Hebrews; Chapter 7
UNDERSTANDING OUR HIGH PRIEST!
Hebrews 7:11-12) [GNB] It was on the basis of the levitical priesthood that the Law was given to the people of Israel. Now, if the work of the levitical priests had been perfect, there would have been no need for a different kind of priest to appear, one who is in the priestly order of Melchizedek, not of Aaron.
11) [KJB] 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?
11) [MSG] If the priesthood of Levi and Aaron, which provided the framework for the giving of the law, could really make people perfect, there wouldn’t have been need for a new priesthood like that of Melchizedek.
“The act or process of consummating. By this word is signified the establishment of a perfect fellowship between God and the worshipper” [Vincent].
“The Levitical priesthood failed to give men “a perfectly adequate relation to God” (Moffatt) [Robertson, quoting Moffatt].
QUESTION: What is the author trying to get the reader to understand?
ANSWER: God gave instructions to Moses and Aaron regarding the priesthood, the temple, and the offerings. They initiated the very plan of God! Yet, that plan could not bring a perfect relationship between man and God. If that plan had brought man into perfect fellowship with God then there would have been no need for the new priesthood promised by God.
Psalm 110:1 & 4) [GNB] The LORD said to my lord, “Sit here at my right side until I put your enemies under your feet.”
4) [GNB] The LORD made a solemn promise and will not take it back: “You will be a priest forever in the priestly order of Melchizedek.”
Hebrews 7:12) [GNB] For when the priesthood is changed, there also has to be a change in the law.
(NLT) And when the priesthood is changed, the law must also be changed to permit it.
(CEV) And when the rules for selecting a priest are changed, the Law must also be changed.
(MSG) But since it didn’t get the job done, there was a change of priesthood, which brought with it a radical new kind of law.
Regarding this verse,
“The connection requires us to understand it only of the Law ‘so far as it was connected with the Levitical priesthood.’ This could not apply to the ten commandments – for they were given before the institution of the priesthood; nor could it apply to any other part of the moral law, for that was not dependent on the appointment of the Levitical priests” [Barnes].
“The fundamental idea of the law was that of a people united with God. Sin, the obstacle to this ideal union, was dealt with through the priesthood. If the law failed to effect complete fellowship with God, the priesthood was shown to be a failure, and must be abolished; and the change of the priesthood involved the abolition of the entire legal system” [Vincent].
QUESTION: Barnes says, in essence, that only the ceremonial law is meant here. Is he correct?
ANSWER: Yes/No! God’s moral law is done away with in the sense of our being right with God by obeying the commands. However, it’s not truly done away with. Note the following verses:
II Corinthians 5:17) [GW] Whoever is a believer in Christ is a new creation. The old way of living has disappeared. A new way of living has come into existence.
Hebrews 8:10) [GNB] Now, this is the covenant that I will make with the people of Israel in the days to come, says 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.
QUESTION: How is New Covenant living different from Old Covenant living?
ANSWER: In Old Covenant living you were deemed righteous, or unrighteous, by virtue of your ability to keep God’s Law. Many Old Covenant saints were righteous in a comparative sense; not were righteous in a true sense.
In New Covenant living you are deemed righteous by virtue of placing your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the only man to ever have kept God’s Law perfectly, without a single flaw.
Under Old Covenant living you tried to keep God’s Law in order to be acceptable to Him.
Under New Covenant living you try to keep God’s moral Law because you love Him, and because it’s written into your spiritual DNA.
Romans 6:14) [GW] Certainly, sin shouldn’t have power over you because you’re not controlled by laws, but by God’s favor.
Romans 7:6) [GNB] Now, however, we are free from the Law, because we died to that which once held us prisoners. No longer do we serve in the old way of a written law, but in the new way of the Spirit.
Romans 4:16a) [MSG] This is why the fulfillment of God’s promise depends entirely on trusting God and his way, and then simply embracing him and what he does. God’s promise arrives as pure gift. That’s the only way everyone can be sure to get in on it,
Walk of Grace Chapel, Council Bluffs Church