Friday, December 18, 2009

Hebrews 7: Remain Confident In Christ

Theme: Remain Confident in Christ

2) Because He is a better Priest (4:14 - 10:39)

A) Priest of a better order [Melchizedekian] (7)

The Hebrew believers to whom this letter was apparently written, were in danger of dropping faith in Christ, and again putting their faith in the Aaronic priesthood of the OT. To keep them confident in Christ's priesthood, chapter seven presses on to deeper spiritual truths, showing why Christ is priest of a better order (Melchizedekian) than Aaron. 

Jesus preached from "all" the OT Scriptures the things regarding Himself (Lk. 24:27). He warned the Scribes and Pharisees that the OT Bible they searched in hope of eternal life pointed to Him (Jn. 5:39). Paul also used the OT to convince Jewish people that Jesus is the Christ (Ac. 17:1-4). 

As such, the account of Melchizedek (Gen. 14:17-24), although historical, is also a picture which reveals spiritual truths about Christ. There are several reasons why Christ, after the order of Melchizedek, is a superior priest.

1) Because Abraham paid tithes to him (2-10). 

Since Levi was in his loins at the time, the Levitical and Aaronic priesthood demonstrated Melchizedek was a superior order of priest by paying tithes to him through Abraham.

2) Because He is a King priest (2b). 

Melchizedek's name means king of righteousness and king of peace. Christ fulfills this type as He is a priest who is also king of righteousness and peace (Ps. 45:6-7; 72:1-7; Isa. 9:6-7; Jer. 23:5-6Jer. 33:16; Rom. 3:26; Eph. 2:14-18).

3) Because He is an eternal priest (3, 23-25). 

The Levitical, Aaronic priesthood was weak in that it consisted of men who died. By contrast, there is no record of Melchizedek's genealogy. As such, we are not able to trace his beginning or ending, and he pictures an eternal priest. This type is realized in Christ who holds His priesthood permanently, by the "power of an indestructible life". He is therefore able "to save forever those who draw near to God through Him" (25). 

4) Because He is priest of a new covenant (11-22). In Psalm

110:4, God indicates He will institute a king priest forever, "according to the order of Melchizedek". The kingly line came through Judah, rather than Levi, and thus God introduces a new order of priesthood to that of the OT system. 

5) Because He was sworn in by God (20-22). 

Levitical priests were not sworn into office by an oath of God. In Psalm 110:4, however, God takes an oath that He will install Messiah as an eternal king-priest. This makes Christ the "guarantee of a better covenant" (NAS) to that of the OT priesthood. 

6) Because He is a sinless priest (26-28). 

OT priests were sinners, had to offer sacrifices for their own sins, and had to repeatedly offer sacrifices for the sins of the people they represented before God. Christ, on the other hand, was  
sinless. This qualified Him to make a single sacrifice of Himself as a once for all atonement for the sins of His people. More is said about this later.

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