Hebrews 7:22-28 (NLT)
Jesus’ priesthood last forever
Because of this oath, Jesus is the one who guarantees this better covenant with God. 23 There were many priests under the old system, for death prevented them from remaining in office. 24 But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. 25 Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf. 26 He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven. 27 Unlike those other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins. 28 The law appointed high priests who were limited by human weakness. But after the law was given, God appointed his Son with an oath, and his Son has been made the perfect High Priest forever.
V22, It follows from this that Jesus is the surety of a better covenant. The Aaronic priesthood was a part of the Old Covenant. The priesthood of Christ is connected with the New covenant. Covenant and priesthood stand or fall together.
The New Covenant is an unconditional agreement of grace which God will make with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah when the Lord Jesus sets up His kingdom on earth (Jer. 31:33, 34). Believers today enjoy the blessings of the New Covenant.
Jesus is the surety of the New covenant in the sense that He Himself is the Guarantee. By His death, burial, and resurrection, He provided a righteous basis on which God can fulfill the terms of the covenant. His endless priesthood is also vitally linked with the unfailing fulfillment of the terms of the covenant.
V22, “Guarantor.” This renders a Greek word found only here in the New Testament. Jesus Himself, as the substance of what was promised and the possessor of indestructible resurrection life (v. 16), is the guarantee of a new and better covenant.
V23, We now come to the third and final argument concerning the superiority of the Melchizedekan priesthood. The priests of Israel were many. It is said that there were eighty-four high priests in the history of the nation, and of course, there were innumerable lesser priests. The office periodically changed hands because of the death of the incumbents. The ministry suffered from these inevitable interruptions.
V24, In the case of Christ’s priesthood, there is no such failure because He lives forever. His priesthood is never passed on to anyone else, and there is no interruption to its effectiveness. It is unchangeable and intransmissible.
V25, Because He lives forever He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God by Him. We generally understand this to refer to His work in saving sinners from the penalty of sin, but actually the writer is speaking of Christ’s work in saving saints from the power of sin. It is not so much His role as Savior as that of High Priest. There is no danger that any believers will be lost. Their eternal security rests on His perpetual intercession for them. He is also able to save them for all time because His present ministry for them at God’s right hand can never be interrupted by death.
V25, Christ is … able to save because He is fully God and fully human (2:18; 4:15). Since this verse speaks of Jesus’ present intercession for us, the word save in this verse speaks of our sanctification, the continuing process by which we are freed from the power of sin. This continuing process of salvation will eventually be completed in our glorification, when we are saved from the presence of sin. The word uttermost may speak of this glorification, this “complete” or “whole” salvation. come: The Greek verb for come is in the present tense. Therefore the word indicates that Jesus continues to save those who keep coming to Him. Our justification is a once-for-all event accomplished on the Cross, but our sanctification is a continuing process.
V26, Christ’s priesthood is superior to Aaron’s because of His personal excellence. He is holy in His standing before God. He is harmless or guileless in His dealings with men. He is undefiled in His personal character. He is separate from sinners in His life at God’s right hand. He has become higher than the heavens in His present and eternal splendor. It is fitting for us to have such a High Priest.
V27, Unlike the Levitical priests, our High Priest does not need to offer sacrifices daily; this He did once for all. He does not need to offer for His own sins because He is absolutely sinless. A third amazing way in which He differs from the former priests is that He offered up Himself for the sins of the people. The Priest gave Himself as the sacrifice. Wonderful, matchless grace of Jesus!
V28, The law sets up priests who are personally imperfect; they are characterized by weakness and failure; they are only ritually holy.
God’s oath, given after the law, appoints the Son as a Priest who has been perfected forever. This oath was referred to in verse 21 of this chapter and quoted from Psalm 110:4.
There are momentous implications in the material we have just covered. Human priesthood has been superseded by a divine and eternal priesthood. How foolish, then, for men to set up priestly systems patterned after the OT and to intrude upon the functions of our great High Priest!