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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Hebrews 7

Verses 1-10

  1. Slide#9 Intro:
    1. Just yesterday it came out that ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq & Syria) lined up and shot dead at least 50 tribesmen & women in Iraq's Anbar province, the latest mass killing committed by the group.
    2. Presently, there is a Coalition(alliance/fusion) fighting against ISIS. Now named:
      Operation Inherent Resolve? It’s made up of: U.S., Great Britain, France, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands and now Canada & Turkey have joined.
      1. Go back 2000 yrs, and that brings you back to the time of Christ.
      2. Go back 2000 more yrs, and we are at the time of Abram, where he helped repel an invasion of a great coalition of super powers of that day, from the same area.
      3. Now, turn to Gen.14:8-24. Slide#10b turn when ready
        1. Careful of Typologies in Scripture: [Key: never come up w/doctrine from a type]
          1. Innate(natural) - 1 specifically declared as to be such in NT.
          2. Inferred - 1 recognizable as such, because it conforms to the pattern seen in the innate types.
    3. Ch.7 introduces A superior Priesthood. Heb.7-10
      1. Ch.7 argues that Christ’s priesthood, like Melchizedek’s, is superior in its order. So…
      2. Heb.7 His better priesthood. Heb.8 His better covenant. Heb.9 His better sanctuary. Heb.10 His better sacrifice.
  2. MYSTERY MAN MELCHIZEDEK (1-3)
    1. The writer’s previous references to Melchizedek (5:10,11) are now explained.
    2. Interesting: Read 8:1 & work backwards.
      1. Wiersbe said, The Emphasis in Hebrews is not on what Christ did on the earth (the milk of the word), but what He is doing in heaven (the meat of the word).
      2. He is saying that, the basics of the Christian life revolves around Jesus earthly ministry and work. While His priestly ministry constitutes the meat of God’s word.
        1. Jesus’ ministry on earth was only 3 years...but His ministry in heaven has so far been 2000 years, since His cross/res.
    3. Melchizedek - King of Righteousness.
      1. Gen.14 He’s brought up in a Historical context.
      2. Ps.110 He’s brought up in a Prophetical context. [only twice in OT]
      3. Heb.7 He’s brought up in a Doctrinal context.
    4. King of Salem – JeruSALEM (most believe)
    5. Without father, mother, genealogy – Frustrating trying to get a FBI, background check on this mystery man. He must have been part of God’s Witness Protection Plan.
      1. Without = the father/mother were unknown.
      2. LKGNT - In rabbinical writings such expressions could mean that the father & mother had died & the child was an orphan.
      3. Scripture is silent as to his ancestry & progeny, which seems to be the authors point.
        1. (Wiersbe) Melchizedek was not an angel or some superhuman creature; nor was he an OT appearance of Jesus Christ. He was a real man, a real king, and a real priest in a real city. But as far as the record is concerned, he was not born, nor did he die.
          1. He obtained his position not by genealogy, but by Divine appointment, i.e. not by earthly credentials.
          2. Neither Aaron nor any of his descendants could claim to be w/o genealogy.
      4. Since Gen.14 says nothing about Melchizedek’s lineage, birth, and death, so his priesthood has neither qualifications nor limitations like those of the Levitical priesthood.
        1. In the OT the high priest was the man appointed to represent the people before God.
          1. He was the man who dealt with sins and weaknesses by offering the necessary sacrifices for sins (Heb. 5:3). But as a link between God and man, the OT priest was never enough. He was a shadow representing the coming perfect intermediary.
        2. Melchizedek met Abraham, fed him, and blessed him. What a wonderful Savior (type).
    6. Slide#15 He was both King & Priest – This was forbidden by the Levitical priesthood. The throne & the altar were always separated. [King Uzziah tried this in 2 Chron.26:16-23 in trying to act as priest(burn incense). He broke out in anger against priest/then broke out in leprosy, threw him out]
      1. Those persons who attempted to invade the priests’ office were judged by God.
        1. But here is a man who had both offices. Aaron never had that privilege.
        2. And it is important to note that Melchizedek was not a counterfeit priest: he was the priest of the Most High God (Gen.14:18, 22). His ministry was legit.
        3. He was of God’s original priesthood since he preceded Levi by several hundred yrs
      2. Jesus wasn’t from the tribe of Levi (7:14, Judah instead). He could fulfill what the prophet Zechariah said, He(Messiah) shall be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both(both offices). 6:13.
        1. Jesus thus fulfills both titles of Melchizedek. He is the King of Rt. & the King of Peace.
        2. Ps.85:10 Righteousness and peace have kissed. (yep, on the cross)
          1. “The trouble for many is they want the Peace without the Prince.” (you?)
    7. Application: Jesus as King can control circumstances around you; Jesus as Priest can change attitudes within you.
      1. Of course God could change the circumstances around you (i.e. yank you out of them, or deal with your foe/opposer)...but often God’s more concerned with changing your attitudes while in you’re in the circumstance.
    8. Slide#16 He blessed Abram, refreshing & strengthening him w/bread & wine. Communion next Sun.
    9. He was made like the Son of God – Here’s the other side of the argument...that this Mystery Man is more than a prototype. Some see this as a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ.
      1. Esp with names like: king of rt; prince of peace & comes carrying the elements of bread/wine.
      2. Also, w/o genealogy is a reverse of the habitual practice throughout Genesis...it’s all about genealogy. Aaron/Levitical priesthood was all about certified pedigree. Character & ability had nothing to do with it. (Barclay)
  3. MELCHIZEDEK MAN (4-10) [sounds like a Neanderthal man]
    1. (4) Greater than Abraham – How? (4-ways)
      1. Though Levitical priests had also received tithes, their descent from Abraham marked their priesthood as less important than that of the one to whom Abraham tithed. (5,6)
      2. Abraham was blessed by Melchizedek at the time of their encounter…& normally the lesser is blessed by the greater. (7)
      3. Levitical priests all eventually die but as Ps.110:4 says, the One who ministers in the order of Melchizedek lives forever. (8)
      4. An ancestor contains all his descendants w/in himself. Thus, Levi, great grandson of Abraham, actually also paid tithes to Melchizedek since he was at the time a part of Abraham’s loin’s which will produce Isaac, Jacob & ultimately Levi. I guess you can say it was in Levi’s genes :)
        1. This seems strange to our Western individualistic mindset, but reflects the more accurate realization of the links between generations. (read 9,10)
        2. Hebrews believed in “Racial Solidarity” (1 man can act on a group of men), like David, against Goliath, on behalf of all the soldiers of Israel.
    2. Abraham was the supreme blesser of his day, & all the rest of mankind were blessees...Yet here he becomes the blessee.
    3. (4) A tenth of the spoils – “the top of the heap”.
      1. Archeologists have discovered that other nations also tithed in that day; so the practice is an ancient one. (Warren Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Heb.7)
    4. Slide#19,20 (joke/pew tithe) Abraham honored Melchizedek by paying him tithes of all.
      1. This is the first instance of tithing (10-percenting) in the Bible, and it occurs years before its command in the Mosaic Law.
      2. Vs.4-10 indicates that these tithes were paid (in type) to Christ, suggesting that believers today are following Abraham’s example as they bring tithes to the Lord.
        1. Abraham refused the riches of the world but shared his wealth with the Lord, and God richly blessed him.

Verses 11-28

  1. Intro:
    1. It seems like the author of Hebrews would define religion as “Having access to God’s presence as friends, with nothing between us & Him.” William Barclay
      1. The OT Jewish religion was designed to produce that fellowship in 2 ways:
        [1] By perfect obedience to the Law [2] or, since that was out of the question, the sacrificial system came in.
        1. So, man would breach God’s law, a sacrifice was to heal that breach.
        2. But, there was also a problem with the priesthood.
    2. Way back in David’s time God promised a “new priesthood”. Ps.110:4 (Heb’s brings up 5x’s)
      1. But, a change of the priesthood, means the whole legal system on which the Levitical institutions were predicated...also had to be changed.
      2. This former regulation(Law) has been replaced because of its inherent weakness and uselessness. What has replaced it is the new priesthood which constitutes a better hope…by which we draw near to God.
      3. The Law which made nothing perfect was replaced by a priestly institution which can accomplish its objectives in those who approach God through it.
        1. Here the author is affirming Paul’s statement, For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Rom.6:14
    3. So now the author lists the various characteristics of Jesus, who, according to the Father’s decree, is That Priest, after the order of Melchizedek. Thus, his priesthood would be:
      1. Royal, as was that of Melchizedek (7:1) Superior, to Levi/Aaron priesthood (4-10).
      2. Independent, of the law (11,12) & tribe of Levi [Christ came from the tribe of Judah] (13-15). Everlasting [endless life, forever] (7:16–17)
        Guaranteed [The Father himself took an oath concerning this] (20-22). Continuous (23).
        Permanent (24). Holy (26). All-sufficient (18,19, 25, 27). Flawless (28).
  2. A NEW PRIESTHOOD (11-19)
    1. INSUFFICIENCY OF ONE PRIESTHOOD (11-14)
    2. The death & res. of Jesus introduced a new & permanent priesthood that brings the Levitical priesthood to an end, along with its Law.
    3. Vs.11 Let’s us know that the law was given to support the priesthood & not vice-versa.
      1. The priesthood & the tabernacle w/its sacrifices were the means God employed to render the sinful people acceptable to Himself.
      2. Then, the Law was given w/its sharp demands to awaken the people to their true condition…so that they might avail themselves of the sacrifices.
      3. The Law was simply a schoolmaster to lead us to Christ.
        1. Slide#19 Sir Philip Sidney wrote, "Laws are not made like...nets to catch...but rather like seamarks to guide." [seamark = a conspicuous object distinguishable at sea, to guide or warn sailors in navigation]
      4. This all must have been just appalling to the Jews listening, thus they would say to Stephen & Paul, for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs which Moses delivered to us. (Acts 6:14)
      5. But if perfection could have been achieved by the Law & Priesthood, then why would the prophecy of David come, regarding a “new priesthood”?
      6. The Law was an excellent institution…the real problem was that man was sinful.
        1. Mt.5:17 Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
    4. SUFFICIENCY OF MELCHIZEDEK PRIESTHOOD (15-19)
    5. (the Law was) Weak & unprofitable/useless – How?
      1. Since it cannot cleanse from sin or provide power to obey.
    6. Slide#21 The law is the light that reveals how dirty the room is, not the broom that sweeps it clean.
    7. The law is a dentist’s mirror that shows decay, not the instruments needed to fix the cavity.
    8. The law is a flashlight that guides you in the dark to the electrical panel, but doesn’t help you trip the breaker.
    9. The law is a plumb-line, a framer used to see if something was true to vertical, but he never uses it to square the wall.
      1. So, The law points out the problem of sin; it doesn’t provide a solution.
    10. Despite the Jews longings...access was limited to God.
      1. The Old Cov. made man keep his distance…The New Cov. brings man near.
    11. A better hope is brought in to replace it which will do what the Law & the priesthood could not do…enable us to draw near to God.
      1. Slide#22 Access was seen as the highest good. Access presupposes a right relationship. Access would mean acceptance before God & the forgiveness of sin. Access would also involve an exposure to the glory of his holiness.
        1. During the Civil War, there was a young Union soldier who had lost his father and older brother in the war. He went to Washington, D.C., to see if he could get an exemption from military service so that he could go back home and help his mother and sister with the spring planting. When he approached the White House and asked to see the president, he was turned away. Totally disheartened, the soldier sat down on a park bench nearby. Slide#23a/b A little boy approached him and said, “You look unhappy, soldier. What’s wrong?” After the soldier shared his story, the little boy took him by the hand. He led him through the back door of the White House, past the guards, and into the president’s office itself. President Lincoln looked up and asked, “What can I do for you, Tad?” Tad said, “Daddy, this soldier needs to talk to you” - and the soldier was not turned away. (Progress Magazine, December 12/13, 1992)
        2. Jesus simply says, “Abba, this is someone who needs to talk to You.”
  3. A NEW PRIEST (20-28)
    1. PLEDGED PRIEST (20-22)
    2. Many things we buy today have on them a warranty or guarantee. It is the manufactures promise that the item sold will fulfill the buyer’s expectations.
      1. The author now focuses in on God’s oath.
    3. (22) A surety/guarantee – He not only mediates the covenant but guarantees it.
      1. A mediator would offer the covenant but it would be up to the believer to receive it. A guarantor however, sees to it that the covenant is fulfilled...even though the believer resists & stumbles at times.
    4. PERMANENT PRIESTHOOD (23-25)
    5. Because he is a priest forever, He saves forever.
    6. (25) To the utmost – means completely, perfectly, forever.
      1. So we are secure as long as He lives...& He lives eternally :)
    7. He always lives to make intercession for them –
      1. Spurgeon, “If Christ appears in heaven for us, be glad to appear on earth for Him. If Christ pleads w/God for men, let us plead w/men for God. If He by intercession saves us to the uttermost, let us hasten to serve Him to the uttermost. If He spends eternity in intercession for us, let us spend our time in intercession for His cause.”
    8. PERFECT PRIEST (26-28)
    9. (27) Once for all – he provided a 1-time sacrifice sufficient for all people, for all time.
    10. He offered up Himself – how much more should we respond by offering up ourselves for Him?
    11. 2 hunters noticed on the horizon a cloud of smoke. Soon he could hear crackling as the wind shifted. He realized a brushfire was advancing, so fast they couldn’t outrun it. Rifling through his pockets, he soon found what he was looking for - a book of matches. He lit a small fire around the two of them. Soon they were standing in a circle of blackened earth, waiting for the fire to come. They didn’t have to wait long. They covered their mouths with handkerchiefs and braced themselves. The fire came near - and swept right past them. But they were completely unhurt, untouched. Fire would not pass where fire already had passed.
      1. The law is like a brushfire. I cannot escape it. But if I stand in the burned-over place, not a hair of my head will be singed. Christ’s death has disarmed it.
    12. “Such then is our Melchizedek, God’s provision for help in our daily life, incomparable in greatness, inexhaustible in resource, infinite in patience, infallible in wisdom & interested in all that concerns us.” Ray Stedman pg.86
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Hebrews 7". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/hebrews-7.html. 2017.