Priest Forever

The priesthood of Jesus is superior because it rests on his endless resurrection life, the priest after the order of Melchizedek – (Psalm 110:4). 

Church Stars N.Z. - Photo by David Maginley on Unsplash
The epistle to the Hebrews employs a series of comparisons t0 demonstrate the superiority of the “word” of God “spoken” 
in His Son, which is superior to all the past “words” that were “spoken to the fathers in the prophets.” That includes the revelations given through angels and Moses. The purpose is not to denigrate Moses, angels, or the Torah, but instead, to stress the fullness of the “word” that Yahweh “spoke” in His Son. His past revelations were valid but partial, temporary, and promissory - [Photo by David Maginley on Unsplash].

Unlike its predecessors, the “word” in the “Son” is complete, “having achieved purification of sins,” so vital to the people of God yet something the older revelations did not achieve:
  • (Psalm 110:4) – “Yahweh hath sworn, and will not repent, you will be a priest unto times everlasting, after the order of Melchizedek.
  • (Hebrews 1:3) – “Who, bearing up all things by the utterance of his power, purification of sins having achievedsat down on the right hand of the majesty in high places.”
The clause “purification of sins” introduces the subjects of the priesthood and sacrifice of the “Son,” prepares the read for the later discussion on the “new and better covenant” inaugurated by him. Hebrews contrasts the priesthood of the “Son,” his “new” covenant, and his once-for-all sacrifice with the Levitical priesthood, the “first” and now obsolete covenant, and the repeated animal sacrifices required by the Torah given through angels at Sinai - (Hebrews 2:1-5, 8:13).

The fact that God promised a future priesthood “after the order of Melchizedek” proves the Aaronic priesthood could not achieve the “purification of sins,” nor was it intended to endure for all time. Under that priesthood, “the people received the law.” But the change in priesthood promised by Yahweh meant also a change of law” - The divine promise of a new priest “after the order of Melchizedek” - (Psalms 110:4).

Due to human mortality and weakness, the Aaronic priesthood was dependent on lineal descent and multiple generations of priests. In contrast, the priesthood “after the order of Melchizedek” is perpetual since it is based on an endless resurrection life. The “weakness” of human mortality inherent in the old system meant there was a “disannulling” of the previous commandment, which could “make nothing complete”:
  • (Hebrews 7:11-17) – “If indeed, therefore, there had been a perfecting through means of the Levitical priesthood for the people, thereon, have had based a code of laws, what further need, according to the rank of Melchizedek, for a different priest to be raised up, and not according to the rank of Aaron to be designated? For seeing there is to be a change of the priesthood, of necessity of law, too, a change comes. For he as to whom these things are said, with a different tribe has taken partnership, from which no one has given attendance at the altar. For it is very evident that out of Judah has sprung our Lord, respecting which tribe, concerning priests, nothing did Moses speak. And yet, more abundantly evident it is that, according to the likeness of Melchizedek, there is to be raised up a different priest. Who, not according to a law of commandment dealing with the flesh has arisen, but according to the power of an indissoluble life. For it is witnessed, You are a priest everlastingly, according to the rank of Melchizedek.
Unlike the old order, the priest after the “order of Melchizedek” was installed by the declared word and oath of God - (“The Lord swore and will not regret, ‘You are a priest everlastingly’”); therefore, Jesus holds the priesthood “nontransferable” and unchangeable. Furthermore, he became the “guarantor of a better covenant” and is able “to save to the uttermost” all who approach God through him, because he “lives evermore to intercede on their behalf” - (Hebrews 7:19-25).

In contrast to all previous high priests, Jesus “sat down on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,” having become the minister of “the Real Tabernacle,” not a tent assembled and pitched by man. On the earth, the old system constituted “glimpses and shadows of the heavenly realities,” just as Moses was told to make the earthly Tabernacle “according to the pattern he had seen in the mount” - (Hebrews 8:1-5).

Denali Alaska - Photo by Landon Arnold on Unsplash
Denali Alaska - By Landon Arnold on Unsplash

Likewise, having “
attained to a more distinguished ministry, he also is the mediator of a better covenant legislated upon better promises.” If the “first covenant” had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second one. But having found fault with it, the Lord announced the coming days when “I will conclude a new covenant”:
  • (Hebrews 8:6-13) – “But now has he attained to a more distinguished public ministry, by as much as of a better covenant also he is mediator, which, indeed, upon better promises has been legislated. For if that first had been faultless, not, in that case, for a second had there been sought a place. For finding fault with them, he said, Behold, days are coming, says the Lord, when I will conclude for the house of Israel and the house of Judah a covenant of a new sort: Not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by their hand, to lead them forth out of the land of Egypt, because they abode not in my covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. Because this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord, giving my laws into their understanding, upon their hearts, also, will I inscribe them: and I will become their God, and they shall become my people; and in nowise shall they teach everyone his fellow-citizen, and everyone his brother, saying, Get to know the Lord! Because all shall know me, from the least to the greatest of them; because propitious will I be as to their iniquities, and of their sins, in nowise will I be mindful anymore. In saying, Of a new sort, he has made obsolete the first; but the thing that is becoming obsolete and aged is near disappearing!
The new covenant was NOT to be “according to the covenant” made at Sinai. It is not a “renewed” or slightly modified piece of legislation based on the regulations of the Torah, but instead, a very new kind of covenant since the old legislation was incapable of achieving the “purification of sins.”

The new covenant empowers all citizens of the kingdom to know God and establishes them as His people, and the righteous requirements of His laws Law having been written on their hearts. Moreover, the covenant established by the “Son” has achieved the purification of sins - (“I will become merciful to their unrighteousness and their sins will I remember no more”).

By establishing the new covenant, Jesus “made the first obsolete,” which means the covenant established at Sinai ceased to be in effect because of the superior act and status of Jesus. Anyone who removes himself from the jurisdiction of our “Great High Priest,” Jesus, will place him or herself under the jurisdiction of an incomplete and obsolete system.


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