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THE PRIESTHOOD OF MELCHISEDEC
Victor M. Eskew
IV. THE ANTITHESIS BETWEEN THE PRIESTHOODS (Heb. 7:18-28)
A. The Law versus The Better Hope (Heb. 7:18-19).
1. The Law (Heb. 7:18-19a)
For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. For the law made nothing perfect…
a. The law was responsible for the Levitical priesthood.
b. It is referred to in this passage as “the commandment going before.”
1) The law contained the commandments before the cross of Christ
2) The commandments after the cross of Christ are found in the New Law (John 14:15, 21; 15:10; I John 2:3-4; 3:24).
c. The law was disannulled. “For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before…”
a) Strong (115): cancellation
b) Thayer: abolition, disannulling, put away, rejection
c) Vine: a setting aside, abolition
d) Robertson: common in the papyri in a legal sense of making void
e) Vincent: the fundamental idea is the doing away of something that is established
f) Clarke: There is a total abrogation.
2) This passage plainly teaches us that the Law of Moses has been cancelled, abolished, rejected, set aside, annulled, made void.
a) Argument: Barnes says that this relates to “the office of the priest or the ceremonial rites in general. This does not refer to the moral law…” (Barnes, e-sword).
- Nowhere, NOWHERE, does the Bible distinguish between the ceremonial law and the moral law. This is a separation made in the mind of man.
- See Romans 7:7
What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
+ Paul is writing about the Law of Moses.
+ He quotes the law as saying: “Thou shalt not covet.”
+ This is the 10th commandment of the Ten Commandments. It is part of the Law.
+ If the Law of Moses has been disannulled, the Ten Commandments have been disannulled.
d. The Question: Why was the Law of Moses disannulled? The answer to this is because of the quality of the law.
1) The writer says that it was weak.
- Strong (772): strengthless :- more feeble, impotent, sick, without strength, weak
- Thayer: weak, infirm, feeble
- Vine: weak, without strength
b) Galatians 4:9
But now after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage.
c) The Law of Moses did not have the power to save man.
2) The writer also says that the Law was unprofitable.
- Strong (512): useless, inutility
- Thayer: unprofitable, useless
- Vine: not beneficial or serviceable
b) This is a difficult thought for some to accept.
- Note: The law was not sinful, and, the law was not wrong (See Rom. 7:7)
What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid…
- What made it weak and unprofitable? Man who did not keep the law as it should have been kept.
+ Romans 8:3
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh…
+ Hebrews 8:7-8a
For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith…
e. The law’s inability. Once man had sinned, the law could not make a man perfect (Heb. 7:19a).
For the law made nothing perfect…
1) Notice that the writer now refers to “the law.” “The law” is synonymous with the words “the commandment going before” in the previous verse.
2) Two definitions:
- Strong (3762): not even one, that is, none, nobody, nothing
- Thayer: no one, nothing
- Vine: no one
- Strong (5048): complete
- Thayer: to make perfect, complete
- Vine: to bring to an end by completing or perfecting
- “Keep in mind that the word ‘perfect’ is used by the Hebrew writer to refer to forgiveness, and consequently association with God” (Wacaster, 268).
a) The Law was perfect for what it was intended, but it could not make anything perfect.
b) “It did not expiate guilt; it did not give peace to the conscience; it did not produce perfection…” (Barnes).
B. The Better Hope (Heb. 7:19b)
…but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
1. The words, “better hope,” have reference to all that is contained in the New Testament. Remember, the priesthood after the order of Melchizedek is associated with this covenant.
2. The bringing in of a better hope did make things perfect. It did that which the Old Law could not do.
a. The New Testament is able to bring the forgiveness of sins to man through the blood of Jesus Christ.
b. This forgiveness is received immediately.
c. A sin forgiven never has to be forgiven again.
3. Because of the forgiveness we receive within the New Covenant, we can “draw nigh unto God.”
a. Under the Old Law, only the high priest could enter into the presence of God once a year.
1) The high priest acted as the representative for the people (Lev. 16:15-17).
2) The whole congregation of Israel was kept at a distance from God.
b. Christians can draw nigh unto God, enter into His presence, at any time.
1) Ephesians 2:18
For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
2) Ephesians 3:12
In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
3) Hebrews 10:19-22
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the vail, that is to say, his flesh. And having a high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith; having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.