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Bible Commentaries

Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the Bible

Hebrews 7

 

 

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Introduction

CHRIST"S SUPERIOR PRIESTHOOD

-- Hebrews 7:1-28 --

We have already been introduced to the idea that Christ was made a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. The writer had much to say about that but, they were not in a state of mind then to understand it. They had made very little progress in their Christianity. In Hebrews seven the writer returns to the subject of the priesthood of Christ. He shows that Jesus" priesthood is superior to the Jewish priesthood.

Jesus was a priest like Melchizedek. Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation and Jewish priesthood acknowledged that Melchizedek was superior, and even he paid tribute to him. But Christ was of the order of Melchizedek. His priesthood was superior to the Jewish priesthood.

Melchizedek stands alone on the pages of the sacred Scripture. He was without any known ancestry and therefore was worthy to be compared with the Son of God. Even Levi paid tithes in Abraham, to Melchizedek.

"Perfection" could not come through the Levitical priesthood. There had to be a new priesthood in order to have perfection. But to have a new priesthood there had to be a change in the law. (Hebrews 7:12) Under the Jewish system there were many priests. Those priest lived a brief period, and were then removed by death. Under Christianity there is but one High Priest and no dying. His is an unchangeable priesthood. "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." (Hebrews 7:25)

"Nothing made the Jews as fond of the Levitical dispensation as the high esteem they had of their priesthood." The Hebrew writer here shows them that being in Christ they have a much better high priest, a priesthood of a higher order, and consequently a better dispensation or covenant, a better law and a New Testament.


Verses 1-10

Priesthood like Melchizedek -- Hebrews 7:1-10 : Melchizedek is set forth as a type of Christ. He is (a) king of Salem, and (b) priest of the most high God. Who was this Melchizedek? In Genesis 14:18 we read that, "Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God." In Psalms 110:4 it was said, "The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek."

There were many in the Bible who gave us brief glimpses of what Jesus would be like. Melchizedek, the priest, was the first to represent Christ by what he was and did. He depicted the foundation of all that our Lord Jesus Christ would do. Like Melchizedek, Jesus would hold a priestly office, whereby He made atonement, and reconciliation for the sins of mankind.

Abraham gave a tenth to Melchizedek and Melchizedek blessed him. The Levitical priests had a right to receive tithes of their brethren, but still that they were inferior to Melchizedek. Liberal giving was a part of the life of the patriarchs before the law, the Jews under the law, and the Christians in times of the gospel.

"King of righteousness" is the meaning of the name "Melchizedek." What better type of the Messiah could there be than him who was king of righteousness? We have no record of Melchizedek"s death. Just so, the life of the church depends upon the everlasting life of Jesus Christ, our Savior. The Hebrew writer attempted to show the superiority of Jesus by proving that His priesthood was like that of Melchizedek.


Verses 11-19

A priesthood that brings perfection-- Hebrews 7:11-19 : If perfection, remission of sin, could have been obtained by the sacrifices offered by the Jewish priests, there would have been no need that God give a new law and a new priesthood. God sent another priest who was not after the order of Aaron. This priest was God"s own Son, a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

The Old Testament priesthood was limited to one tribe, Levi, and to one certain family, that of Aaron. Under that priesthood and those sacrifices there was no forgiveness of sins. That helped us understand the necessity of raising up another priest, after the order of Melchizedek and not after the order of Aaron. God"s mercy was seen in the giving of the law and even more so in the taking away of the law. Now sins can be forgiven!

Under the Levitical priesthood the next high priest was the eldest son of the present high priest. Death brought a new high priest. The law, by which Christ was constituted a priest, after the order of Melchizedek, was the power of an endless life. Life and immortality is what gave Jesus His priesthood.


Verses 20-24

A priesthood superior to Aaron"s -- Hebrews 7:20-24 : The writer continues to press the subject of the excellency of the priesthood of Christ. In addition to every other consideration showing the superiority of Christ as a priest, there was the solemnity of the oath by which He was set apart to the office. Under the Levitical system men became priest by decent, because of death it was now their turn. Christ did not become a priest by decent, but by an oath. "The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek." (Hebrews 7:21)

Jesus is the surety "of a better covenant." The New Covenant which God made with mankind by means of Jesus is a better covenant. It is a better covenant because its commands are simple. It is a better covenant because it related to all men, not just the Jewish people. It is a better covenant because it is eternal and under it sins can be forgiven.


Verses 25-28

Priesthood with a superior priest -- Hebrews 7:25-28 : Jesus has the power to save. "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." (Hebrews 7:25) He is able to save to the uttermost. He does not abandon the work midway; He does not begin the work of salvation and then leave it unfinished because of death.

The only priest that could be suitable for our reconciliation to God would be one who was perfectly righteous in his own person. He would have to be righteous or He could not be a propitiation for our sin. This was the case with Jesus. He was so holy that He needed no sacrifice for Himself, and all that He did was in behalf of others. The great foundation of our faith, and the main thing upon which our consolation depends, is that our High Priest is The Son of God, and His everlasting continuance in this office is secured by the oath of God.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Hebrews 7:4". "Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/box/hebrews-7.html. 2014.

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