Hebrews 7 - The Law Shows Our Need for a Savior
1For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;
2To 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;
3Without 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.
4Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.
5And 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:
6But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.
7And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.
8And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.
9And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.
10For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.
11If 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?
12For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
13For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.
14For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.
15And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest,
16Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.
17For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
18For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.
19For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
20And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest:
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:)
22By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.
23And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:
24But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.
25Wherefore 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.
26For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
27Who 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.
28For 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.
Today's Scripture Meaning
A comparison between the priesthood of Melchizedec and that of Christ. (1-3) The excellence of Christ's priesthood above the Levitical priesthood is shown. (4-10) This is applied to Christ. (11-25) The faith and hope of the church encouraged from this. (26-28)
Verses 1-3: Melchizedec met Abraham when returning from the rescue of Lot. His name, "King of Righteousness," doubtless suitable to his character, marked him as a type of the Messiah and his kingdom. The name of his city signified "Peace;" and as king of peace he typified Christ, the Prince of Peace, the great Reconciler of God and man. Nothing is recorded as to the beginning or end of his life; thus he typically resembled the Son of God, whose existence is from everlasting to everlasting, who had no one that was before him, and will have no one come after him, in his priesthood. Every part of Scripture honours the great King of Righteousness and Peace, our glorious High Priest and Saviour; and the more we examine it, the more we shall be convinced, that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
Verses 4-10: That High Priest who should afterward appear, of whom Melchizedec was a type, must be much superior to the Levitical priests. Observe Abraham's great dignity and happiness; that he had the promises. That man is rich and happy indeed, who has the promises, both of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This honour have all those who receive the Lord Jesus. Let us go forth in our spiritual conflicts, trusting in his word and strength, ascribing our victories to his grace, and desiring to be met and blessed by him in all our ways.
Verses 11-25: The priesthood and law by which perfection could not come, are done away; a Priest is risen, and a dispensation now set up, by which true believers may be made perfect. That there is such a change is plain. The law which made the Levitical priesthood, showed that the priests were frail, dying creatures, not able to save their own lives, much less could they save the souls of those who came to them. But the High Priest of our profession holds his office by the power of endless life in himself; not only to keep himself alive, but to give spiritual and eternal life to all who rely upon his sacrifice and intercession. The better covenant, of which Jesus was the Surety, is not here contrasted with the covenant of works, by which every transgressor is shut up under the curse. It is distinguished from the Sinai covenant with Israel, and the legal dispensation under which the church so long remained. The better covenant brought the church and every believer into clearer light, more perfect liberty, and more abundant privileges. In the order of Aaron there was a multitude of priests, of high priests one after another; but in the priesthood of Christ there is only one and the same. This is the believer's safety and happiness, that this everlasting High Priest is able to save to the uttermost, in all times, in all cases. Surely then it becomes us to desire a spirituality and holiness, as much beyond those of the Old Testament believers, as our advantages exceed theirs.
Verses 26-28: Observe the description of the personal holiness of Christ. He is free from all habits or principles of sin, not having the least disposition to it in his nature. No sin dwells in him, not the least sinful inclination, though such dwells in the best of Christians. He is harmless, free from all actual transgression; he did no violence, nor was there any deceit in his mouth. He is undefiled. It is hard to keep ourselves pure, so as not to partake the guilt of other men's sins. But none need be dismayed who come to God in the name of his beloved Son. Let them be assured that he will deliver them in the time of trial and suffering, in the time of prosperity, in the hour of death, and in the day of judgment.
Today's Scripture Application
Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the book of Hebrews with Chapter 7 and in our text we see that is Jesus-Christ is compared to Melchisedek as the High Priest but fulfilled the law supporting the doctrine of the deity. In making application we see that the law is to show us that we are sinners, and as sinners, in need of a Savior. How about you? Have you been saved? Let us learn form our text today and the author of Hebrews who explains that the law is here to show us that we are sinners and that Jesus is our High Priest who is worth to pay the price for our sin if we simply call upon Him to be Saved.
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Dr. David Burnette
Director, The United States Bible Society, Inc.