OUR PASSAGE FOR THE NEXT FEW WEEK’S STUDY FROM HEBREWS 7 WILL BE VERSES 11-19. THIS WEEK WE WILL EXAMINE V. 12…
NAS Hebrews 7:11-19 Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the Law), what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be designated according to the order of Aaron? For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also. For the one concerning whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no one has officiated at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests. And this is clearer still, if another priest arises according to the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become such not on the basis of a law of physical requirement, but according to the power of an indestructible life. For it is witnessed of Him, “Thou art a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.” For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.
ANDREWS TITLES HEBREWS 7:11-19 “AN ENDLESS LIFE,” REFERRING OF COURSE, TO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, THE MELCHIZEDEKIAN PRIEST. HE WRITES, INTRODUCING THIS PASSAGE, “The Writer begins to tighten his argument. In this important passage he shows that there is an indissoluble link between a priestly order and the law (or covenant) over which it presides. His main propositions are, firstly, that Jesus Christ has inaugurated a new priesthood; secondly, that a new priest necessitates a new law; and thirdly, that Christ’s high-priesthood can have nothing to do with the law of Moses (the old covenant) but must presage a new and better hope…
ESV Hebrews 8:6 But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is 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.
“THE HEBREWS WERE LIVING IN A TWILIGHT WORLD IN WHICH THEY WERE SEEKING TO GRAFT THE NEW COVENANT IN CHRIST ONTO THE MOSAIC COVENANT. THEY BELIEVED IN CHRIST, BUT CLUNG TO THE LAW, FEARFUL OF ABANDONING WHAT WAS FAMILIAR AND COMFORTING.”
THAT, IN MY VIEW, IS A BRIEF BUT ACCURATE COMPOSITE VIEW OF MUCH OF THE BOOK OF HEBREWS AND THE PROMINENT REASON WHY THE BOOK WAS WRITTEN.
AFTER HIS INSIGHTFUL COMMENT, ANDREWS CONTINUES HIS INTRODUCTION TO HEBREWS 7:11-19…
“BUT, INSISTS THE WRITER, WE CANNOT LIVE UNDER TWO COVENANTS OR FOLLOW TWO LAWS. We cannot mingle the old and the new. The very fact that Christ has been appointed a priest according to the priestly order of Melchizedek, and not that of Aaron, demonstrates that there has been a change of priesthood and, therefore, a change of law or covenant. ‘SO CLOSELY WAS [THE LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD] CONNECTED WITH THE LAW,’ SAYS HAWEL JONES, ‘THAT THERE COULD NOT BE ANY CHANGE IN IT WITHOUT THE BEING AFFECTED.”’
“CHANGE” IS THE GREEK WORD μετατίθημι (me-ta-teeth-a-mi). THE WORD MEANS, ACCORDING TO BDAG, THE ESTEEMED GREEK LEXICON, SIMPLY 1. to convey from one place to another, put in another place, transfer. 2. to effect a change in state or condition, change, alter.
MACARTHUR HAS THIS IMPORTANT THEOLOGICAL NOTE ABOUT “CHANGE” IN V. 12…
“CHRISTIANITY NOT MERELY ENHANCED JUDAISM; IT REPLACES JUDAISM. For a Jewish convert, his faith changed from Judaism to Christianity. The new priesthood, after the order of Melchizedek, was not added to Aaron’s but replaced it. AARON’S PRIESTHOOD NOW HAS NO VALIDITY AT ALL, NOT EVEN AS A PICTURE OF SALVATION OR AS A TEMPORARY COVERING OF SIN. IT IS DEFUNCT, TOTALLY ABROGATED.”
“BECAUSE THE AARONIC PRIESTHOOD AND THE MOSAIC LAW WERE SO CLOSELY TIED TO ONE ANOTHER, A CHANGED (REPLACED) PRIESTHOOD ALSO MEANT A CHANGED LAW.
“IS THE LAW OF GOD, THEREFORE, ALSO DONE AWAY WITH? IT IS IN A CERTAIN WAY AND SENSE.
“THE WORD ‘LAW’ HAS SEVERAL MEANINGS IN SCRIPTURE. In its broadest sense, it refers to the whole Old Testament, the Old Covenant. It can also mean the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments. It can also signify the required rituals and ceremonies of the Old Covenant. Since they were commanded of Israel by God, they were part of His law for them. I (John MacArthur) believe that is clearly what is meant here. The Holy Spirit is saying that, IF THE OLD PRIESTHOOD IS DEFUNCT, SO IS ALL LAW THAT PERTAINS TO IT.
“GOD’S MORAL LAW, HOWEVER, REFLECTED NOT ONLY IN THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, BUT THROUGHOUT THE OLD TESTAMENT, IS PART OF HIS VERY NATURE, AND THEREFORE CANNOT POSSIBLY CHANGE.
“IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, GOD’S STANDARDS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS FOR HIS PEOPLE ARE REAFFIRMED, NOT DECREASED – MUCH LESS DONE AWAY WITH.
“FAR FROM SETTING ASIDE HIS MORAL LAW IN THE NEW COVENANT, HE HAS STRENGTHENED IT AS FAR STANDARDS FOR HIS PEOPLE ARE CONCERNED. THE NEW TESTAMENT DEMANDS A GREATER JUDGMENT ON DISOBEDIENCE.
NAS Acts 17:30 “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, 31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”
“BUT THE CEREMONIAL LAW, THE AARONIC SYSTEM OF SACRIFIES, HAS BEEN SET ASIDE. ‘You don’t need to trek to the Temple all the time,’ the Jews are told. ‘That’s done with; it’s over; it’s been replaced – permanently.’ Some who had come to Christ, and many who were thinking of coming were still worshiping at the Temple, still hanging on to the ritual of the old system. Setting this aside was extremely difficult for many Jews to do and the reasons for doing so were extremely hard to grasp. Some believing Jews, in fact, not only insisted on maintaining their own Jewish practices, but on making them mandatory for everyone who wanted to become a Christian. These people were called Judaizers, and they were a plague to the early church for many years. They told prospective believers, and even non-Jewish Christians, that they needed to be circumcised and have sacrifices made in the Temple and follow all the prescribed Jewish laws and rituals. It was this Judaizing of Christianity that Paul opposed so strongly in several of his letters, especially Galatians…
NAS Galatians 3:1 You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?
NAS Galatians 3:3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?
NAS Galatians 4:9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?
NAS Galatians 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.
“EVEN BEFORE THE NEW COVENANT WAS FINALIZED BY JESUS’ CRUCIFIXION AND RESURRECTION, GOD ILLUSTRATED THAT THE OLD HAD PASSED.
“THE COVENANT REPRESENTED BY MOSES AND ELIJAH WAS GONE…
NAS John 4:21-24 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall you worship the Father. 22 “You worship that which you do not know; we worship that which we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
“SO THE WHOLE JUDAISTIC SYSTEM WAS CHANGED – NOT JUST CHANGED, BUT EXCHANGED – FOR A NEW ORDER, A NEW PRIEST, A NEW SACRIFICE, AN ENTIRELY NEW COVENANT.” – MacArthur
– Professor Thomas A. Rohm