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the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
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Hebrews 7

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Hebrews 7:1-10 Christ, a Priest after the order of Melchisedec, is proved to be of a more excellent order than that of Aaron, from the character of Melchisedec, and his confessed superiority to Abraham and Levi,

Hebrews 7:11-19 from the imperfection of the Levitical priesthood, which induced the necessity of a change to one more perfect,

Hebrews 7:20-22 from the confirmation of Christ’s priesthood by an oath,

Hebrews 7:23-25 from the unchangeableness,

Hebrews 7:26-28 and spotless innocence, of the person.

Verse 1

The Spirit now proceedeth to prove, that the gospel High Priest is of a far more excellent order than that of Aaron’s, by his being of the order of Melchisedec, of witore they had read, and whom they had in great esteem, and after whose order they were assured, by the prophet David, another Priest was to rise up in the church, rendering Aaron’s priesthood useless, and continuing the only means of reconciling sinners, and bringing them to eternal life, to whom they must cleave. He initiates it with a description of the state of Melchisedec’s order, from Hebrews 7:1-10; and then proceeds to apply it to Christ, from Hebrews 7:11-28. Having asserted, Hebrews 6:20, that Jesus was made from eternity

a High Priest after the order of Melchisedec, and declared to be so by his entrance within the veil in heaven at his ascension, he reasoneth it out by showing what this Melchisedec was. The person pointed at by this name, is mentioned only once by Moses, and that in Genesis 14:18-20. It is certain he was a man who lived by bread and wine, as well as Abraham, and received tithes from him becoming a man. His place of residence was Salem, afterwards called Jerusalem, in the land of Canaan, Joshua 10:1. The Jews conceived him to be Shem, the second son of Noah, which this scripture denieth, for his genealogy is well known in it. That he descended from Ham, third son of Noah, because an inhabitant in Canaan, and that his name, Melchisedec, was the common name of the princes of that country, whose metropolis was first called Tsedec, then Salem, then Jerusalem, because the king of it in Joshua’s time was named Adoni-zedec, which is synonymous with this, is all conjectural. This is certain, he was king of Salem, endowed with royal power, such as the other kings in Canaan had. The capital seat in his kingdom was Salem, the name likely of both his city and territory; not that Salem of the Sichemites, Genesis 33:18, afterwards called Shechem, demolished and sown with salt by Abimelech, Judges 9:34,Judges 9:45; in John the Baptist’s time raised again, and called Salem, John 3:23. But Salem mentioned Psalms 76:2, more known by its famous appellation, Jerusalem. This shows him to be a man, as doth his next title.

Priest of the most high God: his authority in matters of religion, as a prime minister about holy things between God and men, and therefore a man, as Hebrews 5:1, set up by the most high God for himself, and consecrated in his order of priesthood by him, which should most illustriously set out that of his own Son. He managed all as a priest between his own people and the great God, ruling of them in all matters civil, and teaching and ordering them in all sacred things.

Who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings: he went from Jerusalem with necessary refreshings to meet Abraham, the friend of God, the father of believers, a prince and a priest himself, and of whose posterity was to come the Messiah, now returning from his victory over Chedorlaomer and his confederate kings, with the rescue of his nephew, and all his, to his tents at Mamre. As he was passing near Salem, Melchisedec meets him, and entertains him, Genesis 14:13-20.

And blessed him: it was an act of his sacerdotal office, such as God enjoined on such officers afterwards in Numbers 6:23-27, and not a common wish and desire only. The matter of blessing is laid down, Genesis 14:19. It was in God’s name, by his commission, effectually denounced on Abraham by virtue of his office and God’s institution; the height of God and all the good in heaven and in earth within God’s possession is conveyed to him, Genesis 15:1, of seeing, denoting it to be such a serious and intent act, as calls for the utmost exercise of the discerning faculty; a carelessness in it, or an oversight, might make the proposal to be to no purpose. The greatness of this high priest is what he sets in their view, and that indefinitely: How great is this officer! Intimating him to be somewhat excessive to other great ones: and how much greater then must be Christ, if his type be so great! Beyond not only Abraham, Levi, and his posterity, but this great Melchisedec, as to his sacerdotal power and dignity.

Unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils: this greatness is evinced by Abraham’s (the patriarch, chief of all the fathers of Israel, whom the Hebrews esteemed above all others, John 8:53, and God owns as his friend, and sets all believers under his fatherhood) giving, as a due to Melchisedec, being the greater person in office, the tenth of all the spoils, that which was due to God, and paid to him as God’s high priest: ακροθινιων notes either the first or choicest of the heaps of grains, especially the first-fruits dedicated to God; but here signifieth that part of the spoils which, according to the custom of war in most nations, after the victory, were offered to God as his part, whether they did consist of persons or things: the tenth part of these were given by him to, Melchisedec, as the greatest priest of God in the world, and superior to himself.

Verse 2

To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; by which tithing to him. Abraham owns him to be God’s priest. As he had received blessing from God by him, so he returns to God, through him, his acknowledgments; he divided, shared, and gave out his part to him, even the tenth part of all the spoils, Hebrews 7:4. This is the first scripture, Genesis 14:20, that gives us any account of paying the tenths of goods to God in his priests; which custom afterwards obtained among most nations, to give the tenths of the spoils after victory to God. And this Abraham did, as due to the office by Divine institution, having received a blessing from it.

First being by interpretation King of righteousness: the mystery of his name, title, and descent, the Holy Ghost now opens to them. His name is a compound of מיך or מלכי which signifieth a king or governor, or my king, and צוך righteousness. A supreme governor, not only formally righteous in his own disposition, but efficiently by just and excellent laws making his subjects righteous; a king working righteousness in a Canaan, and in such a time of universal degeneracy from it. This God ordered for some special use, viz. to type out his own Son, God-man, the great gospel minister, to be the King of righteousness, who purchased it for, imputeth it to, and infuseth it into, sinners; who is so fully the Lord our righteousness, that we are made the righteousness of God in him, Isaiah 32:1; Jeremiah 23:6; Jeremiah 33:16; Zechariah 9:9; 2 Corinthians 5:21.

And after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace: the mystery of his title of office, King of Salem. The due order of this is observable; he is first King of righteousness, and after that he is King of Salem, that is, of peace; the fruit of whose righteous government was peace. He kept this among his people, and round about him, while others were wasting and destroying their kingdoms by lusts and wars. This is eminently true of Christ The Prince of Peace, Isaiah 9:6,Isaiah 9:7, who gave some signal of his government, and begun his priesthood, in the same Salem, or Jerusalem, where Melchisedec reigned, Matthew 21:5,Matthew 21:9,Matthew 21:10. He is eminently the royal purchaser, maker, and distributer of peace, reconciling all things to God, angels and men in heaven and in earth, and all persons, Jews and Gentiles, and the creation itself to recovered man, Colossians 1:20,Colossians 1:21; compare Ephesians 2:13-17. The Prince and price of our peace, setting peace within souls, giving it to them without, peace spiritual, temporal, and eternal: his kingdom aboundeth in it, Psalms 72:1,Psalms 72:3,Psalms 72:7; Isaiah 54:10,Isaiah 54:13; John 14:27; James 3:18.

Verse 3

In this verse is a mystical description of the eternity of Christ’s person and priesthood, set out by the Spirit in the silence and omission of things that concerned Melchisedec and his glory; so that what here is represented to be typically and in shadow, that was Christ really and substantially; for he gives no account of his father, mother, genealogy, birth, or death; the Spirit either not revealing it to him, or ordering him to leave it out, that he might appear the more lively and perfect type of Christ, being represented in all things different from all the men that ever were, or shall be: such a priest therefore as he was, was Christ to be; not deriving his priesthood from any by birth, nor leaving it to any after him. As Melchisedec was without father, that was a priest before him, or is recorded, from whom he should derive, as the Levitical priesthood had; so Christ, as to his humanity, was without any human father, conceived only by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Without mother: as to any Scripture records of it, or to any title of the priesthood by her, as those of Aaron’s family had: so Christ, as to his Deity, was without a mother, being the eternal Son of the Father only, and without any title in his humanity to the priesthood from the virgin, she being of David’s family, and not of Aaron’s.

Without descent; there is no line of him described in the Scripture, mentioning from whence he descended, or by what genealogy he came to the priesthood, as the Aaronites did clear their right, Nehemiah 7:64. As to Christ, who shall declare his generation, or produce the lineal roll by which he claimeth the priesthood? Isaiah 53:8; compare Hebrews 7:12,Hebrews 7:15.

Having neither beginning of days, nor end life: there is no record of his birth or death, though he had a father or mother, as there is of Adam’s beginning and end, who had neither: so Christ, as to his priesthood, had no predecessor, nor shall have any successor, Hebrews 7:16,Hebrews 7:24,Hebrews 7:28. As a sacrifice and the Lamb of God, he had his time of entrance into the world, and of his leaving it; yet, as God’s Priest, he had neither beginning nor end of days. Pure eternity is its rise, and its end shall not be till God be all in all.

But made like unto the Son of God; afwmoiwmenov he was in these things the shadow, picture, and resemblance of what Christ should be in his royal priesthood; in these singular prerogatives a visible type of God-man; he was the sign likening, and Christ was the truth and substance of it.

Abideth a priest continually: these words are the key to all the description before. God made many other persons eminent types of his Son, but Melchisedec was the only type of the eternity of his royal priesthood; for which the Holy Ghost singled him out, dropped him down, as it were, from above, and then took him up again, without any further account of him in the Scripture, that he might convey this mystery to us. That which hath no beginning nor end of it recorded, is as abiding for ever; which this type had not, and so fully sets out the truth designed to be conveyed by it.

Verse 4

Now consider how great this man was: the Spirit compares with, and prefers, Melchisedec before Abraham, as he was God’s high priest; he introduces it with pressing these Hebrews to exercise an act of judgment under the metaphor of seeing, denoting it to be such a serious and intent act, as calls for the utmost exercise of the discerning faculty; a carelessness in it, or an oversight, might make the proposal to be to no purpose. The greatness of this high priest is what he sets in their view, and that indefinitely: How great is this officer! Intimating him to be somewhat excessive to other great ones: and how much greater then must be Christ, if his type be so great! Beyond not only Abraham, Levi, and his posterity, but this great Melchisedec, as to his sacerdotal power and dignity.

Unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils: this greatness is evinced by Abraham’s (the patriarch, chief of all the fathers of Israel, whom the Hebrews esteemed above all others, John 8:53, and God owns as his friend, and sets all believers under his fatherhood) giving, as a due to Melchisedec, being the greater person in office, the tenth of all the spoils, that which was due to God, and paid to him as God’s high priest: ακροθινιων notes either the first or choicest of the heaps of grains, especially the first-fruits dedicated to God; but here signifieth that part of the spoils which, according to the custom of war in most nations, after the victory, were offered to God as his part, whether they did consist of persons or things: the tenth part of these were given by him to Melchisedec, as the greatest priest of God in the world, and superior to himself.

Verse 5

This is a proof by instance out of the Levitical law, that he who receiveth is greater than he who giveth.

And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood: the seed of Levi the son of Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham, Numbers 1:48-50; Numbers 3:1-5, and not all of them neither, but the sons of Levi descending from Aaron, were separated and consecrated in the priesthood by God’s precept, and vindicated from those who would usurp it, Numbers 16:1-13, and confirmed in it by miracle.

Have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law: God himself gave them a law from heaven to tithe by, and a charge to observe this law, as to all parts of tithes, such as were due to all Levites, Numbers 18:24, to the high priest only as God’s substitute, Numbers 18:8-19,Numbers 18:25-29; to the Levites, widows, and poor together, Deuteronomy 14:22-29. These the same law obliged all the Israelites to pay to these Levites as a homage due from them to God, and so delivered to his substitutes superior unto them, as his priests and ministers, and due to them by his own constitution, being the first-fruits of his own blessing.

That is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: yet these Israelites who were to pay those tithes to these as superior to them in office, were their own brethren by nature, of the same rank, coming out of the same loins of Abraham, but subjected to these priests, who, by God’s ordinance, were set above them in their office; and their receiving tithes was an inseparable property of that superiority.

Verse 6

The proof is here applied, showing Melchisedec to be greater, not than the Levitical priest only, but than Abraham himself.

But he whose descent is not counted from them; he drew not his genealogy from any priests before him, but is greater than those priests, who by genealogy and succession were made such, and set above their brethern by God himself: he being independent, having no progenitor, priest, or successor, is greater than whom he decimateth.

Received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises; he decimated Abraham, the father of the Levitical priests, and by the Most High’s order blessed him, by assuring him of his peace with God, grace continually from him, and multiplying temporal and spiritual blessings to him, according as God promised, Genesis 15:1, &c. And this he did to him, though Abraham was a patriarch, and privileged with promises above any other; yet though God were made over to him in all his fulness, the blessing given him of fatherhood to a numerous nation, even the visible church of God among Israel, as to all believing Gentiles, who had Canaan literally promised to his posterity, and even this Salem, among the rest, of which Melchisedec was king, and the heavenly Canaan to himself; and above all, the promised Messiah to descend from him, in whom himself and all nations were to be blessed; he, so great in promises, is tithed and blessed by a greater Melchisedec.

Verse 7

This principle is commonly acknowledged, it is a most apparent truth, you Hebrews cannot deny it; it is your common judgment, that a priest blessing, as God’s officer, is greater than those blessed by him. He that is in a lower state in God’s church, is blessed by one set above him in office by God himself, better and greater than he for his place and dignity in office. He must have the pre-eminency for his blessing, which he authoritatively, powerfully, and effectually conveyeth from God to those he blesseth, representing therein God communicating by him the good he wanteth in his benediction.

Verse 8

His greatness as to his priesthood above the Levitical, is proved from its immortality. Immortal is greater and better than mortal; such is his order of priesthood. This argument he brings in to heighten the former, and so connects it to it.

And here men that die receive tithes: the particle ωδε, here, if referred to time, notes during Moses’s economy, while the Levitical law lasted; if it refer to place, it notes Jerusalem in the land of Canaan, where the temple was: in that habitation of the Israelitish church the Levitical priests were not only as to their nature and persons withering and decaying, ceasing to be on earth, though they had the honour to decimate their brethren, but as to their order and office, mortal, they were no better than the tithed and blessed by them, in prospect of death. Aaron himself, the first of the order, died, and so did all his successors, as well as Israel.

But there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth: but how much better is Melchisedec and his order! εκει, there, may refer either to the place where his business was transacted with Abraham, near Salem; or to the place of Scripture record concerning him, either Genesis 14:18-20, where there is no account of his death, or in Psalms 110:4. By the prophet David is the testimony borne, that his order is for ever; that Melchisedec, as to his order and office of priesthood, now liveth and subsisteth in the Son of God incarnate, and continueth for ever. It is suggested by a great light in the church, as if Melchisedec was translated as Enoch was, and so continued a priest to the very moment of his translation; and that neither his person nor priesthood died, but liveth for ever: but in this the Scripture is silent. An other refers it immediately to Christ, reading it thus: Here, i.e. in this world, they receive tenths, or are priests; but there, i.e. within the innermost of the veil, whither the foreranner is for us entered, Jesus; supplying this out of Hebrews 6:19,Hebrews 6:20. Here, is to be understood, not who receiveth tithes, but who is, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth. He saith this sense is to be found in so many words in Hebrews 7:23-25, where those who receive tenths, and die, are no other men than those many priests who were not suffered to continue by reason of death, Hebrews 7:23. Nor can

he, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth, be any other than Jesus, who, Hebrews 7:24, is the man that continueth for ever; and, Hebrews 7:25, is ever-living.

Verse 9

And as I may so say: the Spirit now sets this priesthood above the Levitical by instance, which instance being not so proper or direct, his form of introducing it is considerable, as ως επος ειπειν, as to say the word, which is a Greek elegancy of speech, when that is uttered which is remarkable, and yet hard to be understood; and it is not only conclusive to what was spoken before, I will speak a word more, and then end the discourse, but interpretative of what he was about to say concerning Levi, born a hundred and sixty-two years after this transaction; As I may so say, or, in some sense it may be said.

Levi also; Levi, not so much taken personally as collectively, for the tribe that sprung of him, who were priests or ministers to Israel, which Levi personally was not. He was the third son of Jacob, and his seed God separated for, and consecrated to, his service, settling the priesthood in Aaron’s family, which was a branch of that tribe, and making all the rest servants to them.

Who received tithes, paid tithes in Abraham; these did receive these tenths by God’s law from their brethren, and these paid tenths by or in Abraham, and so showed them to be inferior in office to Melchisedec, who received this homage from them as due to God, and to him as his high priest. This was not properly, but figuratively; true parents and children being accounted here as one person before they exist, as well as after; Levi, not actually existing then, but virtually in his parent. Christ was in his loins virtually too, as to his humanity, but not to descend of him by natural propagation, but by miracle; and in him as an antitype to this Melchisedec, and one to be set above him, in whom Melchisedec himself was to be blessed, and therefore could not pay tenths to him in Abraham.

Verse 10

For, introduceth the proof, that Levi tithed in Abraham, being virtually in him, as his productive cause; so near is the unity and identity of descending children; and as truly were the posterity of Adam in him when he ate, sinned, and fell, Romans 5:12. To remove all question of the truth of it, the time is annexed to it, when Melchisedec met Abraham, and blessed him, then did Levi pay tenths in him; so as Melchisedec was greater than the Levitical priest: Christ, typified by him, being greater than himself, must be greater than them also.

Verse 11

If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood: now the Spirit infers from the doctrine of Melchisedec’s priesthood, the dignity and perpetuity of Christ’s, typified by it: so that it is not Aaron’s priesthood, but Christ’s, which the Hebrews were to use for their salvation after Aaron’s was expired. For perfection was not to be had by Aaron’s priesthood or law, but by a better, of another order, even Christ and his law. The form of these words are interrogative, implying a vehement denial of what is queried in them. A perfecting of persons to life eternal by expiation, justification, renovation, &c.; see Hebrews 9:9; Hebrews 10:1; freeing sinners from the guilt, stain, filth, and consequents of their sins by an expiatory, satisfactory sacrifice to God, and fitting of them for an eternal enjoying him; a self-efficiency to these things without Christ, is, as to the Aaronical priesthood, vehemently denied; as to this, that is defective.

For under it the people received the law; for with the priesthood, about the time of its institution by God, the Iraelitish church, God’s covenanted people, received the law; by which, as well as by its priesthood, there is no expiation, remission, nor eternal life to be obtained, Galatians 3:17-19; compare Malachi 2:4-8. This law and priesthood being types of far better to succeed them, they were but leading to them, which in the fulness of time were to be revealed, and which should perfect what they could not, Galatians 3:23,Galatians 3:24; Galatians 4:3-5.

What further need was there, &c.? It was needful, since the Levitical priesthood and law could not perfect sinners, that another should take place which could perfect them. David therefore, who lived above four hundred years after their institution, and feeling their imperfection, did by the Spirit foresee and tell of a royal priesthood and law to take place after this, that should perfect sinners, which could not be done by any called after Aaron’s imperfect order. This was the Lord Christ the Messiah, who must be after the order of Melchisedec, Psalms 110:4, and who by his priesthood and law should abundantly effect it; which was far more excellent for both, than any of the Levitical family can pretend to.

Verse 12

For the priesthood being changed: for refers to the expiration of the Aaronical order, to which these Hebrews now were not bound, for that a better priesthood and law were to fill up their room in the church. The Levitical priesthood was changed and abolished to make way for this; God designing that to continue for a time, and then to expire, when the truth perfecting it should take place.

There is made of necessity a change also of the law; the mutation of the priesthood indispensably requireth the change of the law, i.e. the legal dispensation of the covenant of grace, and the bringing in with another priesthood a better hope, Galatians 3:17-27; compare Hebrews 7:18,Hebrews 7:19 of this chapter; even the covenant of grace in the gospel dispensation of it. This was made necessary by the decree of God, who determined, that both priesthood and law should expire together, and accordingly hath fulfilled it. For when Christ, the gospel High Priest, had in his person and work perfected all of it in heaven, he roots out that order of priesthood, abolisheth the law, scatters the people which would cleave to it; demolisheth the temple and city to which he confined the administration, so as all designs and endeavours of Jews, or of apostate Christhins, to repair, or to restore it, have been ineffectual to this day.

Verse 13

For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe: that this priesthood was so altered, he proves by Christ’s being of another tribe than Levi. This is a periphrasis, describing the priest after Melchisedec’s order. Of whom was this said in Psalms 110:4, but of Christ, God-man, the royal High Priest of God? Matthew 21:42. He, as to his human nature, descended of the tribe of Judah, and not of Levi; and so the Aaronical priesthood was ended by him, Hebrews 2:14; Genesis 49:10.

Of which no man gave attendance at the altar; of which tribe none was at priest, whose work was to attend the altar, and offer sacrifice; if any of another tribe pretended to, or would usurp it, God either smote them, as Uzziah, 2 Chronicles 26:18, or destroyed them, as those rebels, Numbers 16:1-3,Numbers 16:28-35; neither was the priesthood hereby made tribual, or continued in any such tribe as in Levi, but confined to our Lord only, not because he descended of Judah, but extraordinarily selected of God out of it to discharge it.

Verse 14

For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; the proof of this change of the tribe, and of what tribe he was, was undeniably evident to these Hebrews from their own genealogies, and the Roman census and enrolment of him; the providence of God ordering this, that it might be universally known that he was David’s seed, as well as Abraham’s, and as called by his name, Ezekiel 34:23,Ezekiel 34:24; Ezekiel 37:24,Ezekiel 37:25. Our Lord was God-man, Lord-mediator, Psalms 110:1,Psalms 110:4; Matthew 22:42,Matthew 22:46. He was, as to his humanity, born of the tribe of Judah, as his genealogy by his mother doth evince, Luke 3:33, and the concomitant evidence of the Roman rolls, in which his name was registered and kept in their archives above an age after his ascension.

Of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood: no man of which tribe was so designed by God, or so revealed to have the royal priesthood, but himself; none of them having any right to it, as they could prove out of Moses’s writing; and the rule of priesthood is to be found there, and no where else: so that a negative argument taken from Scripture in matters of religion is valid, though never so much puffed at in this age.

Verse 15

And it is yet far more evident: the change and abolition of the Levitical priesthood, and law, that the perfecting of Christ might succeed, is not only clearly represented to the understanding of all, that they assent to it, but it is far more evident from the eternity of this priesthood’s constitution, as is proved, Hebrews 7:16.

For that; ei it, is a particle vehemently asserting, as in form of swearing, and not doubting, and therefore rendered for that.

After the similitude of Melchisedec; like and parallel in order to him, and in all the properties foretold, which make him a most excellent priest; a priesthood far above that of Aaron, upon the account of the law and covenant to which it is related, which was not only the law of nature, serving God as Creator, but the law of grace, as he was Redeemer in Christ, who with the patriarchs worshipped God by, as believed in, a Christ to come.

There ariseth another priest; not only of another tribe than Aaron, but of a different order from his; is constituted, manifested, and beginneth the exercise of his office with the abolition of Aaron’s.

Verse 16

Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment; the gospel High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ, was not constituted nor consecrated after that order and rule of God which did bind the Aaronical priesthood, and regulate it as to their consecrations and ministrations, obliging them by annexed temporal promises and comminations, which could not reach an immortal soul. The Mosaical rites and ceremonies were bodily, fleshly, only external. He was not made a priest by legal purifying with water, nor anointed with oil, nor sprinkled with blood, nor clothed with priestly garments, as Aaron and his order was, Exodus 39:1-43; Exodus 40:13-15,Exodus 40:31,Exodus 40:32; nor initiated with sacrifices of bulls, goats, &c. He was not to minister in a tabernacle or temple, as they did, which was carnal, and reached only the flesh, could not expiate sins, nor procure spiritual and eternal blessings, Hebrews 9:1-12,Hebrews 9:19-26.

But after the power of an endless life; but was constituted and consecrated by God according to his powerful law. He was anointed with the Holy Ghost and power, Acts 10:38, which mighty influence enabled him to execute his oifice effectually for saving sinners; and by it he receiveth life peculiar to his priesthood, opposed to the dead letter of the commandment, by which, and under which, souls perished by multitudes. But this High Priest hath by this law life in himself, and the best of life to give out to those who wait on his ministry, John 5:21,John 5:24-26, and such life as is indissoluble, opposite to carnal and bodily, which corrupts and perisheth; but the powerful life of this priest is not to be destroyed, neither in himself, nor his people. He by his death and life makes eternal expiation, and procureth eternal blessings for them: see Hebrews 7:25, and Hebrews 9:11,Hebrews 9:12,Hebrews 9:28.

Verse 17

For he testifieth: this is proved by infallible testimony in Psalms 110:4, God the Father himself solemnly declared him to be so before the angels in heaven, and revealed it to men on earth by the prophet David.

Thou art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec: that as Melchisedec had no end of days recorded, so this is repeated again to prove, that the Priest after his similitude, i.e. after his order, (the words being here synonymous), must continue for ever. Christ was not a temporary Priest by a carnal law, but was made a Priest for ever, with everlasting power endowed to save all his people: see Hebrews 7:24,Hebrews 7:25,Hebrews 7:28, and Matthew 1:21.

Verse 18

For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before: the Spirit having proved the disannulling of the Aaronical priesthood for its imperfection, proceeds to prove the abolishing of the law or covenant annexed to it, like it for weakness and unprofitableness; αθετησις is a displacing, deposing, or laying it aside as to its binding force, so as there is no obligation from it on any as to obedience or penalty; and this is so disannulled of the Law-maker, God himself, by setting up the gospel by his Son-priest, which is most certainly true.

For the weakness and unprofitableness thereof; for the Mosaical covenant and law wanted strength to bring about what the Jews sought by it, and wanted good fruit to them who made their boast of it; both which weakness and unprofitableness arose from the Hebrews’ abuse of it, expecting expiation and sanctification by it, without minding the promise which preceded it four hundred and thirty years, to which it should have led them, and by its neglect proved so fatal to them. For they would be justified and saved by an external obedience to this law, without any regard to Christ and his sacrifice, by whom alone it could be attained, Galatians 3:17-27. It was strong and profitable to the end for which God made it, to lead to Christ; but weak and unprofitable to justify or sanctify them without him, which was the end they used it for, or rather abused it.

Verse 19

For the law made nothing perfect: the proof of this weakness and unprofitableness of the law is its imperfection; it had no supernatural moral power to justify or sanctify any person, or to bring him to perfection; neither did it perfect any person of itself so as to reconcile him to God, or bring him to salvation, whatever was expected by it, Hebrews 9:9; Hebrews 10:1,Hebrews 10:2.

But the bringing in of a better hope did: δε but, shows the opposition of hope to the law; though the law could not perfect any, yet the better hope, the gospel, promulgated to and received by them, could perfect them. ’ Epeisagwgh, superinduction, i.e. it was brought in, and put in force, after the legal covenant expired; and brought in to abolish that, so as by it it was repealed and abrogated. The gospel law is styled

a better hope, because it is conveying better promises, Hebrews 8:6, which gives firm and certain hope of sinners’ perfection by it, viz. their enjoyment of justification, sanctification, and eternal life. This hope wrought by the Holy Ghost in their hearts, enableth them to obey the gospel, and seals the promises to them.

By the which we draw nigh unto God; and by this they have free access to God, as Hebrews 4:14,Hebrews 4:16; compare Hebrews 10:19-22; Romans 5:1,Romans 5:2; not only to worship him, but to receive the blessings of the covenant from him, without fear of displeasing him, or being consumed by him, as under the law, but in the greatest confidence of pleasing him in Jesus Christ, of having communion with him, and of being blessed in the enjoyment of him for ever: see Hebrews 12:18-22, and compare Hebrews 7:22-25 with them.

Verse 20

This is a further proof of the excellency of Christ’s priesthood above Aaron’s, taken from his constitution in it by oath. He who is made a priest by oath, is a better and a greater priest than any made so without it; but so is Christ. Καθ οσον is a comparative, answered Hebrews 7:22, insinuating by how much the cause constituting or confirming an office of priesthood is more excellent, by so much the effect and office must excel, receiving greater power for some more excellent end. This ορκωμοσια is as much as a double oath, απο του ομνυειν ορκον. By the swearing of an oath by God the Father was the gospel High Priest constituted an eternal one after Melchisedec’s order; and it addeth so much the more strength and glory to the sanction. This is testified by David, Psalms 110:4. The Levitical priests were made by a Divine designation, and with external rites were consecrated; but Christ was constituted a Priest by oath, as our translators well supply it out of the following verse.

Verse 21

For those priests were made without an oath; those priests of Aaron’s order were selected, instituted, consecrated, without any oath mentioned by Moses, who did all exactly as the Lord commanded him, Exodus 40:16. God gave only command for it, and made their priesthood but a temporary and passing honour and office, which he might alter when he would.

But this with an oath by him that said unto him: The Lord sware and will not repent: but he, or Jesus, was made a Priest after Melchisedec’s order, by an oath of God his Father, speaking to him, as is recorded by David, Psalms 110:4. The Lord Jehovah the Father, sware unto his Son the Lord Messiah, lifting his hand, and saying: I live for ever, Deuteronomy 32:40, when he ascended and sat down on the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens, solemnly by this oath ratifying and confirming him in this office; and that he would not repent, i.e. change, or alter, or retract what he swore to him, there being no need of any other, he so effectually performing the work of it, that all that God bestows upon his by him, are gifts not to be repented of even eternal life and salvation.

Thou art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec: that which the oath ratified was, that Christ should be God’s only and eternal Priest, who was to have no sharer with him in the priesthood, and no end of it; taking away from himself by oath any power to make Christ no priest, or take away his office at will and pleasure, as he did Aaron’s; hereby honouring his Son, and highly gratifying sinners by giving them such a royal High Priest, who should effectually manage all their concernments with him for ever.

Verse 22

This brings in the consequent on Hebrews 7:20.

As much excellency as was in God’s oath constituting,

so much there must be in the office constituted. The Aaronical priesthood, by God’s constitution, was excellent; but Christ’s is much more so, being by God’s oath made personal and everlasting, relating to the best covenant; so as the Hebrews had the greatest reason to renounce Aaron’s, and to cleave to Christ’s for salvation. He being God-man, is a Surety, one that bindeth himself for another, to see something paid or performed, to give security for another; and is proper to him as a Priest, Job 17:3; Psalms 119:122; Proverbs 6:1. In the Mossical economy the priests were typical sureties, or undertakers for the people; so Aaron, as a surety, was sent by Moses to stand between the living and the dead, when God was cutting off those sinners, Numbers 16:46,Numbers 16:48. The Spirit interprets this

Surety to be a Mediator, Hebrews 8:6, which is the general comprehensive name of all his offices: as he gives all from God to us in and by his promises, he is the Testator fulfilling them, Hebrews 9:15,Hebrews 9:16; as he gives satisfaction to God for us, and returns our duty performed with the incense of his merits, he is our Surety; which merit of his resulted from his perfect obedience to the whole law and will of God, and from the full satisfaction he made to God by his death for our sins, Romans 5:19; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13.

A better testament; the gospel covenant, described Hebrews 8:10-12, and referreth to what the Lord foretold of it, Jeremiah 31:33,Jeremiah 31:34, which is better than the Mosaical for perspicuity, freeness, fulness, spirituality, and the Spirit promised in it for its ratification by the death of Christ, and its perpetuity: see Hebrews 8:8,Hebrews 8:9,Hebrews 8:11.

Verse 23

And they truly were many priests: this further demonstrates the excellency of Christ’s priesthood above the Aaronical for its singularity and self-sufficiency; whereas theirs was, for the multiplicity of it, weak, vanishing, and mortal, like themselves. They had multitude of priests together under the high priest, to manage the service, and above seventy high priests, beside their sagans, such as were to officiate for them if at any time they were legally disabled from the institution of the Aaronical order, to the destruction of the temple, and were made according to the law successively.

Because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death; death cut them off one after another; they were all mortal, and could not abide, neither in their priesthood or life, Exodus 28:43. Death transmitted that priesthood from one unto another, till the priesthood itself, by the succession of a better, was abolished, and did expire; so frail, passing, and imperfect were both their persons and office.

Verse 24

But this man, because he continueth ever; this Priest, Jesus, Hebrews 7:22, is opposed to the Aaronical multitude; this excellent one, 1 Timothy 2:5, after his resurrection abideth immortal. He is eternal and permanent for person and office: see Hebrews 7:25; Romans 6:9. They are vanished, but he continues for ever, Revelation 1:17,Revelation 1:18.

Hath an unchangeable priesthood; aparabaton, a priesthood that cannot pass from him to any other, as Aaron’s did to his successors: no person is to be a sharer in it, nor a successor to it: it is reciprocal with himself; his individual person terminateth it for ever; he hath no vicars nor successors of his priesthood, whatever the pope pretends to in it.

Verse 25

Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost: this inference proves his eminency in office above Aaron’s order by the efficacy of it; for he is possessor of a supernatural Divine power, which is able to save to perfection, to the full, to all ends, from sin, in its guilt, stain, and power; from its consequents, the curse, and wrath, and eternal death. What neither ourselves nor others could do for us, he is only able, and an willing as able, to set us in a safe, happy, blessed, and glorious state for ever, Romans 5:9-11,Romans 5:17.

That come unto God by him; all such who will come to God by him as their High Priest, and no other, praying for remission of sins for his sake and merit, by faith in his blood, renouncing self, expecting the mercy of God to flow in him to them, subjecting themselves entirely to him, and depending on him to present them unto God their end, without spot or blemish, or any such thing, and to make them blessed in the enjoyment of him for ever. This is his work, John 6:35-40; 1 Peter 3:18.

Seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them; since he always exists and lives a High Priest for the good of those who wait on him, having life in himself, and quickening them; compare Romans 8:6; and, as their Advocate, 1 John 2:1,1 John 2:2, answereth all charges against them, suing for those penitent believers, and pleading for all promised them by the Father in him. He sitting at God’s right hand must ever be in his presence: and appears as the general Representative of his, and useth all his interest with the supreme Lawgiver, Judge, and Governor, for them, {see Hebrews 9:24} as it was foretold he should, Isaiah 53:12, even for them who cannot plead their own cause through guiltiness or weakness; he will manage it for all of them who believe in him, and apply themselves to God by him, atoning him for their sins by his sacrifice, performing their duties and person by the incense of his merits, and presenting them to God, answering in heaven his type on earth, Exodus 30:1-10; compare Revelation 8:3,Revelation 8:4; Romans 8:31-36.

Verse 26

The last excellency of the gospel High Priest, preferring him to Aaron’s order, is the qualification of his person, by which he is described in himself, distinguished from and set above all others, and is that which remained out of David’s proof to be cleared, who this person was, who was different from Melchisedec, though after his order, to take place after Aaron’s was expired, who was immortal, and constituted an everlasting Priest by God’s oath.

For such an High Priest became us, who is holy: this was God-man, the Messiah, and gospel High Priest, who was convenient, congruous, suitable, useful, and necessary, for us guilty, filthy, miserable sinners, in respect of ourselves hopeless and helpless, and cannot approach God without consumption; and, unless we have a person who can manage our cause with God, are lost for ever. To such is he agreeable and necessary, who only can help and save us. This the titles given him evince, showing all the perfections of a priest, of which others were dark shadows and types; as he was not only externally and relatively by office, but internally and morally holy. His essence as God was holiness; as man his nature was entirely agreeable to God’s will; he was that holy thing, Luke 1:35; not having holiness engraven on a mitre, as Aaron, Exodus 39:30,Exodus 39:31, but in his person; holy in his conception, birth, life, and death. The devil could find nothing but holiness in him, John 14:30. Pure in his soul, in his body, transcendently beyond his type, Leviticus 21:17-23; not a creature, angel or man, so holy as he, the most like to God of any, John 1:14.

Harmless; akakov, void of all natural evil in his spirit and flesh, no lust, no disposition to evil, not injurious to any, having no guile, an Israelite indeed beyond a Nathanael, of the most simple, pure, and innocent nature; he was good, and all his work was good, Acts 10:38.

Undefiled; amiantov, without any spot, not soiled or stained without or within; the angels and heavens are not so clean in God’s sight, as lifts Priest of his; he was never tainted with the appearance of sin: if his church be so pure, what must himself be! Ephesians 5:27.

Separate from sinners; free from all vicious habit, quality, act, or stain, by what was in sinners, or by his converse with them; as separate from guilt or stain, as if he had never been with them; conjoined with God in being and fulness of righteousness, making sinners righteous, but contracting nothing from them.

And made higher than the heavens; by the constitution of God, after his sacrifice, mentioned Hebrews 7:27, he ascended far above all heavens, Ephesians 4:10, and is settled on God’s throne at his right hand, having all principalities, powers, might and dominion, and every name, subjected to him, and all things put under his feet, Ephesians 1:21,Ephesians 1:22. Never priest can reach where he is; this is his supereminent excellency, Hebrews 4:14; Hebrews 8:1; Hebrews 9:11. How able, mighty, and successful is he for managing all for his clients there! His work now is intercession.

Verse 27

In this verse the Spirit shows the ground of his intercession work in heaven, and why he doth not sacrifice as a High Priest there; therein setting his far above the Aaronical priesthood.

Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice; he had no necessity, being so holy as he was, to multiply sacrifices.

First for his own sins, and then for the people’s; for himself, being sinless, and having no infirmity to atone for, as the Aaronical priesthood had, who annually on the day of atonement did offer sacrifice for themselves, being sinners, and needing pardon as well as the people, Leviticus 9:7. And he had no need anually on a day to offer for the people’s sins, as Aaron and his successors had, and did continue to do, till his sacrifice took place and abolished them; he having once offered a sacrifice for the sins of the people, which outweighed all their multiplied sacrifices.

For this he did once, when he offered up himself; and this he did once when he himself died a sacrifice for sins, when he offered up the human nature by the eternal Spirit without spot, a propitiatory sacrifice to God, when his body hung on the cross, and his soul ascended and entered into the throne of God in the holy of holiest in heaven, with the blood of the testament, and atoned him for all his people. How transcendent was this sacrifice to all the Aaronical ones, whereby sinners were reconciled unto God for ever! Hebrews 9:11,Hebrews 9:12,Hebrews 9:14,Hebrews 9:24-26. On this offering was he exalted by God fitr above all heavens, confirmed by oath in his office, and his intercession became so powerful and effectual to save all his people from their sins, and the consequents of them.

Verse 28

This is the reason why the Aaronical priests had need to sacrifice for themselves, and the gospel High Priest had not, and is finally describing him who is so.

For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; for the law which God gave to Moses, the ceremonial law, constituteth, sets up, and puts into this Aaronical order and office of priesthood, such as are not only liable to bodily infirmities, but to moral ones, sins. Aaron and all his sons had their spiritual sinful infirmities, Hebrews 5:2, for which they were to offer their propitiatory sacrifices to God, as well as for those of the people; they were sinful, dying men, Hebrews 7:26.

But the word of the oath, which was since the law; but God the Father’s promise to his Son, ratified with an oath, that he should he the great High Priest perfecting of souls for God, as David testifieth, Psalms 110:4, to be revealed to him; and this four hundred years after the law was given which constituted the Aaronical priesthood. The word revealed God’s promise to him, the oath made it irreversible; yet this promise was not actually performed to him till his ascension in the human nature higher than the heavens, Psalms 110:1.

Maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore; God the Son incarnate, the man Christ God’s fellow, the glorious only begotten and bosom Son of the Father, Zechariah 13:7; John 1:14,John 1:18; 1 Timothy 2:5, is made by this ratified word the only single everlasting High Priest, who is not only completely and perfectly holy, as opposed to the infirmities of the Aaronical priests, but ever able and fit for his work, as successful in it. Who would not therefore leave that abolished priesthood, and cleave to this which must abide for ever?

Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Hebrews 7". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mpc/hebrews-7.html. 1685.
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