Hebrews 7:1-28 - Outline of Hebrews (Book Notes menu page)
The previous chapters declare that the hope of the believer is sure and steadfast because it rests in our great High Priest, who is superior to earthly priests, for He...
Although the priesthood of Melchizedek has been mentioned several times, an explanation of its significance was delayed, as the writer spurred his readers to spiritual attentiveness (5:10,11; 6:11,12).
     Now, the explanation begins...
  1. Christ is superior, in His Priestly Person, as a Priest in the order of Melchizedek (ch.7).
  2. Christ is superior, in His Priestly Ministry, in the true Tabernacle and His one Sacrifice (ch. 8-10).
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;
Melchisedec...- is mentioned only twice in the OT: Gen 14:14- 15:1; Psa 110:4
But few words do not equate to little importance. Since not one jot or tittle of God's Word will fail, nothing in the Bible should be considered "trivial."
     [Note: In the KJV, the spelling of his name differs between the OT and the NT. While we retain the spelling in the Bible text, the Book Notes text reflects the OT spelling.]
king of Salem - Salem is the ancient name of Jerusalem (meaning 'founded in peace').
priest of the most high God - The first biblical occurrence of the word 'priest' refers to Melchizedek.
This suggests that his priesthood is definitive of God's design for the Priest of priests (Christ).
The parallels between Christ and Melchizedek will rapidly become apparent.
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;
King of righteousness - the HB meaning of Melchizedek {melech= king; tsedeq= righteousness}.
Christ is: Holy... undefiled (v.26).
Christ is: The Lord our righteousness (Jer 23:5,6; Rom 3:25,26; 1Cor 1:30).
King of peace - HB salem= peace
Christ is: our peace. eg., Isa 9:6,7; Rom 5:1; Joh 14:27; Eph 2:14,15
first... after that...- Note the order is always: righteousness followed by peace. Isa 32:17
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...descent - Melchizedek has no recorded genealogy.
This is very unusual because Genesis is full of family records.
His life was to be a type (illustration) of Christ, who is characterized by:
  • life without beginning or end - Melchizedek has no recorded birth or death. cp. Joh 8:58
  • a continuing priesthood - Melchizedek has no recorded transfer of priestly office.
Melchizedek stepped onto the pages of Scripture, at a specific point in time, to direct Abraham's thoughts toward the Lord, the Possesor of heaven and earth, lest he be led astray by the gifts of an earthly king.
     Christ ever lives to intercede for His own (v.25). He interjects Himself into our lives that we, too, might continue to serve in conscious dependency upon the Most High God.
Suggested outline of the remainder of this chapter:
A. The King of Righteousness - v. 4-10
B. The King of Peace - v. 11-22
C. The Priest who abides forever - v. 23-28
7:4 Now consider how great this man [was],
unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.
    A. The King of Righteousness - ie., the One above all others in righteousness.
Abraham is set forth in Scripture as the father of righteousness by faith (Rom 4:3,11-25).
Yet, Abraham acknowledged Melchizedek's superiority by paying a tithe to him. Gen 14:18-20
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:
the sons of Levi (the priestly tribe from which Aaron came)...
  • were set above the other tribes and had authority to receive tithes of them,
    because they were commissioned by God with administration of the Law (Num 18:21-24).
  • are inferior to Melchizedek,
    because they (like the other tribes of Israel) are descendants of Abraham.
7:6 But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham,
and blessed him that had the promises.
Melchizedek's superiority is demonstrated in that he...
-- received tithes from Abraham (v.4-5,9-10).
-- blessed Abraham (v.7,8).
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.
here... there...- ie., in the Levitical system versus in Melchizedek's priesthood.
they die... he liveth- This theme runs throughout ch. 7.
The Levitical priests received tithes, though they were mortals...
     But, Melchizedek, who had no recorded beginning or end, received tithes from them.
Christ alone is King of Righteousness, because He alone has life in Himself. Joh 5:24-29
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.
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?
    B. The King of Peace - ie., the One above all others in securing peace.
if... perfection were by the Levitical priesthood...-
The goal of the Levitical priesthood was to prepare men for God's presence.
But neither the priests, nor the Law under which they served, could bring the process to completion. Rom 3:20; Heb 7:19; 10:1-4
what further need that another priest should rise... not after the order of Aaron...-
Aaron was the son of Levi to whom the priesthood was committed.
The Levitical and Aaronic order (of priesthood) are one and the same.
However, true righteousness and peace with God could not be obtained through the Levitical priesthood. There was need for...
another {GK=heteros, another of a different kind of} priest... after the order of Melchisedec -
Jesus Christ is that priest, who did what the former priests could not. Rom 8:3,4; Gal 2:21
Peace with God was secured for us by Christ (who is not of the Aaronic order). Rom 5:1
7:12 For the priesthood being changed,
there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
Upon what principle (law) is this new priestly order established?
Christ could not be a priest according to the principles (rules) governing the Aaronic order.
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;
{Mic 5:2; Mat 1:1-3-16}
of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.
7:15 And it is yet far more evident: {because it was God's stated purpose, v.17}
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
{lit., indissoluble} life.
In v.16-22, three principles are identified [see (1) (2) (3) below], by which...
Christ is made priest --
  • not by carnal commandment- ie., not by...
    • human physical succession (from Aaron to his sons).
    • human legal action (eg., ceremonial consecration).
  • (1) but by the power of an endless life- ie.,
    • Divine appointment (by the living God).
    • Divine essential right (as the One who ever lives). Rev 1:18
Note the timelessness of the divine appointment (restated in v.17).
7:17 For he testifieth,
Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
{Psa 110:4}
That a priest of this new order would arise (v.15) is necessitated and established...
(2) by God's Word.
7:18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before
for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.
The new priestly order supersedes the old system which was ineffective (v.11).
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.
a better hope - ie., Christ did what the Law could not. By providing complete remission of sins
and perfect righteousness, He opened acceptance for us before God (Heb 10:14-22).
     Gal 2:16; Heb 6:19,20; Rom 5:1,2; Eph 2:13,14
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:)
{Psa 110:4}
those priests - ie., the Aaronic priests, who were priests by physical succession.
this {priest} - ie., Christ, who was made a priest...
(3) by God's oath. His oath makes Christ's priesthood unchangeable. Heb 6:17-20
7:22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.
by so much {ie., in so many ways, or to such a degree}...
better - Christ's 'better' priesthood (v.11)-
-- is established upon 'better' principles (v.16,17,21)
-- establishes a 'better' covenant {or, testament}
(ie., the New Covenant by which we have peace with God.
The New Covenant will be discussed further in 8:6-13).
7:23 And they truly were many priests,
because they were not suffered
{ie., not allowed} to continue by reason of death:
    C. The Priest who abides forever (v.23-28) -
they... were many priests...- the Aaronic priesthood employed many men due to attrition.
7:24 But this [man], because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.
In contrast to the Aaronic priests, Christ is... [seven points, (1) - (7), in v.24-28]
(1) Perfect in continuity -
this man - ie., Christ.
continues {ie., abides, cp. Joh 12:34; Heb 13:8}
unchangeable {ie., untransferable} - Christ will never vacate His priestly office.
He will never step away from His work, leaving loose ends for others to pick up.
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.
(2) Perfect in salvation.
He is able to save...
  • to the uttermost - ie., all the way to completion.
  • them... that come to God by Him - ie., that approach, through Him, to God. Joh 14:6; Heb 10:19-22
(3) Perfect in intercession {entreaty or conference with God}.
Intercession is...
  • a priestly ministry, characteristic of Christ's death on earth and life in heaven.
    cp. Isa 53:12; Rom 8:34; Heb 9:24; 1Joh 2:1
  • a continual ministry - He ever lives to make intercession...
  • a limited ministry - "for them... that come unto God by Him." Joh 17:9,10
7:26 For such an high priest became us, [who is] holy, harmless, undefiled,
separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
such an high priest became us {ie., is fitting for us}...-
He is precisely the kind of High Priest that we need.
(4) Perfect in character -
[He is sinless]
  • holy {GK=hosios, intrinsically righteous} - Psa 16:10; 145:17
    He is the righteousness of God (Rom 3:21,22).
  • harmless {GK=akakos, void of evil, guileless, without craftiness.}
    ie., He is not a clever lawyer who gets you off the hook.
    Rather, He has simply paid your penalty in full. 1Pet 2:22-25
  • undefiled - without any moral impurity, free from contamination.
[He is resurrected]
  • separate from sinners - by reason of His total sinlessness (as above).
    - by reason of His departure out from among the spiritually and physically dead.
       Acts 2:24-32; Rom 6:9,10
(5) Perfect in station -
[He is ascended] - made higher than the heavens.- Eph 1:20-22; Heb 1:3; 1Pet 3:22
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.
(6) Perfect in His sacrifice -
In contrast to the Aaronic priests who sacrificed often, due to their own sinful condition, and due to the ineffectiveness of animal sacrifice, Christ offered Himself once (lit., 'once for all,' cp. Heb 10:12). (The sufficiency of His one sacrifice will be explained more fully, in ch. 9-10.)
     Christ's sacrifice of Himself is the only sacrifice offered under the order of Melchizedek.
Melchizedek "brought forth bread and wine" signifying to Abraham that God's promises are sure. Jesus used the same elements signifying that God's promises are fulfilled in His sacrificial death. The church partakes "oft" of these elements, not in repetition of the sacrifice, but in commemoration of His finished work. Gen 14:18; 1Cor 11:23-26
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.
(7) Perfect in His Person -
  • men... which have infirmity - served as Aaronic priests under the Law.
  • the Son... who is consecrated (lit., perfected) for evermore - is the only High Priest under the Word of God's Oath (v.20,21).
    Because God spoke the Word of the Oath long after after He gave the Law, it is evident that, in God's eyes, Christ's perfections fulfill the demands of the Law. Heb 1:1-3; Rom 8:1-4
Is He your High Priest?
Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life:
no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (Joh 14:6)

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