Hebrews 7:11-19

Sunday, March 12th, 2017

PERFECTION COMES THROUGH CHRIST

AND HIS PRIESTHOOD BUT NOT THROUGH

THE LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD

INTRODUCTION:

 

In Hebrews 7 the main idea is that Christ has a more excellent ministry than the Levitical priests, and the thought returns to Hebrews 5:10 where Jesus was said to be called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.

 

Believers, therefore, should hold fast their confession of faith (4:14-16).

 

We have seen a description of the office of high priest (5:1-4), and we have seen that Christ is a high priest after the order of Melchizedek (5:5-10).

 

We have also seen that an appeal and warning has been given in 5:11 - 6:12 which, because of the readers’ spiritual dullness, urges them to go on in Christ lest some be found among them who are not genuinely saved.

 

In 6:13-20 it was seen that Christ became the believer’s forerunner within the veil.

 

In chapter 7 Melchizedek is seen as a type of Christ and is seen to have a greater priesthood than the Levitical priests. We have already seen that a historical summary of Melchizedek is given (7:1-3). We have also already seen that the Levitical priests paid tithes in Abraham (7:4-10). In this message we will begin a section which indicates that perfection comes through Christ and His priesthood but not through the Levitical priesthood (7:11-22). In our next message, it will be pointed out that the Levitical priests died and, therefore, the priesthood changed from one priest to another; whereas, Christ never dies and, as a result, His priesthood is unchangeable (7:23-28).

 

Like I did in our last message, I’m going to tell you what the text says, then I’m going to go through the text and explain it to you, and then I’m going to tell you what I have explained to you.

 

We will see that since perfection does not come by the Levitical priesthood, it was necessary that there be another priest like Melchizedek.

 

Since the priesthood must be changed, the law must also be changed because it required that the priest be from the tribe of Levi.

 

Christ was from the tribe of Judah rather than from the tribe of Levi.

 

Christ is a priest like Melchizedek on the basis of His endless life rather than on the basis of the law.

 

The law which placed the Levitical priests in their position has been rescinded because it was unable to bring about perfection.

 

Christ and His high priesthood have brought about perfection and enabled believers to draw near to God.

 

So, if you are a Jew and contemplating abandoning Christianity and returning to Judaism, realize that you are making a big mistake. If you are genuinely saved, you will never do this; but if you are not genuinely saved, and you completely forsake Christianity, there will be no turning back.

We see that –

    I.     SINCE PERFECTION DOES NOT COME BY THE LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD, IT IS NECESSARY THAT THERE BE ANOTHER PRIEST LIKE MELCHIZEDEK – 7:11

 

Hebrews 7:11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?

 

Verse 11 is a contrary-to-fact condition. This means that for the sake of argument or discussion, the condition is assumed to be false; and it actually is false.

 

The condition is if therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, but perfection did not and could not come by the Levitical priesthood.

 

The conclusion is expressed by the question, What further need was there that another priest should arise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? Inasmuch as the condition is false, so is the conclusion.

 

What is implied is that perfection did not come under the Levitical priesthood and, therefore, there must be another priest who should arise after the order of Melchizedek rather than after the order of Aaron.

 

If is used in the sense of assuming that.

 

Therefore draws an inference and is understood in the sense of then, consequently, accordingly, or so.

 

Perfection reminds the readers that the offerings of the Levitical priesthood did not bring about the desired completion.

 

It did not bring about this perfection in the sense that it removed any sin.

 

The reader is reminded of Hebrews 10:14 which states that by one offering he (i.e. Christ) hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

 

In contrast, the priests stood daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins (Hebrews 10:11 ).

 

Thus, the writer refers in chapter 7 to the same thing he is going to state explicitly in chapter 10.

 

The use of were rather than was points out to the English readers that this is a contrary-to-fact condition.

 

By the Levitical priesthood is through the Levitical priesthood or by means of the Levitical priestly office.

 

Perfection does not come by the Levitical priesthood; and since this is a condition that is contrary to fact, perfection must come through some channel other than the Levitical priesthood.

 

For introduces a parenthetical statement and indicates an explanation: under it the people received the law.

 

Under it is on it, on the ground of it, or on the basis of it where it refers to the Levitical priesthood.

 

The people refers to the people of Israel.

 

Received is had received, and its tense indicates action which occurred in the past whose result has continued on.

 

What they had received on the basis of the Levitical priesthood was the law.

 

What further need? introduces a question and suggests what necessity? or still what need?

 

Was there has been supplied by the translators as a verb.

 

It is literally what is the further need? The need is indicated by two phrases, one positive and one negative.

 

The positive one is that another priest should arise after the order of Melchisedec.

 

Another suggests another of a different type comparing or contrasting someone else as a priest with a priest found in the Levitical system.

 

This other priest is the Lord Jesus Christ of Whom, according to Hebrews 5:5-6 quoting Psalms 110:4 , God the Father said, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

 

Should rise is should rise up or should arise, and it is used in the sense of should appear or should come.

 

After the order of Melchisedec is just like Melchizedek or of the type of Melchizedek because he technically had no order in that he never needed to be replaced.

 

Neither does Jesus ever need to be replaced.

 

There is no record of Melchizedek’s death. Therefore, it was not a changing priesthood like that of the Levitical priests.

 

The need is then described negatively by and not be called after the order of Aaron.

 

Aaron was the first high priest; and when he died, another of the sons of Levi was appointed to take his place as high priest.

 

Jesus was not from this type of priesthood because He is eternal and will never be succeeded by someone else.

In addition, we see that –

  II.     SINCE THE PRIESTHOOD MUST BE CHANGED, THE LAW MUST ALSO BE CHANGED – 7:12

 

The law required that the priest be from the tribe of Levi

 

Hebrews 7:12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.

 

For is explanatory and is understood in the sense of now.

 

The priesthood refers to the office of a priest.

 

Being changed is understood in the sense of because the priesthood is changed, since the priesthood is changed, or inasmuch as the priesthood is changed.

 

By changed the writer means passed on to another (person).

 

Here, the change in the priesthood is from the Levitical priests to Christ Who is made a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

 

There is made of necessity a change also of the law.

 

There is made is simply there comes to be, there becomes, there happens, or there takes place.

 

Of necessity is out of necessity, out of compulsion, because of necessity, or because of compulsion.

 

Also suggests in addition to having a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.

 

What was made out of necessity was a change of the law.

 

Change means transformation.

 

Jesus was not from the tribe of Levi; yet, according to the law, the priests had to be from the tribe of Levi. Hence, for Jesus to become the believers’ high priest, this law would have to be changed.

Next, we see that –

 III.     CHRIST WAS FROM THE TRIBE OF JUDAH RATHER THAN FROM THE TRIBE OF LEVI – 7:13-14

 

Hebrews 7:13 For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.

 

For introduces an explanation of verse 12.

 

He of whom these things are spoken refers to Jesus.

 

Of whom is upon Whom or to Whom.

 

These things are spoken refers to the statement, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec as well as to the statement, Thou art my Son, To day have I begotten thee, when God the Father appointed Jesus as high priest.

 

These statements are both found in Hebrews 5:5-6 .

 

Pertaineth to is belongs to.

 

Another tribe is another tribe (of a different sort).

 

In other words, Jesus came from the tribe of Judah rather than from the tribe of Levi.

 

Of which is from which and means from which tribe.

 

No man is simply no one or nobody.

 

Gave attendance at suggests officiated at.

 

The altar suggests the place of sacrifice.

 

No one from the tribe of Judah, the tribe from which Jesus came, ever officiated at the altar.

 

Hebrews 7:14 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.

 

Verse 14 continues the explanation of why there was of necessity a change of the law with the change of the priesthood.

 

For is used in the sense of now.

 

It refers to that our Lord sprang out of Juda; and in the Greek text, the phrase that our Lord sprang out of Juda is the subject of the verb is, which has been supplied by the translators.

 

It reads, That our Lord sprang out of Judah (is) evident.

 

It is evident means (it is) clear, (it is) plain, or (it is) known to all.

 

Our Lord is a clear reference to Jesus Christ.

 

It is also an evident reminder of His lordship over believers.

 

Sprang, when used of one’s origin, means has descended; its tense indicates an activity completed in past time, the result of which continues on. He rose up or sprang up out of the tribe of Judah in the past; and as a result, He still belongs to the tribe of Judah.

 

Out of Juda indicates the tribe from which the Lord Jesus Christ came.

 

This obviously means that He was not a member of the tribe of Levi from which the Levitical priests came. Thus, it is clear that there must be a change of the law as verse 12 has indicated because Christ is not a Levite.

 

Of which tribe is literally unto which tribe and refers again to the tribe of Judah, Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.

 

Moses is mentioned as the giver of the law.

 

Concerning is about.

 

The instructions regarding priesthood were spoken unto the tribe of Levi and were not spoken unto the tribe of Judah.

We also see that –

 IV.     CHRIST IS A PRIEST LIKE MELCHIZEDEK ON THE BASIS OF HIS ENDLESS LIFE RATHER THAN ON THE BASIS OF THE LAW – 7:15-17

 

Hebrews 7:15 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest.

 

Verse 15 continues the explanation begun in verse 11 that another priest should rise after the order of Melchizedek and indicates that something is yet far more evident.

 

It is far more evident than the fact that there is going to be a change of the law because Christ was descended from Judah rather than from Levi.

 

What is far more evident is that there is going to be another priest arising after the order of Melchizedek.

 

Yet far more evident is even more evident or clearer still.

 

Evident is an emphatic form of the word translated evident in verse 14 and means very clear or quite plain.

 

For that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest appears in the Greek text as a form of supposition based on actual fact.

 

It is literally if after the similitude of Melchizedek there arises another priest and introduces a simple condition which for sake of discussion is assumed to be true, and it really is true.

 

Inasmuch as the condition is actually true, for that, which is the translation of the word meaning if, is to be understood in the sense of because, since, or inasmuch as.

 

After the similitude of Melchisedec suggests just like Melchizedek.

 

There ariseth another priest is another priest is arising, another priest appears, or another priest comes.

 

Another is another (of a different sort); and, of course, this reference is to the Lord Jesus Christ Who is a priest of a sort different from the Levitical priests in that He is part of the tribe of Judah and not part of the Levitical system.

 

He is a priest like Melchizedek rather than a priest like the sons of Aaron.

 

Hebrews 7:16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.

 

Verse 16 describes this priest of a different sort Who is going to arise after the similitude of Melchizedek.

 

Who refers to this other priest, i.e. to the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Is made is has been made.

 

Its perfect tense indicates an action completed in past time with its result continuing on. Thus, He was made something in the past which He had not been previously; and He continues to be that something in the present. The context implies that He has become a high priest.

 

First, it is stated negatively: He has been made a high priest not after the law of a carnal commandment. The implication of this statement is that although He had become a high priest, it was not because He was of the tribe of Levi. No law made Him a high priest.

 

Of a carnal commandment is used to describe law, and it means of a fleshly commandment, of a fleshly command, or of a fleshly order and suggests a commandment, command, or order which belongs to the realm of the flesh.

 

But indicates a strong contrast with the manner in which He was not made a high priest.

 

Positively, Jesus has been made a high priest after the power of an endless life.

 

In both uses after is the preposition according to or in accordance with.

 

The power of an endless life is literally an endless life’s power.

 

An endless life indicates that Jesus will live forever and enables Jesus to be a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. Unlike the Levitical priests, Jesus will live forever. Therefore, He will be a priest forever.

 

Hebrews 7:17 For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

 

Verse 17 explains why Jesus has been made a high priest after the power of an endless life.

 

The reason is introduced by for which is used in the sense of because.

 

He refers to God the Father.

 

Testifieth means is bearing witness or is witnessing. Its tense indicates something that is presently and continuously going on.

 

This is so because God made this statement which is recorded in the Scripture, and it still says the same thing it always did.

 

What He is testifying is, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

 

This was written in Psalms 110:4 and quoted in Hebrews 5:6 and has been referred to several times in this passage.

 

Thou refers to Christ and is emphatic.

 

Art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec indicates that Jesus is a priest and that this will never change. However, He is not a priest according to the Levitical order; instead, He is a priest according to the nature of Melchizedek, i.e. just like Melchizedek.

Moreover, we see that –

   V.     THE LAW WHICH PLACED THE LEVITICAL PRIESTS IN THEIR POSITION HAS BEEN RESCINDED BECAUSE IT WAS UNABLE TO BRING ABOUT PERFECTION – 7:18-19A

 

Hebrews 7:18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.

 

Verse 18 returns to the theme of verse 12 that the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.

 

For there is verily is emphatic and suggests for in fact there is certainly, now there is certainly, or now there is in fact.

 

What there is in fact is a disannulling of the commandment going before.

 

A disannulling is a legal technical term meaning an annulment. It means that the command is being rescinded.

 

In particular, it is a rescinding of the commandment going before, which means of the commandment made long ago. This refers to the commandment or the order which was made regarding the Levitical priesthood as part of the law.

 

In other words, there was an end of the Levitical priesthood for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.

 

For is because of or on account of and provides the reason there was an annulment or rescinding of the commandment made long ago.

 

The weakness means the powerlessness and suggests the feebleness.

 

And unprofitableness means and uselessness.

 

Thereof is of it and means of the commandment. It is referring to the law which placed the Levitical priests in their position.

 

This commandment has now been rescinded because it was feeble and useless. It served a purpose, but this purpose is no longer valid.

 

Hebrews 7:19 a – For the law made nothing perfect. . . .

 

Verse 19 explains why the commandment made long ago was weak and useless as is indicated by for, which is understood in the sense of now.

 

The law refers to the Mosaic law.

 

Made nothing perfect means perfected nothing. The law did not bring anything to its end, its goal, or its completion.

 

Perfection reminds the readers that the offerings of the Levitical priesthood did not bring about the desired completion. The law did not bring about this perfection in the sense that the law did not remove any sin. The law only shows what sin is.

 

I again remind you of Hebrews 10:14 that by one offering he (i.e. Christ) hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

 

In contrast, the priests stood daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins (Hebrews 10:11 ).

Finally, we see that –

 VI.     CHRIST AND HIS HIGH PRIESTHOOD HAVE BROUGHT ABOUT PERFECTION AND ENABLED BELIEVERS TO DRAW NEAR TO GOD – 7:19B

 

Hebrews 7:19 b – . . . But the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

 

But indicates a contrast.

 

Although the law made nothing perfect, the bringing in of a better hope did and implies did make something perfect.

 

The bringing in of a better hope suggests the introduction of a better hope and means that the better hope was introduced or brought in.

 

This better hope is the Lord Jesus Christ and His high priesthood. He provided for eternal redemption and functions as the believers’ high priest, ever living to make intercession for us (7:25).

 

By the which, or through which, refers to hope.

 

It is this hope by the which we draw nigh unto God or through which we draw near to God.

 

We draw nigh is we are drawing near, we are approaching, or we are coming near.

 

One is reminded of Hebrews 4:16 ,

 

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

 

Believers did this when they placed their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour.

 

It is His position as their great high priest by which Jesus enables them to draw near to God the Father.

CONCLUSION:

 

We have seen that since perfection does not come by the Levitical priesthood, it was necessary that there be another priest like Melchizedek.

 

We have also seen that since the priesthood must be changed, the law must also be changed because it required that the priest be from the tribe of Levi.

 

In addition, we have seen that Christ was from the tribe of Judah rather than from the tribe of Levi.

 

We have furthermore seen that Christ is a priest like Melchizedek on the basis of His endless life rather than on the basis of the law.

 

We have also seen that the law which placed the Levitical priests in their position has been rescinded because it was unable to bring about perfection in that the law did not remove any sin. It only shows what sin is.

 

Finally, we have seen that Christ and His high priesthood have brought about perfection and enabled believers to draw near to God.