerous, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office; 24* but he, because he continues forever, has an everlasting priesthood.  25 Therefore he is able at all times to save those who come to God through him, since he lives always to make intercession for them.

Sinless and Perfect  26 For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, set apart from sinners, and become higher than the heavens.  27 He does not need to offer sacrifices daily (as the other priests did), first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people; for this latter he did once for all in offering up himself.  28 For the Law appoints as priests men who are weak; but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son who is forever perfect.
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*

3: Without father, without mother: because they are not mentioned in Scripture.  Likened: i.e., he is a figure or type of Christ.

17: Ps. 109, 4.

24: Since He always lives.  He has no successor.