The Superiority of Christ's Priesthood.
SUMMARY.--The Office of a High Priest.
High Priests Chosen of God.
Christ a Priest of the Order of Melchizedec.
He Learned Obedience Through Suffering.
The Need of Learning the Deeper Truths of the Gospel.
1-3. Every high priest taken from among men. Such as Aaron and
all the high priests of Israel.
Is ordained for men. He is appointed to officiate in holy things
and to intercede in behalf of his fellow-men. God did not need the high
priest, but men needed him.
That he may offer both gifts and sacrifices. "Gifts" were
strictly bloodless offerings, while "sacrifices" required the life of
the victim. These were offered in behalf of men, either by the high
priest in person, or under his direction.
2. Who can have compassion, etc. It is needful that the high
priest be one in sympathy with men, because he has experienced in
person the common infirmities of the race. Otherwise, how could he be a
merciful high priest touched by the infirmities of men?
3. And by reason hereof. Of his own infirmity, in that he was of
Ought, as for the people, so also for himself. As one of a
race he needed to approach God in his own behalf, as well as in behalf
of men. He offered "atonement for his own sins and for the sins of the
This was shown forth in the very garments he wore when he offered the
national atonement once a year. On the shoulder of the ephod
were two onyx stones, on which were engraved the names of the twelve
sons of Jacob, the representatives of all the tribes of Israel, of Levi
the priestly tribe as well as the others. As he stood before the
mercy-seat interceding, he bore all these names before the Lord.
4-6. And no man taketh this honor unto himself. He must be
called to it by God. Aaron was so appointed. See
Exod. 28:1; Lev. 8:2.
5. So also Christ glorified not himself. Did not take the office
of himself, but God called him to his priesthood. The time is pointed
out when he was so called. It was when God said,
Thou art my son, to-day have I begotten thee. This refers to
when Christ was begotten from the dead, the first-born of the new
At this time he entered fully, at the call of God, upon his high
priesthood in behalf of men.
6. A priest forever after the order of Melchisedec. Christ's
priesthood continues while time endures. He is not of the order of
Aaron, but of Melchizedek, a king as well as a priest. See
Gen. 14:18, 19.
For a fuller discussion of the priesthood of Melchizedek, see notes on
7-10. Who in the days of his flesh. Christ, while on earth, is
When he had offered up prayers, etc. A particular time when
these earnest supplications were offered is pointed out. The agony of
Gethsemane is meant. It was then that he said, "If it is possible, let
this cup pass from me."
Even there he
was heard. For an angel descended to strengthen him.
Feared. Reverenced the Father in humble submission. A pious fear
8. He learned obedience. He claimed no special exemptions
because he was the Son, but learned and taught obedience in the
supremest test that the world ever saw. He learned obedience
9. Being made perfect. Fitted in all points to be our high
priest by his suffering; made, not a perfect man, for he was that
already, but a perfect high priest.
He became the author. Was able to offer the gospel to all
nations, and thus to save
all them that obey him. He does not save men in
10. Called of God an high priest. When he had suffered he was
called of God an high priest, or entered upon his priesthood.
Order of Melchisedec. See notes on
11-14. Of whom we have many things to say. Of Christ in his
Hard to be
uttered. Hard to be expressed so that you will understand. The
priesthood of Christ, after the order of Melchizedek, opens up some
Seeing ye are dull of hearing. Of slow understanding.
12. When ye ought to be teachers. You have been disciples long
enough to be able to teach others, but still need some one to teach you
first principles. See notes on
Heb. 6:1, 2.
Oracles of God. God's word.
13. Every one that useth milk, etc. Those who only understand
the A B C's of Christianity are only babes in Christ, like the babes
whose food is milk. Such an one cannot handle
the word of righteousness skillfully.
14. Strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age. When one
has reached manhood we do not expect him to live on the food of babes.
So a church member, as time goes on, ought to feed on strong
meat, the higher teaching of religion. There should be growth in
Their senses exercised. The reference here is to the faculties
of the soul. A Christian ought to study, to gain a thorough knowledge
of the Scriptures and especially of the New Testament, to become able to
teach others, and to explain the higher principles of our religion. In
addition he ought to be able to discern the moral character of the
environments of life, to know not only what to accept and what to
reject, but how to warn his less instructed brethren.