Hebrews 7:11-19 (Pastor Heo)
Jesus Like Melchizedek
11 If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come–one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron? 12 For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law. 13 He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar. 14 For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. 15 And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, 16 one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is declared:
“You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.”
18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.
What is worship? Access to God’s throne, enjoying his presence.
The main function of a priest: to help people to have access to God as mediator.
This passage has 2 sections.
- This section shows the temporariness of the Levitical priesthood –
- The second section shows the eternality and perfection of the Messianic (Jesus) priesthood.
“There is one mediator between God and man (Jesus Christ).”
- The insufficiency of the old priesthood +
- the sufficiency of the new priesthood.
“Insufficiency” of Aaron’s priesthood
“11 If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come–one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron? 12 For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law. 13 He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar. 14 For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.”
The old priesthood was insufficient and replaced because it could not bring people to perfection (completeness) in access to God.
In the Old Testament, what were the qualifications to become priests?
- Tribe of Levi (100% pure descendant of Aaron)
- There are MANY qualifications – but they all have to do with physical, external, outward characteristics (142 types of physical blemishes that might disqualify him – Leviticus 21:17-21)
“17 “Say to Aaron: ‘For the generations to come none of your descendants who has a defect may come near to offer the food of his God. 18 No man who has any defect may come near: no man who is blind or lame, disfigured or deformed; 19 no man with a crippled foot or hand, 20 or who is a hunchback or a dwarf, or who has any eye defect, or who has festering or running sores or damaged testicles. 21 No descendant of Aaron the priest who has any defect is to come near to present the food offerings to the LORD. He has a defect; he must not _come near to_ offer the food of his God.”
We draw near to God – this gate now is WIDELY open to anybody at anytime. But at that time, the gate to draw near to God was very narrow and limited.
Several times repeated here: “He must NOT…”
There were 142 physical blemishes that could cause someone to be disqualified from the Levitical priesthood. Even in the ordination ceremony, he must be bathed in special water, clothed in special priestly clothes, anointed in oil, pierced through his right ear and right big toe.
Once ordained, he had to keep so many oils, cut his hair in a special style. Maybe if I were in the OT, I could not become pastor because of my hair.
The qualifications were dependent on only physical characteristics at that time. Character, ability, spirituality were not even considered. This shows that the OT priesthood was NOT sufficient – until the priesthood of Christ came.
“15 And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, 16 one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an _indestructible life_. 17 For it is declared:
“You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.”
18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a _better hope_ is introduced, by which we draw near to God.”
What is our “Better Hope” – by which we can draw near to God at any and every time.
This new high priest has one great qualification – which is not external, and not outward, not physical – but it is inward (the power of an indestructible life).
This does not mean that Jesus didn’t die – but that he died a death that could not hold him. Death had no power over him. His death was followed by resurrection – that’s why he is eternal.
“Jesus is a High Priest” on the basis of an indestructible life = on the basis of resurrection.
He is risen! He is the alpha and omega – the first and last – our high priest forever and ever.
Still today, do you recognize that he is praying for us earnestly?
He lived 33 years in human form, experiencing everything, even death through the exercise of his own life.
John 17 “I lay my life down of my own volition (will), nobody takes my life from me. I have authority to lay my life down and authority to take it up again.” This means he is eternal, perfect, experientially, morally, spiritually – his priesthood is perfect. So he is efficient to impart life to everybody – and make access to God possible.
Jesus himself bore his body on the cross so that we might be declared righteous. “By his wounds, we are healed.” (Isaiah)
He also gives us eternal, abundant life through his resurrection. “I am the resurrection and the Life – he who believes in me will live even though he dies.”
Jesus is the bridge between God and man. There was a big valley between God and man – and Jesus became that bridge.
“(for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.”
How is it possible?
We are allowed to draw near to God at any time.
Here’s a story:
On one occasion, there was debate / discussion between local priests (not in the Bible) of the Catholic church and a pastor of a Protestant church (like me) – in the matter of access to God.
Catholic Priest vs. Protestant Minister
- CP: “Why do you not pray to the saints?”
- PM: “Why should we?”
- CP: “Example: If you want to see the President of your country, we need many steps – the minister of the dept, cabinet, secretary, etc – and get permission, and that person may open the door of the President and you may see him.” (True.)
- PM: “That may be true. There are many steps to see the President. But, imagine the child of that President. They are living together in the same house, eating at the same table, kiss each other goodbye, and eat together at dinner, sleep under the same roof. This is a child. Like this, I’m a child of God – a co-heir with Christ. I’m saved through the death of Christ and have been adopted into the family of Christ. Yes, he is God, much higher than a human President.”
How is this possible?
We must know:
In the OT, God was revealed as King and Creator – but NEVER revealed as Father to any individual person. No one called God “Father.” Not Abraham, not Moses, not David. David enjoyed a wonderful position before God (a man after God’s own heart) – but he never confessed “God is my Father.”
Only IN Christ, BY Christ, THROUGH Christ, God revealed himself and gave himself to us as our “Father.”
That’s why 700 years before Jesus’ coming, it was prophesied, “To us a child is given, the government will be on his shoulders. He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Even 700 years before Jesus’ coming, “he will be called Everlasting Father” – this sounds strange if you consider the context and that time.
Usually, people do not call God “Father” but Jesus reveals God as “Father”. John says, “Nobody has ever seen God, but Jesus has made him known.” Only through Christ we are allowed to call him Father.
- God loves us as a Father loves his children.
- God knows what we need as his children.
“(for the law made nothing perfect) and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.”
The practical application: If we believe Jesus is eternal and perfect and sufficient priest in our lives, it means whatever problems you have, Jesus is the answer.
- Whatever my problem: Jesus is the answer.
- One million problems, one answer. Jesus is the answer.
“In this world, you will have problems, but take heart, for I have overcome the world (the problems).”
So problems are not problems. Problems prove you are still alive. To be overcome by a problem is a real problem. But all problems will be overcome by Christ (Romans 8: “God works all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.”)
Practically, we are allowed to draw near to God – HOW?
- Church (the house of God) – although according to the Bible, we ourselves ARE the church
- Church comes from ecclesia (Greek) “called out of the world” – an assembly of God’s people. “Where two or three are gathered, there I am.”
- Our bodies are the temple of God – the church of God – if we recognize this already, we are in the presence of God – drawing near to God is possible anywhere and anytime.
- We are spiritual beings – and like our physical bodies crave physical food, our spiritual bodies also crave intimacy with God (access with God), sanctification, maturity, the grace of God – this is our spiritual food. “This hope does not disappoint us.”
- Romans “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have access to this grace through the hope in which we now stand.”
- We also can rejoice in our sufferings, trials, and problems. For this suffering produces patience, maturity, character, hope – and this hope does not disappoint us – because God is pouring out his love into our hearts.
- Prayer – dialogue with God – we need MORE prayer if you want to draw close to God. MORE prayer, less worry (less TV). MORE talking with God, less talking with people – because through this we draw near to God.
- Bible meditation – verse memory, songs, personal reading. The Bible is the Word of God as our “daily bread.” This is the daily bread of our spiritual growth.
“(for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduce, by which we draw near to God.”