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Bible Commentaries

The Bible Study New Testament

Hebrews 7

 

 

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Verse 1

This Melchizedek. This picks up the explanation where it stopped in Hebrews 5:11. Melchizedek is a mystery- Prayer of Manasseh, but part of the problem is failing to understand the Hebrew idiom and reading too much into the words. Remember that the Jews were extremely accurate and meticulous in examining the qualifications of one who would be the high priest. Now they are being asked to accept Jesus as High Priest. But, he comes from the wrong Tribe! He could not be a Jewish high priest. But, the scripture speaks of another priestly order, which formed no part of the Jewish priesthood. Jesus is a high priest forever, in the priestly order of Melchizedek. King of Salem. Time has proved Josephus correct in saying Salem is Jerusalem. In the Armana tablets, Urusalim is the ancient name of this city. Melchizedek was greater than Aaron, because he was king as well as high priest. And a priest. The Jews accepted the fact that Melchizedek was a true priest of the Most High God, even though he was not part of the Aaronic priesthood. As Abraham. See Genesis 14:18-20. Note that Melchizedek blessed Abraham. This fact has special meaning to a Jew.


Verse 2

Abraham gave him. This fact shows that Abraham accepted Melchizedek as being genuine, the true Priest of the Most High God. King of Righteousness. In ancient time, names had special meaning. Abram's name was changed to Abraham to show that he would be the FATHER of many nations. Melchizedek means King of Righteousness = one who especially loves righteousness. King of Salem = King of Peace = one who especially loves peace.


Verse 3

There is no record. The TEV accurately translates the Hebrew idiom. A first century reader understood it as it is worded in the TEV. The meaning is that Melchizedek's priesthood does not derive from these things which were so important to the Aaronic priesthood. To be a Jewish high priest, there had to be a precise record of mother and father, of ancestors, of birth, and this priesthood was limited to a certain definite period of time. Melchizedek stands discrete on the pages of history, appearing only for a brief instant! He it like the Son of God. Not equal, but like! The way in which he is like the Son of God has to do with the fact of his priesthood. It does not terminate! Aaron's priesthood terminated at his death, and his son replaced him as high priest. But Melchizedek's priesthood never came to an end, and even though he is no longer on the earth, he is still a priest of the Most High God. But the real point here is that Jesus is that kind of a High Priest.


Verse 4

How great he was. "I show you how great Melchizedek was, because the patriarch Abraham gave him one tenth (a tithe) of all he got in the battle. By doing this, Abraham showed that he believed Melchizedek greater than himself.


Verse 5

And those descendants of Levi. All the Jewish priests were descendants of Levi. The high priests were descendants of Aaron (who belonged to the Tribe of Levi). The Law commands them to collect one tenth (a tithe) from their fellow countrymen (the other Tribes). Even though. Since they are all descended from Abraham, none is greater than the other.


Verse 6

Was not descended from. Melchizedek was not a relative of either Levi or Abraham. In other words, the Law did not apply to what he did in receiving the tenth. But he collected. The fact that he could do this, separate and apart from the Law, proved him greater than Abraham. And blessed him. Abraham was the one who received God's promises!!! For Melchizedek to bless him, also proves his greatness, as Hebrews 7:7 shows.


Verse 7

There is no doubt. "This proves that Melchizedek is higher in rank and closer to God, than Abraham." [Man blesses God in the sense of praising Him, or wishing that all praise may be His. ]


Verse 8

By men who die. "The priesthood of all Jewish priests terminates at a point in time, and the death of the high priest is a matter of record, because accurate accounts are kept of it." By one who lives. The fact that the scripture says nothing of Melchizedek's death is made to be a proof. We see him in the scripture only as a living priest (in contrast to the Jewish priests), and in this sense he is a type (symbolic picture) of Jesus the Son of God. Compare Psalm 110:4.


Verse 9

And, so to speak. "In fact, even Levi himself paid the tenth to Melchizedek, so to speak. This is further proof that Melchizedek is a greater priest than any priest of the Levitical priesthood." [The Jewish priesthood = the Aaronic priesthood = the Levitical priesthood.]


Verse 10

Had not yet been born. "All the Nation of Israel, including kings and priests, were represented in Abraham even though they were not yet born. So the FACT that Abraham paid the tenth to Melchizedek is imputed to Levi and all his descendants as well."


Verse 11

It was on the basis. The Law was given so that the people could worship God under the Levitical priesthood. The priesthood made it possible for the Law to function. No wonder, then, that many Jews would look no farther than the Law and think that it was God's perfect salvation. Now. "If the Levitical priesthood and the Law had been perfect, it would have continued on forever. But the prediction of a different kind of priest is evidence of God's intent to change both the priesthood and the Law."


Verse 12

For when. "Since the Law was given on the basis of the Levitical priesthood, when that changes, the Law must also change. This is proof, then, that the Law of Moses has been superseded."


Verse 13

And our Lord. "Now, it is clear that God intended to transfer the priesthood away from the Tribe of Levi, because He said of our Lord Jesus: ‘You will be a priest forever, in the priestly order of Melchizedek' (see Hebrews 5:6). Our Lord belonged to a different tribe, and no member of that tribe (Judah) could ever serve as a priest under the Law. Only members of the Tribe of Levi could serve under the Law."


Verse 14

It is well known. "Every Jew knows that the Messiah was to come from the Tribe of Judah, and that our Lord came from that tribe. But Moses did not authorize priests to come from this tribe!"


Verse 15

A different priest has appeared. "God's vow makes this matter even plainer! Our Lord Jesus was made High Priest by God's vow (Hebrews 7:21)!" Like Melchizedek, Jesus is BOTH High Priest and King! This is proof of Hebrews 7:12.


Verse 16

He was not. "Jesus our Lord did not become a high priest through human rules and regulations. He became a high priest through the power of his endless life, which makes it possible for him to serve forever!!! This is in contrast with the Levitical priesthood, who die and terminate their service."


Verse 17

For the scripture says. Psalm 110:4. "Like Melchizedek, he will continue to be both priest and king. His service will not terminate, as long as his people have any need of either priest or king!"


Verse 18

Is set aside. "The old rule of the Law of Moses is totally superseded! It was weak and useless, because it could neither reform nor forgive sinners." [The forgiveness of sins under the Law was based upon what Jesus would do (Hebrews 9:15). The Law did what God wanted it to do, but it was not final."]


Verse 19

Could not make anything perfect. The Law was only temporary! By itself, it could not prepare men and women for eternal life! "For the blood of bulls and goats can never take sins away" (Hebrews 10:4). And now a better hope. "The better priesthood of Christ is the basis of a better hope, through which we can come near to God and call him our Father!"


Verse 20

There is also God's vow. "In addition to the better hope, God's vow that made Jesus our High Priest is also proof that the Good News is superior to the Law of Moses." God's vow affirms that he will not change his promise!!! Compare Genesis 22:16-18; Deuteronomy 1:34-35; Deuteronomy 4:21; Psalm 89:4; Psalm 110:4.


Verse 21

By means of a vow. "This means that an unchangeable priesthood has been conferred on Jesus our Lord!" The quotation is Psalm 110:4.


Verse 22

This difference, then. "God's vow, mentioned in Hebrews 7:21, is the difference by which Jesus becomes the guarantee of this better covenant!"


Verse 23

There is another difference. "Still another reason why Jesus is superior to the Levitical priesthood: there had to be many of them, because death would not allow them to continue to serve." There were at least 83 Jewish high priests during the time from Aaron to Phineas (about 1727 years).


Verse 24

But Jesus. "Christ conquered death before he became High Priest! He came out of the tomb in his body (Matthew 28:9) and lives on forever in his body (Luke 24:50-53 and notes)." Does not pass on. "No one will need to take his place, because death cannot terminate his service!"


Verse 25

And so he is able. I have followed MacKnight in viewing this through Jewish eyes. "Christ offered his crucified body as a sacrifice in heaven (Hebrews 8:2-3), and as he is continually there in his crucified body, this one and the same sacrifice is always present before God! This continually declares God's ACT in Christ, and Christ himself continually pleads with God for us on that basis (compare Romans 8:34). The Jewish high priest sprinkling blood on the HILASTEHION (mercy seat) on top of the box of the covenant on the Day of Atonement (each year) was symbolic of what Jesus would do. Blood, as the symbol of death, opened the earthly place for worship until the next Day of Atonement (the following year). Christ's blood = death = the one sacrifice which never needs to be repeated!!! Compare Hebrews 9:11-14."


Verse 26

Jesus, then. He meets our needs, but the Jewish priests could not meet our needs! No fault or sin. The Jewish priests did have faults and sins. He has been set apart. The Jewish high priest had to be set apart and ritually purified during the seven days before the Day of Atonement (see Leviticus 16:1-28). Christ is greater, because he has been raised above the heavens!!!


Verse 27

He is not like. He had no need to first offer a sacrifice for himself, because he had no sins (Hebrews 4:15). Once and for all. (1) He did not need to offer a sacrifice for himself. (2) He did not need to offer a sacrifice each year, but only once! (3) The sacrifice which he offered, was not bulls and goats, but HIMSELF!


Verse 28

The Law of Moses. "The descendants of Aaron, whom the Law appointed high priests, were imperfect and had to offer sacrifices for their own sins." But God's promise with the vow. "This is how much better the Son Isaiah, who is our High Priest! He is sinless! He lives forever! He is perfect!"

 


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These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Hebrews 7:4". "The Bible Study New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/hebrews-7.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

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