Through the Book of Hebrews—Exploration and Discussion 7:11-28
Christ’s Priesthood vs. Levitical Priesthood
v. 11 “perfection” “…means the condition in which men [mankind] are acceptable to God” (Morris, 1981). Perfection in this context refers to “access to God” (10:14).
What is meant by “for on the basis of it the law was given to the people” The law demanded perfection. And, the goal of the Aaronic priesthood and Mosaic law were to bring men to God.
Is it our hearts desire to be close to God? Do we experience God without a doubt that He is our heavenly Father and Jesus is our brother and Savior? Do we see change/growth in our relationship to God through our Lord Jesus over time?
Will God allow circumstances to dictate necessary change in us? And, do I see God working through life events to bring us closer to and more dependent on Him?
However, neither sacrifice nor the law that demanded such offerings could provide perfection. The priesthood and sacrifices could only typify reconcilation because these acts, required by the law, only typify cleansing of sin.
This process was imperfect and could not grant access to God apart from the priesthood of Christ (v. 19). Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father, but through Me” (Jn 14:6).
Why was there still need for another priest to come…? Remember Psalm 110:4 was spoken well after the law was established through Moses.
4 The LORD has sworn
and will not change his mind:
“You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.”
This showed that the priests of the line of Aaron could not accomplish what God ultimately required.
The levitical priesthood has been replaced by a more superior priesthood in the likeness of Melchizedek! We are perfected (access to our most Holy God) through Christ’s sacrifice and “in Christ” have full access to God.
v. 12 Why is there a change of the law? Again, a change from the levitical priesthood to the likeness of Melchizedek (Jesus) brings about consequent changes. The old system (Aaron/Levitical) is inadequate and the new covenant allows us to be acceptable before our holy God. Pett writes,
Something greater has taken over. The way of the Law has been replaced by the way of the High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. And this is the way of the promises given to Abraham.
v. 13 What tribe is the writer referring? (v. 14) What is the point in saying “no one from that tribe has ever served at the alter?”
The priesthood in the likeness of Melchizedek was before and supersedes the sacrificial system. Only the levitical priesthood offered sacrifices, but in the new covenant “the alter” does not matter, it was temporary and now void.
The alter we need to be at today is spiritual, where we sacrifice our “self” and our sinful nature everyday! How often do we understand this necessity in a given day? week?
I’d say it is critically important for us to understand the origins of this concept (sacrifice) and how it is relevant for our maturity as radical disciples of Christ.
Are you a radical disciple? What would others say about you “in Christ?”
Is the love of Christ the driving force in your life?
How easy is it for me to blend with the world?
What hinders me from speaking out and identifying with Christ in every context?
Can we help eachother be stronger and more open about who we are in Christ? Are you willing?
What did Jesus say about all this? Jn 13:35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Mark 8:38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
v. 14 Jesus descended from the tribe of Judah. The writer of Hebrews highlights that Moses said nothing about priests coming from the tribe of Judah. The point is that the Melchizedekian priesthood was not tied to the law/levitical priesthood.
In referring to Christ Pett said, “So here again He has sprung up as replacing the old order. In Him Judah has replaced Levi, and the royal priesthood has replaced the dying priesthood. He is not only our priest, He is our Lord.”
v. 15-16 Jesus is our high priest not on the basis of ______________ as to his ____________ but on the basis of ____________ of an ________________ life.
v. 17 Psalm 110:4
v. 18 How do we reconcile Romans 7:12 with “The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless?” (cf. v. 19a).
v. 19 The law was unable “to make right those who sin by breaking it, nor can it give power necessary to fulfill its demands” (NIV notes).
“…a _________ hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.”
v. 20-21 Psalm 110:4 “The Lord has sworn…” No oath was associated with the establishment of the Levitical priesthood.
v. 22 Why is the new covenant better/superior? (cf. 23-28)
v. 23-24 Levitical priests were mortal men. Jesus lives ___________ , he has a ______________ priesthood.
v. 25 Therefore, he is able to___________ ______________those who come to God through him, because he always lives to _________________ for them.
v. 26 Jesus our high priest meets our__________. He is “holy, blameless, and pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.”
v. 27 Who did the other high priests have to offer sacrifices for day after day? However, Jesus “sacrificed for their sins_______________ when he offered himself.”
v. 28 The law appointed “high priests who where were____________ ; but the __________ which came after the law appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.”
What acts/behavior should we engage in to ensure that Jesus will meet our every need?
What hinders your commitment to a daily seeking of the Lord?
Does our God grant more faith to those who are struggling? How do we get it?
Are you going to be led by the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, etc.,) if your life is not “doing” behaviors driven by faith?
Does it take self discipline to put oneself in a position of accountability with others who share our living faith? Is this necessary to ensure our spiritual growth?