Category Archives: HEBREWS 7

The way in which Melchisedec illustrates the priesthood of Christ.

HEBREWS 7

There are two ways in which the subject of the priesthood of Christ is approached in the Epistle to the Hebrews.  In chapters 1-7, the emphasis is on the person who is priest, and the way in which His life’s experiences down here, especially His temptations, qualify Him to serve as a priest who gives help and succour to those who likewise are passing through trials on the earth.  In this section, the writer draws upon the ministry of Melchisedec towards Abraham, and that mainly by comparison.

In Chapters 8-10, however, the emphasis is on His priesthood bringing His people into the good of His death, hence the subject of blood is foremost. In this second division, it is not progress through the world that is in view, but access into the heavenly sanctuary, and the writer draws on the illustration of Aaron, and the way in which he ministered to God, this time mainly by way of contrast.

We could set these things out as follows:

Chapters 1-7  Chapters 8-10
Emphasis on His Person Emphasis on His work
Jesus, the Son of God, personal names  Christ, official name
Comparison with Melchisedec  Contrast with Aaron
Progress through the world Entry into the Sanctuary
Basis of His help: His temptation      Basis of His help: His blood
Emphasis on His life down here Emphasis on His death, and His life in heaven

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS CHAPTER 7, VERSES 1 TO 10

7:1  For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;

7:2  To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;

7:3  Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.

7:4  Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.

7:5  And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:

7:6  But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.

7:7  And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.

7:8  And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.

7:9  And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.

7:10  For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.

We are now in a position to notice the general structure of Hebrews 7, which may be divided into seven paragraphs, as follows: 

(a) Verses 1-3 Melchisedec, personally and officially, as a king-priest.
(b) Verses 4-10 The priesthood of Christ results in blessing for His people.The priesthood of Christ involves mediating when believers bring gifts to God.                 
(c) Verses 11-14 The priesthood of Christ supercedes the Levitical order.
(d) Verses 15-17 The priesthood of Christ is carried out in the energy of Divine Life.
(e) Verses 18-19 The priesthood of Christ is profitable to God.
(f) Verses 20-22 The priesthood of Christ does not cause God regret.
(g) Verses 23-28 The priesthood of Christ is continual, and effectual.

Each of these sections has a keyword, or words, either derived from things said about Melchisedec in verses 1-3, or from the quotation that the writer made in 5:6, where he began to speak about the order of Melchisedec.  We will notice these key words as we proceed.

The chapter may be divided into two main sections.  Verses 1-10 are based on Genesis 14, with its detail about Melchisedec meeting Abraham after he had defeated those who had taken his nephew Lot captive.  Laden with the spoils of his victory, Abraham was about to be met by the King of Sodom who would tempt him to keep those spoils for himself.  Before this, however, Melchisedec met him with bread and wine, and blessed him in the name of the Most High God.  As a result of this, Abraham was strengthened to resist the King of Sodom’s temptation, and he gave the best of the spoils to Melchisedec as the representative of God.

Verses 15-28 are based on Psalm 110, the only other place in the Old Testament where Melchisedec is mentioned.  This psalm was used by the Lord Jesus to show that He was David’s Lord, as well as David’s son, Matthew 22:41-46. It was also used by the apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost to support his announcement that the Lord Jesus was risen from the dead, and had ascended to heaven, Acts 2:34-36.  The men of Israel needed to realise that the ascension of the Messiah to heaven had been predicted in the Old Testament.

(a)    1-3    Melchisedec, officially and personally, as king-priest.

7:1  For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;

In verses 1 and 2 we are told about things included in the Old Testament record.  Then in verse 3(i) we have things excluded from the Old Testament.  In verse 3(ii) we have things concluded from the Old Testament. 

For- the chapter is an elaboration on the words of 5:6, “Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec”; 5:10, “called of God a high priest after the order of Melchisedec, and 6:20, “become high priest after the order of Melchisedec”.
This Melchisedec- the one mentioned in 5:10 and 6:20.  If we connect these two verses, then we see that our high priest is the author of eternal salvation, anchors us within the veil, and all this because He continueth ever as a priest after the order of Melchisedec. 
King of Salem- it is not certain that this is Jerusalem, which was known formerly as Jebus. The Septuagint Version, (which may or may not be genuine), translates Psalm 76:2 as “His tabernacle is in peace”, not viewing the word Salem as a place-name.  Would the writer emphasise the significance of Salem if it was Jerusalem, seeing that he will urge his readers to distance themselves morally from that place in 13:12-14?  If Salem is the same as the Salim of John 3:23, then this is highly significant, as we shall see.
Priest of the Most High God- a title which emphasises God’s supremacy over all, and especially to be demonstrated during the reign of Christ over the earth in a coming day.  Melchisedec worshipped and served the one true God in the midst of the heathen world of Canaan.  He is a demonstration of the fact that God revealed Himself to others outside of Israel as it pleased Him.  Remarkably, he combined priesthood with kingship, as Christ does to perfection.  See Zechariah 6:13 and Isaiah 6:1, (remembering Uzziah sought to combine priesthood and kingship, and was judged for it, 2 Chronicles 26:16-23, and note also 27:2, concerning his son- it is good to learn from the mistakes of our forbears).
Who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings- he himself is unaffected by their warring, for he is king of peace.  He meets Abraham before the king of Sodom makes his unrighteous suggestions, for Melchizedec is king of righteousness, and strengthens Abraham to make a righteous decision about the goods of Sodom.  He is supreme and in control in these two key areas, and thus is like Christ.
And blessed him- This prepares us for the idea that the priesthood of Christ is for our blessing.  This subject is returned to in verses 6,7.

7:2  To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;

To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all- as well as Melchizedec acting, Abraham also acted by giving God’s portion to Melchizedec.  He thus recognised that he was God’s representative.  The responses of God’s people are channelled through Christ, and this incident illustrates this.  The spoils of battle are given to God in gratitude.  The significance of this is brought out in verses 5-10.
First, being by interpretation, King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace- the writer sees significance in the meaning of names, and their order, for righteousness must be established before peace can be known, Romans 5:1.  Melchisedec must have been an exceptional ruler if these things were true of him amidst the corruption all around.  Because of this he is taken up as a type of Him who is separate in nature from sinners, verse 26.  Compare Melchisedec’s character with that of Lot in Sodom, vexing his righteous soul with the unrighteousness of that city, as 2 Peter 2:8 reveals.

7:3  Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.

Without father, without mother- as far as the record goes.  He had a genealogy, as verse 6 says, but it is not recorded for a reason.  This is especially significant because Genesis is a book of genealogies, those generations being as follows: Of the heavens and the earth, Genesis 2:4; of Adam, 5:2; of Noah, 6:9; of the sons of Noah, 10:1; of Shem, 11:10; of Terah, 11:27; of Ishmael, 25:12; of Isaac, 25:19; of Esau, 36:1; of Jacob, 37:2.  The details about Melchisedec are deliberately withheld to make him as much like the Son of God as it is possible for anyone to be.  The Lord Jesus has a genealogy in fact, so it is not that Melchisedec was not descended from anyone, for that would have made him unlike the Son of God in this respect.  We know Aaron’s father and mother, and we know Eleazar took over the priesthood from him.  Christ’s priesthood, like Melchisedec’s, is not successional.
Without descent- this means without (recorded) genealogy.  The reference is not to descendants, but ancestors.  Christ’s priesthood is not tribal, as was Levi’s.  This shows that Melchisedec was not another name for Shem.  Although the latter was still alive at this time, information about his father and his descendants is not withheld from us in the Scriptures, as is the case with Melchisedec.
Having neither beginning of days, nor end of life- not literally, but as far as the record goes.  This is emphasised later, for Christ’s priesthood is after the power of an endless life. 
But made like unto the Son of God- the “but” indicates the difference between the negative statements “without…” and this positive one.  Only by the withholding of these details can he in any way be like the unique Son of God.
Abideth a priest continually- the main verb of the sentence beginning in verse 1.  The main point, too, in the passage, for there is nothing in Melchisedec’s record to say he did not abide continually, and as such he is an illustration of Christ’s ministry.

We may summarise things so far as follows:

Fact about Melchisedec Significance Contrast with Aaron
Without father Priesthood not successional.  Unlike sons of Levi.
Without mother Priesthood not natural. Carnal commandment.
Without descent  Priesthood not tribal.  Aaron must be of Levi.
Without beginning of days  Priesthood not temporal. Priesthood changed.
Without end of life  Priest not mortal.  Men that die.
Abideth …continually  Priesthood continual.  Not suffered to continue.

(b)    4-10    The priesthood of Christ results in blessing for His people.  The priesthood of Christ involves mediating when believers bring gifts to God.
KEYWORDS: Tithe and bless.

7:4  Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.

Now consider how great this man was- since he is like the Son of God, considering him will be profitable.  To consider means to think upon with interest and purpose, with the observation of details.
Unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils- the word patriarch is at the very end of the sentence for emphasis, “and he the patriarch”.  He might have special reason to keep the spoils, as he had won them.  Did he feel his victory was as a result of Melchisedec’s intercession?  Where did Abraham learn that the tithe, or tenth part, was God’s part?  From Melchizedec?  Or was it because Abraham was “the Friend of God”?  By meeting Abraham before the king of Sodom came with his temptations to “keep the goods”, Genesis 14:21-23, Melchisedec succoured the one about to be tempted, see Hebrews 2:18.  Abraham had dealings with the priest of the Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth, so he could afford to let the goods go; but not before God had His portion.  Spoils are literally “the top of the heap”.  In other words, the best.  Do we give to God the first and best?  “Seek ye first the kingdom of God”, Matthew 6:33.  In verses 4-8 Abraham pays tithes and is blessed, whereas in verses 9-10, Levi pays tithes and is shown to be inferior.

7:5  And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:

And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood- Note the way the Levitical priesthood is magnified here, in order to make the contrast with the priesthood of Melchisedec even more telling.
Have a commandment to take tithes of the people- their priesthood is so important that God commands that it be supported by the tithes the people offer to Him. The paying of tithes to them was not their idea. 
According to the law- their tithes were a legal requirement, whereas Abraham gave in gratitude for God’s grace to him in his victory.  Note the way the law and the priesthood of Levi are bound up together, so the civil and ceremonial law are connected. 
That is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham- the Levites, and the rest of the tribes, all have the honour of coming from Abraham, but even though this is the case, Levi has the added privilege of coming from the priestly tribe, and hence must be supported.

7:6  But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.

But he whose genealogy is not counted from them- clearly so, because Melchisedec lived long before Levi.  But this does not prevent Levi from acknowledging him, as verse 9 indicates.  Note the reference to genealogy, or pedigree, again, so Melchisedec did have one, but it is not recorded, for the special purpose of making him, as far as the record goes, like the Son of God, who as to His Deity is un-originated.
Received tithes of Abraham- so he is superior to Abraham the patriarch, the father of the faithful. 
And blessed him that had the promises- the act of blessing was to invoke upon Abraham an appreciation of the things he had already been given by God.  He had received the promises, but needed to see them as superior to anything that Sodom could offer. 

7:7  And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.

And without all contradiction- the writer begins like this because his readers may have difficulty with the idea of someone being better than Abraham, especially if that person is a Canaanite king!  They cannot gainsay his arguments though.
The less is blessed of the better- the whole of the epistle has to do with Someone better, and Melchisedec typifies Him.  A person who blesses with God’s blessing must already be in the good of the blessing himself.  If Salem is the same as the Salim of John 3:23, then it was near to where John the Baptist, of the tribe of Levi, said “He must increase, but I must decrease”, John 3:30.

7:8  And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.

And here- on the one hand. 
Men that die that die receive tithes- the tithe supports a dying cause, for the fact that the priests were not suffered to continue by reason of death is a sign of their inferiority, verse 23. 
But here- on the other hand. 
He receiveth them of whom it is witnessed that he liveth- witnessed, that is, by the eloquent testimony of the omission of his death in the Scriptural record.  Of course, Melchisedec was not alive when the Epistle to the Hebrews was written.  Because his priesthood was a living one, paying tithes was worthwhile.

7:9  And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.

And as I may so say- the writer is confident he has authority from God to reason in the way that follows. 
Levi also, who receiveth tithes, paid tithes in Abraham- this statement puts the two orders of priesthood in direct contrast, and is the crowning point of the argument, which explains why it is left until last, even though Abraham paying tithes is dealt with in verse 6.  By supporting the priesthood of Melchisedec, and giving to God via its priest, Levi, the one who gave his name to the Levitical and Aaronic priesthood, confesses its superiority.  In verse 6 the point was that the famous patriarch paid tithes, here, that Levi did it.  This means that the whole Levitical system is inferior to that of Melchisedec, and therefore of Christ, for He is High Priest after the order of Melchisedec.  The only logical step to take in view of this is to go “outside the camp” of the Levitical system, 13:13.

So we may say about Levi the following:
He received tithes to support his ministry; He was commanded to do so by God; he took those tithes of those who were his brethren, not from strangers; they, like he, were of the same father, yet Levi had a higher claim than they.

7:10  For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.

For he was yet in the loins of his father when Melchizedec met him- this is the same sort of idea as the apostle Paul uses in Romans 5:12, where all are bound up in the sin of Adam, his act being a representative one.  Note how important it is that Melchisedec has no genealogy, for no-one in his ancestry can be said to acknowledge a superior priesthood before he began to function.

Notice the way in which three notable men have been built up in stature, and then reduced in favour of Christ:
Melchisedec:  King; priest of Most High God; blessed Abraham; received tithes on behalf of God.  BUT: only like the Son of God.
Abraham:  Responsible for the slaughter of the kings; the patriarch.  BUT: paid tithes to Melchisedec and was blessed by him.
Levi:  Received tithes; was commanded to do so; took those tithes from his brethren, even though they, and he, were all alike sons of Jacob.  BUT: men that die; paid tithes to Melchisedec through Abraham.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS CHAPTER 7, VERSES 11 TO 28

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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7:19  For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

7:20  And inasmuch as not without an oath He was made priest:

7:21  (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by Him that said unto Him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)

7:22  By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.

7:23  And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:

7:24  But this man, because He continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.

7:25  Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.

7:26  For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

7:27  Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for His own sins, and then for the people’s: for this He did once, when He offered up Himself.

7:28  For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore. 

(c)    11-14    The priesthood of Christ supercedes the Levitical order.
KEYWORD: tribe.

The remainder of the chapter may be looked at in relation to the quotation from Psalm 110.  Verses 11-14 emphasise “order of Melchisedec”; verses 15-19, “priest for ever”; verses 20-22, “the Lord sware”; and verses 23-28, “will not repent”.

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?

If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the Law)- the “therefore” indicates that a conclusion is about to be drawn on the basis of the foregoing arguments.  One would expect that a priesthood that supported and enforced the requirements of the very Law of God, (which by definition is perfect), would bring in the perfection that God demands.  But it is not so.  Note the linkage between the civil and ceremonial law, for some suggest that whilst the ceremonial is passed away, the civil is not.  See Exodus 4:27 where Moses, the mediator of the Law, and Aaron, the Levitical and ceremonial high priest, kiss on Mount Sinai, the Mount of God, where the Law was given.  A symbolic act. 
What further need was there- for what can there be beyond perfection? 
That another priest should rise- the arrival of a different sort of priest is indication that the Levitical sort was not ideal.  Rise means to stand up, with which compare Nehemiah 7:65. 
After the order of Melchizedec- we should not think that “order” means a succession of priests; it simply means “arrangement”.  The priesthood of Christ is arranged in the same way as Melchizedec’s was. 
And not be called after the order of Aaron- the priesthood of Aaron supplies the writer with contrasts which further his arguments in chapters 8 to 10, but Christ never functioned as a Levitical priest.

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

For the priesthood being changed- the writer assumes we have seen the significance of his reasoning, and will agree that it is proved that the priesthood is in fact changed.  It is not just a change of priest, but of priesthood, the whole order of things. 
There is made of necessity a change also of law- the governing principles must be different, seeing that the order is different.  Since the governing principles of the Levitical priesthood were those of the law of Moses, that law cannot govern the Melchizedec priest. The law and the priesthood stand together and fall together.

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

For He of whom these things are spoken- the word for “called” in verse 11 is the ordinary word for “to say”.  Hebrews 5:6 begins “As He saith also in another place”, and then “Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec”, so the establishment of Christ as priest is by the spoken word of God to Him.                                                               Pertaineth to another tribe- showing that one of the laws governing the Levitical priesthood was that the priest must be of the tribe of Levi. Of which no man gave attendance at the altar- no man of Judah would have been allowed to officiate at the altar.   It is evident that if a priest is of a different tribe, yet is called of God to His office, then He must be of a different order. 

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

For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah- the early believers clearly did not have any difficulty in seeing that the Lord Jesus was of the tribe of Judah.  “Our Lord” is a title which emphasises his exaltation as priest, in accordance with the words “The Lord said unto My Lord”, Psalm 110:1.  David’s Lord has become ours.  Lord, Jesus, and Son of God are all titles of Christ as priest, suggesting authority, sympathy and Divine sufficiency.  The word “sprang” is used of the sunrising, and also in connection with the Messianic title of Branch, Jeremiah 23:5; Zechariah 6:12.  In Luke 1:78, Zecharias, a Levitical priest, admits that light has not sprung up through Levi. Only Christ can call out of the darkness of Sinai, (Hebrews 12:18), into the light of His own glorious person, 1 Peter 2:9. 
Of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood- Moses was the Mediator of the Law, and also the writer of Leviticus.  If Moses the Mediator of the Law said nothing about it, whether in the giving of the Law or the writing of the book of Leviticus, (the priest’s manual), then the matter is settled. The Hebrews revered Moses as much as Abraham, and now both are appealed to as the writer unfolds his doctrine.  Christ is not king-priest because He is of the royal tribe of Judah, but rather because He has been made High Priest after the order of Melchizedec, and that order is a king-priest order or arrangement. Melchisedec was not a king because he was of Judah, nor priest because of Levi, for he was neither.

(d)    15-17    The priesthood of Christ is carried out in the energy of Divine Life.
KEYWORDS: For ever.

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

And it is yet far more evident- In verse 14 the evident thing was that He was of Judah as to His birth, but it is far more evident that He is risen from the dead, thus showing that His life was not dissolvable by death.  There would have been more witnesses to His resurrection in AD 68 than there were to His birth.                                                                     For that after the similitude of  Melchisedec there ariseth another priest- since Melchisedec was made like the Son of God as far as the record goes, then the subsequent priesthood of Christ can be like His; but He has to exist first for Melchisedec to be like Him. 

Some of the similarities between Melchisedec’s priesthood and Christ’s are as follows:

MELCHISEDEC CHRIST
He has not to do with sacrificing on an altar.  Christ’s priestly ministry began after His sacrifice had been accepted, 7:28.
He grants blessings that were not known to Abraham before. Christ brings in “better promises”, 8:6.
He encouraged Abraham to resist temptation.  Christ is “able to succour them that are tempted”, 2:18.
He has the authority of a throne behind him, being a king. Christ as high priest is “set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens”, 8:1.
 He showed priestly discernment by seeing the danger Abraham was in, and priestly concern for him. Christ “ever liveth to make intercession for us”, 7:25).
He was king of righteousness in an unrighteous environment.  Christ is undefiled still, after His life in this defiled world, 7:26.
As far as the record goes, Melchisedec continued in his priesthood without interuption by death.  Christ “continueth ever”, 7:24, and “ever liveth”, 7:25).

 Ariseth another priest- that is, a different sort of priest, in the same degree that Melchisedec’s priesthood was different to Aaron’s.

We learn from contrasts with Aarons’ priesthood, what Christ’s ministry is not like: 

AARON CHRIST
Aaron was priest because he was a descendant of Levi. Christ is high priest because He is Son of God, 5:5,6.   
Aaron needed special clothing of “glory and beauty”, Exodus 28:2, to fit him ceremonially for his work.  Christ’s character is one of official glory and moral beauty and honour.
Aaron was directed to officiate in accordance with the requirements of a legal ordinance. Christ’s ministry is in accordance with His own dissoluble life, with all that implies.
Aaron needed to offer sacrifices for his own sins, 7:27. Christ is sinless.
Aaron needed to constantly offer for the sins of the people, showing that the previous sacrifices had not been permanently effective, 10:11. Christ offered “one sacrifice for sins for ever”, 10:12.
Aaron was not able to bring the people in Christ brings in the better prospect of being able to draw nigh to God, 7:19.
Aaron could not bear the sight of the glory of God, so had to make a cloud of incense to shield him, in the presence of God, Leviticus 16:12,13.  Christ appears in the presence of God, 9:24, and is on the right hand of the Majesty on high, 1:3.

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

Who is made- the word “made” means “constituted”, “made to become”. 
Not after the law of a carnal commandment- This priest is constituted as such not in accordance with the governing principle of a commandment which came to men in the flesh.  “Carnal” could be translated “fleshen”, not fleshly in the evil sense of unspiritual, (although many Levitical priests were this), but suited to life in the flesh down here, hedged about as it is by earthly limitations and relationships which render a person unfit to minister in the heavenly sanctuary. 
But after the power of an endless life- in relation to the fact that His life has been shown, by resurrection, to be indissoluble or indestructible by death, and therefore is endless.  He is not regulated by commandments, but serves in the energy of His Deity, and hence He is priest because is the Son of God.  One of the reasons why Christ rose from the dead was that He is the Living One, (Revelation 1:18, margin), sharing Divine, eternal life with the Father and the Spirit.  He is fitted, therefore, to minister in the Heavenly Sanctuary, which is the Father’s House, since it is His eternal dwelling.  For this reason Melchisedec’s death was not recorded in Scripture, and he is said to abide a priest continually.  Another feature of the life the Lord Jesus has is that it involves knowledge, for eternal life gives the capacity to know God, John 17:3.  He who is eternal life personified, 1 John 1:1-3, knows fully the requirements of God regarding the care of His people, and is able to function in accordance with that complete knowledge.  Aaron could only minister as instructed by God; Christ knows perfectly the Divine requirements, without them having to come to Him as a law.

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

For He testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedec- as long as the life of our priest lasts, He shall be priest; in other words, for ever.  The praises of God’s people shall always be offered “by Him”, 13:15.  The writer is now dealing with the various parts of the quotation from Psalm 110:4 he has used since 5:6.  It is God who testifies in Psalm 110.  Compare the testimonies of Christ and the Spirit in 10:5-18.

(e)    18-19    The priesthood of Christ is profitable to God.

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

For there is verily a disanulling of the commandment going before- by making Christ a high priest after the order of Melchisedec God set aside the former order as being no longer of value, together with the commandments which regulated it. 
For the weakness and unprofitableness thereof- the Levitical system had not the dynamic needed to bring men into the presence of God, and hence He was not profited by their worship.  Note the contrast between the weakness of the law and the power of Christ’s life, verse 16.  Unprofitableness is that which is not beneficial or serviceable.

7:19  (For the law made nothing perfect), but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

(For the law made nothing perfect)- this is true in various connections, but here it did not provide the circumstances whereby the ordinary Israelite could draw near to God. 
But the bringing in of a better hope did- The word “did” has been supplied, for there is no corresponding word in the original.  On the one hand there is the disannulling of the commandment, verse 18, and on the other, the bringing in of a better hope or prospect through Christ.  The better hope is the sum total of all the blessings of which Christ is the guarantor.  In particular, the blessing of being able to draw nigh to God.
By which we draw nigh to God- on the ground of this hope set before us, 6:18-20, we have the encouragement and the ability to draw nigh to God.  The law was unable to effect this.  As we respond, God is profited.  As the Lord Jesus Himself declared, “The Father seeketh worshippers”, John 4:23.  The Lord Jesus ensures by His ministry that those worshippers have free access to the immediate presence of God.

(f)    20-22    The priesthood of Christ does not cause God regret.
KEYWORD: Oath.

7:20  And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest:

And inasmuch as- see on verse 22, “by so much”.  The truth that He was made priest by God’s oath is a weighty one, with far-reaching consequences. 
Not without an oath He was made priest- note the negative reference to Aaron not made priest by oath.  There was no Divine oath at his consecration.  If there had been, the Levitical system would have been permanent.

7:21  (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)

(For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath- “This” means “this priest”, even Christ, made priest in accordance with Psalm 110:4, now quoted. 
By Him that said unto Him, The Lord sware, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)- By uttering an oath God shows “the immutability of His counsel”, 6:17, and this gives “strong consolation”, 6:18.  The word for repent means regret.  God will never regret installing Christ as High Priest, but He did surely regret the actions of those of Aaron’ line, such as Nadab, Abihu, Eli, Annas, and Caiaphas.  “Sware” is in the past; “will not repent” is in the future, showing God’s utmost confidence in His Son. 

7:22  By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.

By so much- this expression links with the “inasmuch”, (meaning “by how much”), in verse 20.  The question in verse 20 is, “By how much?” the answer is found here, “by so much”.  By the truth contained in verses 20,21, which speaks of Christ as priest by oath, there is given reason why the covenant of which he is about to speak is better.  For it is not only new, but everlasting, underwritten by the oath of God, which makes Him the priest-minister of the blessings of that covenant.
Was Jesus made a surety of a better testament- a surety is a personal guarantee.  Note the seven references to Him under this name in the epistle, 2:9; 6:20; 7:22; 10:19; 12:2; 12:24; 13:12.  The personal guarantee is given character by the personal name.  His integrity makes it valid.  He has been fully tested, and therefore is qualified, (perfected) to act for His people before God.  The testament is better because it is established on better promises, 8:6; the covenant victim is Christ Himself, 9:16; it is ratified in the heavenly sanctuary, 9:24; the effects are final; it deals with sins, 10:18; it avails for Israel and believing Gentiles, 2 Corinthians 3.

 
(g)    23-28    The priesthood of Christ is continual, and effectual.
KEYWORD: Continue.

7:23  And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:

And they truly were many priests- down the centuries, not at one time, although there were many at the time of Christ’s birth.  Perhaps the reference is to the genealogies of priests such as in 1 Chronicles 6:3-15.  “Were” could be translated as “are”, that is, in the record.  Note the reference in that passage to the Captivity; emphasising that those priests were unable to save them to the uttermost.
Because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death- they were mortal, “fleshen” men, not possessing indissoluble, indestructible life.

7:24  But this man, because He continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.

But this man- a solitary, unique man, in contrast to the many Levitical priests.
Because He continueth ever- for death no longer has dominion over Him, and His life is endless literally, as Melchisedec’s was typically. This is one reason why the priesthood of Christ cannot begin before He died, or else He also, like the Levitical priests, “would not be suffered to continue by reason of death”.  Compare also “abideth a priest continually”, verse 3. Could   He be said to abide a priest continually while He was dead and buried?                                                   Hath an changeable priesthood- He will never hand over to a successor, nor shall His priesthood reve rt to being Levitical.  He who knows us through and through will never be replaced with a novice.  It is not that the order does not change, for that is already proved in verses 11-14, but that the priest does not change.  Note the contrast between creation which shall be changed, and Christ who is the Same, 1:11,12. 

 7:25  Therefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.

Wherefore- because of the features detailed in verses 11-24.
He is able also to save them to the uttermost- not only surety for the blessings, but Saviour for the blemishes.  The word uttermost literally means outermost.  Those in extreme circumstances are not too far gone for Him to save them from their trouble.  Peter might have thought that by denying his Lord he had gone beyond the limit of recovery.  Yet the Lord has assured him beforehand that He had prayed for him, Luke 22:31,32, and that he would be converted, or turned round, from his denial, and be enabled to strengthen his brethren so that they do not deny as he had.
That come unto God by Him- as we approach to God, verse 19, we do so as those who have failed in some way.  But Christ is fully able to “bear the iniquity of the holy things”, Exodus 28:38; that is, the iniquity which otherwise would make holy things unholy.  As Aaron had a golden plate with “Holiness to the Lord” inscribed on it, so Christ has the holiness of His Father in mind all the time, as John 17:11 shows.  We approach God with assurance, not only because of the blood of Jesus, but also because we have a great priest over the house of God, 10:19-22.  We also come unto God and His throne to obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need, 4:16.  Perhaps if Lot had come to Melchisedec, as Abraham did, things would have been different for him. 
Seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them-  He is always living with a view to interceding for His own.  Aaron was chosen to assist Moses because he could speak well, Exodus 4:14.  But he spoke wrongly at Sinai, Exodus 32:5; held his peace about Nadab and Abihu, and made excuses for his failure, Leviticus 10:3, 19; and in Numbers 12:2 spoke against Moses.  The Christian’s High Priest has no such shortcomings.  He intercedes when the adversary seeks to condemn, Romans 8:34, (see also Luke 22:31,32- prayed for before the trial came), when believers sin, 1 John 2:1, and when the difficulties and temptations of the way overwhelm us.  He is the author of eternal salvation, 5:9, for the safety which we shall know in eternity, is ours now.

7:26  For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

For such an high priest- as described in previous verses. 
Became us- is becoming to us, eminently suited to our need.  He has no fault or sin to hinder Him in His ministry for us.
Who is holy- not the usual word for holy, which is hagios; this is hosios, which is a combination of mercy, kindness and holiness.  (See its use in Acts 13:34, 35, where it is translated “sure mercies”, and “Holy One”).  This combination was seen in the life and ministry of Christ; it was not the priest and Levite of Aaron’s line which had compassion on the man fallen among thieves, Luke 10:33.  He has taken His pure character to heaven, for it is “who is”, not “who was”. 
Harmless- guileless, without an evil thought.  A marked contrast to the priests as they clamoured for Christ’s death.  See also Jacob’s prophecy concerning Levi, Genesis 49:5-7, where he said that “instruments of cruelty are in their habitations”.  Christ’s thoughts towards us as He intercedes are only good.  He will never be like Elijah, who interceded against the people of God, Romans 11:2.
Undefiled- free from contamination.  Not simply ceremonially clean, but actually.  See Leviticus 22:1-3, where the priests were warned that defilement would mean banishment from the Lord’s presence.  The Lord Jesus did not need to be washed, as Aaron did when he was consecrated, Exodus 29:4.
Separate from sinners- the verb is passive, separated by another.  It is said of Aaron that he was “separated, that he should sanctify the most holy things, he and his sons for ever, to burn incense before the Lord, to minister unto Him, and to bless in His name for ever”, 1 Chronicles 23:13.  He failed, however, and these ministries are carried out in a better and fuller way by Christ, who has been separated from the failed line of Aaron by being saluted by God as High Priest after the order of Melchisedec, 5:10.  The name “Levi” means joined, but Christ is separated. 
And made higher than the heavens- He has passed through the heavens, and is seated at the right hand of God, the place of power and influence.  He is minister of the heavenly sanctuary, 8:1,2.  Aaron entered into an earthly tabernacle, whereas Christ has entered into the “true tabernacle”, heaven itself, 8:2; 9:24.  This is the only sanctuary that true believers know.  What folly, in the light of these verses, to speak of earthly, man-made buildings as sanctuaries!  The Lord Jesus declared that “ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father”, John 4:21.

7:27  Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this He did once, when He offered up Himself.

Who needeth not daily, as those high priests- having spoken of His positive virtues, the writer now contrasts Him with Aaron and his successors.  They sinned every day, whereas the days of Christ’s flesh were marked by piety, 5:7.
To offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the peoples’- this may refer to daily offerings at Israel’s altar, or it may be a reference to the Day of Atonement, since daily means day by day, on each successive Day of Atonement, when matters were resolved before God.  Aaron needed to offer for his own sins first, so that he could then minister for the people. 
For this He did once, when He offered up Himself- the “this” referring to offering for the people.  We must not confuse offering with burning on the altar.  The offering of the sacrifice was the bringing of it near the altar.  Animals had to be brought to the altar to be killed, but Christ came willingly, and presented Himself at Calvary as a willing victim.  Since He was not priest until He ascended, then He cannot have acted as a priest at His own sacrifice. 

7:28  For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.

For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity- because of their inherent weakness, they were liable to sin, as 5:2,3 indicates. 
But the word of the oath, which was since the law- because the law was not rendered out of date until Christ died, this proves that He was not High Priest at that time.  Note the contrast between the impersonal way the law made men priests, with the personal word of the oath of God. “The expression “since the law” does not mean “since the law was given at Sinai”, but rather, “since the law was done away at Calvary”. 
Maketh the Son- the name Jesus is not mentioned here, since the contrast is between weak, infirm priests, and the Son who acts according to the power of His Divine and endless life. 
Who is consecrated for evermore- at his consecration, Aaron’s hands were filled with various parts of the sacrifices, and this is what consecration means in the Old Testament; it is literally “to fill the hand”.  So Christ, as He lifts up His pierced hands, (figuratively speaking), in intercession for His people, shows the Father the evidence of His completed work at Calvary.  Here the Greek word is the same as in 2:10; 5:9, “to be qualified, fully equipped”.  By the experiences He passed through down here, the Lord Jesus is able to deal fully with every situation in which we need His priestly help.  Since He is fully-equipped, He is able to fully save.