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Book 2


The Story

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Gen 14:17-20
(17)  After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King's Valley). 
(18)  Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, (19) and he blessed Abram, saying,
"Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. 
(20)  And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand."
Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.  

The Prophecy

Psalms 110:4
LORD has sworn and will not change his mind:
"You are a priest forever,  in the order of Melchizedek." 

The reference - from Hebrews,  Book One

Hebrews 5:6-10
(6) And he says in another place, 
"You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek." 
(7) During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. (8) Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered (9) and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him (10) and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.   NI

 The Promise - Abraham  (Heb 6:13-20)

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Heb 6:13-20
(13)  For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,
(14)  Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.
(15) And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
(16) For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife.
(17) Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:
(18)  That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:
(19)  Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;
(20)  Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

The certainty of the divine promises

The reference to the divine promises in  Hebrews 6:12  suggests the consideration that long-suffering (patience) is necessary and reasonable. Though their fulfillment may be delayed it is certain. This certainty of fulfillment after long waiting is illustrated by:

(a) (6:13-15) The fundamental promise to Abraham, which by its very form – pointing to a distant future – implied the exercise of patience.
(b) (6:16-18) And this promise partially, typically, yet not exhaustively fulfilled, has been handed down to us, doubly confirmed, so that we cannot doubt as to its uttermost accomplishment.
(c) (6:19,20) An accomplishment which is presented to us in the exaltation of the Son, Whom hope can follow now within the veil.

The Divine promises are certain.  We live in a day when everything is fast - delivered now - and as we wish it.  So if we pray a prayer to God, we expect  that if He doesn't answer our prayer immediately, and exactly as we asked, then we accuse Him of  "not answering our prayer."  How foolish we are.  He always answers. His answer may not be the answer we would like, nor at the time we would like. But He DOES answer and His answer is always the correct answer at the correct time.  Sometimes His answer is no - this does not mean He does not answer. Sometimes His  answer is wait awhile - this does not mean He is slow to answer.  This was the lesson Abraham had to learn.

1 John 5:14-15
(14)  Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. (15) And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.    NKJV

Num 23:19
God is not man, that he should lie,
or a son of man, that he should repent.
Has he said, and will he not do it?
Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?   RSV

2 Cor 1:20
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God.   NIV

The promise to Abraham  (6:13-15)

Greek Text according to G.R. Berry
For to Abraham having promised God, since by no one he had greater to swear, swore by himself, saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee;  and thus having had long patience he obtained the promise.

(13)When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, (14) saying, "I will surely bless you and give you many descendants." (15) And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.

The example of Abraham establishes two things, the certainty of the hope which rests on a promise of God, and the need of patience in order to receive its fulfillment. God promised with an oath: Abraham endured to wait and that not in vain.  He is thus a perfect representative of all ‘who through faith and long-suffering inherit the promises.’

By fixing the attention of his readers on the promise to Abraham the writer carries their thoughts beyond the Law. The Law appears as a stage only in the fulfillment of the promise. Compare Galatians 4:21.

Gal 4:21
Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says?  

"For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself,"  

Because he could swear by no greater  -  epei kat' oudenos eichen meizonos omosai 
Literally, "since he had (the power) to swear by no one greater."

By himself  -  kath' heautou 

The oath to Abraham was the foundation of the hope of Israel  (Psalms 105:6; Luke 1:73)  and the support of all positive faith.  In this respect it is important to notice that it is the first explicit mention of the divine oath, which was implied in the promise to Noah  (Isaiah 54:9; Genesis 8:21; 9:11).  Compare also Gen. 15:8

Jewish scholars dwelt on the thought of God’s oath ‘by Himself’; see Shemoth R. 44 (on Exodus 32:13), "What means By Thyself?   R. Eliezer replied: Moses spake thus to the Lord (Blessed be He).  If Thou hadst sworn by heaven and earth,  I should say,  since heaven and earth shall perish,  so too Thine oath.  Now Thou hast sworn to them by Thy great name:  as Thy great name lives and lasts forever and ever, Thy oath also shall last for ever and ever."

For God having made promise to Abraham…sware.  The promise was given, and then the promise was confirmed by an oath (Genesis 12:3,7; 13:14; 15:5; 17:5; compared with Genesis 22:16). The student of Scripture will do well to consider very carefully the exact differences of form under which the promise was given to Abraham at different times and afterwards to his son Isaac (Genesis 26:2) and to Isaac’s son Jacob (Genesis 28:13).

Illustration of the longsuffering of faith by the example of Abraham

The necessity for emphasizing this element of faith lay in the growing discouragement of the Jewish Christians at the long delay of Christ's second coming.   Compare Heb 11 - Abraham became a sojourner in the land of the promise, looking for the heavenly city (Heb 11:9-10).  All the instances cited in that chapter illustrate the long outlook of faith, involving patient waiting and endurance.  The example of Abraham shows that the promise of God is sure.

Heb 2:10
In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.  

It may be further added that the interposition of an oath implied delay in the fulfillment of the promise.
No oath would have been required if the blessing had been about to follow immediately.  But in the nature of the case the promise to Abraham pointed to a remote future.
Thus his example was fitted to encourage the Hebrews to trust in the unseen.  
At the same time the promise was absolute and not conditional (as I Kings 2:4).

1 Kings 2:4
...and that the
LORD may keep his promise to me:  `If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.'  NIV

"saying, 'Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.'"   

Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.

Surely blessing I will bless thee  -  ei meen' eulogoon eulogeesoo se 
"Blessing I will bless"  is a Hebraism,  emphasizing the idea contained in the verb.  Compare the Septuagint, Gen 22:17; Num 25:10; Deut 15:4.

From Genesis 22:17.  The writer concentrates his attention on Abraham alone.
Compare Gen. 12:3 with Gen. 22:18.

Gen. 12:3
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth 
will be blessed through you."  

Gen 22:18
... and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me."  

The promise which is quoted is simply that of outward prosperity, of which in part Abraham lived to see the fulfillment.  But the Messianic promise,  with which the readers were familiar,  was given under the same  circumstances.

And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. 

After he had patiently endured  -  makrothumeesas
Pointing back to makrothumia, "longsuffering,"  Heb 6:12.

Confident in a promise solemnly ratified,  having patiently endured…. The  thus  is to be taken separately and not in close connection with having had long patience. (‘having thus patiently endured’). Compare Acts 7:8; 28:14; I Cor. 14:25.

According to the history twenty-five years elapsed from the call of Abraham to the birth of Isaac (Genesis 12:4; 21:5).

Gen 12:2-5

(2) "I will make you into a great nation
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing. 
(3)  I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth  will be blessed through you." 
(4)  So Abram left, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran. 
(5)  Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. 

He obtained  -  epetuchen
The compounded preposition  epi  has the force of  "upon",  "to light"  or  "hit upon."   The verb indicates that Abraham did not personally receive the entire fulfillment of the promise,  but only the germ of its fulfillment.  It was partially fulfilled in the birth of Isaac.  See Rom 4:18.
The security of the divine promise illustrated by the analogy of human practice.
(from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

The phrase following after having promised (v. 13) cannot mean simply ‘obtained from God the assurance of a future blessing.’  It affirms that in some sense Abraham gained that for which he looked.  And in fact Abraham obtained the fulfillment of the promise in its beginning in Isaac,  born past hope and given to him, as it were a second time, and also afterwards in Isaac’s sons. In part however the promise necessarily remained to be fulfilled after time:  multiplying I will multiply thee….I will bless thee…), so that through Christ Christians inherit it. Compare Heb. 11:33; Rom. 11:7; James 4:2; and Heb. 10:36; 11:15,39.

Doubly Confirmed  (6:16-18)

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Heb 6:16-18
(16)  For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife.
(17)  Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:
(18)  That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:

The fulfillment of the promise is doubly assured to us

The promise which Abraham received still awaits its complete accomplishment, and it is our inheritance, doubly confirmed to us as to him, being a promise, and a promise confirmed by an oath.

In this respect the character and purpose of a human oath illustrate the divine oath.  An oath is a decisive appeal to the highest power to close all controversy.  Therefore in condescension God interposed an oath to give to His promise this additional pledge of immutability for our encouragement.

The argument assumes the religious propriety of oaths.

"For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute"  

And an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife  -  
kai pasees autois antilogias peras eis bebaioosin ho horkos

"The oath is final for confirmation."  Peras is  "the outermost point";  the point beyond which one cannot go.

The oath has two results:

Negative It finally stops all contradiction By an appeal to a higher authority it stays the human denial of the statement which it affirms.
Positive It establishes that which it attests. It issues in confirmation.

"Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath,"   

Thus (Wherein)  -  en hoo
Referring to the whole previous clause. In accordance with this universal human custom.

Determining (Willing)boulomenos 
Render it: "being minded."

In this method of appeal to remove all doubt and gainsaying, God being minded to show more abundantly to man’s apprehension than by a simple promise  The oath was given to bring home to men the certainty of the divine promise.

The immutability...Confirmed  -  to ametatheton...emesiteusen
Render it: "interposed or mediated."  Compare mesitees  "mediator."  From mesos, "midst". 
Placed himself 
BETWEEN  himself and the heritors of the promise.
(from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

The oath to Abraham was not for himself alone even as the promise was not for himself alone. It was for him and his seed:  for the father of the faithful and all faithful sons  (Heb. 2:16).  Thus the phrase (the heirs of the promise) includes all who under different circumstances and different degrees succeeded to the promise:

The Patriarchs
The pre-Christian Jews
The Christians

The immediate application is to the generations of believers represented by the Hebrews who had need of the assurance.

The counsel was that of bringing universal blessing through the seed of Abraham (compare Acts 3:25). 
This part of the promise has not been directly quoted, but the reference to it is perfectly intelligible from verse 14:

Heb 6:14
...saying, "I will surely bless you and give you many descendants."   NIV
Acts 3:25
...And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, `Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.'   NIV

Interposed, as it were, between Himself and Abraham with an oath:  took the position of one invoking a higher power.

The oath directly referred to is that to Abraham; but the mention of the oath carries the mind of the reader to the oath by which Christ’s Priesthood was confirmed (Heb. 7:20).  The promise to Abraham confirmed by an oath is parallel to the promise to Christ – confirmed by an oath. The latter oath shows how the first oath was to attain fulfillment.

Delitzsch observes that a similar thought lies in the prayer of  Hezekiah:

Isaiah 38:4-6 "And it came to pass, and the word of Jehovah came to Isaiah as follows: Go turn again and say to Hizkiyahu, the prince of my people, Thus saith Jehovah, the God of  David thine ancestor, I have heard thy prayer, seen thy tears; behold, I will cure thee, on the third day thou shalt go up to the house of Jehovah and I add to thy days fifteen years. And I will deliver thee this city out of the hand of the king of Asshur, and will defend this city for mine own sake and for David my servant's sake."
Isaiah 38:14 " (Lord) be Thou surety for me."
(from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

"That by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us."   

Two immutable things  -  duo pragmatoon ametathetoon

His word and his oath.

By two things unchangeable… by two immutable things, the promise and the oath (vv. 13,17).
Immutable (unchangeable) may mean either object (Heb. 10:1;11:1) or fact, action (Acts 5:4; Luke 1:1).

In which impossible to lie
That the promise of God should fail is as inconceivable as that His oath should fail. He must fulfill His promise: He must fulfill His oath. 

The use of o Theos  (God of v. 17) and Theos  (God of v. 18) is instructive.
In the second case (v. 18) the idea is rather that of the nature of God than of His Personality: ‘impossible for Him who is God….

Strong consolation  -  ischuran parakleesin 
Ischuros  -  "strong"  implies indwelling strength embodied or put forth either aggressively or as an obstacle to resistance; as an army or a fortress.
For  "consolation"  render  "encouragement."

The epithet (strong) is unusual  (compare 5:7  "crying strong"  [11:34].   It describes that which possesses absolute might, and not simply strength sufficient for a particular task.
Compare 2 Cor. 10:10; Rev. 18:2,10; 19:6; Lk. 15:14 (not Matthew 14:30).

The whole context shows that encouragement is to be understood as to maintain with boldness a position beset by difficulties, and not simply passive consolation. The word occurs again in the Epistle of Hebrews in 12:5; 13:22.

Who have fled for refuge  -  hoi katafugontes 
The compound verb is well rendered by the King James Version, since, as distinguished from the simple  feugein  "to flee,"  it expresses flight to a definite place or person for safety.    Hence, often used in connection with an altar or a sanctuary.  The distinction between the simple and the compound verb is illustrated in Herodotus 4:23, where, speaking of the barbarous tribe of the Iyrcae, he says, "Whoever flees feugoon  and betakes himself for refuge (katafugee) to them,  receives wrong from no one."  So Xen., "Hellen." 1, 6, 16:  "Conon fled (efeuge) in swift vessels, and betakes himself for refuge (katafeugei) to Mitylene."

Lunemann takes  katafugontes  absolutely, and makes krateesai tees prokeimenees elpidos depend on parakleesin echoomen:   "that we who have fled for refuge might have strong consolation to lay hold..."
(from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

We who at the decisive moment fled for refuge to lay hold of… Compare Heb. 4:3   "who believed".
Every other support was abandoned. 

To lay hold upon the hope set before us  -  krateesai tees prokeimenees elpidos
"Lying before" or "set before"; "destined" or "appointed."

The idea of  to lay hold on  is  ‘to lay hold on and cling to that which has been so taken.’  The writer emphasizes the special duty of the Hebrews to keep their own,  by a fresh effort,  that which they had originally felt to be the one spring of safety,  even the hope based on the efficacy of Christ’s work,  and specially of His Priestly intercession whereby the promise of universal blessing through Abraham’s seed is fulfilled. 

The ‘hope’ is described as ‘lying before us’ (compare Heb. 12:1,2),  the prize of victory is open and obvious, as soon as we embrace the Faith.  It is treated as being at once God’s gift and man’s own feeling. It is both an   ‘objective’  hope and a  ‘subjective’  hope. For the power of hope see Rom. 8:24,25.

Rom 8:24-25
(24) For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? (25) But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.    NIV

HOPE - Confident expectancy.   In the Bible, the word hope stands for both:

the act of hoping, and (Rom 4:18; 1 Cor 9:10)
the thing hoped for (Col 1:5; 1 Peter 1:3)

Hope does not arise from the individual's desires or wishes but from God, who is Himself the believer's hope: "My hope is in You" (Ps 39:7). Genuine hope is not wishful thinking, but a firm assurance about things that are unseen and still in the future (Rom 8:24-25; Heb 11:1,7).

Hope distinguishes the Christian from the unbeliever, who has no hope  (Eph 2:12; 1 Thess 4:13). 
Indeed, a Christian is one in whom hope resides (1 Peter 3:15; 1 John 3:3). 
In contrast to Old Testament hope, the Christian hope is superior (Heb 7:19).

Christian hope comes from:
(Rom 15:13) God
(Eph 1:18; 4:4) His calling
(2 Thess 2:16) His grace
(Rom 15:4) His Word
(Col 1:23) His gospel
 Hope is directed toward:
(Acts 24:15;1 Peter 1:21) God
(1 Thess 1:3; 1 Tim 1:1) Christ
Hope's appropriate objects are:
(Titus 1:2; 3:7) Eternal Life 
(1 Thess 5:8) Salvation
(Gal 5:5) Righteousness
(Rom 5:2; Col 1:27) The Glory of God
(Titus 2:13) The Appearing of Christ
(Acts 23:6; 26:6-7) The Resurrection from the dead
(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright (c)1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
High Priest Forever  (6:19 - 20)

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The promise fulfilled in the exaltation of the Son of man

Heb 6:19-20
(19)  Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;
(20)  Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

The promise has been fulfilled for humanity in the Son of man. Hope therefore can now enter into the very Presence of God where ‘Jesus’ is a High-priest for ever.

"This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil,"  

Greek Text according to G.R. Berry
(16) Men indeed for by the greater swear, and of all to them gainsaying an end for confirmation [is] the oath. (17) Wherein more abundantly desiring God to shew to the heirs of promise the unchangeableness of his counsel, interposed by an oath, (18) that by two things unchangeable, in which [it was] impossible to lie [for] God, strong encouragement we might have who fled for refuge to say hold on the set before [us] hope, (19) which as an anchor we have of the soul both certain and firm, and entering into that within the veil; (20) where[as] forerunner for us entered Jesus, according to the order of Melchisedec a high priest having become forever.

An anchor of the soul  -  angkuran tees psuchees

Which as an anchor we have…. The hope created and sustained by the promise keeps the soul secure in all storms (I Tim. 1:19).  The Anchor,  which is not mentioned in the Old Testament,  is the familiar symbol of hope.
Clement of Alexandria mentions it as a device on Christian rings (ref. Paed. Iii. & 59). 

Sure and steadfast  -  asfalee te kai bebaian
The distinction between the two adjectives expresses the relation of the same object to different tests applied from without.

Asfalee   "not,"  [sfallein],  "to make totter,"  and so  "to baffle"  or  "to foil." 
Hence, secure against all attempts to break the hold.
Bebaian   "sustaining one's steps in going"  [bainein , "to go")]: 
not breaking down under what steps upon it.

Both certain and firm, and entering…..]  These words may refer,  as far as the structure of the sentence is concerned,  either to ‘hope,’  the main subject, or to the ‘anchor,’ with which it is compared.
Patristic interpreters, following Chrysostom, connect them with the anchor, and endeavor to lessen the harshness of the last predicate  (entering into that within the veil)  by drawing an ingenious contrast between the earthly anchor which sinks to the depths of the sea, and the spiritual anchor which rises to the heights of heaven.

But no explanation of the kind can remove the strangeness of the image or adapt the tense of entering directly to the action of the anchor.  It seems certain then that this clause at least must refer to ‘hope.’

The stability of hope is twofold:

A. It is undisturbed by outward influences (both certain).
B. And it is (firm ) in its inherent character.

The participle  entering  presents hope as ever entering afresh into the Divine Presence encouraged by past experience.

Which entereth into that within the veil  -  eiserchomeneen eis to esooteron tou katapetasmatos
Construe the participle eiserchomeneen), "entering" with "anchor." 
- Comparative, of something farther within. 
So esooteran fulakeen , "the
INNER prison," Acts 16:24. 
, "veil,"  commonly in the New Testament of the veil of the temple or tabernacle. See Matt 27:51; Heb 9:3. "That within the veil" is the unseen, eternal reality of the heavenly world.

Two other arrangements are proposed:
(a) asfalee, bebaian, eiserchomeneen with elpida - understood:  
"hope, sure, steadfast, entering,"
(b) asfalee and bebaian  with angkuran, and eiserchomeneen with elpida 
"a hope which enters,"  "(and which is) an anchor sure and steadfast.")
Two figures are combined:
(a)  The world a sea;  the soul a ship;
the hidden bottom of the deep the hidden reality of the heavenly world.
(b) The present life the forecourt of the temple; the future blessedness the shrine within the veil.
The soul, as a tempest-tossed ship, is held by the anchor:
the soul in the outer court of the temple is fastened by faith to the blessed reality within the shrine.
(from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Into that within the veil
Hope enters to the innermost Sanctuary, the true Holy of Holies, that Presence of God, where Christ is (compare Heb. 7:19). 

The veil was the inner veil separating the Holy Place from the Most Holy place (Matthew 27:51; Heb. 10:20) as distinguished from the outer veil.
The distinction of the two is not strictly preserved in the
LXX;  (see also Heb. 9:3)  after but the second veil. Compare Exodus 26:31-34.

The Veil - The screen separating the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple.  It was this piece of tapestry that was rent by the earthquake at Christ's crucifixion  (Matt. 27:51).

Ex 26:31
And thou shalt make a veil of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen of cunning work: with cherubim shall it be made.

To divide the dwelling into two rooms, a curtain was to be made, of the same material, and woven in the same artistic manner as the inner covering of the walls (v. 1). This was called paaroket, lit., division, separation, from paarak  to divide, or maacaak paaroket (Ex 35:12; 39:34; 40:21) division of the covering, i.e., to hang this "upon four pillars of gilded acacia-wood and their golden hooks, (standing) upon four silver sockets," under the loops (qraaciym) which held the two halves of the inner covering together (v. 6). Thus the curtain divided the dwelling into two compartments, the one occupying ten cubits and the other twenty of its entire length.
(from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Hope, like the anchor, is fixed on the unseen.


Whither the forerunner is for us entered  -  hopou prodromos huper heemoon eiseelthen 

Hopou,  strictly "where,"  instead of [hopoi],  "whither",  but more significant as indicating an abiding there.

Prodromos,  "forerunner,"  expresses an entirely new idea, lying completely outside of the Levitical system

The Levitical high priest did not enter the sanctuary as a forerunner,
but only as the people's representative.
He entered a place into which none might follow him; 
in the people's stead,  and not as their pioneer. 
Christ, however, as high priest goes nowhere where his people cannot follow him.
He introduces man into full fellowship with God.

Render it: "whither as a forerunner Jesus entered."  Compare Heb 10:19.

Made a high priest  -  archiereus genomenos
Render it: "having become a high priest,"  

"Become,"   because his office must be inaugurated by his suffering human life and his death.
(from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Hope enters where 'Jesus'  –  the Son of man – has entered as the forerunner of redeemed humanity, on our behalf (for us),  to make atonement and intercession for us, and, yet more, to prepare an entrance and a place for us also. Compare John 14:1-4.

John 14:1-4
(1)"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. (2) In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. (3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (4) You know the way to the place where I am going."    NIV

Thus to the fulfillment of the type of the High-priest’s work another work is added. The High-priest entered the Holy of Holies on behalf of the people, but they never followed him.  Christ enters heaven as forerunner of believers.  Compare Heb. 10:19.

The word  forerunner  was used especially of the men or troops which were sent to explore before the advance of an army.  In Numbers 13:21 (22)  it is used,  in a different connection,  of the earliest fruits.

The use of the word  entered  fixes attention on the fact of Christ’s entrance into the Holiest – the transition from the seen to the unseen – and not on His continuance as our High-priest within the Veil (Heb. 9:28).

Jesus…..a high priest having become…

The human name of the Lord,  placed emphatically at the end of the sentence,  is here used in regard to His High-priesthood, in order to connect it definitely with the fulfillment of His work on earth, whereupon He became a High-priest for ever.

The order of words in the last clause,  according to the order of Melchisedec a high priest having become,  is emphatic. Stress is laid upon the fact that Christ is High-priest after a new and higher order. He does therefore all that the High-priest did and more.  Compare Heb. 7:11,15;  and contrast Heb. 5:10 (5:6; 7:17).

From this passage it is clear that the eternal High-priesthood of the Lord  ‘after the order of Melchizedek,’   King and Priest,  followed on His exaltation to the throne of God in His glorified humanity (compare 5:9; 7:28). At the same time this view does not exclude the recognition of the Lord’s Death as a priestly act whereby He once for all offered Himself (Heb. 7:27).

Before we proceed to Chapter Seven of Hebrews,  we will take a look at the study in Genesis,  chapter three, on Melchizedek, King of Salem. 
Paul the Learner.

Genesis 14:17-24

Melchizedek (“king of righteousness”),  king of Salem (Jerusalem), and priest of Jehovah.
Gen. 14:18; Ps. 110:4. (Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon  by Gesenius)

In the light of recent excavations, every reasonable doubt as to the authenticity of the account of Melchizedek is removed.  Among the Tell-el-Amarna Tablets are letters to the Egyptian government, written in the fifteenth pre-Christian century by the vassal king of Jerusalem, or ‘Urusalim’.  Like Melchizedek, he was a priest-king.

Tell-el-Amarna Tablets
The last Pharaoh of the powerful and mighty 18th Dynasty was  Amenophis IV  or  Ikhnaten,  the so-called "Heretic King,"  who undertook to replace the Egyptian religion by a monotheism  (worship of one God)  in which the sun was to be worshipped as the sole god.  He moved his capital from Thebes to the modern Tell-el-Amarna in Middle Egypt.   His reformation was a failure.  His own and his father’s diplomatic correspondence,  were found 3,200 years later in 1887 at Tell-el-Amarna.

In Genesis 14:17-24,  we have one of the most intriguing stories in the Bible, that of Abram’s encounter with Melchizedek, king of Salem, and “the priest of the most high God.”

Melchizedek is referred to nine hundred years later by King David (Psalm 110:4)
And one thousand years later than that by the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews (Heb. 5:6,10; 6:20; 7:1-21), where he is mentioned by name no less than nine times!

There is no question that Melchizedek must at the very least be a marvelous type of Jesus Christ.  The passage in Hebrews draws many analogies between the two to this effect. But that fact in itself hardly explains the remarkable things revealed about him (Melchizedek).

Certain questions suggest themselves

1. How was it that a man like Melchizedek could become king of a city in a land settled by idolatrous descendants of Canaan?
If Salem, his city, is actually the same as Jerusalem, as most scholars are convinced, then both the Bible and archaeology indicate it to have been inhabited at this time by the Jebusites, one of the Canaanite tribes from whom it was eventually taken by David  (II Samuel 5:7).  There is no reason to suppose the Jebusites were different in their paganism from the other Canaanites;  so it hardly seems likely that Melchizedek could have been a Jebusite, but how otherwise could he become king of Jerusalem?
2. How could Melchizedek come to be recognized as the priest of the one true God?
Furthermore, how did he come to be recognized as God’s priest, especially by Abram?  Abram had been called to go to Canaan to establish a new nation that would be true to God. Abram recognized Melchizedek as his spiritual superior,  giving a tithe to him; so why was not Melchizedek himself chosen to establish such a nation?   The priesthood which he represented was later acclaimed as superior to the Aaronic priesthood established in Abram.  Melchizedek also recognized himself as superior to Abram, because he gave him his blessing,  though he recognized also that God had already blessed Abram in victory.

The problems are compounded when we find the Holy Spirit, almost a millennium later, through King David, speaking of  “my Lord”  (Hebrew:  adonai)  as  “a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek” (Psalms 110:1,4).

Melchizedek was not alone as a non-Levitical priest;
there was an “order” of Melchizedek,
and this order was an eternal order!
It has been proposed by some:
There is an ancient Hebrew tradition, which of course would not have been effected by the passage in the Book of Hebrews, the Melchizedek was actually the patriarch Shem, still alive during Abram’s day. Assuming there are no gaps in the genealogies found in Genesis 11, Shem would have lived until thirty-five years after Abraham’s death, so that this would be possible. 

The name Melchizedek would, in this case, be regarded as a title rather than as an actual name. It does not seem unreasonable to imagine that, after the Dispersion at Babel, Shem might have moved, under divine guidance, to the place where God would one day establish His Temple.

As the custodian of the patriarchal records, he could then have transmitted the records to Isaac after Abraham’s death. This would also help explain why there was no document entitled “the generations of Abraham.” Terah, according to Genesis 11:32, continued to live in Haran for sixty years after Abram had left for Canaan, and therefore also was still alive at this time. Isaac was thirty-five years old when Terah died and forty-five when Shem died, again assuming no gaps in the genealogies.

One could then interpret the eternal priesthood as referring to the order of Melchizedek, rather than to Melchizedek himself. This is, the line of the promised Seed, from Adam through Shem to Judah and finally to Jesus Christ, would represent the priestly order of those who, in their generations, were God’s representatives manward and man’s intercessors Godward. The first “priest” in this order, Adam, had neither father nor mother, nor was he born. The last, Jesus Christ Himself, had no descendants, nor does He have an end of life.

“And Malka Zadika, who was Shem bar Noah, (Shem son of Noah), the king of Yerushalem, came forth to meet Abram, and brought forth to him bread and wine; and in that time he ministered before Eloha Ilaha (“God the Most High,”) [Jerusalem. And Malki Zedek, king of Yerushalem, who was Shem, who was the great priest of the Most High.] And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the Lord God Most High, who for the righteous possesseth the heavens and the earth. And blessed he Eloha Ilaha, who hath made thine enemies as a shield which receiveth a blow. And he gave to him one of ten, of all which he brought back.” Genesis 14   Targum of Palestine

Note:  The Targum of Onkelos does not say that Shem the son of Noah was Melchizedek. The Targum of Palestine is like a paraphrase, handed down verbally from generation to generation,  which is open to some doubt.         Paul the learner
The most Scriptural possibility is that 
Melchizedek was not only a type of Jesus Christ,  but actually a "Theophanies" - the Word (or Memra) appearing in visible form.

The commentary in Hebrews adds the information that Melchizedek was  “without father, without mother, without descent  [‘genealogy’],  having neither beginning of day, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God;  abideth a priest continually”  (Hebrews 7:3).   The same writer strongly stresses the superiority of Melchizedek to Abram, as well as to the Levitical priests who descended from Abram.  He also notes again the fact that it was witnessed of Melchizedek (that is, in Psalm 110:4)  that he did not die.

Genesis 15:1

One of the grandest concepts of human thought is that of the Word.  Man is distinguished from the animals primarily by his ability to formulate and communicate ideas. His capacity for intelligible, abstract, symbolic language, both written and spoken, is unique in the world of living creatures.

The source of such a remarkable ability can only be divine creation. As a matter of fact, the very purpose of language is that God might communicate His will to man and man might respond in praise to God.  Since man was created for fellowship with God,  and since fellowship requires communication,  it is essential that the Creator somehow speak with man.

God’s Word to man,  therefore,  is of unique importance; there is nothing else comparable in all God’s creation. “Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name”  (Psalm 138:2).

The concept of the Word of God includes:

the written Word,
Holy Scripture
the living Word, 
Theophany (manifestation of God in a human form)
Memra – Aramaic = Word
Logos – Greek  =Word

After the Word was made flesh (John 1:14),  in the person of Jesus Christ,  and after He died and rose again,  He proclaimed:  “ I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending” (Revelation 1:8).  He is the sum of all that can be communicated.  Alpha and Omega are, of course,  the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet,  the language chosen by God in which to communicate His new covenant with man.  This proclamation seals the oneness of the written and living Words.

After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying,  Fear not,  Abram.   I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward”  (Genesis 15:1).

Not only does this remarkable verse contain the first mention of  “word,”  but it also introduces for the first time in Scripture the words 
shield,”  and

Even more significantly,  this is the first of the great  “I am’s”  of Scripture.

Many of the great claims of Jesus Christ began with the words “I am.”

1. “I am the light of the world”
John 8:12
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."  
2. “I am the way, the truth, and the life”
John 14:6
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.   
3. “I am the door”
John 10:9
I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 
4. “I am the bread of Heaven”
John 6:51
I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. 
5. “I am the resurrection and the life”
John 11:25
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.  
6. “I am the Alpha and Omega”
Revelation 1:8
"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.  
7. “I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star”
Revelation 22:16
I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star."  

In fact, His very name is  “I am that I am”  (Exodus 3:14).

“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.”

First: Luke 22:17-20 Bread & Wine
Second: Genesis 14:18 Bread & Wine

The day of Christ is:

His sacrifice of His body (the bread)
His sacrifice of His blood (the wine)

This replaces the need for animal sacrifices any more. (Hebrews 9:12-26).

Melchizedek  (7:1 - 2)

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The Characteristics Of Christ As Absolute High-Priest
Shadowed Forth By Melchizedek

The last words of the sixth chapter offered a  twofold thought,  which the writer of the Epistle now works out in detail,  going back,  after the solemn digression of Hebrews 6.,  to the subject announced in Hebrew 5:10: "...and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek."  

The priestly office of Christ is after the order of Melchizedek  and
After this order He is High-priest for ever

The main object of the section is to show that there were in the Old Testament from the first indications of a higher order of Divine Service than that which was established by the Mosaic Law; and that these found a perfect realization in Christ, a Son, perfected for evermore.

The office of Christ after the order of Melchizedek (Heb. 7:1-25) 

In these verses no mention is made of the High-priesthood. The writer deals with the general conception of priesthood as exhibited in the Scriptures. He: 
(a) the characteristics of Melchizedek (Heb. 7:1-3)
(b) determines the relation of Melchizedek to the Levitical priesthood (Heb. 7:4-10)
(c) compares the Levitical priesthood with that of Christ (Heb. 7:11-25)

The Apostle (a) notices the positive facts related of Melchizedek;

the description of his person;
of his meeting with Abraham;
of Abraham’s offering           (Heb. 7:1,2a)

And then indicates the significance of his character: 

from the interpretation of his titles:
King of Righteousness,
King of Peace, 
and from the features in his portraiture which can be deduced from the silence of Scripture (Heb. 7:2b,3).
Heb 7:1-2a
(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;
(2a)  To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; 

Greek Text according to G.R. Berry
(1)For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of God the most high, who met Abraham returning from the smiting of the kings, and having blessed him; (2) to whom also a tenth of all divided Abraham; first being interpreted king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace; (3) without father, without mother, without genealogy; neither beginning of days nor of life end having, but assimilated to the Son of God, abides a priest in perpetuity.

The historical facts as to Melchizedek


For this
The particle is explanatory and not strictly argumentative.  The writer purposes to lay open how much is included in the phrase according to the order of Melchisedec (Heb. 6:20),  to which he has again returned.

The connection is obvious if the sentence is at once completed:  Christ is spoken of as High-priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek,  for Melchizedek offers a figure of such an abiding office,  inasmuch as he abides a priest without successor

The significance of Melchizedek from Hebrews 7:1

The appearance of Melchizedek in the narrative of the Pentateuch (five books of Moses) is of deep interest, both:

(1) From the position which he occupies in the course of Revelation
Melchizedek appears at a crisis in the religious history of the world as the representative of primitive revelation,  or of the primitive relation of God and man still preserved pure in some isolated tribe.  If,  as some suppose,  he was an Amorite,  the fact that he had preserved a true faith becomes more impressive.   On this point however Scripture is wholly silent.  The lessons of his appearance lie in the appearance itself.

Abraham marks a new departure,  the beginning of a new discipline,  in the divine history of mankind starting from a personal call. The normal development of the divine life has been interrupted.  But before the fresh order is established we have a vision of the old in its superior majesty;  and this,  on the eve of disappearance,  giving its blessing to the new. 

So the past and the future meet:

The one bearing witness to an original communion of God and men which had been practically lost,
The other pointing forward to a future fellowship to be established (the Church) permanently.

At the same time the names of God of the former revelation and of the God of the later revelation are set side by side and identified. (Genesis 14:22; compare Deuteronomy 32:8).

Gen 14:22
And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth.  

Deut 32:8
When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.  

(2) From the manner in which the record of his appearance is treated in the Epistle of the Hebrews.
The writer of the Epistle of Hebrews interprets the Scriptural picture of Melchizedek,  and does not attempt to realize the historical person of  Melchizedek.  He starts from the phrase in the Psalm (110)  after the order of Melchizedek,  and determines the ideas which such a description was fitted to convey from a study,  not of the life of the king-priest,  which was unknown,  but of the single record of him which had been preserved.

By the choice of the phrase the Psalmist had already broadly distinguished the priesthood of the divine king from the Levitical priesthood.  It remained to work out the distinction. Therefore the writer of the Epistle insists upon the silence of Scripture.  He draws lessons from the fact that in the narrative of the Old Testament no mention is made of the parentage or genealogy of Melchizedek or of the commencement or close of his priestly office.  He seeks to set vividly before his readers the impression conveyed by the remarkable phenomena of his unique appearance in patriarchal life,  and the thoughts which they might suggest.

At the same time this mode of treatment leaves the actual human personality and history of Melchizedek quite untouched. The writer does not imply that that was true of him literally as a living man which is suggested in the ideal interpretation of his single appearance in the Bible.   He does not answer the question:  Who and what was Melchizedek?  
But:  What is the characteristic conception which can be gained from Scripture of the Priesthood of Melchizedek?

The treatment of the history of Melchizedek is typical and not allegorical. The Epistle in fact contains no allegorical interpretation.  The difference between the two modes is clear and decisive.

Between the type and the antitype there is a historical,  a real, correspondence in the main idea of each event or institution. 
Between the allegory and the application the correspondence lies in special points arbitrarily taken to represent facts or thoughts of a different kind
An Example:
A history, for example, is taken to illustrate the relation of abstract ideas (compare Galatians 4).  The understanding of the type lies in the application of a rule of proportion. The law by which it is regulated lies in the record,  which is taken to represent the life.  The understanding of the allegory depends on the fancy of the composer.  He determines which of many possible applications shall be given to the subject with which he deals.
type  presupposes a purpose in history wrought out from age to age.
An  allegory  rests finally in the imagination,  though the thoughts which it expresses may be justified by the harmonies which connect the many elements of life.

This consideration tends further to explain why the writer of the Epistle takes the Biblical record of Melchizedek,  that is Melchizedek so far as he enters into the divine history,  and not Melchizedek himself,  as a type of Christ.  The history of the Bible is the record of the divine life of humanity,  of humanity as it was disciplined for the Christ.

One omission in the Epistle cannot but strike the student of Scripture.  The writer takes no notice of the gifts of Melchizedek,  who   ‘brought forth bread and wine’ (Genesis 14:18)  when he came to meet Abraham. This is the more remarkable as the incident is dwelt upon in the Midrash (a Jewish work).  The  ‘bread and wine’ are regarded there as symbols of the shewbread and the drink-offering,  or of the Torah itself  (ref. Beresh. R. xliii. 18 [Proverbs 9:5]; Wunsche page 199).  And stress was naturally laid upon this detail in later times.

The Fathers (early Church Fathers)  from Clement of Alexandria and Cyprian downwards not infrequently regard the bread and wine as the materials of a sacrifice offered by Melchizedek;  and Jerome distinctly states that they were offered for Abraham (ref. Ad Matthew 22:41; compare Matthew 26:26).

Matt 22:41
While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42"What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?

Matt. 26:26
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body."  

As a further reference to Melchisedec,  Josephus offers in his  Antiquities of the Jews  Chapter 10. 2 Page 33,34.

‘So Abram, when he had saved the captive Sodomites who had been taken by the Assyrians, and Lot also, his kinsman, returned home in peace. Now the king of Sodom met him at a certain place, which they called The King’s Dale, where Melchisedec, king of the city Salem, received him. That name signifies the righteous king; and such he was without dispute, insomuch that, on this account, he was made the priest of God; however, they afterward called Salem Jerusalem. Now this Melchisedec supplied Abram’s army in an hospitable manner, and gave them provisions in abundance; and as they were feasting, he began to praise him, and to bless God for subduing his enemies under him. And when Abram gave him the tenth part of his prey, he accepted of the gift:’

All this makes the silence of the Apostle the more significant.  He presents,  and we cannot but believe that he purposely presents,  Melchizedek as priest, not in sacrificing but in blessing,  that is,  in communicating the fruits of an efficacious sacrifice already made.  He only can bless who is in fellowship with God and speaks as His representative.  And it is under this aspect that the writer of the Epistle brings before us characteristically the present work of Christ.

A similar lesson lies in the positive fact which stands out most significantly in the words of the Epistle.  Melchizedek is at once priest and king.  The combination of offices which meets us in the simplest forms of society is seem to be realized also when humanity has attained its end.  Philo (Greek Historian) in an interesting passage points out the difficulty of combining the priesthood and kingly power (ref. De carit. &I; ii. Page 384 M.),  and yet such a combination must exist in the ideal state:

1. He who unites with the Unseen must direct action.
2. He who commands the use of every endowment and faculty must be able to consecrate them.
3. He who represents man to God with the efficacy of perfect sympathy must also represent God 
to man with the authority of absolute power.

The writer of the Epistle, as we have seen,  regards Melchizedek as a living type of a living and eternal King-priest. The old history,  true in its literal reality,  was,  according to him,  perfectly,  ideally fulfilled in the facts of Christian history.  Philo also deals with Melchizedek,  but with characteristic differences.  For Philo the history is a philosophic allegory and not a typical foreshadowing of a true human life.  Melchizedek represents the power of rational persuasion which offers to the soul food of gladness and joy,  and so in some sense answers to the priestly Logos  - priestly Word  – Jesus Christ   (John 1:14). 

Thus he recognizes his position as a  ‘natural’  priest,  but his priesthood is a symbol of the action of  ‘right reason,’ which brings to man righteousness and joy through thoughts of absolute truth.

Clement of Alexandria  dwells on the combination of righteousness and peace in Melchizedek and Christ,  and sees in the offering of bread and wine a figure of the Eucharist  (Communion – see last supper Matthew 26).

Jerome  gives in one of his letters a summary of early opinions as to the person of Melchizedek in answer to a correspondent who had sent him an essay written with a view to show that Melchizedek was a manifestation of the Holy Spirit (ref. Ep. Lxxiii. Ad Evangelum; comp. Vallarsius ad loc.):

Origen and Didymus, he says, regarded him as an Angel  (compare Nagel stud. U. Krit. 1849, ss. 332ff.) Hippolytus,  Irenaeus,  Eusebius of Caesares,  Eusebius of Emesa,  Apollinaris,  and Eutathius of Antioch,  as a man,  a Canaanite prince,  who exercised priestly functions, like ‘Abel, Enoch, Noah, Job.’
The Jews, he adds (and so Primasius: ‘tradunt Hebraei’), identified him with Shem, an opinion which finds expression in the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem: Melchizedek king of Jerusalem, he is Shem the son of Noah [Jerus. The High-priest of the Most High].

King of Salem

This is properly an adjective:  soundat peace,  but is used here as a subst.,  peace.   The locality of the place does not in any way enter into the writer’s argument.  The Jewish tradition of the Apostolic age appears to have identified it with Jerusalem (see Josephus Antt. 1 section 10 paragraph 2 - also compare Targum of Onkelos compare Psalms 76:2).

Ps 76:2
In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion. 

Of God the most high

Genesis 14:18,  identified with Jehovah in v. 22.

The epithet does not mark a relation to inferior deities,
but the absolute elevation of the Lord.  It occurs again in
Numbers 24:16 
Deuteronomy 32:8
and in the Psalms. 
(Song of Moses); 
It is found also in Phoenician inscriptions,
and (with the corresponding fem.)  in the Paenulus of Plautus (v. 1,1 Alonim valunoth). 
The title occurs elsewhere in the New Testament - Mark 5:7 (Luke 8:28);  Acts 16:17.   Compare Luke 1:32,35; Acts 7:48.

It is to be remarked that there are elsewhere traces of a primitive  (monotheistic – one god)  worship of  El  in Phoenicia side by side with that of Baal,  the center of Phoenician polytheism.

Who met…..returning…..who met…..as he was returning.

The time was that of the fullness of Abraham’s disinterested victory.  Probably the president participle is chosen to mark this thought. 

In Genesis 14:17 it is said  ‘The king of Sodom went out to meet him….and Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought forth bread and wine….’ 

Having blessed

By the act of blessing,  Melchizedek at once assumed the position of a superior.  And Abraham on his part freely acknowledged Melchizedek’s implied claim to superiority,  and divided to him a tithe from all the spoil which he had taken.  (v. 4).

The idea of  ‘blessing’  in its simplest form of goodwill towards another by one who occupies in this respect a position of superiority towards him,  is a natural recognition of the spiritual influence of man upon man.  In Scripture it assumes a characteristic form which throws light upon the Biblical teaching as to man’s relation to God.

The two word words which are used in the Old and New Testaments for blessing appear to convey two fundamental thoughts which are included in the act.

The first From a root which describes ‘kneeling,’ ‘prostration,’ seems to express the feeling of reverent adoration which arises from the recognition of a spiritual presence by him who blesses
The second Marks the utterance of the good which is supposed to be prophetically seen or ideally anticipated and realized
Points to Christ  (7:2 - 3)

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Heb 7:2b-3
(2b)  ...first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;
(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.

Greek Text according to G.R. Berry
(2b) ... first being interpreted king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace; (3) without father, without mother, without genealogy; neither beginning of days nor of life end having, but assimilated to the Son of God, abides a priest in perpetuity.

The historical details as to Melchizedek having been given,  the writer of the Epistle goes on to interpret the Scriptural narrative so far as it affects the view of Melchizedek’s character and person absolutely.   He points out its bearing on his position in relation to Abraham and the Levitical priests in the next section.

Melchizedek’s typical charter is shown to be indicated:

positively by what is said of him,
and negatively by what is not said.

Thus three distinct features are noted in which Melchizedek points to Christ:

(1) His name and title: 
King of Righteousness and 
King of Peace.
(2) His isolation from all priestly descent, as holding his priesthood himself alone.
(3) The absence of all record of his birth and death.

In other words the record of Melchizedek points to Christ

In office,
In character, 
In person (nature).

The clauses are not simply in apposition with the subject but are predicative:  ‘Melchizedekas being, first by interpretation….as being presented to us…….remaineth.’


First being interpreted…and then…

Being first by the interpretation of his name "king of Righteousness,"
and then also (by his dominion) King of Salem, 
which is literally " King of Peace. " 
His personal name and the name of his city are taken to correspond with the actual traits of his character.

Of righteousness….of peace

The order in which the words occur is significant. 

Righteousness must come first. 
Compare Romans 5:1; 14:17; Ps. 72:3; 85:10; Isa. 32:17; James 3:18; compare Heb. 12:11. 
Both are characteristic of the Messianic times
(Isa. 9:1-7)
The one aspect is given in  Ps. xlv. 4; Jer. 23:6; 33:15; Dan. 9:24; Mal. 4:2; 
The other in  I Chron. 22:8; Mic. 5:5.

Theodoret (and others) notice how both graces perfectly meet in Christ for the blessing of humanity.

The genitive in each case expresses the characteristic of the sovereign: 

he is a  ‘righteousness-king,’ 
a ‘peace-king,’

one in whom and through whom righteousness and peace are realized. Compare Jer. 33:15; Isa. 9:6.

And then…

The personal character of the priest-king leads to the notice  (and then also)  of the kingdom which he administered:  being righteous in himself  he kept peace under his sway.


The delineation of Melchizedek is expressive also negatively.  The silence of Scripture,  the characteristic form,  that is,  in which the narrative is presented,  is treated as having a prophetic force.

Melchizedek stands unique and isolated both in his person and in his history. 
He is not connected with any known line:  his life has no recorded beginning or close.

The Peshitta renders these words by a paraphrase:  ‘whose father and mother are not written in genealogies.’

In the case of the Jewish priests 

( Numbers 16,17.)  a Levitical  (Aaronic) descent was required on the father’s side
(Compare Ezra 2:62) an Israelitish, on the mother’s side

Ezra 2:62
These searched for their family records, but they could not find them and so were excluded from the priesthood as unclean

Levitical Priesthood  (7:4 - 10)

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Having discussed the historical notice of  Melchizedek in itself,  the writer goes on to consider his priesthood in relation to that of the Law.  In doing this he first notices:

(7:4) The general position of Melchizedek
Then gives in detail his points of superiority
(7:5-7) In respect of Abraham, whom he both 
(7:5,6a) tithed, and
(7:6b,7) blessed.
(7:8) In respect of the Levitical priests, who exercised their functions as dying men,
(7:9,10) In respect of Levi their head,  implicitly paid tithes to Melchizedek .
Heb 7:4-10
(4)   Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.
(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:
(6)   But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.
(7)   And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.
(8)   And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.
(9)   And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, paid tithes in Abraham.
(10) For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.

Greek Text according to G.R. Berry
(4) Now consider how great this [one was], to whom even a tenth Abraham gave out of the spoils the patriarch. (5) And they indeed from among the sons of Levi, the priesthood [who] receive, commandment have to take tithes from the people according to the law, that is [from] their brethren though having come out of the loins of Abraham; (6) but he [who] reckons no genealogy from them has tithed Abraham, and him who had the promises, has blessed. (7) But apart from all gainsaying the inferior by the superior is blessed. (8) And here tithes [that] die men receive; but there [one] witnessed of that he lives; (9) and, so to speak, through Abraham, also Levi, who tithes receives, has been tithed. (10) For yet in the loins of [his] father he was when met him Melchisedec.


The general superiority of Melchizedek over Abraham, the great father of Israel,  is stated summarily.  The artificial order of the words emphasizes the idea which they convey,  the last phrases taking up in a more striking form what has been said before:  a tenth Abrahamout of the spoils the patriarch.

It is assumed throughout that the receiver of tithe is greater than the giver of tithe: in the case of the less familiar blessing this superiority is affirmed (7:7).

Now consider
The structure of the whole passage shows that the verb is an imperative and not an indicative . The word itself expresses the regard of attentive contemplation.  The particle  Now  marks a fresh beginning.  The general picture claims detailed study. Compare Heb. 8:1; 9:1.

A tenth…gave out
The offering appears as the spontaneous recognition of the dignity of Melchizedek.

Of the spoils
Syriac Peshitta has:  the tithes and firstfruits

The tithe was of the whole (of all 7:2), and it was taken from the choicest of the spoil. 
The spoils were especially the part of the spoil which was offered as a thank-offering to the gods: Reference Herod. 8. Page 121.

How great
The word is used properly of magnitude in dimension: Gal. 6:11; Zech. 2:6  
Consider how great was this priest-king, to whom…’  The  this  looks back to 7:1-4;  and the greatness of Melchizedek is not first inferred from Abraham’s gift.

The patriarch.
Abraham the patriarch.  The title of honor stands emphatically at the end of the sentence.

It is used again in Acts 2:29 (of David) 
and Acts 7:8 (of the sons of Jacob) 
and several times in the Books of Chronicles of  ‘the chiefs of the fathers’ (I Chron. 9:9 compare 24:31)
and ‘captains’ (2 Chron. 23:20)  in the

The first thought is of Abraham as the father of Israel;  but beyond this he is the father of the whole family of faith (Romans 4:11).

Rom 4:11
And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them.   

7:5, 6a   This is the first of the special marks of superiority by which the priesthood of Melchizedek was distinguished.

The Levitical priests tithed their brethren: 
Melchizedek, a priest of another race, tithed Abraham their common father. 

His priesthood was absolute and not a priority in the same family.


And they indeed from among the sons of Levi….receive
‘And to come to particulars (7:8,9),  while the descendants of Levi on receiving (or, as receiving) the priesthood.’ The phrase is capable of several interpretations:

1. The whole may form a compound subject,   ‘they from among the sons of Levi, as (on) receiving the priest’s office.’
2. And again, the preposition    from among  may be derivative  (‘those who traced their descent from’).
3. Or partitive   (‘those from among’). 

The parallel clause  they indeed from among the brethren  appears to be decisive in favor of the ‘derivative’ (#2) sense of  from among  and to favor the predicative interpretations of  priesthood receive.
‘And while those (the priests) sprung from the sons of Levi, on receiving the priest’s office, have commandment to take tithes from the people according to the Law, that is from their brethren, though they have come out of the loins of Abraham,’  (Westcott)

At the same time the description of the priests as descended  ‘from the sons of Levi’  and not ‘from Levi’ or ‘from Aaron’ is remarkable.  By the use of this phrase the writer probably wishes to carry back the though of the Mosaic priesthood to its fundamental idea.

Levi and his descendants represented the dedication of Israel to God with all the consequent duties and privileges which were afterwards concentrated in priests and High-priest.
Thus the phrase will mean:  ‘those who tracing their descent from a dedicated tribe witnessed to the original destiny of the nation of Israel.’

The same thought appears to underlie the titles characteristic of Deuteronomy

‘the priest, the Levites’ (Deut. 17:9,18; 18:1; 24:8; 27:9),
‘the priests, the sons of Levi’ (Deut. 21:5; 31:9). 

Compare Joshua 3:3; 8:33.

The priesthood receive
This phrase brings out the thought that the office was specifically committed to them.  It was of appointment and not by nature. (ref. Ecclus. Xlv. 7).

In relation to priesthood (compare Heb. 7:11 noun, 12,24)  it expresses the actual service of the priest and not the office of priesthood.  The titles were given to the ‘children of Levi’

for their service Numbers 18:21. Luke 1:8 ‘to perform the priest’s office’
a priesthood I Peter 2:5,9 ‘a body of ministering priests’

Commandment have
In this case the claim to the tithe rested on a specific ordinance (according to the Law ).
Abraham spontaneously recognized Melchizedek’s claim.

To take tithes from the people
The Levites tithed the people (ref. Numbers 18:21)
and paid a tithe of this tithe to the priests (Numbers 18:26).

Num 18:21
"I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the Tent of Meeting." 

Num 18:26
"Speak to the Levites and say to them:   'When you receive from the Israelites the tithe I give you as your inheritance,  you must present a tenth of that tithe as the LORD's offering.   

The priests can thus be said to tithe the people as claiming the tithe of the whole offering (compare Tob. 1.7 ff. Of Talmud). They represented the right in its highest form, just as they represented in its highest form the conception of a body consecrated to the divine service.

The word  to take tithes from  which seems to be confined to Biblical and ecclesiastical writers,  is used both of:

1. The person claiming the tithe from another. I Samuel 8:15,17; Neh. 10:37
2. And of the person paying the tithe.  Gen. 28:22; Deut. 14:21;26: 12; Matt. 23; Luke 11:42

According to the law
The right which the Levitical priests exercised was in virtue of a special injunction. They had no claim beyond that which the Law gave them.

Their brethren though having come
The priesthood gave a real preeminence,  but still it did not alter the essential relationship of all Abraham’s descendants.  Nor did its claims extend beyond them.  We might have expected naturally that the right of tithing (like the privilege of blessing)  would have been exercised only by one superior by birth.

Here however the office itself established a difference among brethren.  Thus the two clauses taken together

indicate the dignity of the Levitical priesthood, 
and at the same time the narrow limits within which the exercise of its power was confined. 

 This priesthood rested upon a definite and limited institution.


But he reckons no genealogy from them
He whose genealogy is not counted from them,  i.e. the sons of Levi (7:5).
The claim of Melchizedek to the priesthood rested on no descent but on his inherent personal title.

And…..has blessed
Melchizedek received tithes: he gave a blessing.
This exercise of the privilege of a superior is a second mark of preeminence; and he exercised it towards one who as  having the promises  might have seemed to be raised above the acceptance of any human blessing.

Gen 14:17-24
This gratitude he expresses, as a priest of the supreme God, in the words, "Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, the founder of heaven and earth; and blessed be God, the Most High, who hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand."   The form of the blessing is poetical, two parallel members with words peculiar to poetry, tsaareykaa  for 'oy¦beykaa  and migeen -`el¦yown  'eel  without the article is a proper name for the supreme God, the God over all (cf. Ex 18:11), who is pointed out as the only true God by the additional clause, "founder of the heaven and the earth."
(from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)


But apart from all gainsaying… But without any gainsaying.

The inferior by the superior…   The abstract form offers the principle in its widest application.
Compare Heb. 12:13.

Melchizedek was superior to Abraham: he was superior also to the Levitical priests generally. This is shown

(7:8) by the nature of the priests themselves
(7:9,10) by the position which the common ancestor occupied towards Abraham 


And here tithes….but there…
And,  further,  while here,  in this system which we see,  ...there,  in that remote and solitary example….

The  here  refers to that Levitical priesthood which was nearer to the writer’s experience than Melchizedek, though the latter is the immediately preceding subject. 

Under the Mosaic Law dying men,  men who were not only liable to death,  mortal,  but men who were actually seen to die from generation to generation enjoyed the rights of priests.  For such an order there is not only the contingency but the fact of succession.

While Melchizedek was  one to whom witness is borne that he liveth.  The writer recurring to the exact form of the record in Genesis,  on which he has dwelt before (7:3),  emphasizes the fact that Melchizedek appears there simply in the power of life.  So far he does not die;  the witness of Scripture is to his living.
What he does is in virtue of what he is.

The plural is used here and in 7:9,  as distinguished from the singular in  7:2,4 (tenth),  to express the repeated and manifold tithings under the Mosaic system;  or perhaps the many objects which were tithed.  The former interpretation is the more likely because in 7:2,4, the reference is to one special act.


It might be said But Abraham was not a priest:  the priesthood, with its peculiar prerogatives, was not instituted in his time.
The answer is  Abraham included in himself, as the depositary of the divine promise and the divine blessing, all the forms as yet undifferentiated, in which they were to be embodied.


And…through Abraham…has been tithed
And through Abraham, as the representative of the whole Jewish people,  Levi also…..is tithed.
The descendants of Abraham were included in him,

not only as he was their forefather physically, 
but also because he was the recipient of the divine promises in which the fullness of the race in its manifold developments were included.

And Levi includes his descendants in his own person just as he was himself included in Abraham.

It must be observed that Levi is not represented as sharing in the act, but in the consequences of the act passively. The act of his father determined his relation to Melchizedek,  just as if Abraham had made himself Melchizedek’s vassal. (servant).

So to speak
This classical phrase does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament or in the
LXX, but is found in Philo (ref. De plant. Noae i. 353 M.). It serves to introduce a statement which may startle a reader, and which requires to be guarded from misinterpretation.


For yet in the loins
Compare 7:5  having come out of the loins.  The repetition of the phrase, which occurs again in the New Testament only in Acts 2:30,  emphasizes the idea of the real unity of Abraham’s race in the condition of their earthly existence.

By this teaching a mystery is indicated to us into which we can see but a little way,  a final antithesis in our being;  we feel at every turn that we are dependent on the past,
and that the future will depend in a large degree upon ourselves.
This is one aspect of life,  and it is not overlooked in Scripture.

At the same time it does not give a complete view of our position. 

On the one side our outward life is conditioned by our ancestry: 
On the other side we stand in virtue of our ‘spirit’ in immediate,  personal connection with God

 (compare Heb. 12:9).

Of father
The context in the absence of further definition,  requires the sense ‘his father’  (not ‘our father’).  Abraham,  who was the father of all Israel  (Luke 1:73; John 8:53,56; Acts 7:2; James 2:21; Rom. 4:1,12),  can be spoken of also as the father of Levi in particular,  through Isaac and Jacob.

Priesthood of Christ  (7:11 - 25)

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Heb 7:11-25
(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. (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. 

(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.

Having interpreted the type of an absolute priesthood, independent of descent and uninterrupted by death (7:3) offered in the record of Melchizedek,  and having pointed out the thoughts to which that history might guide a student of the Old Testament, in respect of the later priesthood of the Law, the writer goes on to consider in detail the characteristics of the Levitical priesthood and of the Law which it essentially represented in relation to the Priesthood of Christ. The Levitical priesthood (generally) was incapable of effecting that at which a priesthood aims, the  ‘perfecting’ of the worshipper;  an end which the Priesthood of Christ is fitted to secure.  This is established by the fact that the Levitical priesthood was:

A. (7:11-14) Transitory
a new Priesthood was promised 
B. (7:15-19) Temporal
as contrasted with that which is eternal, universal

While on the other hand the new Priesthood is:

A. (7:20-22) Immutable
confirmed by an oath
B. (7:23-25) Uninterrupted
embodied for ever in the One Priest

Briefly, if we regard the argument in its bearing on the Gospel, the notes of Christ’s Priesthood after the order of Melchizedek are that it is:

1. New
2. Effective
3. Sure
4. One

The argument turns mainly upon the nature of the Levitical priesthood, but the Law is involved in the Priesthood. The abrogation of the one carries with it the abrogation of the other.  If the Hebrews came to feel that Christ had superseded the priests of the Old Covenant,  they would soon learn that the whole Law had passed away.
Throughout it is implied that if Melchizedek was greater than Levi,  then so was Christ,  of Whom Melchizedek was a partial type.


Greek Text according to G.R. Berry
(11)  If indeed then perfection by the Levitical priesthood were, for the people [based] upon it had received [the] law, what still need [was there] according to the order of Melchisedec [for] another to arise priest; and not according to the order of Aaron to be named?  (12)   For being changed the priesthood,  from necessity also of law a change takes place. (13)  For he of whom are said these things, a tribe different has part in, of which no one has given attendance at the altar.  (14)  For [it is] manifest that out of Juda has sprung our Lord, as to which tribe nothing concerning priesthood Moses spoke. 

The Levitical priesthood and the Law, which it represented, were alike transitional and transitory.
It is assumed that the object of the Law was to bring or to prepare for bringing the people to ‘perfection’: divine legislation can have no other end. The priesthood, on which the Law rested, embodied its ruling idea. And conversely in the Law as a complete system we can see the aim of the priesthood. The priesthood therefore was designed to assist in bringing about this ‘perfection.’

If then there had been a  " bringing  to  perfection"  through the Levitical priesthood — if in other words there had been a bringing to perfection through the Law — there would have been no need of another priesthood. 
If on the other hand the whole Law failed to accomplish that to which it pointed,  then so far also the priesthood failed.  Such a failure,  though not a  failure  but the  fulfillment of the divine purpose,  was indicated by the promise of another priesthood in a new line.


If indeed then
The argument starts from the line of thought just laid down.  Before the Levitical priesthood was organized another type of priesthood had been foreseen. 

But if the utmost object of a priesthood – of a divine provision for man’s progress to his true goal – had been capable of attainment under the Mosaic order,  what need would there have been that another priest should arise and that this new priest should be styled after a different order?

Experience however proved its necessity.  The Levitical priesthood was,  and was proved to be, only provisional.  It could not effect that to which it pointed.  This conviction was expressed by the Psalmist when he recalled the earlier type.

The conditional form  (If…were…what still need…)  may be rendered either:

“if there had been (which was not the case)  what further need would there have been (as if fact there was)?


"If there were (as is not the case) what further need would there be (as there is)"?

The former suits the context best. 

By the Levitical priesthood
The word  Levitical  appears to have been formed by the writer.  It is not found in the
LXX,  nor is it quoted from Josephus,  Philo or the Apostolic fathers.  The use of this title  (as distinguished from ‘Aaronic’: according to the order of Melchisedec)  illustrates the desire of the writer to regard the priesthood as the concentration of the hallowing of the tribe.

The word  priesthood  expresses the abstract notion of the priestly office,  as distinguished from the priestly service.

For the people…had received law
The efficacy of the Law may justly be represented by the efficacy of the priesthood,

for the people,  (called to be the people of God (7:5)),  hath received the Law,
resting on it  (the priesthood)  as its foundation

The general sense is expressed more naturally in English by  ‘under it’  as the forming, shaping power.

What still need….to be named
The explicit words of the Psalmist at once separate the new priest from the former line.  He was styled  ‘not after the order of Aaron.’  The  still  marks that the want was felt after the Levitical priesthood had been established. The change was found by experience to be required, and it was described long before it came to pass by one who lived under the Law and enjoyed its privileges.

Vs. 11
If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come-one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron?


For being changed…takes place
For when the priesthood is changed… The  changed  may refer to the main thought of 7:11 or to the parenthesis  (for the people).  The former connection appears to be the more natural. The change of priesthood involves the change of Law.  Such a change must have been called for by an overwhelming necessity.

The change of the priesthood is presented as the transference,  the removal,  of the priesthood from one order,  one line,  to another.

The ‘removal’ of the Law is more complete: Compare Heb. 12:27.
This change is considered in the abstract  (of law a change);  and the use of the word  (For being)  makes the two processes absolutely coincident.

Heb 7:12
For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law.


For he of whom are said these things
This clause goes back to 7:11,  the intervening verse 12 being treated as parenthetical.
The necessity spoken of  there has been recognized and met.
The promise in the Psalm, with all its consequences, has been fulfilled;  for He to whom these divine words are directed… 
For  for he  compare Mark 9:12.

Has part in
The choice of this word points to the voluntary assumption of humanity by the Lord.  It is not said simply that He was born of another tribe:  He was of His own will so born.  Compare Heb. 2:14 (took part in).

The use of  different  appears to place the royal and priestly tribes in significant connection and contrast.

Has given attendance at the altar
From the sense of  ‘giving attention to,’  that of practical  ‘devotion’  to an object follows naturally ( I Tim. 4:13 & 3:8).   The statement applies only to the regular legitimate service of the altar and does not take account of any exceptional acts,  as of the royal sacrifices of David and Solomon.

Heb 7:13
He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar.


For manifest
For it is openly obviously,  evident to all.    Compare I Tim. 5:24.

Out of Juda
Out of the tribe of Judah.  Compare Revelation 5:5    The Lion of the tribe of Juda.
These are the only two passages in the New Testament in which the Lord is definitely connected with Judah except in the record of the Nativity (Matthew 2:6 see Micah 5:2). 
The privilege of the tribe is elsewhere concentrated in its representative,  David (2 Samuel 7:12; Jer. 23:5; Luke 1:32; Rom. 1:3).   Compare Genesis 49:8.

Here the contrast with Levi makes the mention of the tribe necessary.  The Lord traced His descent from the royal and not from the priestly tribe.  There is no direct mention in this Epistle of the relation of the Lord to David.

It is important to observe that the writer affirms here most plainly the true manhood of the Lord  (compare Heb. 5:7).   Like John he combines the most striking testimonies to His  Divine and Human  natures.
There is nothing to show in what exact form he held that the Lord’s descent from Judah through David was reckoned:  whether as the legal representative of Joseph,  or as the Son of Mary,  who was herself known to be of Davidic descent.  The genealogies are in favor of the former view. 

Has sprung
Hath risen. The image may be taken from 

the rising of the sun or of a star
Compare  Luke 1:78; 2 Pet. 1:19; Num. 24:17; Mal. 4:2
or from the rising of a plant from its hidden germ
Compare  Isa. 61:11; Jer. 23:5; Zech. 3:8; 6:12

The usage of the New Testament is in favor of the former interpretation.


Greek Text according to G.R. Berry
(15)  And more abundantly yet quite manifest it is, since according to the similitude of Melchisedec arises a priest different,  (16)  who not according to law of commandment fleshly has been constituted,  but according to power of life indissoluble.  (17)  For he testifies,  Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. (18)  A putting away for there is of the going before commandment, because of its weakness and unprofitableness,  (19)   (for nothing perfected the law,)  [the] introduction and of a better hope by which we draw near to God.

The Levitical priesthood was transitory,  and during its continuance it was stamped with the conditions of limitation.
The incapacity of the Levitical priesthood to bring to perfection was shown,  as has been seen,   by the fact that the promise of another priesthood was made while it was still in full activity  (vv. 11-14). 

The conclusion is established still more obviously from the consideration that this promised priesthood was after a wholly different type,

not legal  but spiritual
not sacerdotal only but royal
not transitory but eternal


And more abundantly yet quite manifest
And what we say is yet more abundantly evident
Doubt has been felt as to the exact reference of this statement.

Is it the abrogation of the Law which is more abundantly proved by the language of the Psalm? 
Or the inefficacy of the Levitical priesthood? 

Both conclusions follow from the special description of the new priesthood.

But the thought of the abrogation of the Law is really secondary.
This is involved in the inefficacy of the Priesthood which is the dominant thought in connection with Christ’s work. 

Since according to the similitude of Melchisedec
If,  as may be most certainly laid down on the authority of Scripture,  it is after the likeness of Melchizedek another priest ariseth,  if this is to be the pattern of the new priesthood.
Romans 8:31 and compare John 7:23.

The idea of  ‘order’  is specialized into that of likeness.  Melchizedek furnishes,  so to speak,  the personal as well as the official type of the new High-priest.  This  ‘likeness’  brings out more clearly than before the difference between the new and the old priesthood.

See Heb. 7:11.  The present describes the certain fulfillment of the divine purpose,  which has indeed become a fact (7:16   has been constituted).  Compare Matthew 2:4; 26:2.

A priest different
Christ fulfilling the promise of the Psalm. 
Theodoret remarks (on 7:3)  that while Melchizedek was only a type of Christ’s Person and Nature,  the Priesthood of Christ was after the fashion of Melchizedek.  For the office of priest is the office of a man.

Heb 7:15
And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears


Who…..has been constituted…..indissoluble
Who hath become  priest  not after a law  expressed in a commandment of flesh,  but  after the power of an indissoluble life

There is a double contrast 

between ‘law’ and ‘power
The ‘law’ is an outward restraint
The ‘power’ is an inward force
and between the  ‘commandment of flesh’  and the  ‘indissoluble life
The ‘commandment of flesh’ carries with it of necessity the issue of change and succession
The ‘indissoluble life’ is above all change except a change of form
1. A priesthood fashioned after the former type was essentially subject to the influence of death.
2. A priesthood fashioned after the latter type must be eternal.

Each part also in the expression of the second contrast is contrasted,

commandment’ with  ‘life,’
that which is of eternal injunction with that which is of spontaneous energy:
and ‘flesh’  with  ‘indissoluble,’
that which carries with it the necessity of corruption with that which knows no change.

Who not according to the law of commandment fleshly
In the phrase  according to law  the writer necessarily thinks of the Jewish Law,  but this is not directly referred to in its concrete form as ‘the law,’  so that the words express a perfectly general idea:  ‘not according to a law of carnal commandment.’   The Greek gen. expresses that in which the law finds expression. Compare John 5:29. 

In characterizing the commandment  (commandment fleshly)  the strong form which expresses the substance  (fleshly)  and not simply the character of flesh is used to mark the element with which the commandment dealt, in which it found its embodiment. It was not only fashioned after the nature of flesh:

A. It had its expression in flesh  (compare Heb. 9:10  ordinances of flesh)
B. All the requirements, for example, to be satisfied by a Levitical priest were literally  ‘of flesh,’
outward descent,
outward perfectness,
outward purity.
C. No moral qualification was imposed.

According to power of life indissoluble
The life of Jesus Christ was not endless or eternal only.  It was essentially ‘indissoluble’
Although the form of its manifestation was changed and in the earthly sense He died, yet His life endured unchanged even through earthly dissolution.  He died and yet He offered Himself as  living  in death by the eternal Spirit (compare Heb. 9:14).   Compare also John 11:26; 19:34.
This life found its complete expression after the Ascension, but it does not date from the consummation of glory (compare Heb. 7:3).

It must be further noticed that the possession of this indissoluble life is not only

the characteristic of Christ’s exercise of His priestly office,
it is the ground on which He entered upon it

Other priests were made priests in virtue of a special ordinance: 
He was made priest in virtue of His inherent nature.
He could be,  as none other,  victim at once and priest.

Yet again, the permanence of the personal life of a new Priest distinguishes Him essentially from the legal priests.
To Phinehas ‘the son of Eleazar the son of Aaron, and to his seed’ was given  ‘the covenant of an everlasting priesthood’  (Numbers 25:13);  but this was subject to the conditions of succession,  and therefore to the possibility of change.
A priesthood founded upon a covenant involves conditions on two sides.
A priesthood founded on an oath to a person for himself is absolute.    Compare Gal. 3:19.


For he testifies, Thou
For it is witnessed of him,  Thou art…   Compare Heb. 5:8. 
The quotation establishes both the eternity and the character of the new priesthood  (for ever after the order of Melchisedec).
The direct personal reference in the Psalm has not been given since the first quotation: Heb. 5:6. In occurs again in v. 21.


For there is a disannulling….and a bringing in thereupon
The  for  goes back to 7:15.  The conclusion there pointed to is confirmed by the decisive fact that

the promised priesthood is not only distinct from the Levitical 
but also irreconcilable with it.

Exclusive of it; so far, that is, that the Levitical priesthood has no longer any ground for continuance when this has been established.

The whole sentence is divided by  away  and  because  into two corresponding parts. 

The ‘commandment’ stands over against the ‘hope
The ‘weakness and unprofitableness’ of the one over against the power of the other, whereby ‘we draw nigh to God.’

A putting ….of the going before commandment
The word  a putting  occurs again in Heb. 9:26;  this open,  direct disannulling of the previous system,  which is,  as it were,  set at naught,  ‘cometh to pass’  in the fulfillment of the divine order,  as indicated by the mention of an eternal priesthood on a new type.

This indefinite form of the phrase  of the going before commandment  serves to express the general thought of the character of the foundation on which the Levitical priesthood rested as a  ‘preceding,’  a  ‘foregoing,’  and so a preparatory commandment.

The word  of the going before  (I Tim. 1:18; )  expresses

not only priority (an earlier commandment) 
but connection (a foregoing commandment)

The divine commandment, pointing to an earthly institution, stands in contrast with the hope, rising above earth.

The use of  commandment  fixes the reference to the ordinance of the priesthood particularly (v. 16) in which, as has been seen, the Law was summed up, so far as it is compared with the Gospel.

Because of its weakness and unprofitableness
A command, a law, is essentially powerless to help:

1. It cannot inspire with strength.
2. It cannot bring aid to the wounded conscience.
3. And the ritual priesthood was affected by both these faults.
4. It was external, and it was formal.
5. It did not deal with the soul or with things eternal.

For nothing
The Law, of which the institution of the Levitical priesthood  (the special commandment just noticed)  was a part or indeed the foundation (7:11),  brought nothing to perfection.

In every application it was provisional and preparatory (compare Heb. 9:21; Lev. 16:16).
This decisive parenthesis is explanatory of  ‘the weakness and unprofitableness’ of the commandment (for the Law….). 
Man must strive towards the perfection,  the accomplishment, of his destiny on earth.
The Law failed him in the effort.  He outgrew it.

The very scope of the Law indeed was to define the requirements of life,  and to show that man himself could not satisfy them.     Compare Gal. 2:15; 3:19; Rom. 3:19; 7:7.

See 7:11.  The tense indicates the final view of the Law.  Contrast Heb. 10:14  he has perfected.

Introduction and of a better hope
There was on the one,  the side the disannulling of a preparatory commandment, 
and there was on the other side the introduction of a new and better hope to occupy the place which was held by the commandment before.
This  hope  is described as  better than the commandment,  and not simply as better than the hope conveyed by the commandment.  

The comparison is between

the commandment characteristic of the Law
and the hope characteristic of the Gospel;

and not between 

the temporal hope of the Law
and the spiritual hope of the Gospel.

Though the Law had  (see Heb. 8:6) a hope,  the thought of it seems to be out of place here.

By which we draw near to God
Through which hope we draw nigh to God.
The commandment was directed to the fulfillment of ordinances on earth: hope enters within the veil and carries believers with it   (compare Heb. 6:19).

All believers are, in virtue of their Christian faith, priests:   I Peter 2:5,9; Rev. 1:6;5:10;20:6. 

That which was before (in a figure)  the privilege of a class
has become (in reality) the privilege of all;

and thus man is enabled to gain through fellowship with God the attainment of his destiny . Compare Heb. 10:19.


The Apostle goes on to show the superiority of Christ’s Priesthood from its essential characteristics.

(7:20-22) Christ’s Priesthood is immutable in its foundation
(7:23-25) Christ’s Priesthood is uninterrupted in its personal tenure

Greek Text according to G.R. Berry
(20)  And by how much [it was] not apart from [the] swearing of an oath, they for without [the] swearing of an oath are priests become,  (21)  but he with [the] swearing of an oath, by him who says, as to him, swore [the] Lord, and will not repent, Thou [art] a priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedec,   (22)   by so much of a better covenant has become surety Jesus.  (23)  And they many are priests on account of by death being hindered from continuing;  (24)   but he, because of his abiding for ever, intransmissible has the priesthood(25)   Whence also to save completely he is able those who approach by him to God, always living to intercede for them.


The  And  corresponds to the  And  in 7:15,23, and introduces a new moment in the argument.
The additional solemnity of the oath gives an additional dignity to the covenant which is introduced by it (compare Heb. 6:13).  And yet further,  by this oath the purpose of God is declared absolutely.  Man’s weakness no longer enters as an element into the prospect of its fulfillment.  The permanence of a covenant which rests upon an oath is assured.
The introduction of the idea of a ‘covenant’ is sudden. It was probably suggested by the words recorded in Matthew 26:28.

Matt 26:28
This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.  

The thought of Christ’s Priesthood is necessarily connected with the history of His Passion.
The sovereign validity of the divine oath is the measure of the exceeding authority of the dispensation which rests upon it.

Not apart from swearing of an oath
Not without the taking of an oath  hath He received His office.
This addition is suggested by  v. 22,  and by with swearing of an oath which follows.  The words however may be taken generally: ‘the whole transaction doth not take place without the taking of an oath’.

They for…..but he…..for ever
For while they….He…  This elaborate parenthesis is inserted to explain fully the contrast implied in  apart from swearing of an oath.

For while the one class of priests  (the Levitical priests)  have become priests without any taking of an oath,
He was made priest with it’  (with compare Matt. 14:7). 

The stress laid upon the oath suggests the contrast between ‘the promise’ and ‘the Law’ on which Paul dwells (e.g. Gal. 3:15).

The Law is an expression of the sovereign power of God Who requires specific obedience
The oath implies a purpose of love not to be disturbed by man’s unworthiness

Are priest become
The periphrasis marks the possession as well as the impartment of the office:

they have been made priests
and they act as priests.

By him who says
Through Him that saith,  i.e. God through the mouth of the Psalmist.
The divine voice is not regarded as an isolated utterance (Heb. 10:30;2 Cor. 4:6; James 2:11),  but as one which is still present and effective. Compare Heb. 12:25 .
Though the words are not directly spoken by the Lord, they are His by implication. The oath is His.

As to him
The words have a double meaning in relation to the two parts of the verse quoted:

1. The first part has Christ for its object (‘in regard to Him’: compare Heb. 1:7)
2. In the second part  He is directly addressed.

The necessities of human thought require that sometimes, through man’s failure or change, God, who is unchangeable, should be said to repent. The temporary interruption of the accomplishment of His counsel of love must appear in this light under the conditions of time to those ‘who see but part’: Gen. 6:6; I Sam. 15:10; 2 Sam. 24:16; Jer. 18:8.

Of a better…Jesus
Jesus hath become surety of a better covenant,  in that He has shown in His own Person the fact of the establishment of a New Covenant between God and man. This He has done by

His Incarnation, issuing in His Life
His Death
His Resurrection
His eternal Priesthood

But inasmuch as the immediate subject here is Christ’s Priesthood, the reference is especially to this, the consummation of the Incarnation. Jesus – the Son of man – having entered into the Presence of God for men is the sure pledge of the validity of the New covenant

In later passages of the Epistle (Heb. 8:6) Christ is spoken of as the Mediator of the New Covenant. He Himself brought about the Covenant; and He is the adequate surety of its endurance.

The human name of the Lord stands emphatically at the end. (compare Heb. 6:20; 2:9). 
Jesus, the Son of man, has been exalted to the right hand of God, where He is seated as King and Priest.
In His divine humanity He assures us that God has potentially accomplished the purpose of Creation, and will accomplish it.

surety,  for the most part,  pledges himself that something will be:
but here the Ascended Christ witnesses that something is:
the assurance is not simply of the future but of that which is present though unseen.
It must be noticed that Christ is not said here to be a surety for man to God,  but a surety of a covenant of God with man.


A second fact establishes the pre-eminence of Christ’s Priesthood.
It is held uninterruptedly by One Ever-living Priest.

And they many are priest on account of
And while they – the one class, the Levitical priests – have been made priest many in number….He…..hath His priesthood inviolable.   The Levitical priests held the priesthood in succession, one after another.  They were made priests many in number,  not simultaneously but successively.  The thought is of the line which represents the office.  The covenant of an everlasting priesthood was not with Aaron personally, but with Aaron and his sons ‘throughout their generations’ (Numbers 25:13).  At the same time it is a true thought that the perfect continuity of the office could only be secured by the existence of many priests at once (compare Exodus 29);  but that is not the point here.

The order in the words  are priests  as compared with 7:20  priests become  is worthy of notice. 
In the former passage  priests  was accentuated: 
here the though is of the number who are  ‘made’   priests.

On account of by death being hindered from continuing
The multitude of the Levitical priests is a necessity, because they are hindered by death from abiding as priests among men.  The statement is made generally and not of the past only.  It would be pointless to say that ‘death hindered them from living’:  it hindered them from discharging the function which was necessary for man’s well-being.

But he, because of his abiding……the priesthood
He, because He abideth for ever, hath His priesthood inviolable.  In both respects Christ offers a contrast with the Levitical priests:

1. He  ‘abides for ever,’  though in this sense it is not said that He abides with us (continuing), while they were hindered by death from so abiding.
2. In this respect Christ’s eternal abiding as Son  (John 8:35; 12:34; comp. V. 28)  is contrasted with the transitory continuance of mortal men on earth.
3. And again the fact that He  ‘abides for ever’  in virtue of  His Nature involves the further fact that He will fulfill His priestly office for ever.

Intransmissible has the priesthood
Literally  hath His priesthood inviolable,  unimpaired,  and so unchangeable. Christ’s Priesthood is His alone, open to no rival claim, liable to no invasion of its functions.

Whence also
Because His priesthood is absolute and final,  He is able to fulfill completely the ideal office of the priest.
If Christ’s priesthood had failed in any respect then provision would have been made for some other. But the salvation wrought by Christ reaches to the last element of man’s nature and man’s life. In relation to man, fallen and sinful,  to save expresses the same idea as applied to man as he was made by God (compare Heb. 2:10),  and it finds its fulfillment in the whole course of his existence.  The thought here is:

not of  ‘the world’  (John 3:17) 
but of believers:
not of salvation in its broadest sense
but of the working out of salvation to the uttermost in those who have received the Gospel.

Completely,  wholly,  to the uttermost. Compare Luke 13:11 (and could in no wise). 

Those who approach by him to God
Compare John 14:6; 10:9; 6:37.   Something is required of men answering to the gift of Christ. They use the way of God, which He has opened and which He is.

Always living to intercede
Seeing He ever liveth to make intercession.  The very end of Christ’s Life in heaven,  as it is here presented,  is that He may fulfill the object of the Incarnation,  the perfecting of humanity.

Whatever man may need, as man or as sinful man, in each circumstance of effort and conflict, his want finds interpretation by the Spirit and effective advocacy by Christ our (High) Priest.  In the glorified humanity of the Son of man every true human wish finds perfect and prevailing expression.  He pleads our cause with the Father (I John 2:1 a Paraclete – advocate),  and makes the prayers heard which we know not how to shape.  In John 17 we can find the substance of our own highest wants and of Christ’s intercession.

For them
The advocacy of Christ is both social and personal:  for the Church and for each believer,  for one because for the other.  Compare Romans 8:34; I John 2:1.

The early Church Fathers call attention to the contrasts which the verse includes between Christ’s human and divine natures; and how His very presence before God in His humanity is in itself a prevailing intercession.  In the Levitical ritual the truth was foreshadowed in the direction that ‘Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart when he goeth in unto the holy place….’ (Exodus 28:29).

Order of Melchizedek  (7:26 - 28)

Previous Section

Christ Is High Priest Forever After The Order Of Melchizedek
That Is - The Absolute High P

Up to this point the writer has developed the ideas lying in the phrase ‘after the order of Melchizedek’:  he now shortly characterizes Christ as High-priest after this order (Heb. 6:20),  before drawing out in detail the contrast between Christ and the Aaronic High-priest.  Nothing is said in Scripture of the High-priesthood of Melchizedek, or of any sacrifices which he offered.  In these respects the Aaronic High-priest (not Melchizedek) was the type of Christ.

The subject is laid open in a simple and natural order:

1. (7:26) First the personal traits of Christ are characterized .
2. (7:27) Then His High-priestly work .
3. (7:28) Lastly the contrast which He offers to the Levitical High-priests in regard to His appointment, nature and position

Greek Text according to G.R. Berry
(26)  For such us became a high priest, holy, harmless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and higher than the heavens became:  (27)   who has not day by day necessity, as the high priests, first for his own sins sacrifices to offer up, then for those of the people; for this he did once for all, himself having offered up.  (28)  For the law men constitutes high priests, [who] have infirmity; but the word of the swearing of the oath, which [is] after the law, a Son for ever has perfected.


The preceding verse furnishes a transition to the doctrine of Christ’s High-priesthood.  It is seen that something more is required for men than Melchizedek as priest could directly typify.  He showed the form of priesthood which Christ realized in its ideal perfection as High-priest.

For such us
From the characteristics of Christ’s priesthood foreshadowed in Melchizedek the writer deduces the general nature of His High-priesthood.  The separation of  for such  from  a high priest  helps to lay stress upon the character which it summarizes (compare Heb. 8:1).  The Vulgate endeavors to express, almost as if the translation were: ‘Such an one became us as High-priest.’

For such
Such a High-priest,  that is,  one who is absolute in power (completely) and eternal in being (always living).
The word (for such) looks backwards,  yet not exclusively.  From the parallel (Heb. 8:1; compare I Cor. 5:1; Philemon 9)  it is seen that it looks forward also to  who has not (7:27),  which gives the most decisive feature of Christ’s High-priesthood.

Us became
Even our human sense of fitness is able to recognize the complete correspondence between the characteristics of Christ as High-priest and the believer’s wants. Compare Heb. 2:10   And we shall observe that sympathy with temptation does not require the experience of sin. On the contrary his sympathy will be fullest who has known the extremist power of temptation because he has conquered.  He who yields to temptation has not known its uttermost force.

us Christians,’ not generally ‘us men.’  The pronoun is apparently always used with this limitation in the Epistle.
The dominant thought is of the struggles of the Christian life, which is ever calling for a divine succour. 
Christians have gained a view of the possibilities of life, of its divine meaning and issues, which gives an infinite solemnity to all its trials.

This detailed description characterizes the fitness of the High Priest for the fulfillment of His work for man. Even in the highest exaltation He retains the perfection of His human nature.

He is truly man 
Yet infinitely more than man

The three epithets (holy, harmless, undefiled) describe absolute personal characteristics:  the two descriptive clauses which follow express the issues of actual life. Christ is personally

In Himself 
In relation to men 

By the issue of His life 

In regard to the visible order
In regard to the invisible world
He has been separated from sinners
He has risen above the heavens

Separated from sinners
The complete separation of the Lord from sinners which was realized through His Life (John 14:30)  was openly established by His victory over death at the resurrection (Acts 2:24); and that victory is the foundation of His present work. The Syriac has  from sins.

This internal, moral, separation corresponded to the idea symbolized by the legal purity of the Levitical priests; and especially to the symbolic separation of the High Priest who, according to the later ritual, seven days before the great Day of Atonement removed from his own house to a chamber in the sanctuary (reference Oehler, Old Testament Theology Pg. 140).

Higher than the heavens become
Having become - Both in His Person and in the place of His ministry Christ fulfilled in fact what the Jewish priests presented only in type.
Under different aspects Christ may be said:

1. To have been taken, or to have entered, ‘into heaven,’ 
Expresses His reception to the immediate presence of God

Mark 16:19; Luke 24:51; Acts 1:10;3:21; I Pet. 3:22; Heb. 9:24; and to be ‘in heaven,’ Eph. 6:9.

2. ‘To have passed beyond the heavens’ 
Expresses His elevation above the limitations of sense

(Eph. 4:10; Heb. 4:14 note.)

Who has not day by day
The comparison which is instituted here is beset at first sight with a serious difficulty.  It seems to be stated that the High-priests are under the daily necessity of offering sacrifice for their own sins and for the sins of the people. 
This double sacrifice is elsewhere in the Epistle (Hebrews 9:7) connected with the great Day of Atonement and the  ‘yearly’  work of the High-priest (Hebrews 9:25);  nor is it obvious how the language can be properly used of any daily function of the High-priest.

There can be no question that  day by day  means ‘day by day,’ ‘daily’ (Heb. 10:11).  And further ‘to have necessity of sacrificing’ cannot without violence be limited to the meaning of  ‘feeling daily the necessity of sacrificing’ from consciousness of sin,  though the sacrifice is made only once a year.

This peculiarity seems to suggest the true solution of the difficulty.
The characteristic High-priestly office of the Lord is fulfilled  ‘daily,’ ‘forever,’ and not only,  as that of the Levitical High-priest,  on one day in the year.  The continuity of His office marks its superiority.  But in this daily intercession He requires no daily sacrifice,  as those High-priests require a sacrifice on each occasion of their appearance before God in the Holy of Holies.

Thus the  day by day  belongs only to the description of the Lord’s work,  and nothing more is to be supplied with the sense being:  ‘He hath not daily necessity [in the daily fulfillment of His intercessory work],  as the High-priests [have necessity on each occasion when they fulfill them],  to offer sacrifices…..’

But here a new thought comes in.  The daily work of the Priests was summed up and interpreted by the special High-priestly work of the Day of Atonement.  The two parts of the daily sacrifice,

the priestly (High-priestly) Hebrew Minchah (meal-offering
the lamb (the burnt-offering)

were referred to the needs of the priests and of the people respectively.

And as the High-priests took part in the daily sacrifices on special occasions  (see Jos. B.J. v. 5,7), or at their pleasure (ref. Mishna, Tamid 7.3), they were said both by Philo (ref. De spec. legg. Pg. 23, 2. 321 M.) and by the Jewish Rabbis to offer daily.  (ref. Delitzsch. Ztacher. F.d. luther. Theol. 1860ff. 593 f.) 
Under this aspect the daily sacrifices were a significant memorial of the conditions of the High-priestly intercession on the one Day of Atonement. 


Who has not
This,  which is the chief characteristic of the new High-priest,  is not given in a participial clause,  but as a substantive statement  (for suchwho has not).

To offer up

In  to offer up  we have mainly the notion of an offering made to God and placed upon His altar.
The thought of the  destination  of the offering prevails
In  to offer  we have that of an offering brought to God.
The thought of the  offerer in his relation to God prevails

To  offer up  therefore properly describes the ministerial action of the priest,  and the action of the offerer
(Lev. 2:14,16; 6:33,35);  but the distinction is not observed universally.
Thus in Lev. 17:5  to  offer up  is used of the people.
And in Lev. 21:21 to  offer up is used of the priests

For this
It is generally supposed that the reference is to be limited to the latter clause,  that is,  to the making an offering for the sins of the people.  It is of course true that for Himself  Christ had no need to offer a sacrifice in any sense.  But perhaps it is better to supply the ideal sense of the High-priest’s offerings,  and so to leave the statement in a general form.

Whatever the Aaronic High-priest did in symbol,  as a sinful man,
Christ did perfectly as sinless in His humanity for men.

Once for all
He made such an atonement that it was not needful that it should be repeated. Thus, he put an end to sacrifice, for when he made the great atonement it was complete, and there was no need that any more blood should be shed for human guilt.  (from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Himself having offered up.] He offered up Himself. Here first Christ is presented as at once the Priest and the victim (compare Heb. 9:12,14; Eph. 5:2. 

The offering of Christ upon the Cross was a High-priestly act, though Christ did not become ‘High-priest after the order of Melchizedek,’ that is, royal High-priest, till the ascension. Compare Heb. 6:20

For himself he offered no sacrifice; and the apostle gives the reason - he needed none, because he was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners: and for the people he offered himself once for all, when he expired upon the cross.

It has been very properly remarked, that the sacrifice offered by Christ differed in four essential respects from those offered by the Jewish priests:

1. He offered no sacrifice for himself,
but only for the people.
2. He did not offer that sacrifice annually, 
but once for all.
3. The sacrifice which he offered was not of calves and goats,
but of himself.
4, This sacrifice he offered, not for one people,
but for the whole human race; for he tasted death for every man.

(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)

For the law…..but the word of the swearing of the oath
The freedom of Christ from the necessity by which the Aaronic High-priests are bound follows from His nature,
 for the Law…  The truth which has been laid open in the two preceding verses is here expressed summarily by recapitulation in its final form: the Levitical High-priest after the order of Melchizedek,  a Son eternally perfected.

But the word of the swearing of the oath, which after the law
The word of the oath,  spoken in Psalm 110:4,  which was taken after the Law…
The  ‘oath-taking’  and not the  ‘word’  is the emphatic element. 
The oath came after the Law,  and must therefore have had respect to it,  and so prospectively annulled it. 
In this respect the  ‘oath’  takes up the  ‘promise.’  Compare Gal. 3:17,18

Gal 3:17-18
(17)  What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. (18)  For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.    NIV

A son for ever has perfected
The idea of Son   (Heb. 1:1; 3:6; 4:14  the Son of God)  is now combined with that of High-priest. 
Our High-priest is not only a Son,  but a Son who having become man has been raised above all the limitations of humanity.  The complete idea of the Person of the High-priest of the new Dispensation is thus gained before His work is unfolded in detail.

The realization of the Priesthood of Christ necessarily carries with it the abrogation of the typical priesthood of the Law.  The presence of  ‘weakness’  in the Levitical priests was realized in the consequences of imperfection and death.  Such a priesthood could not bring perfection,  and it was of necessity interrupted.  On the other hand Christ took upon Himself human nature (Heb. 4:15)  subject to temptation and death,  that so He might taste death for all,  but as High-priest in His glory He is raised wholly above all infirmity and death,  though still able to sympathize with those who are subject to them (compare Heb. 5:1).

It is worth while to enumerate distinctly the points in which the writer of the Epistle marks the superiority of the High-priesthood of Christ over that of Aaron.  He has already shown that Christ possesses the qualifications of High-priesthood in

Ideal perfection and sympathy (Heb. 2:17; 4:15; 5:8;7:26)
Divine appointment (Heb. 5:5)

And more than this he places His preeminence in a clear light by a detailed comparison as to:

(a) (7:21) The form of His appointment 
by an oath (promise) and not as dependent on the fulfillment of a covenant
(b) (7:16) The rule of His priesthood
‘the power of an indissoluble life’ and not ‘a law of carnal commandment’
(c) (7:23) Its duration
 unchangeable without succession
(d) (7:28) Its nature
 as of a son made perfect, and not of a weak man
(e) (8:2; 9:11) The scene of His service
heaven not earth
(f) (9:12) The character
with His own blood, not of goats and calves
(g) (7:27;10:5) Completeness
of His offering, consummated alike in life and death


(End of Lesson Five)


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