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7. Melchizedek the Priest

1For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of God Most High, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2to whom also Abraham divided a tenth part of all (being first, by interpretation, King of righteousness, and then also King of Salem, which is King of peace; 3without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like unto the Son of God), abideth a priest continually. 4Now consider how great this man was, unto whom Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth out of the chief spoils. 5And they indeed of the sons of Levi that receive the priest's office have commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though these have come out of the loins of Abraham: 6but he whose genealogy is not counted from them hath taken tithes of Abraham, and hath blessed him that hath the promises. 7But without any dispute the less is blessed of the better. 8And here men that die receive tithes; but there one, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth. 9And, so to say, through Abraham even Levi, who receiveth tithes, hath paid tithes; 10for he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchizedek met him. 11Now if there was perfection through the Levitical priesthood (for under it hath the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should arise after the order of Melchizedek, and not be reckoned after the order of Aaron? 12For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. 13For he of whom these things are said belongeth to another tribe, from which no man hath given attendance at the altar. 14For it is evident that our Lord hath sprung out of Judah; as to which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priests. 15And what we say is yet more abundantly evident, if after the likeness of Melchizedek there ariseth another priest, 16who hath been made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life: 17for it is witnessed of him,

Thou art a priest for ever

After the order of Melchizedek.

18For there is a disannulling of a foregoing commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness 19(for the law made nothing perfect), and a bringing in thereupon of a better hope, through which we draw nigh unto God. 20And inasmuch as it is not without the taking of an oath 21(for they indeed have been made priests without an oath; but he with an oath by him that saith of him,

The Lord sware and will not repent himself,

Thou art a priest for ever);

22by so much also hath Jesus become the surety of a better covenant. 23And they indeed have been made priests many in number, because that by death they are hindered from continuing: 24but he, because he abideth for ever, hath his priesthood unchangeable. 25Wherefore also he is able to save to the uttermost them that draw near unto God through him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. 26For such a high priest became us, holy, guileless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; 27who needeth not daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people: for this he did once for all, when he offered up himself. 28For the law appointeth men high priests, having infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was after the law, appointeth a Son, perfected for evermore.

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23. Another proof of superiority; the Levitical priests were many, as death caused the need of continually new ones being appointed in succession. Christ dies not, and so hath a priesthood which passes not from one to another.

wereGreek, "are made."

many—one after another; opposed to His "unchangeable (that does not pass from one to another) priesthood" (Heb 7:24).

not suffered to continueGreek, "hindered from permanently continuing," namely, in the priesthood.

24. he—emphatic; Greek, "Himself." So in Ps 110:4, "Thou art a priest"; singular, not priests, "many."

continuethGreek, simple verb, not the compound as in Heb 7:23. "Remaineth," namely, in life.

unchangeableGreek, "hath His priesthood unchangeable"; not passing from one to another, intransmissible. Therefore no earthly so-called apostolic succession of priests are His vicegerents. The Jewish priests had successors in office, because "they could not continue by reason of death." But this Man, because He liveth ever, hath no successor in office, not even Peter (1Pe 5:1).

25. WhereforeGreek, "Whence"; inasmuch as "He remaineth for ever."

also—as a natural consequence flowing from the last, at the same time a new and higher thing [Alford].

save—His very name Jesus (Heb 7:22) meaning Saviour.

to the uttermost—altogether, perfectly, so that nothing should be wanting afterwards for ever [Tittmann]. It means "in any wise," "utterly," in Lu 13:11.

come unto God—by faith.

by himthrough Him as their mediating Priest, instead of through the Levitical priests.

seeing he ever liveth—resuming "He continueth ever," Heb 7:24; therefore "He is able to the uttermost"; He is not, like the Levitical priest, prevented by death, for "He ever liveth" (Heb 7:23).

to make intercession—There was but the one offering on earth once for all. But the intercession for us in the heavens (Heb 7:26) is ever continuing, whence the result follows, that we can never be separated from the love of God in Christ. He intercedes only for those who come unto God through Him, not for the unbelieving world (Joh 17:9). As samples of His intercession, compare the prophetical descriptions in the Old Testament. "By an humble omnipotency (for it was by His humiliation that He obtained all power), or omnipotent humility, appearing in the presence, and presenting His postulations at the throne of God" [Bishop Pearson]. He was not only the offering, but the priest who offered it. Therefore, He has become not only a sacrifice, but an intercessor; His intercession being founded on His voluntary offering of Himself without spot to God. We are not only then in virtue of His sacrifice forgiven, but in virtue of the intercession admitted to favor and grace [Archbishop Magee].




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