Hebrews class 10, Hebrews chapter 7, Melchizedek priesthood of Jesus Christ is better

Tod Kennedy, March 18, 2009, edited July 24, 2018

Main points to emphasize in Hebrew 7

  1. Jesus’ priesthood is of the Melchizedek kind and is therefore much better than the Aaron-Levitical priesthood.
  2. Jesus’ priesthood replaced the Levitical priesthood and so the Levitical priesthood can be left behind.
  3. Jesus our high priest is able to save forever those who come to God through Him because of His person, His once for all sacrifice, and His present ministry.

Relationship of Hebrews 7, 8, 9, 10

  1. Hebrews 7 teaches that Christ’s priesthood order is a better.
  2. Hebrews 8 teaches that Christ’s covenant is better.
  3. Hebrews 9 teaches that Christ’s sanctuary is better.
  4. Hebrews 10 teaches that Christ’s sacrifice is better.

Outline

  1. Melchizekek’s biography, Hebrews 7:1-3.
  2. Jesus’ Melchizedek kind of priesthood is better than Aaron-Levitical priesthood, Hebrews 7:11-24.
  3. Jesus is the perfect and only high priest for us, Hebrews 7:25-28.

Hebrews 7 Study

  1. Hebrews 7:1-10, Melchizekek’s biography.
    1. Hebrews 7:1-3 draws Melchizedek’s biography from Genesis 14:18-20. Melchizedek is mentioned 10 times in 10 verses: Genesis 14:18, Psalm 110: and Hebrews 5:6, 6:10 and 20, 7:1, 10, 11, 15, 17.
      1. Melchizedek was the king of Salem (later Jerusalem) at the time that Abram defeated Chedorlaomer’s army and rescued Lot.
      2. Melchizedek was also a priest of God, making him a king and priest.
      3. When Melchizedek met Abram after the battle he blessed Abram and God. Melchizedek recognized that God had given Abram victory. Blessed in both cases is barak, S1288. Barak means to bless, to commend, to praise.
      4. Abram gave Melchizedek one-tenth of the spoils of the battle. This tells us that Abram recognized that Melchizedek was a priest of God. Tithing was a recognized act of worship at that time (Keil and Delitzsch, 1.207).
      5. According to the New Testament Melchizedek had not [recorded] father, mother, genealogy, beginning or end of days. This was not public information. The author of Hebrews plays on this to emphasize the perpetual priesthood of Melchizedek and make a comparison to Jesus, the Son of God.
      6. The point of comparison to the Melchizedek priesthood is that Jesus’ priesthood is much different and much better than the Levitical priesthood. Remember that the Jewish believers addressed in Hebrews were questioning Jesus priesthood and completed work on the cross. In doing this they were attracted to the Mosaic Levitical priesthood. This chapter stresses that Jesus’ priesthood is so very much better than the Levitical priesthood in all ways.
  2. Melchizedek was superior to Levi is demonstrated by Abraham and Levi paying tithes to Melchizedek, Hebrews 7:4-24.
    1. Hebrews 7:4-10. Abraham revered Melchizedek. He showed this by giving him the tenth or tithe of his spoils of war. Abraham was the patriarch, the founder of the Hebrew race and nation. He, Moses, and David were the heroes of Israel.
      1. Hebrew 7:5. Abram gave a tenth to Melchizedek. The Levites were descended from Abraham. They were authorized to get a tenth or tithe from the Hebrew people, people who also descended from Abraham. In that sense they also paid a tenth to Melchizedek. The point is that the Melchizedek priesthood was better or greater than the Levitical priesthood. Again, Jesus is in the likeness of the Melchizedek priesthood, so why are they going back to that priesthood when the one they are related to is better.
      2. Hebrews 7:6-7. This confirms that Melchizedek (“the one whose”) collected a tenth from the Levites (“them”). Abraham is the lesser and Melchizedek is the greater.
      3. Hebrews 7:8. Mortal men refer to Aaron and then Levi’s descendents. They received tithes, but they still died. Melchizedek, as far as recorded Scripture indicates, did not die. He lives on.
      4. Hebrews 7:9-10. The ancients regarded themselves as having participated in the deeds of their ancestors. Levi, who was not even born at the time of Abraham and Melchizedek, in a sense paid tithes to Melchizedek demonstrating his superiority.
    2. Hebrews 7:11-24. Jesus’ Melchizedek order or kind of priesthood is better than Levitical priesthood. This is demonstrated by the fact that 1. the Levitical priesthood was inadequate, and 2. that Jesus became a priest by God’s oath.
      1. Hebrews 7:11. The point is that if the Levitical priesthood had been able to accomplish everything needed to remove the sin barrier between God and man, to give eternal life, grow people to spiritual maturity, and to bring the blessings associated with eternal life why was another priesthood needed?
        1. The “if” clause is second class. This assumes something is not true for the sake of argument. The Levitical priesthood could not bring perfection (τελείωσις, εως, teleiosis, completion, accomplishment. S5050) as explained above. That priesthood could not do what was needed. The Leviitical priesthood could only prepare the way for the once for all sacrifice made by a better priest who served like a better priesthood, the Melchizedek priesthood.
        2. Order of Melchizedek. The word “order” is τάξις, εως, ἡ. Taxis (S5010). Rank, file, order of soldiers or army; arrangement, ordinance, rank, position, station; order, class of men. Here it refers to the order or class of priesthood and therefore the kind of priesthood that Melchizedek had. Jesus Christ had a like kind of priesthood to Melchizedek. If there had been many priest in this group then they all would be in the Melchizedek class or group or order.
      2. Verses 12-14. This notes the change of law with a change of priesthood. This was necessary. Jesus was from the tribe of Judah. The Mosaic law said nothing about a priesthood from Judah. If there will be a Melchizedek like priest he must be from another tribe. Jesus was from Judah.
      3. Verses 16-18. Jesus priesthood was not based on the Mosaic law which had rules for physical qualifications, the first was to be a descendant of Levi. Jesus was priest because of his nature (God and man) and God’s oath (you are a priest forever….). Psalm 110 said that this priest would live forever.
        1. Indestructible is ἀκατάλυτος, ον akatalutos, S179, perpetual, endless. Jesus by nature, by sinlessness, by resurrection was indestructible and qualified for this new priesthood.
        2. In contrast the Levitical priesthood could not forgive sins, could not give eternal life, and its priests died. The Mosaic order could not deliver the goods forever. It just pointed to the need for a better way.
      4. Verses 19-22. Again, the law could not do all that was needed. It could make nothing perfect, τελειόω teleioo, make perfect, complete, aorist active indicative. A better hope came with Jesus Christ. That hope was of forgiveness of sins, eternal life, resurrection, kingdom blessings, and rewards. Levi was not a priest by an oath. Jesus was.
        1. Verse 20-21. This came through God’s oath. He swore that Jesus was a priest forever and could therefore fulfill all that was needed to do.
        2. Verse 22. Jesus guaranteed the better covenant. That covenant is the new covenant which replaced the old covenant (ML). He guaranteed the new covenant by his priesthood, life, death, and resurrection
        3. A covenant is a promise that one party makes with another. The new covenant is one of the four basic unconditional covenants that God made for Israel. They are 1) Abrahamic (Gen 12.1-3) 2) Land (Deut 30.1-10) 3) Davidic (2 Sam 7.14-16) 4) New (Jer 31.31-34). These four covenants will be fulfilled in the millennial kingdom. The Mosaic covenant or law is the conditional covenant.
        4. The new covenant (Jer 31.31-34; Ez 36.25-28; Heb 7.22; 8.8-13; 10.15-18) is God’s promise that he will graciously give Israel a future permanent relationship and fellowship with him. There seems to be just one new covenant, but the blessings of the new covenant extend beyond Israel.
        5. The church—the body of Christ and present parenthetical form of God’s administration—participates in the spiritual benefits of the new covenant because the death, resurrection, ascension of Christ; and the ministry of the Holy Spirit is the basis for all spiritual life (1 Cor 11.25; 2 Cor 3.6).
      5. Verses 23-24. The Levitical priests died and so did not go on forever. Their help was limited. Jesus has a permanent priesthood and continues his priesthood forever. Therefore, he blesses us.
  3. Jesus is the perfect and only high priest for us, Hebrews 7:25-28.
    1. Verse 25. Therefore is ὅθεν hothen, adverb, for which reason. Jesus, because of his distinct priesthood, is able to save forever. That means eternally. We are secure through Jesus person and work. Whom does he save forever? Those who approach God through Him. Those who approach God through Jesus the priest. He removed the sin barrier between God and man. He now intercedes or defends us and prays for us to God the Father. See also Hebrews 4:14-16 and 1 John 2:1.
    2. Verse 26. It was fitting for us means that it was conspicuous, it was suitable (πρέπω,prepo S4241). This was clearly the right thing for us.
      1. Our high priest is exactly what is needed for us. Holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. All because of his perfection and all result in security and blessings for us.
    3. Verse 27 again contrasts Jesus with the Levitical priests. They had to offer sin sacrifices for themselves first and then for the Hebrew people. Jesus did not have to offer a sin sacrifice for himself. And, the sacrifice that he offered for sin for everyone was himself. He only had to offer that once and the job was done forever.
    4. Verse 28 continues the contrast. The Mosaic Law appointed priests who were sinful men. They were weak morally and physically and they died. The law appointed men (sons of Levi), but God through His oath “you are a priest forever,” appointed the Son. He came on the human scene after the Law and after the Levitical priesthood..
      1. He was forever made perfect refers to his person, sacrifice, and ministry. The verb is τελειόω teleioo, perfect, complete, finished, accomplished; it is perfect passive participle, masculine, singular accusative, in apposition to Son. S5048. Jesus fulfilled his purpose for mankind and for Himself. He did what God wanted Him to do and what He did and who He is will last forever. This means that He will never fail in His priesthood and therefore His provision for us.
      2. He is our absolutely complete and perfect high priest.
        1. He was God’s son, not just a man.
        2. He was made priest by an oath, not by the Old Covenant which was completed.
        3. He was more recent than the Levitical priesthood and replaced that priesthood.
        4. He is absolutely perfect in His person, sacrifice, and His ministry. Jesus Christ is the Melchizedek kind of priest for us and His priesthood completely accomplished all that God the Father planned and His priesthood goes on forever.
        5. His priestly ministries include understanding our testing and praying for us now (Hebrews 4:14-17).

Review of main points to emphasize in Hebrew 7

  1. Jesus’ priesthood is of the Melchizedek kind and is therefore much better than the Aaron-Levitical priesthood.
  2. Jesus’ priesthood replaced the Levitical priesthood and so the Levitical priesthood can be left behind.
  3. Jesus our high priest is able to save forever those who come to God through Him because of His person, His once for all sacrifice, and His present ministry.