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Hebrews 7:11-17

Victor M. Eskew




A.  The Challenge (Heb. 7:11)

1.    The writer of Hebrews begins this section by challenging his readers with a question.


If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?


2.    NOTE:  The Jew had to deal with the priesthood of Melchisedek.

a.    Melchisedec himself had a priesthood four hundred twenty-two (422) years before the Law of Moses was given.

b.    David prophesied that another priest would arise “after the order of Melchisedec” four hundred seventy-six (476) years after the law was given.

3.    The question asked centers upon the word “perfection.”

a.    Definition

1)     Strong (5050):  a completion…expiation, absolution

2)    Thayer:  a completing, a perfecting

3)     Clarke:  to leave nothing imperfect, and nothing wanting

b.    The bringing of perfection meant especially the “pardoning of offense, purging the conscience from guilt, and purifying the soul and preparing it for heaven” (Clarke, e-sword).

4.    If the Levitical system could bring perfection, “what further need was there” for another priest to arise after the order of Melchisedec?

a.    If something does the job, why would something else be needed?

b.    There would be no want, no occasion, no demand, no requirement for something else.

5.    If the Jew were honest, he would have to admit that the Levitical system did not bring perfection.

a.    Animal blood could not cleanse human sin.

b.    Offerings for sin were made over and over and over.

c.    The Jews were reminded of their past sins every year.

6.    The fact is that a new priesthood was needed! 

a.    One was needed to bring perfection.

b.    That priesthood has been shown to them in the days of Abraham and was prophesied by David.

c.    It was made a reality in Jesus Christ.


B.   The Change (Heb. 7:12-17)

1.    The essential change (Heb. 7:12)


For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.


a.    Necessity

1)     Strong (318):  constraint

2)    Thayer:  necessity, imposed…by the circumstances

b.    What had to change if the priesthood changed?  The law

1)     Priesthood and law are linked together (See Heb. 7:11).


…(for under it (Levitical priesthood) the people received the law (of Moses).


2)    If the priesthood of Melchisedec was now the authorized priesthood, the law “of necessity” had to change.

2.    The evidence of the change (Heb. 7:13-17)

a.    Unauthorized tribe (Heb. 7:13-14)


For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe of which no man gave attendance at the altar.  For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.


1)     Jesus was the priest serving after the order of Melchisedec.

2)    He was of the tribe of Judah (Matt. 1:1-1)


The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.  Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren.


3)     If the law were still in effect, Jesus could not be a priest.

a)    Pertaineth to another tribe

b)    It is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda

4)     He could not be a priest because “Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood” relative to the tribe of Judah.

a)    He spake nothing

-       He did not say that Judah could be a priest.

-       He did not say that Judah could not be a priest.

b)    He did speak concerning the Levites (Num. 3:5-10).

c)    LESSON:  How God authorizes:

-       That which God has spoken in included.

-       Everything else is excluded.

·         Singing in worship (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16)

·         Unleavened bread and fruit of the vine on the Lord’s Table (Matt. 26:26-29).

b.    Unending life (Heb. 7:15-17)

1)     The similitude of Melchisedec (Heb. 7:15-16)


And it is yet far more evident:  for that after the similitude of Melchisedec, there ariseth another priest, who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.


a)    Similitude

-       Strong (3665):  resemblance

-       Thayer:  likeness

b)    Melchisedec was a priest “without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life” (Heb. 7:3).

c)    Jesus was like Melchisedec.  He rose from the dead and now lives forever.

d)    NOTE:  The writer contrasts this with the Levites who are made priests “after the law of a carnal commandment.”

2)    The substantiation (Heb. 7:17)


For he testifieth, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec.


a)    God specifically declared Jesus was a priest after the order of Melchisedec.

b)    He did this through the pen of David (Ps. 110:4).