Hebrews - Lesson 14

Hebrews 7

In this lesson, you will explore the significance of Melchizedek in Hebrews 7, as he is compared to Jesus Christ, highlighting Jesus' superiority. You will learn about the permanence of Jesus' priesthood, the oath and promise that establish it, and how Jesus acts as a guarantor of a better covenant. Furthermore, you will delve into the New Covenant, with Jesus as the mediator, and the transformative nature of this covenant compared to the old one. Finally, you will understand the implications of these truths for believers, providing assurance of salvation and encouragement to persevere in faith.

Lesson 14
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Hebrews 7

NT528-14: Hebrews 7

I. Melchizedek's Significance in Hebrews

A. Background on Melchizedek

B. Comparison to Jesus Christ

II. The Superiority of Jesus' Priesthood

A. Permanence of His Priesthood

B. Oath and Promise

C. Jesus as a Guarantor

III. The New Covenant

A. Jesus as Mediator

B. Transformation in the Covenant

IV. Implications for the Believers

A. Assurance of Salvation

B. Encouragement to Persevere

  • Through this lesson, you gain insight into Hebrews' background, literary features, themes like Jesus as High Priest, faith and perseverance, the New Covenant, and its significance in the New Testament.
  • This lesson offers insights into Hebrews' purpose, emphasizing perseverance in faith and the superiority of Christ over prophets, angels, Moses, and the Levitical priesthood, while also exploring warning passages and their application to modern believers.
  • By studying this lesson, you gain insight into the Son's superiority to angels in Hebrews, explore the biblical basis for this concept, and learn about the roles and functions of angels in the Bible, deepening your understanding of Christology and its relevance today.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insight into the context, exegesis, and application of Hebrews 2:1-4, emphasizing the importance of heeding Christ's superior message and recognizing the confirmation provided by the Holy Spirit and accompanying miracles.
  • In this lesson, you'll explore the context and themes of Hebrews 2:5-9, focusing on Christ's superiority, His incarnation, and the encouragement it provides for believers.
  • In this lesson, you gain insights into Jesus' role as the perfect leader and High Priest, exploring His suffering, incarnation, and the purpose behind His actions for the deliverance and reconciliation of humanity.
  • Through this lesson, you will understand the roles of Jesus and Moses in Hebrews 3:1-6, the significance of faithfulness, and the importance of perseverance in the Christian life.
  • Through this lesson, you gain understanding of Hebrews 3:7-19, learning about the consequences of unbelief, the importance of faith, and the necessity of perseverance to avoid apostasy.
  • By studying Hebrews 4:1-11, you'll learn about God's promised rest, its ties to the Old Testament Sabbath, and the role of faith in accessing it.
  • In this lesson, you gain an understanding of the power of God's Word, Jesus' role as the Great High Priest, and the significance of the high priestly order of Melchizedek in the context of Jesus' suffering and obedience.
  • In this lesson, you will gain insights on the significance of spiritual maturity in the Christian life, the consequences of spiritual immaturity, and the importance of perseverance, using Abraham as an example.
  • Through this lesson, you gain a comprehensive understanding of Hebrews 5:11-6:12, learning about spiritual immaturity, the dangers of apostasy, and the importance of perseverance and spiritual growth in your faith journey.
  • By studying Hebrews 6:13-20, you gain insight into the connection between God's promise to Abraham and the hope Christians have in Jesus, emphasizing the role of Jesus as High Priest and anchor for the soul.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insight into Jesus' superior priesthood, the New Covenant's transformative power, and the implications for believers, offering assurance and perseverance in faith.
  • Through this lesson, you grasp the significance of Christ's superior priesthood, His ministry in the heavenly tabernacle, and the establishment of the New Covenant, which prevails over the Old Covenant due to its better promises.
  • Through this lesson, you grasp the superiority of the New Covenant in Hebrews 8:7-13, its fulfillment of Jeremiah's prophecy, and the implications for living under it.
  • Through this lesson, you learn about the Tabernacle's significance, the limitations of the Old Covenant, and the superiority of Christ's sacrifice in granting access to God under the New Covenant.
  • Through this lesson, you grasp the superiority of Christ's sacrifice in the New Covenant and how it contrasts with the Old Covenant, deepening your understanding of faith, perseverance, and the theological implications in the New Testament.
  • By studying Hebrews 10:1-18, you understand the superiority of Christ's sacrifice and the insufficiency of the Old Covenant, while learning the importance of the New Covenant for believers.
  • Through this lesson, you learn how the blood of Jesus enables believers to confidently enter the holy place and the importance of perseverance and community in the Christian life.
  • Hebrews 10:26-39 teaches the seriousness of willful sin, the need for perseverance, and the value of living by faith in the face of adversity.
  • By studying Hebrews 11, you gain insight into the nature of true faith, its relationship with works, and the importance of perseverance through suffering.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insight into the significance of perseverance in the Christian faith, the role of God's discipline in shaping believers' lives, and the importance of pursuing holiness and peace to avoid falling short of God's grace.
  • By studying Hebrews 12:18-29, you will learn about the contrast between Sinai and Zion, the importance of gratitude and worship, and the concept of God's unshakable kingdom within the New Testament context.
  • In Hebrews 13, you gain insight into practical Christian living, ethical exhortations, the role of leaders, and foundational theology, as well as the Epistle's relevance for today and its impact on the early church.

As Dr. Guthrie interacts with each verse, he explores not only the meaning of the text, but how we apply the theology of the text in our daily lives and ministries.

I. Introduction

This is made up of two primary movements. The second one has a climatic point in verses 26-28. Notice under the appointment of the Son as high priest, you have a step by step development. In 5:1-10, we have an introduction to Jesus as our high priest under the order of Melchizedek; Jesus, the one who has been appointed as a high priest. In point B, you have the superiority of Melchizedek himself in 7:1-10. Then in 7:11-28, there is the superiority of Jesus as our eternal Melchizedek high priest. So, there is an introduction on the high priesthood of Jesus by introducing this quote from Psalm 110:4. He then builds on this by first talking about Melchizedek himself and his superiority and he builds on this in talking about the superiority of Jesus according to the order of Melchizedek. This is the same kind of logic that we will see in the development of the offering in point B. There is an introduction in 8:3-6 and then a superiority of an Old Testament institution to the New Covenant in 8:7-13. Then you will have the superiority of the offering of Christ in 9:1-10:18. The appointment and the offering have the same kind of logical development. So, you have this step by step logical argument mirrored in this center section. He uses these passages for re-enforcement of the ideas that he has already presented.

II. Hebrews 7:1-17

Here, he is picking up on the argument that he left off with in chapter 5:10. When you have exposition followed by exhortation followed by exposition, the author uses some distance hook words to move from exposition to the next exposition. If you read the argument in 5:1-10, you see in verse 10 that Jesus has been designated by God as high priest according to the order of Melchizedek and then in 7:1, again we have a discussion of Melchizedek, described as the king of Salem.

A. Purpose and Process:

He is laying a foundation concerning the superiority of Jesus by first arguing for the superiority of Melchizedek. This is because Psalm 110:4 says that you are a priest according to the order of Melchizedek. In terms of process, he does this in 7:1-10 by dealing with the only other Old Testament passage that deals with Melchizedek which is Genesis 14:17-20. We see the Greek word ‘gar’ used here frequently. There are a lot of places in Hebrews where ‘gar’ is simply conjunctive. It is just like ‘and’ which simply means the next point. This isn’t used to show a logical relationship between what has just gone before and what is coming now. It is simply conjunctive which in essence means the next point. So, the author focuses on Genesis 14:17-20:

After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.”

B. Melchizedek:

The author of Hebrews is going to do a running commentary on this passage using different rabbinic techniques. In the first three verses of chapter 7, he uses an argument from silence. So, he is doing a Midrash kind of commentary where he is dealing with different aspects of the text. Hebrews has features common with Jewish Midrash from this era. The figure of Melchizedek in extra Jewish Biblical literature shows a larger interest. Philo mentions him and uses him as a symbol for the Logos. The Qumran community also had an interest in Melchizedek as a heavenly figure. This is seen in the document 11Q Melchizedek found in cave 11 which dates from about the time of Christ’s birth. In the Qumran fragment, the last Jubilee is called the year of Melchizedek in which he was to bring deliverance of salvation to the people of God by defeating Billy-o and his evil spirits. It says that Melchizedek is to exact a vengeance of judgments and will protect all of the sons of light from the power of Billy-o and from the power of all the spirits of his lot. So, in terms of Qumran literature, Melchizedek is some type of heavenly figure; he is perhaps some exalted angel. Melchizedek also shows up in 2 Enoch which perhaps is 1st century as well. Here, Melchizedek is saved from the flood so he can continue the line of priest that started with Seth. The author of Hebrews may have been aware on some of the reflections of Melchizedek in broader Judaism. But what he is interested in is what the Old Testament says about this
person. He looks at the Old Testament text specifically in order to reflect on Melchizedek.

3 απάτωρ (fatherless,) αμήτωρ (motherless,) αγενεαλόγητος (of unknown genealogy,) μήτε (neither) αρχήν (beginning) ημερών (of days,) μήτε (nor) ζωής (3 of life) τέλος (2 an end) έχων (1 having,) αφωμοιωμένος δε (and taking an exact image) τω (to the) υιώ (son) του θεού (of God,) μένει (abides) ιερεύς (a priest) εις (for) το διηνεκές (perpetuity)

He goes on to describes the different parts of the story, specifically to when Melchizedek returns from the slaughter of the kings where he blessed Abraham and apportioned him a tithe. He first comments on Melchizedek’s name. Melchizedek was said to be king of righteousness; zedek being a reference to king. You have this situation that he mentions in verse 1 where you have the four kings coming in to attack certain cities in the Valley of Sittim. Abraham’s nephew Lot was taken captive from Sodom. In hearing about this, Abraham takes off and pursues these attackers. On his way back home, he meets this priest/king Melchizedek. When he says that his name is the king of righteousness; he is alluding to the Hebrew terms ‘melek’ which means king and ‘saydek’ which may be rendered righteousness. He is taking parts of his name and saying that this is what the name relates to. The city name of Salem is interpreted to mean peace. He is drawing from the association with the Hebrew word Shalom. He is doing a take on aspects of what we see in the story here about Melchizedek. Verse 3 is very important; this is where we get into the argument of silence. He says that he is without father and without mother and even without genealogy. He is without beginning of days and of life, but being made like the son of God, he remains a priest forever. So, he is saying that as we look at the text, we see that we don’t have anything about the beginning of his days or the end of his life and he finds that significant. So, we need to remember that he is interpreting Genesis 14 in light of the only other passage in the New Testament that deals with Melchizedek which is Psalm 110:4. This psalm says that you are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. The author interprets the Genesis passage in part in light of the Psalm passage saying that they fit together. Even more importantly, this is significant in the argument that he is about to make concerning Melchizedek visa vie the Levitical priest. The basis for Levitical priesthood was who your parents were, your birth. You had to be from the right tribe to be a priest.

III. Hebrews 7:18-28

18 αθέτησις (3 an annulment) μεν (2 indeed) γαρ (1 For) γίνεται (6 takes place) προαγούσης (5 before) εντολής (4 of the commandment) διά (because of) το αυτής (its) ασθενές (weak) και (and) ανωφελές (unprofitable state;)

In verse 18, it is important to recognize that there is a setting aside of the former commandments because of its weakness and uselessness. The Law made nothing perfect. There is a bringing in of a better hope in which we draw near to God. There is something inherent in the Levitical priesthood that wasn’t there for people to put their hope in. It was lacking somehow, an inherent weakness. The Law was not able to bring about the type of perfection that God ultimately had in mind and therefore wasn’t able to bring in a better hope. There was an aspect of Levitical Law that was limited; there was a limited nature to it. The author is going to argue that this weakness was tied to the weaknesses of the Levites themselves. It was not able to accomplish everything that God had in mind and therefore was not an adequate basis for hope. I think we explain it in terms of progressive revelation. God works with humanity in a step by step fashion and I think this is an aspect of his sovereignty. It isn’t that God made a mistake; God is building on what was before and developing things as we go along. This is very different than process theology which says that God himself is developing and therefore learning as he goes which is not a biblical concept. There is a process where God did certain things with the Law to accomplish things at that time which would lead to what he would ultimately do in Christ. Think about how limited our understanding would be in terms of the significance of what Christ has done in his sacrifice if we didn’t have the backdrop of the Law. We need to understand that what a sinner is, in order to understand what grace is. I think in some ways that Old Testament prepares us; it isn’t just about God’s wrath but also about God’s love. We understand the holiness of God and the requirements of God by understanding the foundation that was laid in the Old Testament. So, there is a progressive nature to God’s revelation.