Hebrews 7:1-28


I have listened several times to the beautiful soundtrack of Andrew Lloyd Weber's The Phantom of the Opera ...one of the things about that musical I find so interesting is how the Weber uses repetition of the song "Music of the Night" to tie the musical together...just when your mind begins to wander, the melody of "Music of the Night" can be heard softly in the background calling you back to the main theme of the musical...


That is something of what the writer of the book of Hebrews does to keep the major theme of the book before the reader...we have seen that the main theme of Hebrews is the superiority of Jesus Christ as our high priest...so for in our study of Hebrews we have seen that Jesus is superior to the angels (ch.1-2), to Moses (ch.3), to the priests of Judaism (ch.5), and to Abraham (ch.6)... It is the writer’s purpose in this section to show that the priesthood of Christ is better than that of Aaron’s (whose successors were at that time ministering on earth, 8:4) because His priesthood is of a superior order (chap. 7). It is ministered under a superior covenant (chap. 8), in a superior sanctuary (chap. 9), because of a superior sacrifice (chap. 10).[1]


And to drive that point home, the writer again and again repeats a favorite statement...that statement is that Jesus is a high priest "according to the order of Melchizedek"...that statement is repeated at least six times in Hebrews...we've come to passage in Hebrews which deals in some detail with this mysterious OT character named Melchizedek...look at Hebrews 7


There is much speculation about the identity of Melchizedek... some people take the statements in v.3 about him being "without father, without mother, without genealogy..." to mean he was not a person like we are...they say he was either an angel who took on a human form or he was a preincarnation of Jesus, Himself...however, he couldn't have been an angel because the Bible says he was a priest and the Scripture makes it clear that the priesthood is a human not an angelic function...and he couldn't have been Jesus because v.3 describes him as being "made like the Son of God" not being the Son of God...


So who was Melchizedek?  I agree with Warren Wiersbe who writes, "He was a real man, a real king, and a real priest in a real city."... but since there is no record of his birth or death there it's as if he is still living and serving as a high priest...he is a picture, a foreshadowing of Jesus, the great eternal high priest...


Notice that verse1 describes this OT character as "Melchizedek, king of Salem..."...then verse 2 tells us the meaning of those words..."Melchizedek" means righteousness..."Salem" which is a shortened form of Jerusalem from the Hebrew word shalom means peace...so his name is "righteousness, king of peace"...and in that is a very important biblical principle...that principle is true peace always follows righteousness...until a person experiences righteousness (which just means rightness with God) that person will not have peace in his/her life...that principle surfaces time and again in the Scripture...for example--

--Isaiah 32:17 - "And the work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever."

--Romans 5:1 - "Therefore being justified [made righteousness] by faith, we have made peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."


Jesus’ priesthood (Melchizedek) is superior to Aaron’s because the Levitical priests (through Abraham) paid tithes to Melchizedek (vv.4-10)

This is rabbinical exegesis. Since Levi the tribe of Aaron is descendant from Abraham, then the Jewish priesthood (i.e. even the High Priest) paid tithes to Melchizedek. Therefore, Melchizedek is superior and Jesus is superior to Jewish priests.[2]


Jesus’ perfect priesthood (Melchizedek) replaced Aaron’s imperfect priesthood (vv.11-19)

The Levitic line of priesthood was imperfect (7:11–12). It was necessary for God to draw the new priesthood from a new line, Judah from whom Jesus came (vv. 13–15). Because of his endless life, Jesus is a priest in the order of Melchizedek (vv. 16–17).[3]


“better hope” (v.19) – This is a recurrent theme in Hebrews:

1.   much better than the angels (cf. 1:4)

2.   better things concerning you (cf. 6:9)

3.   lesser is blessed by the greater (cf. 7:7)

4.   a better hope (cf. 7:19)

5.   a better covenant (cf. 7:22)

6.   with better sacrifice (cf. 9:23)

7.   a better possession (cf.10:34)

8.   a better resurrection (cf. 11:35)

9.   God has provided something better (cf.11:40)

10. the sprinkled blood speaks better (cf. 12:24)[4]


Jesus’ priesthood is superior to Aaron’s because it is sealed by an oath (vv. 20-22)

While God acknowledged Aaron and his successors in the elaborate ceremonies described in Ex. 28–30, we have no record of a divine oath that sealed their priesthood.[5]


God’s promises can be trusted because His character and power stand behind them (cf. Isa. 46:10). This oath is a reference to Ps. 110:4, which is discussed in Heb. 6:13–17.[6]

“guarantee” (surety) (v.22) - The Hebrew background is “a pledge put in the hand,” which implies surety. It came to be used in Greek for collateral on a loan or a jail bond. Also, in Roman law it stood for that which was legally secured. Jesus is the Father’s surety of the effectiveness of the new covenant.[7]


Jesus’ priesthood is superior to Aaron’s because is eternal as opposed to temporary (vv. 23-25)

The Law was holy and good, but it was limited by the frailties of the flesh. Aaron died; his sons after him also died. The priesthood was as good as the man, and the man did not last forever. But Christ lives to die no more! He has an unchanging priesthood because He lives by the power of an endless life.[8]


Hebrews 7:25 is one of the most beautiful verses in the Bible...John MacArthur, in his commentary on Hebrews says, "Like John 3:16, [Hebrews 7:25] contains the whole essence of the gospel.".


      Notice the verse begins with the phrase, "Hence, also, He is able to save..."...important understand this verse is concluding statement of all that has been said before in this chapter… Jesus the perfect High Priest is compared with the lesser priests of Israel...while the priests of Israel could offer sacrifices which partially and temporarily covered sin, Jesus became the sacrifice who removes sin permanently...Because Jesus was perfect - without sin...because He offered Himself on the cross as the sacrifice for our sins...He and only He is able to save...


I know that making such a claim runs directly contrary to the prevailing spirit of our culture...our culture says there are many paths to God...and that one path is just as good as another as long as a person is faithful, sincere, and consistent...and I realize that evangelical Christians are often criticized and labelled as narrow and bigoted and close-minded for claiming that Jesus is the only way to God....But the reason we make that claim is because that is exactly what the Bible teaches...the Scripture states it so clearly in Acts 4:12 - "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved."...and Jesus said in John 14:6 -"I am the way and the truth and the life, and no-one comes to the Father but through me."


Notice this verse describes those people who experience salvation as "those who draw near to God through Him"...it's not the drawing near which saves us...Jesus saves us...but the result of our salvation is that the enmity between us and God is ended...the chasm has been spanned...the separation has been closed...And one of the main themes of the book of Hebrews is that Jesus makes it possible for us to draw near to God...five times in Hebrews the writer uses the phrase "draw near" to describe the result of salvation...

--Hebrews 4:16 tells us to "draw near with confidence to the throne of grace..."

--Hebrews 7:19 tells us we can "draw near to God" because of the hope/assurance we have in Jesus...

--This verse (Hebrews 7:25) tells us we can "draw near to God through Him [Jesus]..."

--Hebrews 10:1 points out that it's not the law but Christ which makes it possible for us to "draw near" to God...

--Hebrews 10:22 instructs us to "draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith" because we have been cleansed by Jesus...

A.T. Robertson, the great Greek scholar, points out the verb translated "draw near" comes from a word which means "to approach reverently and with respect for the purpose of worship"...however, the writer of Hebrews softens the word immensely...because of what Jesus has done for us, we can approach God not as some distant, uncaring deity but as a compassionate, loving Father...Like a child cuddles in the lap of a loving parent, so we have the privilege of cuddling in the lap of God...


The first part of v.25 tells us that Jesus "is able to save forever..."...the last part of the verse tells us why that is true..."...since He always lives to make intercession for [us]" Do you see the beautiful picture in that?  Do you see what this verse is saying about the security, the permanence of our salvation?...one writer put it this way:

"The security of our salvation is Jesus' perpetual intercession for us.  We can no more keep ourselves saved that we can save ourselves in the first place.  But just as Jesus has power to save us, He has power to keep us.  Constantly, eternally, perpetually Jesus Christ intercedes for us before His Father.  Whenever we sin He says to the Father, 'Put that on My account.  My sacrifice has already paid for it.'" [MacArthur, p.201]

Once we have entered a faith relationship with God through Jesus Christ, it is the power of Christ which keeps us in that relationship...salvation is permanent...


Verses 26-28 basically restate the main themes of this chapter.

[1] Wiersbe, W. W. (1992). Wiersbe’s expository outlines on the New Testament (694). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[2] Utley, R. J. (1999). Vol. Volume 10: The Superiority of the New Covenant: Hebrews. Study Guide Commentary Series (71). Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International.

[3] Fields, W. C. (1972). Hebrews. In H. F. Paschall & H. H. Hobbs (Eds.), The teacher's Bible commentary (H. F. Paschall & H. H. Hobbs, Ed.) (777–778). Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers.

[4] Utley, R. J. (1999). Vol. Volume 10: The Superiority of the New Covenant: Hebrews. Study Guide Commentary Series (71). Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International.

[5] Wiersbe, W. W. (1992). Wiersbe’s expository outlines on the New Testament (695). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[6] Utley, R. J. (1999). Vol. Volume 10: The Superiority of the New Covenant: Hebrews. Study Guide Commentary Series (73). Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International.

[7] Utley, R. J. (1999). Vol. Volume 10: The Superiority of the New Covenant: Hebrews. Study Guide Commentary Series (74). Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International.

[8] Wiersbe, W. W. (1992). Wiersbe’s expository outlines on the New Testament (695–696). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.