The Book of Hebrews #25 chapter 7:15-19
The Book of Hebrews
Jesus: The Superior Priest
Hebrews 7:11-19
Last week we looked at verses 11-14 of chapter 7 where, in his discussion of Jesus being a superior priest, the author told his hearers the imperfection of the priesthood of Aaron to that of Melchizedek, and thus Jesus.
Tonight we’ll look at verses 15 to 19 where he continues by explaining the perfection of the superior priesthood.
And he goes about it in a very simple and yet beautiful way.  There are two ways it is superior.
The first is
- a superior priest
verses 15 to 17
Notice the phrase “far more evident”. In other words, the evidence, the logic is overwhelming that the Levitical priesthood is now obsolete. It's evident.
It's as evident as is the fact that Jesus came from Judah, which is also evident. Genesis 49:10 tells us Messiah would be from Judah. Even the genealogy of Jesus, if anybody wanted to check into it, supported that.  His parents went to Bethlehem to pay their taxes, which meant they were from the tribe of Judah.
Micah prophesied:  "Bethlehem, though thou be little among the sons of Judah, out of thee shall He come forth who is to be ruler over my people Israel."
So it was evident that Messiah would come from Judah. And because of that, the evidence supports that the whole Levitical system would be set aside and another priest, and actually priesthood like that of Melchizedek would come.
And while the levitical priesthood was temporary, the Priesthood of Christ was not temporary.  It was permanent. It was abiding. It was the fulfillment of prophecy.
So He says, "Don't cling to Judaism. In effect, it's defunct. We have a superior priest."
Let’s look at another important word in verse 15 and that is the word “another”.
In the Greek language, there are two words for another. One of those words means another of the same kind and one them means another of a different kind. And the one that is used has a great deal to do with the meaning of the sentence.
Let's assume that I wanted to get rid of TJ’s old Dodge pickup.  He’s got the car fever anyway.  So we take it down to the dealership and I tell old Rocky, “I want to trade this Dodge for another Dodge.”
That would be one of the words for another in the Greek.
But suppose I say, “This boy has made us so proud and done so well, we’re going to reward him by getting him another car.  But you know, we’re tired of having a Dodge.  We still want a truck, but we want to trade that old Dodge for a customized Hummer with all the bells and whistles”.   Why not? It's just an illustration, so why not live it up?
Now in that case, even though I'm trading a Dodge for a Hummer, it’s of the same type, but it’s an entirely different class of vehicle.
That’s the word used here. We do not have another priest just like the other ones. We have another one who can do what the other ones couldn't do. That's the point of the word “another”.
It is a very rich word showing the distinction between Christ and Aaronic priests. So another priest had to come, and it was evident that He did, not like Aaron, but a different kind of priest who could do what Aaron couldn't do.
Now, I want you to catch another word that is extremely important to the text and that is the word “arises”.
Now it’s kind of complicated, and I don’t understand it all myself, but just to put it in layman’s terms, the tense of the word that is used there in verse 15 means to “arise by myself”. No Aaronic priest could ever be referenced in that way.
Every other priest from the tribe of Levi arose by virtue of his mother and father, not of himself. It was all determined according to lineage and bloodline.
Therefore every other priest would priest would have to say, "I am a priest, not by myself, not because of what I’ve done or accomplished, but because I've inherited the right." Jesus said, "I just arose a priest by Myself."
And I find it extremely interesting that this very word “arise”  here in verse 15 is the same word used in Acts 2:32 to refer to the resurrection.
In other words, He not only arose Himself as priest, He raised Himself from the dead.  So when that little word says that there arises another priest, He arose and declared Himself a priest uniquely on His own character and He arose from the dead to establish that He indeed was a priest. What an exciting thing to get into the words and see what God is really saying.
So the priesthood is superior because it has a different priest. And while we’re passing by, let me just mention because verse 15 mentions it, He is in the likeness of Melchizedek.
Melchizedek is then a type of Christ, right? But someone could say, "Yeah, but so is Aaron a type of Christ." But understand this distinction.  A Biblical type doesn't have to be a type in every respect.
For example, a lamb in the Old Testament is a type of Christ. But that’s really only true in regard to that lamb being offered as a sacrifice.
Aaron is a type of Christ in his function. Melchizedek is a type of Christ in his person. Not all types have to be types in every respect.
So when we read that Christ arises as a priest in the likeness of Melchizedek, it is in regard to his person and lineage and character.
So Christ is presented as the superior priest.
Then the Holy Spirit goes further in describing Him in
verse 16
How did Aaron's priests get to be what they were? According to this verse, it is according to fleshly commandment.  The selection of priests under the Old Covenant was based on physical requirements.
It didn't matter what they were spiritually. To be a priest, you had to be a pure descendent of Aaron, and there were at least 142 physical blemishes that could disqualify you. Those were the only disqualifications. If you made it through as a physical specimen, it didn't matter what you were spiritually. You were in.
You can find some of those qualifications in Leviticus 21.  Now the ordination ceremony is found in Leviticus 8, and it was very specific.  First of all, the man who was being inducted into the priesthood was bathed in water to be ceremonially clean.  He was given a physical, outward bath.
He was then clothed in four priestly garments: the linen knee breeches, a long linen garment, the girdle, and the turban. He was then anointed with oil and dabbed with sacrificial blood on the tip of his right ear, his right thumb, and his right big toe.
Every part of the entire ceremony had to do with his physical body and once he had been ordained, he had to go through certain washings and anointings with oil and had his hair cut a certain way, and so forth and so on. It was all physical.
It had nothing to do with character, ability, personality, or holiness at all. Their whole ministry was physical. This subject will come up again in chapter 9, verse 13 where we are told that the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of an heifer were only sufficient to purify the flesh. The whole thing was physical.
But watch what happens at verse 16.
This other priest, who raised himself, did not come  according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life.
That's a different kind of priest, isn't it? Nothing to do with the physical body, but to do with eternal power. That's the kind of priest Jesus was.
In the case of the Levitical priesthood, no matter how ill-suited he was and reluctant to take the office, the law made a man a priest by his pedigree. It was outside compulsion.
But with Jesus, it was the inside compulsion of a life that couldn't dissolve, of an eternal kind of power. He was a priest by eternal power. He had an inward priesthood. Not a physical claim, but an eternal claim; and, thus, by His eternal power, He can do what no priest could ever do. He can give us access to God.
Verse 17
Here we come back to the example of Melchizedek.  Melchizedek wasn't a priest by any physical standard. He was a priest because of his character; and in that sense, he pictures Jesus Christ; and Jesus Christ can do what Aaron couldn't do. He takes us into the presence of God, and He anchors us there.
Now remember:  that is the goal of Christianity.  By Jesus we have access to God.  It’s not just about our comfort and peace and happiness.  It’s not even just about a relationship with Jesus Christ.  It is the privilege of having access to God.
Back up to 6:19 and see how that works.  Jesus has taken us into the veil and anchored us there. That's what the old priesthood could never do. But what Christ has provided for us has taken us into the presence of God by the power of an indestructible life and anchored us there eternally.
That's ultimate power.  Only Jesus could do that and that's what it means in 7:25, when it says, "Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for us."
He is the One who brings us to perfection. His priesthood based upon eternal power accomplishes access to God, and that is the theme of verses 18 and 19. This is the climax of the text. Aaron is replaced by Christ.
Verses 18-19
Now, the word “annulling” has to do with the doing away of something that is established. It is used, for example of annulling a treaty or a promise or a law or regulation or the erasing of a man's name from something. It has to do with removing what is established.
And what it means here is the all of the details of the whole sacrificial system.  The whole ceremonial system is wiped out. It is annulled. It is done away with. God wipes it out.  In fact, He wiped it out for good in 70 AD when He destroyed the temple.
The old system could reveal sin. It could cover sin. It could give a relative measure of drawing near to God, but not full perfection. It brought nothing to conclusion.
But on the other hand, we have the priesthood of Jesus Christ which provides a way for, not just Israel but all peoples to have access to God.
In a little while we’ll get to chapter 10, but I just want to jump ahead to verse 19 for a moment.
Hebrews 10:19-22
Let me leave you with a simple illustration: Let's say there's a young woman out there who’s gotten into debt over her head, and she’s plagued by all this debt and she wonders how she’s every going to handle it.  So far that’s not too hard to imagine is it?
But one day, a young man comes along and falls deeply in love with her and asks her to marry him.  In fairness and honesty, she confesses her debt.
But he says to her, "That's all right. I will pay all your debts. I love you that much."
So he gives her a ring, and they are engaged for six months or so, and all along, he keeps saying, "I'll pay your debts," and she keeps saying, "Oh, that's wonderful." And then she goes home and says, " He says he'll pay them, but I wonder if he really means it.”  It's nice to have a promise. But it’s a whole lot better to have your debts paid.
So she doesn't really have any peace, and she doesn't really have freedom of conscience. All she has at that point is a promise and hope.
But the day finally arrives and they get married and sure enough, true to his word, he pays all her debts.  And not only that, he reveals to her that he is infinitely wealthy beyond her wildest imagination.
And that’s not all, he gives her a joint checking account.  So now, not only have her debts been paid, but she dwells in the riches of the one she loves.
That is a simple, crude, but accurate illustration of  how much better it is to be in the new covenant than to be in the old where all you ever had was a promise and a hope.
On day, Jesus Christ, hanging on a cross said, “It is finished" and everything changed when promise became reality.  And for those of us living on this side of the cross, we dwell in the riches of the One who loves us. All of our debts are completely paid.
Let's pray
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