King James Version (KJV)
6.20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
The Apostle Paul here is continuing to build his case to the Hebrews in showing them the reason for Jesus Christ. While he continues to justify keeping the faith in their most earnest hope, he is explaining the answers to Why Jesus? What was Jesus for? How did Jesus accomplish this “reformation?” The speaker also justifies Jesus, and God’s Eternal Purpose for him, and by him, within the context of Judaism. Showing them that this was not some foreign belief, but was intended all along by their very God! That this change of covenant was Ordained by YHWH, the living God, and spoken of by the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings (most particularly Psalms). This is why the speaker spends so much time on the subject of the Oath sworn by God, that Christ Jesus would be made a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek, and has entered in behind the Veil for Us.
For the New Covenant spoken of by the Prophet Jeremiah, is officiated by the New High Priest, Jesus, after an eternal order, that of Melchizedek. The speaker, and writer, are speaking to the Hebrews in a logical, and systematic way, using all of the elements that the Hebrews hold dear to their beliefs. He is speaking in a language if you will that they most certainly understand. Yet what the Apostle has to say in this chapter was no doubt painful for this assembly. This chapter contains the information that culminates the Apostle’s entire legal argument, that is that now Christ Jesus has the total legal disposition for the Redemption, and Salvation of Men and Women without the Law!
The Apostle has brilliantly laid out his case for this in a powerful manner, and leaving no room for debate. At the same time however, one should keep in mind how difficult it would have been for this assembly to first internalize, then implement all of this. At this time they are still holding on to both Covenants, and for particular external factors, one, being in Jerusalem, they are sliding back into Judaism. The reason for this reversal is that it would stop the mental, emotional, and physical anguish being put upon them. In other words the Persecution and Oppression they are bearing for the Name of Jesus would stop (at least hopefully). The Jews of the Synagogue, and the Temple were slowly “turning the screws,” on the new sect of Christianity within their assembly, and beginning to separate themselves from them. Using Old Testament language, they were “cutting them off from the People.” The Jewish People were, and still are a very Covenantal People, their community was their very strength. To be put out of this community would make things very difficult to even survive. By naming the Name of Jesus, it could bring total destruction to livelihoods, relationships held dear, and above all being put out from the Temple, Synagogue, and from the People.
The Words of Jesus must have been provoked to remembrance while this marvellous Epistle was being read to the congregation:
49 I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?
50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!
51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided,three against two, and two against three.
53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. (St. Luke Ch 12). While Luke produced his Gospel, somewhere between 75-85 AD, I feel certain that some remembered these words even though no Gospel had been put into writing yet at the time of this Epistle.
7.1 For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; (See Gen Ch. 14)
2 To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;
His Name means “My King is Righteous!” His Position was “King/Priest of Salem and the Most High God!” Which would later become Jerusalem, due to adding a form of the Name YHWH, ( Yir’eh, “God will see to it” ) to the city name Shalem, thus producing Yerushalem. For More on Melchizedek:
The writer is explaining to the Hebrews the Greek meaning of the Name Melchizedek, from the Hebrew Malkī Sedeq.
It is interesting here to note that Melchizedek brings out to Abram, Bread and Wine, and being the Priest of the Most High God, he blessed Abram. Abram then gives Melchizedek, a tenth of all.
3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.
This is without a doubt one of the most perplexing verses of scripture within the NT, and in many ways! It is my personal belief that this was the “Word of God,” in another form. Jesus the man had a mother, and a genealogy, but the Eternal Word did not! I cannot help but believe that this is God, with no beginning, nor end, but eternal. The statement “but made like unto the Son of God,” a variant wording from the RSV states: “resembling the Son of God He continues a Priest forever.” There is only one being with no beginning, and no end, and that is God. Also He abideth a Priest continually! I do not believe it is coincidental that Melchizedek, the King of Righteousness, offers to Abram, bread and wine. A foreshadowing of things to come.
4 Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.
With this action by Abram, and willingly without discussion, tells me that Abram knew this was a visit by God. There is not any conversation between Abram and Melchizedek, recorded in Genesis Ch.14, except the words spoken by Melchizedek. Abram immediately knows Melchizedek is superior to him, so much so that he tithes to him.
5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:
6 But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.
7 And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.
The Jewish People revered the Priesthood, and especially the High Priest who was the Spiritual Leader of their society. The speaker and writer are showing here that there was something greater than the Levitical Priesthood from the beginning. The very fact that Abram tithed to Melchizedek testified to this. This also means that there was something greater than the Mosaic Law from the beginning, but the time for the implementation of promise, and a better hope had not yet come. There was still a long road ahead, and many developmental stages to take effect before God would reveal his salvific plan, which was always His will.
8 And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.
Once again, the speaker is showing them that if the Hebrews consider the Levitical Priesthood to be great, how much more then should they share in the Heavenly Order of the New Priesthood, which is eternal? There is an everlasting Priesthood that should be revered, and trusted because it is not frail, nor affected by infirmity, and death. Jesus receives tithes in the Heavenlies.
9 And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.
10 For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.
In verse 4 above, the apostle says to the Hebrews, “…now think of How Great this man was…,” speaking of Melchizedek. He was so great that He even received tithes of not just Abram, but all of Abram’s descendants, to include the Levitical Priesthood, and Jesus, even though they had not yet been born. So Abram, and all of his descendants showed deference to Melchizedek from the beginning through his action of giving a tenth of the spoils.
11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?
Here the Apostle Paul shows his absolute brilliance. From the beginning of this Epistle, he has laid brick, by brick, and block, by block ever so meticulously to come to this point in his dissertation. He has done so with a respectful dignity, and without condescension, in order to show the Hebrew Christians that they are following correctly a higher Priesthood. They are answering a Higher Calling. Things have changed, for God has fulfilled his Promise! The Law was a schoolmaster bringing the Jewish People, and the Gentile, to the fulfillment of God’s plan. For this cause, the Apostle is reasoning with the Hebrews, asking them, the Logical question above.
Remembrance of the words of Jesus are important here, “…I have not come to destroy the Law, but to Fulfill it…!” When was it fulfilled? Moments before His death upon the Cross Jesus cried out, “…It is FINISHED…!” He finished the work of His Father YHWH, culminating in the offering up of himself. The mission of the Law has been completed. The Sacrifice by Jesus of himself, fulfilled God’s demand and His redemptive price, for the Sin of Mankind. With the fullness of days being attained, and the final demand of His Law being fulfilled, God through Jesus, restored his initial desire and relationship, that was damaged by Adam and Eve. Now the Spiritual reunion of the Father with His creation could, and would, resume again through the Holy Ghost.
12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
By reason of the fact that the Jewish People received the Law under the Levitical Priesthood, and with the Priesthood being changed, a change of the law which they officiated was therefore necessary. Moving then from a Carnal Priesthood, and Carnal Commandments, to a Spiritual Priesthood would thus require by necessity a change to a Spiritual covenant. This covenant would have emphasis upon not the carnal, but Spiritual things. When the day of Pentecost was Fully Come after Christ’s death (the 50th day), the very anniversary date of which God gave Moses the Covenant, beginning with the Ten Commandments, God poured out through and by Jesus, His Spirit. Jesus sent the Promise of the Father, and baptized the 120 with the Holy Ghost, and Fire. With the Holy Ghost entering into the hearts of men and women, the New Covenant was shared and initiated that the Prophet Jeremiah testified to in Ch. 31 of his Prophecy.
13 For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.
14 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.
The Apostle is further explaining here why there must be a change of the Law. Jesus had no connection with the Tribe of Levi, and Moses did not mention anything for the Tribe of Judah concerning the Priesthood. This change of the Priesthood is sweeping, and complete. There are no connections between the Priesthoods of Melchizedek, and Levi. There is no relationship between the two. One has superseded the other without strings attached. With this sweeping change, a change of the Law was evident.
15 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest,
16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.
17 For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
The Apostle Paul is driving his argument home. I cannot help but wonder how the recipients of this Epistle must have felt when this was read to them. It could not have been any better proved to them, that things of which so much of their history was based would be changed, and that, by God’s declaration through David. It must have also been hard for Paul to say these things, “…which are Hard to be Uttered…”, for he in essence is telling them to let go of the Law of Moses, not for any negative reason, but because a New Covenant has superseded the old. They now have an Eternal High Priest that will never perish, and by the Oath of the Father! This is why the statement by Paul, “…the Law is Dead…,” which was so misunderstood, and taken out of context, to have such a great Negative connotation. This was a complete error in understanding by the Jews. He never was saying that the Law was a Negative concept at all, but rather instituted by God. What he was saying however, was that the Law now is of none effect. There is a New and Spiritual Covenant as promised by God, and established by an Oath, to and through his Son Christ Jesus who officiates it. Of which has been Signified by the Holy Ghost, from the Day of Pentecost forward, and that we only serve him now, by the power thereof (the Holy Ghost), and faith, not a Carnal Commandment!
18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.
19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
These words above are the Crux of this entire dissertation by the Apostle, as he has built ever so carefully his case. Here it is, the Message to the Hebrew Assembly! The Law could not fix the Sin problem within man. It could only point it out, and bring condemnation! It was however a School master bringing the Jews, and the Gentile, to the place that they could receive, and enjoy, a freedom from the condemnation of Sin. Through man’s strength alone, the fulfillment of the Law could not be attained, nor could it bring righteousness, or peace within. Walking in the Law was in effect trying at least to serve God from without! Through Christ Jesus, and with the outpouring of His Spirit, man can walk with God from Within. The Words of Jesus again:
Joh 14:23, Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
Joh 17:21, That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
Joh 7,37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
Joh 7.38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
Joh 7,39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
After that Jesus was crucified at Passover, he was in the tomb for 2 days, and rising on the 3rd day. From the 3rd day forward, and for a total of 40 days He showed himself alive to over 500 people. Now 42 days had passed since his death on the cross, and now at Mt Olivet, He speaks his final words on Earth, for He Ascends, and is Glorified by the Father, and sits down at HIS right Hand. Before He ascended He told the people to return to Jerusalem and wait there for the Promise of the Father, to receive the Holy Ghost! The scripture tells us it was about a days journey back to Jerusalem, and for Seven more days they fasted, prayed, and tarried awaiting the Promise. The promise was received on the 50th day from Passover, as Jesus baptized His followers with the Holy Ghost. From this day forward the Law was Disannulled. and the New Covenant given, and implemented by the Spirit of God. (Acts Ch. 2)
That which was hoped for was given, the Promise of the Father to Pour Out of His Spirit upon all flesh, beginning at Jerusalem. Now by this fulfillment of a better hope, the Holy Ghost within, we can draw Nigh Unto God. The Separation of Man from his God has been bridged by Jesus, and through the Power of His Spirit. For the reason that Jesus has entered in behind the Veil in the Heavenlies, and now with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost taking up abode in our hearts, and souls, we enter in behind the veil with Jesus! Drawing Nigh to the very Throne of our God.
20 And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest:
21 (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)
22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.
23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:
24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.
By God swearing an Oath, and making Jesus our High Priest forever, he provides us with a much better surety (guarantee) of a better covenant by two immutable facts. These two facts are that the Oath is binding and eternal, for God cannot lie! Secondly, Jesus being installed as High Priest in the Heavenlies is also eternal, never changing again. Plus the fact that he is deeply moved by our infirmities, and He stands in for us with God! The obligations of this covenant are Spiritual, and Eternal, For Jesus “…is the same yesterday, today, and forever,” and these abide within! This is why Paul in his masterpiece to the Romans could proclaim:
King James Version (KJV)
8 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
28 For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.
I conclude this brilliant, and incredible Chapter, with the Words of Our Lord:
“…It Is Finished…” The work was completed for our rich blessings, of which we can now be one with God, having him to take up abode in our hearts, and with this promise from Jesus: “I will Never Leave You, Nor Forsake You, even unto the end of the age!”