Hebrews 7: 1-28
The author implored the first century Jewish Christians not to drift back to Judaism, religiosity, regulations, sacrifice, temple worship, legalism, ceremony, and ritual observance. Having established the identity of Jesus in Hebrews 1, that Jesus is superior to angels in Hebrews 2, superior to Moses in Hebrews 3, the author will now establish that the Melchizedek priesthood of Jesus is superior to the Aaronic Levitical priesthood of Moses.
VV 1-3, 1 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated “king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “king of peace,” 3 without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.
Melchizedek in Hebrew means “King of Righteousness”. Zedek in Hebrew means righteousness. Salem is the shortened name for Jerusalem. Psalm 76:2, “His tent is in Salem, his dwelling place in Zion’’. Salem in Hebrew means peace. Melchizedek is the king of righteousness, king of peace, and priest of The Most High God. Hebrew for Most High God is El Elyon. Jeremiah 23:6, “Now this is His name by which He will be called, the LORD Our Righteousness”(Jehovah Tsidkenu). He is eternal, had no genealogy, no beginning, and no end. He is both a king and a priest. Some scholars believed Melchizedek is Jesus Christ appearing in a human form before His incarnation, or Christophany.
VV 4-10, 4 Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils. 5 And indeed those who are of the sons of Levi, who receive the priesthood, have a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law, that is, from their brethren, though they have come from the loins of Abraham; 6 but he whose genealogy is not derived from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. 7 Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better. 8 Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives. 9 Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, 10 for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.
Abraham bowed to Melchizedek and gave him a tenth of the spoils, the tithe. Abraham precedes Moses, Aaron, and Levites by 500 years. The priests were descendants of Aaron, a Levite. The Jews paid tithe to Levites. Levites paid tithes to Melchizedek, through Abraham. Levites bowed to Melchizedek, through Abraham. Levite was blessed by Melchizedek through Abraham. The lesser was blessed by the greater. Melchizedek was not a Levite.
VV 11-14, 11 Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? 12 For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law. 13 For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar.14 For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood.
David wrote Psalm 110, 1000 years after Abraham. Psalm 110: 4, ‘’The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek’ “. God took an oath and declared Jesus as a priest in the order of Melchizedek. Since the priesthood had changed, the law must also be changed. The Melchizedek priesthood was different because Jesus was from the tribe of Judah.
VV 15-19, 15 And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest 16 who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life. 17 For He testifies: “You are a priest forever, According to the order of Melchizedek.” 18 For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, 19 for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.
With the coming of Jesus, the perfect Melchizedek High Priest, the old imperfect Aaronic Levitical priesthood system based on the Mosaic law was brought to an end. John 1:17. “For the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ’’.
VV 20- 25, 20 And inasmuch as He was not made priest without an oath 21 (for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him: “The Lord has sworn, And will not relent, ‘You are a priest forever, According to the order of Melchizedek’ ”),22 by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant. 23 Also there were many priests because they were prevented by death from continuing. 24 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him since He always lives to make intercession for them.
An Aaronic Levitical priest was appointed through family lineage without taking any oath. Jesus was sworn in as High Priest by God through an oath, Psalm 110:4. An Aaronic Levitical priest had to be constantly replaced due to death. Jesus’s priesthood continues forever because He never dies. Jesus’ priesthood is superior to the Aaronic Levitical priesthood. He can save everyone who comes to God through Him. He always lives to make intercession for us.
VV 26-28, 26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men who have a weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.
The Aaronic Levitical priesthood was imperfect. The priest had to offer a sin offering for his own sin first before he could offer a sacrifice for another person’s sin. An Aaronic Levitical priest was appointed from among men. The Aaronic Levitical priesthood was a foreshadow of Jesus’ Melchizedek priesthood. Jesus offered Himself once and for all as the perfect substitutionary atonement for everyone. God appointed Jesus by oath as the perfect High Priest forever.