Hebrews 7 & 8
objective of these ‘Frameworks' is to provide an easy-to-read
layout of the text in order then to use these individual verses
for verse-by-verse study or meditation. To focus each
verse we have also added in italic a simple comment of what is
Hebrews 7: Melchizedek and Jesus
Melchizedek the Priest
Jesus Like Melchizedek
for explanations of this very Jewish-history chapter
see the explanations at the end of the chapter after having read
the chapter. Remember it is written first for Jewish Christians]
Melchizedek the Priest
(see Gen 14:18-20
for Melchizedek's encounter with Abraham) This
Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He
met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed
him, and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, the name
Melchizedek means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of
Salem” means “king of peace.”
observing that virtually nothing is known about him beyond that
found in the few verses in Genesis 14, says he appears like Jesus
without human origins, beginning or end) Without
father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days
or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest
honoured and respected him) Just
think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a
tenth of the plunder!
now collect tithes) Now
the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to
collect a tenth from the people—that is, from their fellow Israelites—even
though they also are descended from Abraham.
(but this man
wasn't a Levite but still collected a tithe from Abraham)
man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected
a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises.
than Abraham) And
without doubt the lesser is blessed by the greater.
Levites die but there is no record of his death) In
the one case, the tenth is collected by people who die; but in
the other case, by him who is declared to be living.
(one might say
Levi paid him a tithe) One
might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth
through Abraham, because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was
still in the body of his ancestor.
Jesus Like Melchizedek
(if the Law
was perfect why the need for anther priest) If
perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood—and
indeed the law given to the people established that priesthood—why
was there still need for another priest to come, one in the order
of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron?
(if the priesthood
changes, presumably the Law does as well) For
when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also.
came from a different background) He
of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and
no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar.
of course, came from the tribe of Judah) For
it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard
to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.
comes with similar origins, descriptions etc. as Melchizedek)
what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek
appears, one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation
as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible
(thus the Messiah
as seen in the Psa 110 prophecy is to be declared to be like Melchizedek)
it is declared: “You are a priest forever, in the order
of Melchizedek.” [Psa
Replacement with an Oath
imperfectly followed Law was being replaced) The
former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless
(for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced,
by which we draw near to God.
(and this reference
came with an oath to confirm it) And
it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any
oath, but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him:
“The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind:
‘You are a priest forever.' [Psa
brings a more sure covenant) Because
of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant.
A Permanent Priest
(Jesus has a
permanent priesthood because he is still alive) Now
there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them
from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he
has a permanent priesthood.
(so he is available
for all in history who would come to him) Therefore
he is able to save completely those who come to God through him,
because he always lives to intercede for them.
A Perfect Priest
about him says he is perfect for the job) Such
a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless,
pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.
(… not needing
to continually offer sacrifices for sin) Unlike
the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day
after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the
people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered
oath came after the Law) For
the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but
the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has
been made perfect forever.
Remember the writer
is writing to a Jewish community and throughout he has been extolling
Jesus, raising him above any other. He has been referring to Jesus
as our high priest and he does this because:
the priest offered sacrifices
for sin; Jesus has done that.
a priest intercedes for the people;
Jesus has done that.
he seeks to make the point that Jesus is superior to the
Levitical priesthood established by the Law. He does
this by referring to Psa 110, a prophetic psalm accepted by the
Jewish community for centuries as pointing to the Messiah. Peter
on the Day of Pentecost also applies this psalm to Jesus in a
similar way – see Acts 2:34-36.
this psalm also calls the coming one, the Messiah, a priest after
the order of Melchizedek (Psa110:4). (Note the clarity of that,
the Messiah is a priest.) The writer thus takes what little is
known about Melchizedek and parallels it with Jesus:
nothing known about their origins
– or their ending, they thus appear as eternal priests.
Abraham (and by inference his
subsequent family including Levi and the priesthood) gave a
tithe to Melchizedek (who was both a king and a priest) implying
he was superior to Abraham and his subsequent family; Jesus
is superior being the Son of God.
neither Melchizedek nor Jesus
come from the tribe of Levi and both operate outside the Levitical
addition to this, we need to observe the explanation for the
need of this new priesthood spoken of in this psalm.
The Law was unable to be kept perfectly and so priests had to
keep on presenting offerings for themselves as well as for their
people. A new form of priesthood was thus required and Psa 110:4
reveals God swearing that the Messiah will be a priest like Melchizedek.
Priests weren't normally sworn in and so this also raises the
esteem of this new messiah-priest. Jesus as the perfect Son of
God, qualified for this role in that
he was sinless and didn't need
a sin offering for himself,
being perfect, when he sacrificed
himself, his act on the cross, as a sin offering, was not for
himself but for everyone else,
having been raised from the dead
and having ascended into heaven, as the eternal Son of God,
he is available to present himself as the sin offering for every
one of us.
things will be further developed in the following chapters.]
Hebrews 8: Jesus, High Priest of a New Covenant
Jesus, priest approved
Old Covenant replaced
Jesus, priest approved
(our high priest,
who represents us before God, actually now sits alongside God)
the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such
a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of
the Majesty in heaven, and
who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the
Lord, not by a mere human being.
to offer something) Every
high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and
so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer.
(on the earth,
not being a Levite, he would be redundant) If
he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already
priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law.
is just a copy of the reality achieved in heaven) They
serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven.
This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle:
“See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown
you on the mountain.” [Exo
(but not only
Jesus, but also his ministry is superior to the earthly priesthood's
in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs
as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old
one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.
Old Covenant replaced
(if the first
covenant worked perfectly there would be no need for another one
[but it didn't!]) For
if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place
would have been sought for another.
(and God saw
that and planned for a new covenant) But
God found fault with the people and said: “The days are coming,
declares the Lord,
when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.
to keep the Sinai covenant and were rejected in the desert)
will not be like the covenant made with their ancestors when I
took them by the hand to
lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to
my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.
(so He planned
a new covenant whereby the Law would be within the people of God)
is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after
that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds
and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and
they will be my people.
(no longer would
they need to teach the Law because it would be in them) No
longer will they teach their neighbor, or
say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,' because they will all know
me, from the least of them to the greatest.
(and their sins
would be forgiven) For
I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.” [Jer
the old was obsolete) By
calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete;
and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.
Comment: The Flow of Writing: As we said at
the end of the previous chapter, this one expands on what was
said previously by reiterating that
Jesus our high priest now
sits in heaven
the earthly priestly ministry
was merely a shadow of then reality expressed in heaven
the old covenant was inadequate
in that Israel showed they were unable to keep the Sinai covenant
so God had already planned
to replace it with a new covenant that would result in the law
being in the hearts and minds of believers who had received
God's forgiveness on the basis of the sacrifice for sin of His
Son. The old covenant was now obsolete.
following chapter further explains this by descriptions of the
requirements of the Law – including the shedding of blood [by
the sacrifice]. The use of blood in the old covenant is examined
and contrasted with the shedding of Christ's blood. As a subject
that is so alien to modern life, we will seek to see the meanings
behind all these things.]
to CHAPTER 9)