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Bible Commentaries

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Hebrews 7

 

 

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Verse 1

The argument in the present chapter rests on the certain truth, that God appointed Melchisedec to be a type of Christ in his priestly office, and ordered every thing concerning his history in such a way as to make the type as perfect as it could be in the case of a mere earthly priest. By his wise providence it came to pass, first, that both his name and that of the place where he reigned should be typical of Christ’s character and office, verse Hebrews 7:2; secondly, that the inspired record should give his priesthood without any such limitations in respect to descent as belonged to the Levitical priesthood, and also without any notice of either the beginning or end of his life and priesthood, verses Hebrews 7:3; Hebrews 7:6; Hebrews 7:8; thirdly, that he should bless Abraham, the father of all the faithful, and receive tithes from him, in both which things was made manifest Melchisedec’s official superiority over him, and consequently over all his children, none of whom could pretend to be in dignity above him, verses Hebrews 7:4; Hebrews 7:6-7.

Melchisedec-met Abraham; Genesis 14:18-19.


Verse 2

King of righteousness; this is the meaning of the Hebrew word Melchisedec.

Salem; that is, peace; Melchisedec was therefore in his own name and that of his city a fit type of the righteous Prince of peace, Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 11:4-5; Isaiah 32:1.


Verse 3

Without father-end of life; the inspired record takes no notice of any of these things; and this was designed by the Holy Ghost, that his priesthood might thus typify the priesthood of Christ in a double way; first, as to our Lord’s human nature, as being a priest of another order than the Levitical priests, who must always be able to show their descent from Aaron, verses Hebrews 7:13-14, compared with Numbers 3:10; Ezra 2:62; secondly, as to his divine nature, as being in the highest sense without any of these limitations. The reader should carefully notice that the apostle describes Melchisedec, the type, in terms which, in the full meaning, hold good only of Christ the great antitype. Christ as a priest making a real and perfect atonement for sin, stands alone in divine majesty, grandeur, and glory. All other priests were only types, emblems, and shadows of him, which when he appeared vanished away.


Verse 4

How great this man was; see verses Hebrews 7:6-7, and notes.


Verse 5

Have a commandment to take tithes; Numbers 18:21-32.

Though they come; though their brethren of whom they take tithes, come out of the loins of Abraham. Thus the Levitical priests are raised above their brethren in official dignity.


Verse 6

But he; Melchisedec.

Received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises; being thus exalted, not as the Levitical priests were, above the rest of their brethren, but above Abraham himself, and thus, as the epistle goes on to show, above the Levitical priesthood also.


Verse 7

The less-the better; in official dignity.


Verse 8

Men that die-he liveth; he passes to another point in which Melchisedec’s priesthood was typically superior to that of the Levitical priests: it had no limitation; all the testimony we have of him is as a living priest and king, no mention being made of his death or the end of his priesthood. The writer designedly applies to Melchisedec terms which have their full application to Christ alone. See note to verse Hebrews 7:3. However much one man may be elevated above another, or however sacred the employment to which he may be called, he is a sinner; he must die, and with his fellow-sinners stand at the bar of Christ, give account of the things done in the body, and be treated for eternity according to his works.


Verse 9

Levi also; and in him the Levitical priests of whom he was the father.

Paid tithes in Abraham; paid tithes to Melchisedec, and thus acknowledged his superiority.


Verses 11-19

A new argument is now introduced. Since the Levitical priesthood and the law were given together, as parts of one whole, so that the annulling of the one is the annulling of the other, why should God have promised another priesthood, and with it another economy, except because the former priesthood with its economy was unable to give perfection? Perfection; see note to verse Hebrews 7:19.

Under it the people received the law; it was the basis of the Mosaic law in such a way that when the law should be changed, that must be changed also, verse Hebrews 7:12.


Verse 13

He; Christ, spoken of in Psalms 110:4.

To another tribe; not that of Levi, from whom the priests under the law were to descend.


Verse 15

It is yet far more evident; that there is a change of the priesthood, and with it, of the economy.


Verse 16

Who is made; constituted a priest.

Not after the law of a carnal commandment; not with a temporary and inefficacious priesthood, corresponding with the carnal ordinances of the law under which he ministers. Compare, for the meaning of these words, chap Hebrews 9:9-10; Hebrews 10:4.

After the power of an endless life; with an efficacious priesthood, such as belongs to one who has endless life and is a priest for ever, verses Hebrews 7:17; Hebrews 7:25. As Christ has made a full and perfect atonement, and ever lives to make intercession, all should forsake their sins, trust in him, and come to him for grace to help in all times of need.


Verse 18

A disannulling; setting aside and bringing to a close the ceremonial law and its priesthood.

Weakness and unprofitableness; as to the work of making a true expiation for sin, and thus opening a true way for salvation. See the following note, verse Hebrews 7:19.


Verse 19

The law made nothing perfect; the ceremonial law was not designed for that. It answered the local and temporary purpose for which it was intended, but its sacrifices could not, like the sacrifice of Christ, purge the conscience from dead works to serve the living God, cleanse from sin, justify and sanctify the soul, give it access to God, and inspire that hope which purifies it as Christ is pure.

But the bringing in of a better hope; the gospel through the atonement, righteousness, and intercession of Christ, does all this. Of course the gospel must be immeasurably superior in its benefits to the ceremonial law. Verses Hebrews 7:18-19 may be more plainly and simply rendered thus: "For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before, for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof-for the law made nothing perfect-and there is in the bringing in of a better hope," etc.


Verses 20-22

Still another argument to show the superiority of Christ’s priesthood to that of Aaron and his sons: He was made priest with an oath, they without an oath. The added solemnity of the oath shows the superior dignity of the priesthood.


Verse 22

A surety; one who becomes responsible for the fulfilment of a covenant.

A better testament; or, a better covenant. The same Greek word is rendered now covenant, as in chap Hebrews 8:6, etc., and now testament, as in chap Hebrews 9:15, etc. The later is the appropriate rendering where there is a reference to the death of him who mediates the covenant, as in the latter of the above passages. The covenant which was ratified by the blood of Jesus secured for ever the highest and best of blessings to all who trust in him and devote their life to his service.


Verse 23-24

The last argument for the superiority of Christ’s priesthood over that of the Levitical priests, after which there is a summing up of the perfections of our great High-priest, Christ Jesus, verses Hebrews 7:25-28.


Verse 25

By him; as their high-priest, not venturing before God in their own name.


Verse 26

Became us; was needed by us.

Made higher than the heavens; where he ministers before God. See chap Hebrews 8:1-2; Hebrews 8:4; Hebrews 9:24.


Verse 27

This he did once; made a full and complete atonement, so that no further sacrifice for sin would ever be needed.


Verse 28

Consecrated; or perfected as a High-priest. Compare chap Hebrews 2:10; Hebrews 6:9. Christ is in all respects such a Deliverer as sinners need. None perish for want of an all-sufficient and willing Saviour, nor because a way of salvation is not opened, nor because God does not desire their salvation; but if any who know the gospel perish, it is because they willfully and perseveringly refuse to accept its gracious offers.

 


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Bibliography Information
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Hebrews 7:4". "Family Bible New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/hebrews-7.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

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