Hebrews 7:15-21 (NLT)
Jesus Is like Melchizedek
15 This change has been made very clear since a different priest, who is like Melchizedek, has appeared. 16 Jesus became a priest, not by meeting the physical requirement of belonging to the tribe of Levi, but by the power of a life that cannot be destroyed. 17 And the psalmist pointed this out when he prophesied, “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”
18 Yes, the old requirement about the priesthood was set aside because it was weak and useless. 19 For the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God. 20 This new system was established with a solemn oath. Aaron’s descendants became priests without such an oath, 21 but there was an oath regarding Jesus. For God said to him, “The Lord has taken an oath and will not break his vow: ‘You are a priest forever.’”
V15, The author has additional evidence that there has been a vast change in the law of the priesthood. Another kind of priest has arisen in the likeness of Melchizedek, and His qualification for the office is quite different from that of Aaron’s sons.
V16, The Levitical priests became eligible by meeting the legal requirements concerning bodily descent. They had to be born of the tribe of Levi and of the family of Judah. But what qualifies the Lord to be a Priest like Melchizedek is His endless life. It is not a question of pedigree but of personal, inherent power. He lives forever.
V17, This is confirmed by the words of Psalm 110:4, where David points forward to the Messiah’s priesthood: “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” Here the emphasis is on the word forever. His ministry will never cease because His life will never end.
V18, The law which set up the Aaronic priesthood has been annulled because of its weakness and unprofitableness. It has been canceled by the advent of Christ. In what sense was the law weak and unprofitable? Was it not given by God Himself? Could God give anything that was impotent and useless? The answer is that God never intended this to be the ultimate law of priesthood. It was preparatory to the coming of God’s ideal priesthood. It was a partial and temporary picture of that which would be perfect and final.
V19, It was also weak and useless in the sense that it made nothing perfect. The people were never able to go into the presence of G
od in the Most Holy Place. This enforced distance between God and man was a constant reminder that the sin question was not settled once for all. But now a better hope has been introduced through which we draw near to God. That better hope is the Lord Jesus Himself; those who have Him as their only hope have perfect access to God at any time.
V20, Not only has there been a change in the order of priesthood and in the law of priesthood, but also, as we shall now see, there has been a change in the method of induction. The reasoning here revolves around the use of God’s oath in connection with Christ’s priesthood. The oath signifies the introduction of that which is unchangeable and everlasting.
Rainsbury says, “Nothing less than the oath of Almighty God guarantees the efficacy and the eternity of the priesthood of our blessed Lord Jesus.”
V21, The Aaronic priests were appointed without an oath. Therefore the implication is that their priesthood was intended to be provisional and not enduring. But God addressed Christ with an oath in designating Him as a priest. The form of the oath is found in Psalm 110:4: “The Lord has sworn and will not relent, ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.’”
Henderson says: “God places behind Christ’s commission the eternal verities of His throne, and the immutable attributes of His nature. If they can change, the new priesthood can change. Otherwise it cannot.”
It’s comforting knowing that our High Priest…the one who intercedes, prays and watches over our soul, does so for eternity. He never tires, never gets discouraged, bored or has better things to do…He is always there and always cares for us. Not only that…He is not given to corruption or the weakness of flesh. What a great High Priest we have in Jesus Christ!