Sabbath, March 29, 2008

“The high priest was designed in a special manner to represent Christ, who was to become a high priest forever after the order of Melchisedec. This order of priesthood was not to pass to another, or be superseded by another.” – Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, p. 930.

1. Why was there a necessity of a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek?
Hebrews 7:11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?

“Perfection. “The Levitical priesthood and the ceremonial law were provisional and shadowy, pointing forward to the work that Christ was to perform. Perfection came not through the law but through the Christ to whom it pointed. This thought is further developed in chs. 9; 10.

“Law. Here, the entire Jewish system instituted at Sinai.
“What further need. The Levitical system was never intended to be an end in itself. It was to point men to Christ, in whom alone is salvation. If the system could have provided salvation apart from the work of Christ, then there would have been no need for the ministry of Christ.” – Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, p. 440.

2. What other change followed the change of priesthood?
Hebrews 7:12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.

“The priesthood being changed. That is, from the Levitical to the Melchisedec.
“Change also of the law. The law provided that only the Levites could serve at the tabernacle, and that only the sons of Aaron could be priests. Furthermore, it regulated the services of the priests with reference to the dispensation in which they served. It would be necessary to change the law if a priest were selected from another tribe (v. 13) and a new order of things were introduced (ch. 8:13).” – Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, p. 441.

3. What two legal evidences were related to Christ’s priesthood? Which evidence was more legitimate? Hebrews 7:13-16.

“13. He. That is, Christ (v. 14).
Another tribe. See on v. 14.
Gave attendance. Or, ‘officiated.’
“14. Juda. See Micah 5:2; Matt. 1:1; Mark 10:47, 48; Luke 3:33; Rom. 1:3; Rev. 5:5.
“Moses spake nothing. The laws regulating the priesthood were given through Moses (Num. 3; 4).
“15. More evident. This seems to refer to the proposition set forth in v. 12, namely, that a change in law was necessary. Some hold that it refers to the temporary character of the Levitical priesthood. The prophecy referred to in v. 17, predicting that the new priesthood would be of a different order, makes it more evident that there must be a change in the law of the priesthood,
or that the Levitical priesthood was provisionary.
“16. Carnal commandment. Doubtless called ‘carnal’ with reference to the fact that the commandment specified succession by physical descent (Ex. 29:29, 30; Num. 20:26, 28).” – Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, p. 441.

4. From which tribe and family could a high priest be chosen according to the Mosaic system?
Numbers 3:1-3 These also are the generations of Aaron and Moses in the day that the Lord spake with Moses in mount Sinai. And these are the names of the sons of Aaron; Nadab the firstborn, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. These are the names of the sons of Aaron, the priests which were anointed, whom he consecrated to minister in the priest’s office.

5. To which family and priesthood would a new high priest be related according to the prophecy?
Hebrews 7:17 For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
Psalm 110:4 The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
Matthew 1:1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Matthew 21:9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.
Matthew 22:41-44 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?

6. For what reason must the Aaronic priesthood come to an end?
Hebrews 7:18, 19 (first part) For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. For the law made nothing perfect…

“18. For there is. According to the Greek the connection between vs. 18, 19 is as follows: ‘There is, on the one hand, a disannulling of the commandment.
. . and on the other, the bringing in of a better hope.’

A disannulling. A stronger term than ‘being changed’ (v. 12). The law of the Levitical priesthood was designed to operate only until Jesus Christ, the great High Priest, took over His office. Then it was to be annulled.
Going before. Or, ‘preceding,’ ‘former.’

Weakness and unprofitableness. Not that it was so inherently, for God Himself had instituted it. But it failed because of the people’s attitude toward it. They made the law an end in itself and believed that obedience to it would bring them salvation. They had the gospel preached unto them, but it did not profit them, not being mixed with faith (ch. 4:2).

“19. The law made nothing perfect. That is, the law in and of itself. This does not mean that salvation was impossible for men in OT times. Perfection was possible, but by the same means it is achieved today–faith in Jesus Christ. ‘The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ. . . . But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster’ (See on Gal. 3:24, 25).”— Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, p. 441.

7. What kind of hope do we have through this new priesthood?

Hebrews 7:19 (last part) … but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God

Bringing in of a better hope. For the connection of this phrase with its context see on v. 18. The better hope centers in Christ. He takes the place of the Levitical priesthood. This is the hope that is ‘set before us,’ our ‘anchor,’ ‘which entereth into that within the veil’ (ch. 6:18-20).

Draw nigh unto God. This had been the purpose of the Levitical priesthood, but through faulty instruction and administration men felt that God was far removed from them. Now Jesus Christ, the High Priest, has entered ‘within the veil’ (ch. 6:19). He is seated ‘on the right hand of the Majesty on high’ (ch. 1:3); therefore men may ‘come boldly unto the throne of grace’ (ch. 4:16) and in full assurance draw near to God.” – Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, p. 441.

8. What was the connection of the two priesthoods to an oath of God?
Hebrews 7:20, 21 And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest. (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec)

“20. Not without an oath. See on ch. 6:17
“21. With an oath. The contrast is here set forth to show the superiority of the Melchisedec high priesthood. For the importance of the oath see on ch. 6:17.

Repent. Gr. metamelomai, ‘to change one’s mind,’ ‘to regret’ (See on 2 Cor. 7:8, 9).

After the order of Melchisedec. Textual evidence is divided (cf. p. 10) as to the retention or omission of this phrase. It is fully attested in v. 17.” – Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, pp. 441, 442.