Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes


Hebrews 7:12-28
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Hebrews 7:12
Verse 12: When David prophesied that God would make his future son, the Messiah, not only a great king (Ps 110:1-3) but also a great priest belonging to a new, higher order of priesthood (Ps 110:4), he was announcing that a day would come when the Levitical priesthood and the Law of Moses would end. If there is an order of priests higher than the Levitical priests then there must be a law higher than the Law of Moses. The author of Hebrews does not give a name to the new law which supplants the old, but Paul does in Romans 8:2. He calls it “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus…” and then makes the same application which is being made here when he says it “has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” Notice his choice of words. The new law is “the Spirit of life….” He’s telling us that God did not send a different set of rules, but rather a person, the person of the Holy Spirit who indwells everyone who repents and believes in Jesus Christ (Ro 8:9). Living within each believer, the Holy Spirit can accomplish “…what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh…” (Ro 8:3), and that is to set us free from the compulsive, rebellious nature we inherited from Adam (Ro 7:14-24; Ro 5:12) so we can obey God.

Monday: Hebrews 7:13-15
Verses 13, 14: The Law of Moses assigns all priestly duties to the tribe of Levi (Nu 1:47-54; 3:5-13, 45). Yet David, and therefore the Messiah who would descend from him (“Son of David”), belonged to the tribe of Judah and no one from the tribe of Judah was ever appointed as a priest. Therefore, in terms of the Law, it would be impossible for a son of David to ever serve as high priest. However, this was exactly what God swore He would do (Heb 7:21; Ps 110:4). Such a radical break from a major part of the Law of Moses could only mean that upon the Messiah’s arrival the old governing order would lose its position as the final authority. A “change of law” (v 12) would take place. Verse 15: That the old law would be replaced with something higher and better is further emphasized by the fact that when God speaks of the Messiah’s priesthood He identifies Him with Melchizedek, a priest who was spiritually superior to Abraham. And likewise, the law God will bring to replace the Law of Moses will not simply be another similar law, but a far superior one (read comments on v 12).

Tuesday: Hebrews 7:16
Verse 16: Melchizedek did not become a priest because he was descended from the tribe of Levi. The tribe of Levi did not yet exist when he and Abraham met. Instead Melchizedek was qualified for such a superior level of priesthood by the fact that he was immortal (Heb 7:3). It was not the Law of Moses that had made him a priest but “… the power of an indestructible life.” Again it seems to me the author of Hebrews must be thinking of Melchizedek as a pre-incarnate manifestation of Jesus (read comments on Heb 7:3) because he is saying that the basis of Melchizedek’s priestly authority was that his life was indestructible, not merely that Moses hadn’t recorded his genealogy. His immortal nature is what’s being pointed to as the justification for making him a priest, and not simply the fact that he did not die because there are two other examples of people in the Bible who may not have died physically, but weren’t priests (Enoch, Ge 5:24; Elijah, 2Ki 2:3; Heb 11:5). Melchizedek is stunningly described as someone who had no beginning as well as no end (Heb 7:3). Such language can only be applied to God and His Son (Heb 1:1-3, 8, 10-12).

Wednesday: Hebrews 7:17-19
Verse 17: The author points out that God specifically bore witness to Melchizedek’s immortal nature when He spoke through David in Psalm 110:4, “You are a priest forever, according to the other of Melchizedek.” Verses 18, 19: There was a very practical reason God replaced the Law of Moses with the priesthood of the Messiah: the Law of Moses proved to be weak and unprofitable. It did not bring anyone into eternal fellowship with God. Therefore God replaced it with a “better hope through which we draw near to God,” and that better hope is the priesthood of the Messiah.

Thursday: Hebrews 7:20, 21
Verses 20, 21: The author has already forcefully made the point that Abraham was given a strong foundation for his faith because God not only gave him a promise but went on to confirm it by unilaterally swearing an oath (Heb 6:13-18). Here he applies this same reasoning to God’s promise concerning the priesthood of the Messiah. Having reminded us that the Levitical priests were not established in their priesthood by an oath, he then proves to us that the Messiah was. The oath itself is found in the words God spoke through David’s prophecy, “The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind….” The author wants his readers to recognize how strongly God is committed to fulfill this promise because if we do we will cling to it with the same tenacity as Abraham clung to his promise.

Friday: Hebrews 7:22-25
Verse 22: God’s oath is more than enough proof that He will do what He says, but God has given the world an even greater form of proof by resurrecting Jesus from the dead and causing Him to ascend into heaven. Now there can be no doubt that Jesus is the high priest of which David was speaking (Ps 110:4). By His death on the cross this new high priest initiated a new covenant (Lk 22:20); by His resurrection He proves the reality and trustworthiness of the covenant He brings (Ac 2:23-32); and then by ascending into heaven He removed all doubt that God accepts His priestly intercession on our behalf (Ac 1:9; 2:33-36; Heb 4:14; 6:20; 7:25) Verses 23-25: The old covenant required many high priests over the 14 centuries between the Exodus and Christ because each priest was mortal and died. But Jesus, having been resurrected to eternal life, is immortal which means there is one, and only one, high priest of the new covenant. And He now sits at the right hand of the Father (Ac 2:33; Heb 1:13) where His intercession for our sins never stops (Ro 8:34; 1Jn 2:1). His presence there allows those who trust Him to draw near to the Father at all times.

Saturday: Hebrews 7:26-28
Verses 26, 27: As our high priest, Jesus stands pre-eminent above all the rest. In Him at last we find the kind of high priest we need to make us acceptable to God. First, His resurrection from the dead proves He was sinless during His life on earth. Had He sinned in any way He would have remained in the grave and His body would have decomposed (Ac 2:24-32). So He is unlike all the other priests who sinned and therefore had to offer sacrifices for themselves before offering sacrifices for others. Jesus was and is holy (set apart for God), innocent (without evil), separated from sinners (uncompromised by His contact with sinful humans) and exalted above the heavens (He is now in God’s presence somewhere beyond our earth’s atmosphere and the celestial bodies we see in space). And second, not only is He a better priest, but He brings to God a better offering for our sins, and that offering is His death on the cross which He made on behalf of all humans who have ever lived or ever will live. He atoned for sin “once for all”: one sacrifice for all sin, for all humans, for all time. Verse 28: The Law of Moses appointed sinful men as high priests, but over 400 years later God swore an oath through David that one day He would appoint His Son whom He would make into a perfect high priest for us through suffering (Heb 2:10, 17,18).
 


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