The priestly order of Melchizedek and a new covenant – Hebrews #4

The priestly order of Melchizedek and a new covenant

Hebrews 7:1-28; 8:1-13


         To be a priest you would have had to meet very specific requirements, first of which was that you had to be a Levite (a descendant of Aaron). Lev. 21:1-24

         If you met these physical requirements and you were a descendant of Aaron, then you were a priest.  But, they were still sinners.

         The Law and the priests could not stop people from continuing in sin, not even the priests could stop sinning, and they kept dying.

         The Old Covenant was good, but not perfect because people are sinners.  Its purpose was to reveal sin, not defeat it, or bring eternal salvation.  (Deut. 30:11-15 sounds very new convenant-ish).

         So a different kind of priest was needed, and a new covenant was needed that could address these problems of sin and death. 

I)                   The priesthood of Melchizedek (7:1-10)

a.      Melchizedek’s attributes (1-4)

                                                               i.      King of Salem, priest of the Most High God (1)

1.      Blessed Abraham

                                                             ii.      Melchizedek = “king of righteousness” king of Salem = king of peace (2)

1.      Abraham tithed to him

                                                            iii.      No record of family, birth, or death (3)

1.      The author is making a point that Melchizedek is similar in certain ways to Jesus, because there is no record of these things the author is able to give Melchizedek as an example of the kind of priest that Jesus is, Melchizedek resembles some of Jesus’ attributes.

2.      A priest continually – Ps. 110:4

                                                           iv.      Abraham gave him a tenth of the best stuff (4)

b.      The order of Melchizedek is greater than the priestly order of Aaron (5-10)

                                                               i.      The Law commands that the priests receive tithes from Abraham’s descendants (5)

                                                             ii.      Melchizedek was not an Aaronic priest (6-7)

1.      Abraham tithed to him and was blessed by him (6)

2.      Melchizedek is greater than Abraham (7)

                                                            iii.      In this case mortal men receive tithes = Aaronic priests from Abraham’s seed; in that case = Melchizedek a priest forever (8) Ps. 110:9

                                                           iv.      Levi paid tithes to Melchizedek through Abraham (9-10)

1.      He was inside of Abraham (a descendant)

2.      All priests come from the tribe of Levi

II)                 A new priest needed (7:11-22)

a.      Based on spiritual requirements not physical lineage (11-17)

                                                               i.      The Aaronic priesthood and O.C. Law couldn’t impart salvation, so a priest like Melchizedek came = Jesus (11)

                                                             ii.      The Law had to be fulfilled because if it were still in place, then Jesus is not allowed to be a priest (12-14)

1.      Only Levites were allowed to be priests

                                                            iii.      Jesus became a priest after the order of Melchizedek because He lives forever (15-17)

1.      He will never die like the Levites do (16b)

2.      Jesus is a priest forever (17)

b.      Appointed by God the Father (18-22)

                                                               i.      Jesus brings a better hope and covenant (18-19)

1.      The Law was only physical, it could not change the hearts of people or save them (18)

2.      We can draw near to God the Father through Jesus (19)

                                                             ii.      God the Father declared that God the Son is a priest forever (20-21)

1.      The Levites become priests based on lineage

2.      Jesus was chosen because of who He is

                                                            iii.      Jesus is the guarantee of a better covenant (22)

1.      (Grk. Diatheke  = covenant – a one sided promise involving the death of the testator, it is a promise not an agreement, no one can annul it

2.      The guarantee – one who sees that he obligations of the covenant are carried out

III)              The priesthood of Jesus (7:23-28; 8:1-6)

a.      A perfect priest (23-28)

                                                               i.      Levites die, but Jesus lives forever (23-24)

                                                             ii.      Jesus saves forever (completely) those that know Him as Lord and Savior (25)

1.      He always is interceding (1 Jn. 2:1-2)

a.       The Levites can’t because they die

                                                            iii.      Jesus is sinless (26-27)

1.      Holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners (physically in contact with them, but still didn’t sin), exalted above the heavens (God in the flesh) (26)

2.      Jesus only had to sacrifice once (27)

b.      A priest in heaven (8:1-6)

                                                               i.      In the heavenly tabernacle (1-2)

1.      At the right hand of God the Father in heaven (1)

2.      Jesus abides in God’s heavenly tabernacle not man’s

                                                             ii.      The priest’s bring offerings (3)

1.      Levites continually bring

2.      Jesus did it once

                                                            iii.      Jesus would not be a priest if He were on earth (4-5)

1.      Levites offer things according to the Law (4)

2.      The earthly tabernacle, which is just a shadow (copy) of the one that is in heaven (5)

                                                           iv.      Better ministry – than Moses, better covenant – than the Law, better promises – eternal life

IV)              A new covenant needed (8:7-13)

a.      The people sin (7-9)

                                                               i.      The Law has no power to stop them or help them (7)

                                                             ii.      God promised a new covenant (8)

                                                            iii.      It will be different than the old one (9)

b.      A spiritual covenant not physical (10-12)

                                                               i.      Internalized on their minds and hearts (10)

1.      He will be their God

                                                             ii.      Many people will know the Lord, not just those that are physically descended from Abraham

1.      It is a spiritual covenant, not a physical one

c.      The Old Covenant is fulfilled (13)

                                                               i.      Because the first had no power to forgive or defeat sin, a new covenant is in effect

                                                             ii.      The old is fulfilled by Christ, and no longer in effect for believers (but still in effect for unbelievers)


I)                   The priesthood of Melchizedek

II)                A new priest needed

III)              The priesthood of Jesus

IV)             A new covenant needed

         We see that Jesus became a high priest based on who He is spiritually and because of His eternal existence.  He did not become an Aaronic priest, but a priest after the order of Melchizedek.  He is holy and He lives forever, making Him a perfect high priest.

         Jesus is in the heavenly tabernacle and He only had to offer Himself once.  Since He has offered the perfect sacrifice in Himself (His own sinless body), and He now is in heaven at the right hand of God the Father (an expression of authority).  He is able to save forever those that accept Him as Lord and Savior.

         Are you willing to trust Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior today?



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