BEGINNING THE LAST SECTION OF CHAPTER 7. THE CONTEXT REMAINS THE SAME. Consequently, I was a little undecided how exactly to title this blog. Though I have chosen to title my weekly blogs individually – as this week as many times as possible directly from the Scripture in view – the general subject of Hebrews 7 could rightly be said to be “THE SUPERIOR PRIESTHOOD OF THE MELCHIZEDEKIAN PRIEST, JESUS CHRIST.” But as I read and read again the nine verses of the passage, in my understanding, they seem overridingly to be a continuation of the previous focus, which I titled “A Better Hope,” and which was a discussion of a better covenant. So, this week’s title seemed to me a fitting blending of the two closely connected passages.
“A BETTER COVENANT” IS THE NEW COVENANT.
“THE WRITER SEEMS TO BE GOING ROUND IN CIRCLES, FOR HE NOW QUOTES PSALM 110:4 FOR THE FOURTH TIME (previously in 5:6, 10 and 7:17). PERHAPS SO, BUT THE CIRCLES IN QUESTION ARE NOT THE AIMLESS WANDERINGS OF A TETHERED GOAT, BUT THE ROTATIONS OF A PENETRATING DRILL! THAT IS, AT EACH REPETITION OF HIS GREAT ‘PROOF TEXT’, THE WRITER UNCOVERS NEW LAYERS OF TRUTH AND PROVIDES US WITH NEW INSIGHTS INTO THE HIGH-PRIESTHOOD OF CHRIST.” – Andrews
NAS Psalm 110:4 The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind, “Thou art a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.”
OUR PASSAGE FOR THIS WEEK’S STUDY…
NAS Hebrews 7:20-28 And inasmuch as it was not without an oath 21 (for they indeed became priests without an oath, but He with an oath through the One who said to Him, “The Lord has sworn And will not change His mind, ‘Thou art a priest forever’ “); 22 so much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant. 23 And the former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers, because they were prevented by death from continuing, 24 but He, on the other hand, because He abides forever, holds His priesthood permanently. 25 Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. 26 For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins, and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. 28 For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.
“IN THIS PASSAGE WE DISCOVER THAT CHRIST IS THE SURETY (GUARANTEE – TAR) OF A BETTER COVENANT: that He an unchanging priesthood; that He ever lives to make intercession for His people; that He is able to save them to the uttermost; that He has become higher than the heavens; and He has been perfected forever.” – Andrews
“THESE VERSES PROVIDE A LAUNCHING PAD FOR THE THEOLOGICAL CLIMAX OF THE EPISTLE, WHICH IS REACHED IN CHAPTERS 8-10, AS THE EPISTLE PRESENTS A DEVASTATING COMPARISON BETWEEN THE OLD AND NEW ORDERS AND UNVEILS THE FULL GLORY OF THE NEW COVENANT.” – Ibid
“THE NEW COVENANT IS ‘A BETTER COVENANT.’
“WE SHALL SEE IN WHAT WAY IT IS ‘BETTER’ WHEN WE COME TO HEBREWS 8:7-13.
“THE WORD ‘BETTER’ SIGNIFIES ‘MORE SERVICEABLE, MORE ADVANTAGEOUS [AND] MORE EXCELLENT’. Although ‘better’ is a gentle word, lacking any superlative or triumphal overtone, it carries with it the strength of understatement.
“THE NEW COVENANT IS SO EVIDENTLY SUPERIOR TO THE OLD THAT THE WRITER SEES NO NEED FOR ‘HYPE’. SOME THINGS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES.” – Andrews
“HERE THE HOLY SPIRIT PRESENTS JESUS AS A SUPERIOR PRIEST THREE WAYS. HE IS THE GUARANTEE OF A BETTER COVENANT, THE ETERNAL SAVIOR, AND HOLY AND SINLESS.” – MacArthur
I ALWAYS APPRECIATE WHEN I COME ACROSS PARENTHESES. Parenthetical expressions, whether single words, particular points, or entire sections bring clarity.
“THIS PARAGRAPH CONTAINS A SOMEWHAT LENGTHY PARENTHESIS, CONSISTING OF VERSES 20b AND 21.” – Kent
“THE MAIN ASSERTION IS: TO THE DEGREE THAT NOT WITHOUT AN OATH… TO THE SAME DEGREE ALSO JESUS HAS BECOME THE GUARANTOR OF A BETTER COVENANT.” – Kent
“THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO PRIESTHOODS IS CONSIDERED FROM THE STANDPOINT OF THE TEMPORARY VERSUS THE PERMANENT. – Kent
FROM MY COMPUTER DICTIONARY, AN “OATH” IS A COMMITMENT TO TELL THE TRUTH (especially in a court of law); to lie under oath is to become subject to prosecution for perjury; a solemn promise, usually invoking a divine witness, regarding your future acts or behavior.
AN “OATH” IS A BEAUTIFUL WORD TO APPLY TO THE LORD JESUS GENERALLY, OF COURSE, BUT ESPECIALLY IN THE CONTEXT OF THE NEW COVENANT, IN WHICH INTEGRITY IS EVERYTHING. “In the case of the Levitical priests, no oath of God guaranteed their perpetual validity. God was the one who had given the Mosaic legislation, but in no Scripture is it recorded that God guaranteed by His oath the uninterrupted operation of the Aaronic order. Aaron and his sons were formally anointed for the exercise of their office, but God did not bind Himself with an oath that priesthood was established forever.
“CHRIST’S PRIESTHOOD WAS DIFFERENT. God not only established it, but did so with an oath to insure its perpetual validity. The fact of the oath is recorded in the same passage which revealed Christ’s priesthood (Psalm 110:4 [– quoted above – TAR]). GOD’S SIMPLE WORD IS SUFFICIENT TO INSURE TRUTHFULNESS, BUT THE ADDITION OF THE OATH PROVIDES ADDITION CONFIRMATION TO MEN.
“THE STATEMENT GOES ON TO EMPHASIZE THE PERMANENT CHARACTER OF GOD’S ANNOUNCEMENT, FOR IT MEANS THAT HE WILL NOT CHANGE HIS MIND. Thus the oath stressed the permanence of the new priesthood in contrast to the provisional or transitory nature of the old.
“TO THIS SAME DEGREE IS CHRIST SUPERIOR TO AARON. His priesthood has been established by an oath which guaranteed its operation forever. THOSE WHO LOOK TO CHRIST FIND IN HIM THEIR GUARANTOR THAT THE NEW AND BETTER COVENANT WILL BE MET IN ALL ITS PROVISIONS. A mediator of a covenant is the one who gets all the parties together and devises the terms of the agreement. A GUARANTOR IS ONE WHO ASSUMES
RESPONSIBILITY THAT THE OBLIGATIONS IMPOSED WILL BE CARRIED OUT.” – Kent
NAS Hebrews 8:6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.
NAS Hebrews 9:15 And for this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, in order that since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
NAS Hebrews 12:24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN KNOWING THE GREEK WORD USED IN THE TEXT FOR “GUARANTOR” (ἔγγυος [eng-gu-os]) IS ONLY FOUND ONCE IN SCRIPTURE. When this kind of thing occurs – when key words are used singularly, particularly in difficult and significant passages. When a word is used but once in a text, it is referred to as hapax legomenon. The term comes from ancient Greek and literally means “something said only once.”
HOW DO WE KNOW THE BIBLE IS SUPERNATURAL AND TRUE? THE SMARTEST, MOST POWERFUL, MOST RELIABLE PERSON THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN OR WILL EVER KNOW – THE “LIGHT OF THE WORLD” – HAS GUARANTEED IT IS SO!
“FOR WHOM DOES JESUS SERVE AS GUARANTOR? Does He guarantee to men that God will stand by His promises (since the covenant is basically that which God promises to man)? Or does HE act as guarantor to God for man by assuring that men will truly accept its provisions and ultimately enjoy its full blessings? Perhaps a choice need not be made inasmuch as both are true, and the unique character of this covenant and its guarantor transcend human analogy.
“F. F. BRUCE SUGGESTS: ‘BUT JESUS GUARANTEES THE PERPETUAL FULFILLMENT OF THE COVENANT WHICH HE MEDIATES, ON THE MANWARD SIDE AS WELL AS THE GODWARD SIDE. AS THE SON OF GOD, HE CONFIRMS GOD’S ETERNAL COVENANT WITH HIS PEOPLE; AS HIS PEOPLE’S REPRESENTATIVE, HE SATISFIES ITS TERMS WITH PERFECT ACCEPTANCE IN GOD’S SIGHT.” – Kent
WHAT EXACTLY IS A COVENANT? In next week’s blog I’ll share with you my answer; more importantly, I’ll give you a brief study on what I believe is the Bible’s answer.
– Professor Thomas A. Rohm