15 And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest
16 who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life.
17 For He testifies: “ You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
18 For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness,
19 for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.
20 And inasmuch as He was not made priest without an oath
21 (for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him: “ The LORD has sworn and will not relent, ‘ You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek’”),
22 by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant.
23 Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing.
24 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood.
25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
far more evident (v.15) — that the priesthood must be changed
another (v.15) — not just a different one, but another of a different type
law (v.16) = norm, standard
fleshly (v.16) = temporary, physical (here) — not carnal in the sense of sinful
Christ was not appointed priest because of physical descent, but because of His divine power which gives Him an endless life (v.16).
endless (v.16) = cannot be dissolved or disunited
power (v.16) = authority — cannot be broken or destroyed
Quote in verse 17 is from Psalm 110:4
God never swore that the Levitical priesthood would last forever, but He did swear that the Mechizedekian priesthood would (v.17).
The Greek word translated covenant (Greek diatheke) is used seventeen times in Hebrews, the first being here. During the New Testament era this was the exclusive word for a will or testament (a one-sided promise involving the death of the testator). The Greek word uniformly used to express a compact, or covenant (a two-sided agreement), was syntheke. Yet, the Old Testament word for covenant (Hebrew berit) consistently uses diatheke, though one might expect to see syntheke. The reason for this word usage arises from the fact that God’s covenants were not compacts or agreements made between equal parties. Thus diatheke more aptly expresses the one-sided nature of God’s covenants. This better covenant is a promise, not an agreement. It was established solely by God and confirmed with His oath. No one can annul it or the eternal salvation which it promises. Jesus Himself is the surety (Greek eggyos) of the covenant. He is not here presented as the mediator, but as the guarantor, of this better covenant. A mediator is one who gathers the two parties to devise an agreement. A guarantor is one who sees that the obligations of the covenant are carried out. — King James Bible Commentary, page 1690.
annulling (v.18) = setting aside, abolishing of something established
previous (v.18) — not only precedence in time, but of a preliminary character
commandment (v.18) — the law
weakness (v.18) — because it could not accomplish the goal
unprofitableness (v.18) — unserviceable — it could not bring about the purification of sinners (v.11)
made nothing perfect (v.19) — brought nothing to completion
draw near to God (v.19) — under the law, the people could not enter the presence of God in the Holy of Holies. Only the high priest could, and he only once a year. In Christ, we have constant, direct access to God.
surety (v.22) = guarantee, pledge
unchangeable (v.24) — not passed along from priest to priest. Christ’s priesthood cannot be transferred to another.
able to save (v.25) = has power to save
uttermost (v.25) = complete in every respect, time and degree
intercession (v.25) — intervention (His offering Himself as our sacrifice) and intercession
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