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THE PRIESTHOOD OF MELCHISEDEC

Hebrews 7:25-26

Victor M. Eskew

 

IV.    THE ANTITHESIS BETWEEN THE PRIESTHOODS (Heb. 7:18-28)

 

A.  The Law versus The Better Hope (Heb. 7:18-19)

 

B.   With an Oath versus Without an Oath (Heb. 7:20-22)

 

C.  Many Priests (death) versus One Priest (ever liveth) (Heb. 7:23-25)

1.    Continually changing (Heb. 7:23)

2.    Continueth ever (Heb. 7:24)

3.    Conclusion of great importance (Heb. 7:25)

 

Wherefore he is able to save them to the uttermost that come to God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

 

a.    Jesus’ ability:  “He is able to save them to the uttermost.”

1)     Three definitions:

a)    Is able

-       Strong (1410):  dunama     to be able or possible

-       Thayer:  to be able, have power by virtue of one’s own ability…to be capable, strong and powerful

b)    Save

-       Strong (4982):  to save, deliver, protect

-       Thayer:  to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction

c)    Uttermost

-       Strong (3838):  full ended, entire

-       Thayer:  all complete, perfectly, utterly

2)    Comments

a)    “He does not begin the work of salvation, and then relinquish it by reason of death” (Barnes, e-sword).

b)    Uttermost:  “…to all intents, degrees, and purposes; and always, and in and through all times, places, and circumstances” (Clarke, e-sword).

b.    The assignee:  “them…that come to God by him”

1)     Jesus does not save all men.

2)    The saved are the ones that come to Him (Matt. 11:28).

3)     LESSON:  Each man plays a role in his salvation.  He must choose to come to God through Jesus Christ.

a)    “Come unto me all ye that labour” (Matt. 11:28).

b)    “Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me” (John 6:45).

c)    “Save yourselves from this untoward generation” (Acts 2:40).

c.    Jesus’ assistance:  “…seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”

1)     Intercession

a)    Strong (1793):  to chance upon, that is, confer with; by extension to entreat in favor.

b)    Thayer:  to light upon a person or thing, fall in with, to pray, entreat, make intercession for any one.

2)    This intercession reference probably looks back upon the Day of Atonement in the Old Testament.  On that day the high priest interceded on behalf of the people by sprinkling the blood of animals in the most holy place (Exo. 30:10; Lev. 16:18, 29-30; Lev. 23:27).

3)     The death of the high priest would involve a change in the one who made intercession from time to time.

4)     In contrast, Jesus ever lives to make intercession for the people.

a)    Later, we will see that He only made one sacrifice in opposition to many sacrifices made by the priests under the law.

b)    However, He is in the holy of holies now and advocates for us continually based upon the blood that He shed.  He has been doing this for almost 2000 years.  This will never change.

c)    See #482, “O Listen to Our Wondrous Story,” Praise for the Lord

 

D.  Undefiled versus Infirmities (Heb. 7:26-28)

1.    Sinlessness of Jesus (Heb. 7:26)

 

For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.

 

a.    In this verse, the writer begins the fourth contrast between the Levitical priesthood and the priesthood after the order of Melchizedek.

b.    For this priesthood to function properly and accomplish the things necessary for man, certain things were essential.

1)     One of those things were the perfection of the high priest.

2)    “For such an high priest became us.”  The word “became” means “to be suitable, right, and fit.”

3)     “The Christian religion is suited to our condition; Heb_7:26-27. It has just such a High Priest as we need - holy, harmless, undefiled. Just such an atonement has been made as is necessary - ample, rich, full, and not needing to be made again. It reveals just such truth as we want - that respecting the immortality of the soul, and the glorious state of the redeemed beyond the grave. It imparts just such consolation as is suited to our condition - pure, rich, unfailing, elevating. It reconciles us to God just as it should be done - in such a way that God can be honored, and the purity and dignity of his Law maintained. It is the religion adapted to dying, ignorant, sinful, wretched man. No other system so much consults the true dignity of our nature, and the honor of God; no one diffuses such consolations through the life that is, or fills with such hopes in regard to the life to come” (Barnes, e-sword).

c.    Five descriptions of Jesus:

1)     Holy

a)    Definition

-       Strong (3741):  right (by intrinsic or divine character

-       Thayer:  religiously observing every moral obligation

b)    Comments:

-       In Acts 13:35, Jesus is described as “thine Holy One.

-       Jesus’ holiness is not merely in outward demonstration, but pure from within

2)    Harmless

a)    Definition

-       Strong (172):  not bad, innocent, unsuspecting

-       Thayer:  without guile or fraud, free from guilt

-       Robertson:  guileless, without malice

-       Vincent:  free from malice and craft

b)    Comments

-       “…injuring none, but rather living for the benefit of others” (Clarke, e-sword).

-       “Not injuring anyone.  To no one did He do wrong.  Neither to their name, person, or property, did He ever do injury; not will He ever,.  He is the only one on earth of whom it could be said that he never, in any way, did wrong to another” (Barnes, e-sword).

3)     Undefiled

a)    Definition

-       Strong (283):  unsoiled, pure

-       Thayer:  not defiled, unsoiled

-       Robertson:  untainted, real ethical cleanness

-       Clarke:  without blemish

b)    There was not one blot of sin in Jesus’ life (I Pet. 2:22).

 

Who did no sin…

 

4)     Separate from sinners

a)    Definition

-       Strong (5563):  to place room between

-       Thayer:  to separate, divide, part…separate one’s self rom

b)    Comments

-       Jesus “did not partake of their feelings, plans, pleasures” (Barnes, e-sword).

-       “He has ascended into the heavens where He can no longer be touched or tempted by sinners” (Wacaster, 278).

5)     Made higher than the heavens

a)    The high priest of the Old Testament served on earth.  Jesus serves in the heavens, sitting on the right hand of God.

b)    He is more exalted than any being, whether thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers.

c)    Matthew 28:18

 

And Jesus came and spake unto them saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

 

d.   But how was a person of such infinite dignity suitable to us! His greatness is put in opposition to our meanness. He was holy; We, unholy. He was harmless; We, harmful, injuring both ourselves and others. He was undefiled; We, defiled, most sinfully spotted and impure. He was separate from sinners; We were joined to sinners, companions of the vile, the worthless, the profane, and the wicked. He was higher than the heavens; We, baser and lower than the earth, totally unworthy to be called the creatures of God” (Clarke, e-sword).